Did you know that in 2020, virtual private networks (VPNs) were being used by at least 26% of ALL internet users? VPNs are a huge market, with an estimated worth of almost $20.1 billion. Today, we’re going to explain what they are, if you need one, and our recommendation for what VPN to try!
What is a VPN?
A Virtual Private Network (or, VPN) is a service that provides you with an encrypted connection to a network. This allows you to keep your browsing hidden, and your data private.
FixMeTip: We recommend NordVPN. It’s speedy, reliable, AND as a FixMeStick customer you get an exclusive discount to use it on 6 devices for 3 years for only $3.49 USD/month! Don’t miss out. Try it here!
How does a VPN work?
First, you choose a remote VPN server and connect to it. We love NordVPN because it makes this part simple. Once you’re connected to this new server, you are assigned a new IP address.
Now all your traffic goes through this new connection which is encrypted, so even if someone were to hack the network, they would not be able to understand anything. This all happens at lightning speed without you even noticing.
Let’s look at an example! Adam wants to check his bank statement online. He is at a local cafe, using the cafe’s public Wi-Fi connection.
Adam is nervous to log in to his bank account on a public connection, as he fears his identity and banking information could be stolen by hackers or online snoops.
Adam connects to NordVPN so that his online activity is encrypted and he logs into his bank account without fear! NordVPN sends Adam’s IP address and location through a virtual tunnel that encrypts his data and his computer’s location. This means that as Adam navigates his bank account, he is hidden from the bank website itself and everyone else – making it safe and secure.
Benefits of Using a VPN
Feel safe knowing a VPN protects you from identity theft and hackers that try to track your online activity. Using an unsafe network connection can leave you and your personal data vulnerable to digital theft. If you’ve ever been hacked, you know that the results can take months or even years to resolve.
Enjoy the Internet carefree and with no restrictions. Travelling out of the country for work but still want to watch your favourite TV shows and sporting events? VPNs allow you to route your connection through servers all over the world. This means you can access content from anywhere, regardless of your actual location!
Have peace of mind knowing your data is always private. With NordVPN, privacy is one click away. As a FixMeStick customer, you get a discounted price to use it up to 6 devices for 3 years – which amounts to only $3.49 USD/month!
No one will be able to see which websites you visit or what files you download with a strict, no-log policy and automatic kill switch. The kill switch helps prevent unprotected access to the internet when your traffic doesn’t go through the NordVPN server.
Feel secure, regardless of where you are. VPNs are great during travel as a tool for maintaining security and convenience! Let’s say (in the future when we can travel again!) you landed at Heathrow Airport in London. You can check your travel itinerary, attend to some work emails, or stream your favourite TV shows, safely with a VPN.
Be worry-free about censorship: Did you know that according to a recent study nearly 44% of individuals have either faced or know someone that has faced online censorship? In the digital age, online censorship happens more often that you think. Using a VPN is a great way to avoid censorship so you can access content and post freely without fear of being blocked by online censors!
Feel secure across devices. VPNs are compatible with both Windows and Mac laptops and desktops, as well as smartphones, tablets, game consoles, routers and more. With NordVPN you can connect 6 devices at once on a 3-year subscription, for only $3.49 USD/month!
Q. I’m using a wired internet connection instead of a Wi-Fi connection- would I still benefit from using a VPN?
A. Yes! VPNs remain a critical cybersecurity step even if you are using a wired/ethernet connection.
Q. I mostly connect my computer and phone to private Wi-Fi connections- is a VPN still necessary?
A. Absolutely. While private networks reduce the chance of exposure to lurkers and cybercriminals using the same network, they cannot protect you from a targeted attack on your private network, or a data breach of your ISP (Internet Service Provider). #FixMeTip: With an easy to use app VPNs are also accessible on mobile devices!
Q. Does a VPN replace my Internet Service Provider (ISP)?
A. VPNs do not replace your Internet Service Provider (ISP). Instead, it works alongside your ISP by redirecting your internet traffic away from your ISP, giving it an additional layer of protection. This way, no one, not even your ISP can get their hands on your browsing data.
Q. Can my smart TV be protected by a VPN? If so, why would that be an important step to take?
A. Most smart TV’s don’t have a built-in VPN functionality. But do not fear! By setting up your router with a VPN, your smart TV will have a direct VPN connection. Smart TV’s offer a peek into our lives and habits, and they are indeed hackable. Using a VPN is a strong first defense in locking down these devices!
Still curious about VPNs?
Check out this video for a clear and short introduction to VPNs.
Do you use a VPN or have a question about VPNs? Share your experience with us or leave a question in the comments section below!