What Is a VPN, and What Makes It a Good Investment?
The internet has made our lives ridiculously easy.
Whether we want to order a new sofa from IKEA, binge-watch a hit TV series, or apply for a job, we connect to the World Wide Web.
But there are two sides to every coin.
In North America alone, data breaches affected 422 million users last year. And more is to come, as, starting from 2025, cybercrime will cost the global economy $10.5 trillion annually.
What is a VPN, and how can it protect your data and chase hackers and mass surveillance specialists away? And what should you keep in mind when selecting a VPN service provider?
Keep reading this article from 7VPN to find that out!
What Is a VPN, and What Makes It a Worthy Investment?
Virtual private networks, or VPNs for short, are tools that encrypt your online communications and mask your true IP address. They do so by rerouting your traffic to remote servers operated by a VPN provider and using security keys to establish private connections to websites and applications you access.
There are several types of VPN services and protocols they may use. For the purpose of this article, however, we’ll focus on personal VPN solutions that you can find on the App Store, Microsoft Store, and Google Play.
Unlike intranet and extranet VPN products, which help remote employees within a company or partnering companies connect to corporate IT infrastructures, private VPNs create secure Internet connections for ordinary users without complex technology systems.
Here’s how you use a VPN solution:
- You study VPN reviews on independent, reliable websites like PCMag, CNET, and ZDNet and choose your favorite. Next, download VPN to your devices — i.e., smartphones, tablets, or laptops — and set up your user profile. If you opt for a paid VPN service (more on that later), you can use the same account for multiple devices.
- When starting a VPN session, select a location where you’re pretending to be. Reliable VPN services normally offer up to 50 countries to choose from. The smart application will then direct your traffic through a remote server in that country, giving you a brand-new IP address. And it will appear as if you are in that location, too.
- Also, your VPN will exchange security codes with the servers you call when you launch an app or load a web page, rendering your data unreadable to third parties.
- A good VPN may act as an ad blocker, but there’s more to that function than surfing the web without irritating banners and pop-ups. With one in 100 ads on the internet containing malicious code and clicker apps that run invisible ads in the background multiplying on Google Play, blocking ads is no longer a question of convenience — it’s one of the security best practices every cyber-cautious user must follow.
We hope we’ve provided a legitimate answer to your “What is a VPN?” question. Now it’s time to explain what makes virtual private networks a valuable addition to your digital toolbox.
Top 5 Benefits of Using VPN Services
Cybercrime skyrocketed during the COVID-19 pandemic, and it’s not showing signs of slowing down. In more countries, it’s becoming legal for law enforcement agencies to track and analyze citizens’ internet activity en masse. And using cookies and artificial intelligence, marketers have no problem building your complete digital profile — and bombarding you with ads, relevant or not.
So, what is a VPN good for?
The top five reasons to consider installing a reliable VPN solution are:
- Greater privacy. Suppose you’ve been wondering whether someone is spying on your phone and researching ways to make your connected devices impossible to track. In that case, VPN could be a silver-bullet solution to your security problems. VPNs prevent third parties from intercepting your data and monitoring your online behavior by replacing your actual IP address with a fake one and encrypting your traffic.
- Speedier internet. It’s no secret internet providers (ISPs) can intentionally lower bandwidth for their clients. This often happens closer to the end of a billing cycle and in cases when ISPs want to ensure faster connections for users with cheaper plans. Either way, throttling is annoying — and VPNs help bypass it when you stream and download content or access services your ISP deems undesirable.
- Access to location-specific content. Another advantage of purchasing a VPN is unlimited access to websites, streaming services, and applications blocked in your country. And while some services (Apple Music says “hi”) won’t let you stream Lana Del Rey’s latest album unless your tie your account to a local card, a VPN can unlock access to many web resources, promoting the freedom of speech and information.
- Ads-free browsing experience. In the previous section explaining what a VPN is, we briefly mentioned malicious ads populating websites all over the internet and infected applications on Google Play. And while VPNs cannot protect you the same way as anti-virus software, virtual private networks that feature built-in ad blockers prevent these culprits from loading, thus guaranteeing a safer online experience.
- Increased safety on public Wi-Fi. Last but not least, VPN products are useful when connecting to an unprotected public Wi-Fi network — for instance, in a coffee shop or mall. Since VPNs encrypt your data and redirect your traffic to servers located elsewhere, hackers who might be using the same network cannot intercept, let alone read, your data.
How to Choose a Suitable VPN Service?
Finally, we’d like to give you a few tips for choosing a reliable VPN service like 7VPN Android:
- Validate that your VPN does not record your online activities to sell your data to advertisers. Unfortunately, that’s what most free VPNs do, so we recommend you select one of the paid alternatives. Additionally, even paid VPNs can have inherent security flaws, such as using their custom root certificates instead of certificates issued by trusted security providers. So, conduct thorough research before entrusting your privacy and security to a VPN company. The good news is technology journalists monitor the state of VPN security, so any accidents get extensive media coverage.
- Check how many server locations the product supports — particularly if you plan to use the product to access geo-restricted content.
- Evaluate the VPN product from the usability perspective. Are the interfaces easy to navigate? Is there adequate customer support via email or live chat? Does the provider give enough information about the product and their policies to make a well-informed decision? These aspects, insignificant at first sight, can help you avoid security accidents in the future and ensure a trouble-free browsing experience.
That’s all for today. Stay connected — and never put the security of your devices and data at risk!