How a VPN Can Help You Stay Safe Online

This article will help you understand how a Virtual Private Network can help you stay safe and secure while connected to the internet or the online world.  

Why DYou Need a VPN? 

As we know, one of the main constraints of being online is security. It is extremely easy for people to track your Internet Service Provider (ISP), your browsing history, and whenever you connect to the public internet, your identity is likely to be exposed. This is where a Virtual Private Network (VPN) can help you stay safe online. Because your ISP servers can easily track your movements and even send them to third parties, the VPN can encrypt your data and hides your DNS requests and IP address. This makes it exceedingly difficult for your ISP server to track your online data, particularly private information. If you want a secure internet connection, then it is advisable to install a VPN service to your devices.   

What is VPN Encryption and How Does it Work? 

What is VPN Encryption? 

Encryption is a way to convert data which is understandable and readable to an unreadable format so that people who try to find your IP address or online movements are left baffled. Encryption is done with the help of an algorithm, where unless someone has access to the correct decryption key, they cannot access any of your data. A VPN encryption is similar, once you install a VPN, your ISP provider cannot read any of your data or IP address or monitor any of your online movements.  

VPN encryption helps you stay safe online, by protecting you from sensitive data such as your bank details, credit card numbers, and other login information. Your information can particularly be vulnerable to public WiFi where cybercriminals or people in a shared network can access your data.  With VPN encryption, this can be solved where your private information will be saved and accessed only by you.  

Keeping your Online Movements Safe 

Your online movements can also be tracked by government organizations, and other advertisers, especially when some online activities are illegal, which also VPN encryption protects you against. In some countries such as the Middle East or China, particular websites and online activity are considered illegal and this can put you in dire threat, but if you have a VPN, the encryption frees your online activity as no one will know what websites or activities you are conducting online.  

Another way VPN encryption can help you stay safe online is by protecting your torrent downloads and other downloads normally considered illegal in many countries, where many people are even put to jail because of illegal downloading. With VPN encryption, you will not receive any DMCA or copyright notices as it leaves you unidentified.  

How does VPN Encryption Work? 

VPN encryption usually works through a VPN client and VPN server tunnel. You need to install a VPN client and connect to a VPN server so that before you are connected to the server, your connection requests are already encrypted. The VPN tunnel blocks advertisers, government agencies, and hackers from accessing any of your data, through encryption. Once you have a VPN server, it hides your IP address and geological location, so that no one knows where you are accessing the internet from. The server decrypts your location before sending the encrypted data back to your device.  

One of the main ways in which VPN encryption works in keeping you safe online is through encryption keys. The encryption keys are a random set of strings, calculated in bits, that cannot be understood by your internet service provider. The string of data can be both encrypted and decrypted. If the encryption key is longer, it is thought to be safer.  

There are two main types of encryption keys utilized in the encryption and decryption procedure which are the private key and the public key. The private key is confidential and can only be known by the owner of the key, whereas the public key is found through a public directory. This will be particularly handy during Symmetric and Asymmetric encryption for the algorithm. The VPN providers also use different types of ciphers which can also help in determining how safe your internet access will be based on the server that you choose.  

A lot of information goes into the way a VPN encryption is used and coded. The bottom line to understand is that the VPN encryption such as algorithm and ciphers are the main features that you should be aware of and research into when you choose your VPN server.  

How does VPN Hide IP Address and DNS Requests? 

Hiding IP Address 

An IP address is a unique code for your internet usage on your computer. Whenever you enter a website, your IP address can be tracked. One of the main reasons to hide IP addresses is so that your network administrator or internet service provider (ISP) does not keep a track of or monitor your internet activities. With a VPN you can hide your IP address. Your ISP server would not know your internet activities, but they will be able to find out that you are using a VPN. A VPN keeps your IP address a secret while swapping with another set of IP addresses.  

One of the many benefits of hiding your IP address is so that your geographical location cannot be known. IP addresses can even state what city you live in disclosing your arrangements, which restricts you from using content that is available in another city or a country. With a VPN, you can access content from any region if the VPN server is geolocated in the country you wish to access content from.  

Every server that your information goes to on the internet when you log onto the IP address, can read the data you are communicating. This is one of the main reasons to have a VPN to protect your IP address. But a VPN provider can still see this data, but you will have a lot more privacy than browsing and downloading information without a VPN.  

Hiding DNS Requests 

A Domain Name System (DNS) is a technique to link URLs and IP addresses.  Depending on your VPN provider, you would need to check if you can hide your DNS requests. Hiding your DNS requests gives you greater freedom to browse your internet without any monitoring. When you use a VPN, the DNS system would ideally be redirected to an anonymous DNS so that your ISP does not monitor your website usage.  

There have been known to be DNS leaks while using VPNs, so you need to be incredibly careful in the server and provider you choose to use. There are a few steps you can take to stop the leaks from DNS servers such as changing DNS servers and using a VPN with DNS leak protection.  

A DNS leak protection for VPN is a technique that makes sure that your DNS requests are not going from your ISP but instead are going through a VPN. The DNS leak protection is usually found in the settings of your computer once you have installed your VPN. Installing a firewall to disable DNS on your devices can also be helpful, while other sources have also suggested using an anonymous web browser if you want extra security with DNS leak protection. Checking for this when you have your VPN is essential to prevent any leaks because sometimes a DNS leak can be very troublesome, especially if you do not want your IP address to be seen while browsing on the websites.  

Some ways to protect your online privacy through VPN are by enabling private browsing and using HTTPS when you are browsing online.  DNS leaks are known to particularly occur with specific types of VPN such as Split Tunnel VPNs.  Making sure your VPN server uses the best encryption can also protect you from DNS leaks. This will especially come in handy if you are thinking of traveling or using your DNS in another country. To make sure of this, you need to choose the best VPN service with DNS leak protection, such as Express VPN or Private Internet Access. 

How Can No Log VPN Keep You Safe? 

A No Log VPN means that the VPN service provider does not collect any information transferred through your internet. No Log VPNs or Zero Log Policies are very much abused in today’s marketing and media world where many VPN service providers advertise that they do not keep any logs. But you need to make sure that this is true and that your VPN service provider truly keeps no logs. Some VPN services collect minimum data such as your name, age, and email address, depending on their privacy policy. This should not be much of an issue because you can browse your internet without any restrictions.  

No Log VPN also suggests that the VPN will not have a database of your internet browsing activities which cannot be sold to third party members. This suggests that you can browse any website, including websites that are mostly censored or banned in certain countries. Adult content is another way you can access through No Log VPN and even unblocking certain websites such as government-protected websites.  

The first thing to do to determine whether a company is offering No Log VPN is by reading thoroughly the VPN’s privacy policy to find out if they log any data. Privacy policies are usually accurate because you can take legal action if the VPN service provider does not follow their policies.  There are other factors such as jurisdiction, anonymous payment options, security elements, and encryption factors which also influence the privacy policy to determine a No Log VPN.  You also need to decide why you would need a No Log VPN, is it for unblocking certain websites which might be harmful if you are logged, or if you just want to watch Netflix from another country, which might not cause you much harm.  

If you conduct research online to determine which VPN servers are truly accurate in their No Log VPN claims, then you can get the best bet for your money. Please note that if you want a good secure No Log VPN, then you should be willing to pay money for the VPN service because most free or cheaper VPN services might not offer the best security.  The best VPN services you should be thinking of are Express VPN and Nord VPN which make sure you have No Logs on your VPN service.  

What is VPN Kill Switch? 

If you need extra protection and safety, other than No Log VPN and encryption features, then make sure you check if your VPN server provides a VPN Kill Switch or Network Lock. Not all VPN servers provide this option and it is essential to have it if you are specific on safety. A VPN Kill Switch makes sure that your IP address is not exposed to anyone and until you are connected to a VPN server, your internet connection will be disconnected. This is a particularly important feature to have because if you accidentally forget to connect to your VPN server, then your IP address will not be revealed.   

Sometimes the VPN kill switch can be enabled or disabled according to your preferences. However, it is safer to have the VPN Kill Switch enabled most of the time you are connected to the internet. If your VPN Kill Switch is enabled, then your internet connection cannot be used, and no data will be sent unless you are connected to the VPN. If you prefer to use your internet connection normally, then it would be better if you turn off the VPN Kill Switch. Going into the App Settings and activating the features will enable your VPN Kill Switch.  

There are two main types of VPN Kill Switches:  

  • An Active Kill Switch Protocol (AKSP): This finds out when you are disconnected from the server so that your device does not connect to unprotected networks. AKSP is mostly used when there are fewer servers so that the user cannot connect to an unknown server if they are not connected to the VPN.  
  • Passive Kill Switch Protocol (PKSP): Unlike the way it sounds, the Passive Kill Switch Protocol is more secure. The PKSP prevents sending your information or any traffic data from your internet use as soon as it stops receiving a signal from the internet server. PKSP does not send any device any data if you are connected to the VPN.  

Kill Switches not only keep you safe from hackers and internet thieves, but also from larger organizations and corporations who would like to track internet data and IP addresses to understand what type of people are visiting their websites. There are also ways to manipulate VPN Kill Switches if your VPN service does not offer a VPN Kill Switch such as TorGuard, which is an anonymous VPN service for torrent users. Hacking a VPN server is exceedingly difficult and having an effective kill switch built into your VPN is an essential tool for your online safety.  

Censorship in VPN 

You can bypass censorship in a VPN, especially if you are in a location where your personal and political views are being targeted and tracked, prohibiting you from your freedom of speech. Having a VPN secures your right to speak as you wish without being tracked of your whereabouts. This is particularly true as online freedom is declining in many countries such as Iran, Egypt, the Middle East, China, and Russia. Even social media usage, particularly public posts are being tracked and this can pose a huge threat to your everyday living. Even if you just want to use your internet for leisure use such as watching TV or Netflix or browsing the news, your movements can be tracked. This can seem dangerous and you need to take the right measures towards protecting your privacy with a VPN. 

Many authorities and employers also track your social media accounts without your knowledge. For this reason, using a VPN while browsing online keeps you safe from censorship. Encrypted protocol tunneling protects your censorship further without disclosing your IP address to anyone, including government officials. Some VPNs such as Nord VPN also provide ‘Emergency VPN Service for people in unsafe areas.’ Many VPN servers provide access to more than 50 locations so that you can be safe while you are in these countries. These types of VPN services can make sure that you can keep yourself safe while browsing online.   

Best VPN Service Provider to Stay Safe 

 Most of the above safety procedures covered are provided by many VPN service providers. You would need to make sure that your VPN service provides adequate encryption, protects you from censorship, hides your IP address and DNS requests, and provides you with No Log VPN and a VPN Kill Switch. These are the most useful factors in deciding which VPN server suits you best.  

We think the best VPN Service Providers to keep you safe online are: 

Express VPN

Express VPN uses AES-256-bit encryption which is the best of its kind in the industry. Express VPN supports the usage of all devices and provides the opportunity for multiple devices. You can also access leisure viewing for TV and PlayStation to keep your internet usage safe. Some of the best safety features that Express VPN provides are:- location spoofing, WebRTC leak blocking, and HTTPS Everywhere Support which is available on Chrome and Firefox browsers.  

Express VPN also keeps you safe by using its DNS servers, such as high-end encryption technologies to prevent everyone, even the most developed hackers, from snooping into your internet usage. Express VPN also has a useful split-tunneling feature where you can control which apps should use the VPN and which ones you want to use through your regular IP address.  They have a good privacy policy which explains in detail that Express VPN has a No Log policy especially for sensitive information such as your bank account details or account passwords. If you read the privacy policy, you will understand that Express VPN is profoundly serious about its No Log VPN service.  

Express VPN also has a great Kill Switch service called Network Lock. Network Lock is one of the best Kill Switch options available among the VPN service providers. It also supports OpenVPN, which is the strongest VPN protocol. In case you have any doubts, you can also chat with their customer service operators.   

Nord VPN: 

Like Express VPN, Nord VPN also uses AES-256-bit encryption. Nord even offers double-data encryption and an Onion Support for extra security.  One of the downsides to the extra encryption is that it might slow your PC down, but it would be worth it if you could get extra protection. It is suggested that the speed for Nord VPN is around 70 Mbps when not connected and 55 Mbps when using the best double VPN. 

Nord VPN also provides OpenVPN support for robust encryption and high-quality performance. Nord also has a good kill switch and DNS leak protection which as mentioned above, is an essential feature if you want to have the safest option online. Nord VPN also provides malware and phishing protection which is a technology for cybersecurity. Nord also offers in its privacy policy that there is a clear no-logging policy along with Nord VPN’s Panama registration which provides reassurance that you are safe online. 

A feature that is not commonly present with Nord VPN is the choice to close a VPN and reconnect after a few minutes so that you can switch between your IP address and the Nord VPN service. The prices of Nord VPN are also much cheaper than Express VPN. They also have a 24/7 customer service and a 30-day money-back guarantee. Not many VPN services offer these features that Nord VPN offers, and it is thought to be one of the best VPNs for safety and security.  

Conclusion 

This article gives a comprehensive overview of how a VPN can help you stay safe online. By far, the best servers for a safe VPN are Express VPN and Nord VPN. They offer full protection and all the features mentioned in this article. It is wiser to go for a more expensive VPN if you want complete protection to keep yourself safe, especially if you are in a country that exposes your data. If you make sure you follow that your VPN has the above-mentioned features, then you should be ‘as safe as houses.’  

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