A Basic Introduction to Virtual Private Networks for Newbies

In this article, we are going to explain in very easy terms what a VPN is and how a VPN works.

We should be able to access whatever information that we want, whether we live, be it in a country with heavy censorship or not. The only way that we have freedom nowadays is to be aware and educated about our browsing habits.

There are all kinds of people out there – like the government – who are trying to censor or to spy on us. If we’re a step ahead of them, we can be out of that circle, we can not become a victim, and we can make ourselves the solution to the problem rather than being the victim.

Most countries in the world have what we call an ISP. The ISP is the Internet service provider; they’re the ones who provide the Internet to our computers, tablets, phones, etc. We connect to them and they are basically the gateway that allows us to access all the servers and sites that we want. They act as our internet gateway.

What is an Internet gateway?

As the name suggests, it’s just a pathway for you to get through in order to have access to the global network and the global network is where YouTube, Facebook, and all other apps and sites that you love live. We need to use this internet gateway to access those servers and sites.

What happens if the government decides to tell the ISP that certain websites should not be accessible? What can you do about it? Here’s where the Virtual Private Network comes in handy.

What can a VPN be used for?

It can be used to allow us to access content that is geographically restricted.

For example, if you’re living in a country that’s not the US and you want to access content like Netflix or Hulu, a VPN will allow you to do that. If you want to access content that is censored in a country that you’re living in, you can do that with a VPN. Thus, you can also be anonymous online – which means if the government wants to spy on you, the VPN will protect you from that. The data that’s being passed through from the VPN to your computer is secured, nobody can understand or read that flow of data, but only your computer or device.

Let’s say you live in a country with restrictive internet. The government has decided that you can’t go on Facebook anymore just because they feel like it. You’re connected to the ISP but then there’s a firewall and the firewall has blocked Facebook. What you can do is to set up a VPN.

What kinds of VPNs are there? 

There are free solutions. You can get a free VPN but we highly don’t recommend that because you’re going to be sharing your bandwidth and their CPU resource and all that kind of stuff with a lot of people. Just because it’s free, more people are going to use it.

The other solution is to pay for a VPN service. You will pay a subscription fee. The quality of service will obviously vary based on the price you pay and the quality of the people who run the Private Network. Before subscribing to one or another VPN provider, do your due diligence and read reviews and opinions about them.

There’s a third option is to set up your own VPN. There’s a lot of disadvantages to using a public VPN or a paid service and some of those disadvantages can be overcome with having your own private VPN. Even if you’re using a paid service, you’re still sharing the computing resources with a lot of people.

Another disadvantage of using something which is publicly available is your government can block it anytime. In some countries, certain VPN services are blocked so you can’t use them nonetheless. Having your own private VPN and knowing how to set up your own VPN server is by far the best way to go about.

You connect to your own VPN which is completely harmless, it is not recognized by the government; it’s just some random server sitting somewhere doing nothing for nobody. It’s not blocked by the government’s firewall so you can connect to the VPN, bypassing their firewall rules. What does that mean? It means you control your own destiny now because you bypass that firewall and can access whatever site you want. You control the gate, you’re the gatekeeper.

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