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Explaining a VPN: how does it work and why do you need it?

25th February 2021
What is a VPN?

Many internet users are poorly informed about online risks: you can be scammed, your activities monitored, and certain services made inaccessible. A virtual private network (VPN) is a tool designed to protect your privacy and security. But do you really need it?

How does a VPN work?

VPN redirects your internet traffic through an encrypted tunnel so that nobody could see what you do online. When you enable a VPN on your computer, smartphone, or tablet, it hides your IP address and acquires another.

Let's take NordVPN as an example. It has more than 5,500 servers in 59 countries, allowing you to connect to any server you like. When you connect to the internet without a VPN, your location is visible to your ISP, hackers, snoopers, and government agencies. However, when you connect to a server in a different country and acquire a new IP address, your location changes with it.

Should I use a VPN?

Definitely. If you use the internet, you should get yourself a VPN. The tool is geared not only towards tech-savvy users, as you may first think. It is actually easy to use, and it doesn't take more than a couple minutes to set up a NordVPN account and connect to a server.

VPN protection

So, what kind of people benefit from a VPN?

  • Freelancers and those who occasionally work remotely;
  • Small businesses looking for secure ways to communicate with their employees and customers;
  • Gamers who want to protect themselves from DDoS attacks;
  • Journalists and political activists;
  • Online shoppers;
  • Anyone taking their cybersecurity and privacy seriously.
No device is secure from cyberattacks and security incidents by default, no matter what its manufacturer says. You have to be proactive and take measures to protect your identity, data, and money. And a VPN can do that and even more.

Reasons to use a VPN

Protecting yourself against cybercrime

The number of cyberattacks and online frauds has surged astronomically in the last decade. Perpetrators can steal your passwords, credit card numbers, or social media accounts and infect your devices with viruses. In 2019, 15.1 billion records were exposed worldwide, compared with 103 million in 2010.

VPN mitigates the risk of getting hacked and enhances your security. If you often connect to public Wi-Fi, having a VPN enabled is a must, as hackers can set fake hotspots, trick you into downloading malware, and monitor everything you do online.

cybercrime

Improving your privacy

Your ISP can see what websites you visit, what you download, what you watch, and which services you use. It can sell this data to online marketers, and you never know how this information will be handled.

However, if you mask your IP with a VPN, all your ISP can see is that you are connected to the internet, but it can't tell what you do.

Avoiding censorship

There are a handful of countries that limit free speech and heavily regulate the internet. If you're living, working, or traveling in those locations, you might not be able to access Western media, social networks, and other services.

NordVPN has obfuscated servers designed to mask the fact that you're using a VPN, which allows you to bypass censorship.

Bypassing geo-restrictions

Some service providers restrict users from certain locations to access specific content. Let's say you are based in Europe and want to watch a sports game that is streaming only in the US. With NordVPN, you can change your location with one click and enjoy your favourite content without any restrictions.

change your IP address

Secure P2P sharing

If you don't want your ISP to throttle your bandwidth and monitor the data you share, a VPN can provide you with an invisibility cloak. NordVPN has servers optimized for P2P sharing and provides you with the best speed and top-notch encryption.

Are VPNs legal?

VPNs are legal to use in most countries, including the US, Canada, the UK, Germany, France, Australia, and many others. However, certain countries known for their restrictive regimes, such as Iran, North Korea, or Russia, regulate the VPN industry and even ban the use of VPNs.

How does the NordVPN app work?

With one NordVPN account you can protect up to six devices, which should be enough for most households. However, you can install a VPN on your router and protect every device connected to the internet, be it your video doorbell, smart TV, or your work laptop.

When you open the NordVPN app, you can connect to the fastest server available, pick a country from the list, or select it on the map. Some countries have servers in multiple cities, so you can connect to the one in the desired location.
protect your laptop with Nord VPN

NordVPN offers other features too, which you can also explore and decide whether you want them enabled:
  • CyberSec blocks websites known for hosting malware or phishing scams.
  • Split tunnelling allows you to choose if you want to disable VPN for certain apps.
  • Auto-connect automatically establishes a VPN connection whenever you connect to a public Wi-Fi or switch to cellular networks.
  • Kill Switch cuts off your device from the internet if your VPN connection were to drop.
The NordVPN app also allows you to manually select a VPN protocol and set a custom DNS address.

Choosing a VPN

Don't be tempted by a free VPN, as it might not be secure and could be selling your data to third parties. Free VPNs have to make profit somehow and usually choose shady ways to do it.

NordVPN, on the other hand, is an industry leader, always introducing new features, constantly expanding its server base, and providing you with strong encryption algorithms. Everyone needs a VPN, and NordVPN has something to offer even for the most peculiar needs.

choosing the right VPN

So stay protected and choose NordVPN today! Shop NordVPN now at Box.co.uk and you can save £30 on a 1 year subscription when you purchase selected computing products, such as a new PC or Laptop. To make use of this offer, simply look for the 'Buy Together And Save' section on our computing products.

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