If you’ve been online for very long, you’ve almost certainly heard of a VPN. A VPN, or virtual private network, is a tool you can use for your online browsing, and many companies claim it makes it safer for you to browse online. However, anything that changes the way you browse online may be something that worries you for your safety. Here’s what you need to know about the safety and legitimacy of a VPN.
What Is a VPN?
First and foremost, what is a VPN in the first place? A VPN is best described as a sort of tube that your internet access goes through. Essentially, when you use a VPN, you connect to the VPN first and foremost. Then your computer asks the VPN to access the internet pages you connect to. Your internet service provider and any websites you connect to can only see that you’re connected to the VPN, which can give you more privacy when you’re browsing online.
Is a VPN Inherently Safer or More Dangerous?
The question that many people have is whether a VPN is inherently either safer or more dangerous for the person connecting to that VPN. The answer is no; a VPN is a tool, just like any other tool, and you need to vet your tools appropriately.
If you have a VPN that doesn’t have effective data collection and privacy clauses, using a VPN can be just like using your normal internet access. This is most common with VPNs that are free; if you’re not paying for a service, you are the product, and the company may be scraping your browsing data to sell to customers.
However, as long as you use a VPN that has good privacy clauses and doesn’t save your browsing data, a VPN can be very safe. It’s all about whether or not a company allows you to keep your privacy while you use the VPN.
What Can a VPN Not Do?
Although VPNs can be very powerful and allow you to do a wide variety of things, a VPN isn’t magic. A VPN won’t protect you from legal ramifications if you do something illegal online, for example. The government can tie you to illegal activities without using your browsing history, so if you’re counting on a lack of internet service provider data to get away with illegal activities, you should know that a VPN won’t help with that.
How Do I Make Sure My VPN Is Safe?
Staying safe with a VPN is all about making sure you trust the company providing you with VPN services. A VPN you’ve never heard of that offers you completely free services will probably be less reputable and more dangerous than one that’s been around for years and has a moderate monthly fee. Doing your own research is one of the most important things you can do here.
Another option is to make sure you’re up to date on what a VPN does and how it can help your internet browsing. The PeopleFinders blog can give you a number of pieces of information regarding VPNs, digital and physical safety, and much more. Knowing more about the culture of the internet is sure to help you choose a VPN that’s safe.
A VPN is only as safe as the people who are providing it to you. That said, there are plenty of VPNs out there that are incredibly safe. You can’t assume a VPN is inherently safe or inherently unsafe—VPNs are just tools, and like any other tool, they can be used for good or evil. Your best option for a VPN will be to do your own research and make sure you have a great tool. Plus, you can use PeopleFinders to learn more about digital safety in general, including VPNs and other tools.
Image Attribution: Denys Prykhodov – stock.adobe.com