Let’s face it, the internet can be a scary and unpredictable place when it comes to maintaining your privacy and security. You never know who may be keeping virtual tabs on you.
Whether it’s a hacker or scammer out to get your personal info, a government agency or even your creepy neighbor, you need to secure your web browsing.
A virtual private network, or VPN, is an essential tool for doing so. If you’ve ever wondered what a VPN really is and what it can do for you, keep reading. We have answers to some of your most-asked questions.
When you’re ready to lock down your online activity, go with the company Kim trusts and uses herself. We recommend our sponsor, ExpressVPN. Tap or click here now to try ExpressVPN. Use this link to save money and get three extra months when subscribing to a 12-month plan.
1. How does a VPN work?
First, it’s important to understand what a VPN is. A virtual private network is a layer of protection between your devices and the internet. It hides your IP address and your location, and it encrypts your data.
A VPN protects you and your online traffic from snooping and interference from hackers, governments and your internet service provider. VPNs keep your online activity private and allow you to access sites and services that may be restricted in certain areas.
Here’s an important caveat: Trustworthy VPNs will never keep logs of your activity or connection. ExpressVPN doesn’t. You can’t say the same for the free options out there.
2. Are VPNs actually helpful, or is this more of a conspiracy-nut thing?
Data collection comes in many forms. Sometimes it can be nefarious, like when it’s the result of a hack. Sometimes it’s all about capturing your data — like the tracking greedy advertisers and your internet service provider does — but that doesn’t mean you have to deal with it.
You have the right to privacy online. A VPN can help get yours back.
Advertisers look at your location and online behavior to build a picture of you as a consumer. That’s why the ads you see online often hit so close to home. It’s downright creepy, and there’s a good reason to want to shut it down.
Your ISP is aware of everything you do online, too. When you access a website without a VPN, you are connected to that site through your internet service provider. The ISP assigns you a unique IP address that can be used to identify you to the website. Because your ISP handles and directs all your traffic, it can see which websites you visit.
Using a VPN is an easy way to ensure you’re not giving away that information. In short, a VPN is a great fit for anyone concerned with online privacy.
3. Does a VPN slow my internet down?
If you’ve used a VPN in years past, you may think, “Privacy sounds great, but VPNs make everything run so slowly.” That used to be true, and for some VPNs, it still is the case. Not with ExpressVPN, though.
ExpressVPN is consistently named the fasted VPN on the market. In a recent Comparitech review of the fastest VPNs, ExpressVPN averaged a download speed of 106 Megabits per second, beating second place by nearly 30 Mbps.
In some cases, using a VPN will even stop your ISP from throttling your connection, so you may see an increase in speed.
4. Are my Google searches going to be in another language?
Some out there have horror stories of signing up for a VPN only to discover all their usual sites loaded in another language. With ExpressVPN, you can choose from over 3,000 servers in 160 locations spread across 94 countries.
With so many servers to choose from, you’re bound to find one, two, or 10 that fit your needs.
5. Will a VPN keep me from getting hacked?
Staying anonymous online isn’t just about hiding from advertisers or blocking your browsing history. The truly good ones protect your security online, too. ExpressVPN has a suite of security tools baked in to keep you safe from hackers, scammers and nosy ISPs.
This is especially true if you often access public Wi-Fi networks. It’s easier than you can imagine for hackers on that same network to access your personal data. A VPN encrypts your connection to protect you even on unsecured networks.
ExpressVPN uses AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) with 256-bit keys. It’s the same standard adopted by the U.S. government and used by security experts worldwide to protect classified information.
That’s not to say a VPN is a get-out-of-jail-free card. It’s still important to be wary of opening attachments you’re unsure about or clicking on suspicious links. While your browsing may remain private, a VPN does not protect you from downloading a malicious piece of software.
6. Does a VPN really do more than browsing incognito?
Browsing incognito on Google Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Safari or your browser of choice simply means your browser will stop saving data locally. Sites you access won’t appear in your history, and autocomplete won’t be influenced by what you search for.
Ultimately, these browser functions do nothing to protect you and your connection from prying eyes. A VPN is the only true way to keep your identity secure online while browsing incognito is best for keeping your internet history private.
Now that you know how useful a VPN really is, try the one Kim uses. Do it now while you’re thinking of it. Your life, money and time should be yours. Keep things protected from hackers, thieves or scammers.
Don’t just take our word for it — try it yourself. Get three months free when you sign up for one year at ExpressVPN.com/Kim.