Virtual Private Networks have been around for a long time, almost as long as the internet itself. As our data is increasingly harvested in-mass to be used for tracking and targeted advertising, privacy concerns are coming to the forefront. A good Virtual-Private-Network can substantially increase your online anonymity while only marginally slowing down your connection. However, a bad VPN can actually result in more of a loss of privacy than using no VPN at all. We won’t make specific product recommendations but we will give you some tips on how to pick a solid- privacy focused VPN Provider.
So how exactly does a Virtual Private Network Work? Essentially VPN’s act as intermediaries between your connection and the internet. Instead of connecting directly to the internet, you first connect to a server hosted somewhere else in the world through an encrypted tunnel. All of your traffic is routed through that server before it finally reaches the internet. This hides your location from websites that you visit and also hides your traffic from ISPs. The further the server is from your location the slower your connection is likely to be. Even a good VPN cannot guarantee complete privacy, however they certainly help.
A non-privacy oriented VPN can actually reduce or entirely eliminate private browsing. Since your connection is routed through another server the owner of that server holds the potential to monitor your traffic. Most VPN’s delete all logs as they are created or shortly thereafter, but some hold your data and then sell it to advertisers and other companies. The majority of VPN’s which delete logs have clear policies on their websites stating this fact. Unfortunately free VPN providers tend to be much more likely to collect data and sell it than paid providers.. Remember: if you aren’t the paying customer you are the product.