VPN’s are becoming increasingly popular because of concerns about security and privacy online. VPN is an acronym for Virtual Private Network. VPNs hide your IP address which is the unique identifier attached to your device and they also encrypt your traffic which essentially makes you anonymous online. This protects you from spies, snoops and anyone looking to track, steal and/or monetize your data. It is especially important to use a VPN when accessing the internet through public internet sources.
Benefits of VPNs
1. Improved security and privacy
The increased online safety and privacy protects you from hackers, despotic governments, and other phoney actors. Hiding your IP address makes you anonymous online preserving your security and your privacy. Your data is protected and you are free to be yourself online without fear of being tracked or having your personal information intercepted.
2. Bypass restrictions
Some services are restricted based on region. An example is Netflix which provides different levels of access to content to people on the basis of their geographical location. A VPN allows you to change your IP address to one of the regions not facing restrictions.
This is also important not just for fun and games like accessing Netflix but also for bypassing restrictions set by despotic governments that block access to certain websites, applications, or even the internet altogether. This allows ordinary people to fight state-sponsored censorship and control.
3. Escape data throttling
Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have this nasty habit of capping your data and slowing down your service after you have used a certain amount of data. That is data throttling. VPNs because of the way they hide your IP not only protect you from your ISP’s prying eyes but also allow you to escape the speed restrictions as a result of reaching the annoying and arbitrary data caps.
Top Free Browser-Based VPNs
It goes without saying that paid (premium) VPNs are more robust, but sometimes budgetary restraints demand you use what is available. Premium options give you access to more global servers to choose from. The free options, however, offer enough data protection and security as it is. Browser-based VPNs are added right on your browser of choice and not on the device itself.
- CyberGhost: Intuitive and easy to use. Great for regular/frequent use
- Browsec: Is faster than most VPNs, secure and easy to use.
- Tunnelbear: Best for infrequent/occasional usage. The free account has a data limit.
- HotSpot Shield: Easy to use and very reliable at unblocking restricted content. Has no data or time cap.
- Express VPN
The only downside to using VPNs is that they may slow down your internet connection because of the extra processing power required to encrypt and decrypt data as well as routing the data through other third parties to hide it. Typically though, the difference in speed is not even noticeable. VPNs are also illegal in certain countries which is important to know even if you do not necessarily choose to abide by the laws of the land.
Check this out: 10 important cybersecurity tips for your users