Your Ultimate Guide to Virtual Private Networks (VPNs)

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?

Diagram of how a Virtual Private Network (VPN) works

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!

Use a VPN to re-route your internet traffic to a different geographic 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!



    Does VPN protect cell phonecalls in public from eavesdropping or is it strictly a security measure for online browsing?

    • FixMeStick -

      Hi Vlasta, great question. VPNs will encrypt your wifi calls (through Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp), Facetime has its own encryption, but calls made through your cell carrier are not encrypted.

  2. Irving berkovic -

    Can I get the VPN connected to my router so that all my devices will be protected?

  3. Steven Bomar -

    If NordVPN is connected to my router, do I still need to download NordVPN to individuale laptops and cell phone? How many items will or can be carried on NordVPN?

    • FixMeStick -

      Hey there Steven, connecting Nord to your router means you won’t need it on your individual devices unless you’re using them outside your house! You can attach 5 items to the standard VPN package.

  4. Russel K. Myers -

    I have Express VPN, and every time I run my Fix-Me-Stick, it shows that I could have malware on my computer, I contacted the Express VPN people, and they assured me that their product is safe. Is there anything I can do about it ?

    • FixMeStick -

      Hi Russel, we’ve looked into your accounts and can see the flagged file. This .exe file is flagged often by antiviruses but FixMeStick did not remove it, only wiped it of the malware it identified. Please contact us at if this happens again!


    I understand that VPN, NORDVPN, cause problems with computer. I would not install to router. If I install to my two computers is it going to work properly???????

    • Linda -

      Hi Bobby, NordVPN can be installed on multiple computers. If you are having trouble using NordVPN, you can contact their support site by clicking here.

  6. Anonymous -

    Is NORDVPN only available in the U.S.? – their page seems to indicate this.

    • Linda -

      Hi there, you can purchase NordVPN online at this link here. You do not have to live in the U.S.

    • Linda -

      Hi there, you can purchase and use a VPN from anywhere in the world.

  7. Anonymous -

    Looking for an 800 number, as I use a public library for my e-mails.

    • Linda -

      Hi there, if you would like to have a live agent answer you, please follow the instructions below:

      1. Go to during our operating hours (10 AM to 6 PM, EST, Mondays to Saturdays).
      2. Click on the orange ‘Chat’ button at the bottom right corner.
      3. Type in your name or email, followed by a brief message.
      3. Click on the “Start Chatting” button.

      An agent will then answer you in real-time and assist you from there.

  8. Sally Dube -

    If my browsing is protected by a VPN, does that mean I won’t get any more annoying ads based on browsing history? Thanks.

    • Linda -

      Hi Sally, the ads you see are based on many factors, including your VPN’s server locations, your browser, and whether you are signed in to your browser or not (ie. such as on your Google account). But general with a VPN you should see less targeted ads.

  9. Harry Little -

    I have Nord VPM on my two desk tops and will soon add it to a tablet and a laptop. I use it primarily to hide my IP# when I stream usa network TV that Rogers does not carry or charges excessive amounts such WWE NETWORK.


    do I need to keep my kapersky total security if I have a nord vpn?

    • Linda -

      Hi David, NordVPN is different from antivirus programs. A VPN protects your internet traffic by encrypting data that are passing through, such as your emails, whereas antivirus software protects your computer. We recommend using both if you’d like two layers of protection.

    • Linda -

      Hi Harold, as a FixMeStick customer, you get an exclusive discount to use NordVPN on 6 devices for 3 years at a cost of only $3.49 USD/month

  11. Donald Hosek -

    I had subscribed to Nord VPN through Fix Me Stick about a year ago. While in Washington DC in November 2019, I was using my other laptop as a guest at a Marriott Hotel. I signed into my email using NordVPN. During that email session. I received a message that Nord VPN had been hacked. Since that date, I have not been able to access the internet from that other laptop by way of my att router at home. I get a message that my internet access has been blocked. I checked Nord VPN and they said that they had not been hacked and they could not help me. If you get this comment, it is that I am using this computer on which I am able to access the internet. Can you help me??

    • Linda -

      Hi Donald, I checked your email and it looks like you were able to reach one of our support agents. Please contact us again if any other issues occur, we can be reached at

  12. Anonymous -

    If I have it on my Router, phones and tablets, and then replace any of them or place it on another device, It’s good? As long as it is only used on six devices, at a time.

    • Linda -

      Hi there, you can use it on any 6 devices at a time. If one device out of the 6 is disconnected from the VPN, then you can connect a different device in its place.

  13. Gary -

    I ordered this and got charged$4.59 a month. $181.80 total on my credit card!

    • Linda -

      Hi Gary, looks like one of our support agents already took care of this issue and refunded you for the extra costs. Apologies about the mistake, it must have been a glitch on our website.

  14. Thomas Adley -

    I have been using “Nord” for some time now. I recently had internet problems, unable to connect to a lot of sites, and got a technician in from my ISP. After we had checked all cables and connections without any improvement in the speed I was getting, we shut down Nord and the speed quadrupled from about 14mb/s to 60mb/s. Doesn’t say much for VPN use.

    • Linda -

      Hi Thomas, thanks for your feedback. Yes, depending on what VPN server you use you may see a decrease in the speed of the internet. This is due to your internet traffic being re-routed by the VPN to give you privacy. NordVPN has thousands of servers around the world so if you do notice that a particular server is slower, it might be overloaded so we’d recommend trying a different server. To find the best server for your area, please check this guide here.

  15. Paul Paton -

    Hi Mary,
    I already use a VPN and Fixmestick as well as the Startmestick on my desktop computer…my question to you would be…On my new Smart Samsung 40″ TV…which by the way is a whole lot smarter than me…how do I protect it from intrusions ?

    • Keegan Anfield -

      Hi Paul,

      Most smart TVs don’t support a VPN, with the exception of Android-based TVs. If you have an Android TV, you can download the native NordVPN app for it. Here is some more information:

      To protect your smart TV it is important to:
      1) Keep the software up-to-date so you always have the latest security updates
      2) Have unique and complex passwords for all the accounts you use ex. Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, etc.

      You can also disconnect it from your home WiFi network and create a separate network for your Smart TV. This way if anything happened, the hackers could only access your TV and no other devices since they’re on a different network.

      Let us know if you have any other questions!

      The FixMeStick Team

  16. P L Lopez -

    I already use NORD VPN and Fixmestick .
    When I use NORDVPN my printer does not work. If I close NORdVPN the printer works.
    I tried using the printer on WFI or USB cable connection and it does not work when NORD is on. Tried to get info from NORD VPN but was not contacted back.

    • Jonathan -

      Hi there,

      Good question! While this may be an issue best left to Nord support, I can try lending a helping hand.

      After looking up the issue online, some forums advised users to check their settings for an option to “Allow local network discovery”, sometimes the settings will be set to “Invisible on LAN” which may be causing the issue.

      Hopefully this helps out a bit!

  17. Michael Kiechel -

    You advertise NORDVPN @3.49 per month on 3yrs. I calculate this as 3 yrs @ 125.64. When I go the Try It Here!, it shows 165.27. What’s going on here?

    • Jonathan -

      Hi Michael,

      In our article, we mentioned that a NordVPN subscription would amount to $3.49 USD per month. If you were to select USD upon purchasing the product, the total would be $125.64. In this case, you’re likely viewing the price in CAD, which is $165.27

      Let me know if you have any other questions!

  18. Anonymous -

    I have Kasperski security on my pc. Having used Fixstick Kaspersky cannot now connect to VPN. Is this something to do with Fixstick.?

    • Keegan Anfield -

      Hi there,

      It’s possible your antivirus (Kaspersky) is blocking the VPN from connecting. I would recommend reaching out directly to the VPN company to see if they have a work around. Because FixMeStick runs externally it would not interfere with your antivirus or your VPN.


  19. Anonymous -

    Michael Rideoutt
    My new FIXMESTICK worked for a short time on both my laptops. Then it stopped working on either. I have not used them in a long time. I feel ripped off.

    • Keegan Anfield -

      Hi Michael,

      I am sorry you’re having trouble with your FixMeStick! I can see that you have 2 Lifetime FixMeSticks so they are both still active. Please send us an email to so our Customer Support team can help you.


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