What is a VPN? How to protect yourself online

What is a Virtual Private Network (VPN)?

What is a VPN?

First of all, what does VPN stand for? It stands for Virtual Private Network. VPNs are becoming more popular as users (like yourself!) are increasingly aware of their cybersecurity and online privacy.

Using a VPN allows you to forward all your Internet usage on your PC, smartphone or tablet to a secure network of servers, in turn encrypting your connection, changing the origin of your request, and protecting your data.

Essentially, your Internet usage goes through a secure VPN tunnel and hides your online identity while accessing online services. Neat, right?

What does a VPN do for me?

The main benefit of using a VPN is that they ensure that you have real privacy online. They protect you from snooping hackers, advertisers, ISPs (Internet Service Providers), and untrustworthy Internet connections, ensuring that your data remains secure and private.

How? In a nutshell, they do this by encrypting and decrypting data throughout a network of servers all over the world.

Think of it as a tunnel of powerful encryption for your Internet connection to travel through which keeps you safe from hackers and prying eyes. It’s online privacy in a single click!

Here are the perks of using a VPN service:

Real privacy. Hide your IP address and activities from hackers, advertisers, ISPs. By keeping your information private, no one track you across the web.

Secure connection. Stay safe wherever you are with bank-grade encryption. Be it a coffee shop, airport, or a shopping centre.

Access any content. Get around ISP censorship and enjoy your favourite TV shows and online content as you choose.

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How do I use a VPN?

It’s as simple as 1, 2, 3!

  1. Install a VPN app on your PC, smartphone or tablet.
  2. Enable the VPN service.
  3. You’re connected – enjoy online freedom!

So, you connect to the VPN. Now, what’s happening when you browse the internet?

Your device will send a request to the website you want to view. The VPN forwards the request for you and then forwards the response from the website back to you. And that’s how it works!

Which VPN do we recommend?

We recommend Avast SecureLine VPN which boasts lightning fast servers, 256-bit AES encryption, 55 locations over 34 countries and no logging.

With one click, you can enable and disable this powerful VPN service. Like all things good, Avast SecureLine is a paid-for service and comes included in our Avast Managed Antivirus software.

This software is available to you once you’ve signed up to one of our Managed IT Support plans. We will secure all computers on your network with Avast CloudCare with the option of enabling SecureLine on as many computers as your heart desires.

Are there free alternatives?

Yes of course! Most people are looking for a simple way for them to protect themselves while roaming online.

As is expected, there are some limitations to using these free services, but they’re a good way to start off if you want to test the water. Simply sign up and download the client software for your device. Easy-peasy lemon squeezy!

  • TunnelBearPros: Really user-friendly, both mobile and desktop clients – Cons: 2GB of data per month, not many options or settings
  • WindscribePros: 10GB of data per month, excellent privacy policy – Cons: Limited locations
  • Hotspot ShieldPros: Easy to use, unlimited bandwidth and data – Cons: Performance can be slow, not many options or settings

Each VPN service has paid-for alternatives, so if you like the service, you can always upgrade to get the most out of it.

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