VPNs are meant to hide or disguise your IP address and block others from tracking your online activities. However, so-called DNS leaks (also known as DNS spoofing) can allow someone with access to your computers’ computers to see the location of your online connection, potentially exposing your entire Internet connection.
VPN services offer you a way to connect your computer to another network (such as the Internet) so that you are protected from other people observing what you are doing online. This can allow you to be connected to another part of the Internet, in case one of your computers gets hacked or a site is leaking your IP address.
What is a VPN? A VPN (Virtual Private Network) is an encrypted tunnel over the Internet, that allows you to make access to another network that is separate from the Internet. The VPN service uses a virtual IP address to hide your location. VPN services offer service in a variety of formats, including both servers and clients. Servers can offer public access, while clients can only be accessed by VPN providers. Some VPN services can also prevent tracking (like DNS spoofing) and prevent you from getting caught by sharing your real IP address with the VPN service.
What Are My Options When Using a VPN Service?
Some VPN services offer completely free services and others have paid plans. If you are using a smartphone, tablet, or computer, you can subscribe to any of these programs (which can range in price from $4 to $60 per month), and get an additional 10 GB of data. Once you’ve done that, you can connect to any or all of these services whenever you want.
Public VPN services require no registration or sharing of personal information. They make public connections that can be found on the Internet. VPNs for school or work are also very popular, although you will usually need to log in with a work account if you plan to keep doing business from home. In a recent survey conducted by NIS Intelligence, more than one-third of respondents were using a paid VPN service.
Private VPN services are much more expensive than public VPNs, but they do offer more options to choose from. Private services connect to a server that only you know about, allowing you to connect to specific locations without revealing your location to other people using the same VPN service. Private services can protect your privacy even when you’re connected to a public VPN and someone knows your IP address.
If you want to block the tracking of your internet activity, consider a VPN that is encrypted with a secret key, a standard for digital certificates that lets a server know which encryption algorithm to use. These “private keys” encrypt everything you say, browse, or download.
Private VPN services can also hide your online activities in a way that can’t be seen from your computer. A service may know you are using a particular type of site, so it makes it easier to locate users by changing its DNS settings so that the site you are visiting never resolves to your computer’s IP address.
VPN providers can also add a “kill switch,” so that if the provider’s servers are knocked out, the connection to your computers stops working.