Need A VPN?

Business Acronym VPN as Virtual Private Network. Yellow paint line on the road against asphalt background. Conceptual image

I’m getting more inquiries about VPNs. We’re all seeing more ads about them and a larger variety of companies are offering them. But, what exactly is a VPN, and do you really need one?

VPN Definition

As the picture above spells out, the acronym VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. A VPN is like a secured pipeline running through a very insecure stream called The Internet.

When you use the Internet, whether you’re connected via an Ethernet cable or Wi-Fi, much of what you do is transmitted in plain text. Because of this fact, what you do online is interceptable by almost anyone with the correct hacker software. Plus, every website you visit can be seen by others including your Internet Service Provider.

What Does A VPN Do?

Enter a VPN service. Here’s what a VPN does:

  • It encrypts all your data – because it does this, no one can see what you’re doing online.
  • It hides your IP address – because you are going through a VPN server, websites see that server’s IP address and not your computer’s or modem’s.
  • It sends all of your Internet info to the VPN server to which you’re connected instead of to your ISP’s server.

Why Use A VPN?

Why would you want to use a VPN? If you want to use the Internet in a more secure manner, then a VPN is a good software to use. However, a word of caution: using a VPN doesn’t make you invincible on the Net. It’s a major step in keeping you safer but you still can’t do foolish things like replying to a phishing email or clicking on unknown pop-ups.

Are there disadvantages? Absolutely. First, your Internet speed may take a hit. Remember, everything you do is encrypted and that takes away from your speed. Second, you might get blocked by some sites (Netflix and financial sites are good examples.) because they recognize that you are going through a server other than your ISP. Some VPN services, especially the free ones, maintain a log of what you do and where you go. This log could be sold to advertisers, hacked by scammers or subpoenaed by law enforcement agencies. This really isn’t any different than what your ISP does but with a VPN, it shouldn’t happen.

Quick Questions And Answers

Speed Round Questions and Answers:

Can you get a VPN for your smartphone and/or tablet? Absolutely.

Do you use a VPN? Yes, quite often although not all the time. Since I use a ton of bandwidth working on other people’s computers remotely and because I always have a lot of programs open, I need the full speed of my Internet.

Is there a time when I absolutely should use a VPN? Yes! Whenever you are on a connection outside of your home (including hotels, airports, etc.) you should always use a VPN.

What VPN service do you use? I use PureVPN. I have it on my computers and on my smartphones.

Is PureVPN the VPN you recommend? Positively. I have found their servers to be very reliable and fast despite the encryption loss of speed which is normal for a VPN.

Where can I get PureVPN? I liked PureVPN so much, I became an affiliate. Just click the banner below and get an awesome deal!

Note: if you purchase after clicking one of our links, Keystone Computer Concepts may be compensated.


About the Author

John Grubb

I've been working on computers since 1983! I love helping people resolve their computing issues and sharing preventative measures, as well.