What is a VPN?

What is VPN and why do people use it? VPN stands for Virtual Private Network and it allows you to establish a secure connection from your device, though Wi-Fi and your ISP, to the VPN service, and then out to the Internet. Using a VPN you can mask what you are doing from your ISP, which is particularly useful if you don't trust your ISP, such as when using a connection in a public place.

Comments: 13 Responses to “What is a VPN?”

    Douglas Brace
    3 years ago

    In the video at 3:25 you said “it doesn’t matter whether or not the Wi-Fi is encrytped.” Even with a VPN, it is still important to have security on your Wi-Fi and local network because others could still gain access to your local network and other local data.

    3 years ago

    Douglas: Yes, what I mean is Wi-Fi that is not “yours” — like at a hotel, cafe, work, etc.

    Jerry
    3 years ago

    Thanks, the best description of a VPN I’ve seen for us who are not as computer savvy as we would like.

    Glee
    3 years ago

    Hi, which vpn would you recommend for traveling to China? I know most free vpn’s can not be trusted but which vpn’s can be trusted since there are so many to choose?

    3 years ago

    Glee: It is hard to make a recommendation since I have only been using one recently, the one I mention in the video, Cloak. I used it in Japan and New Zealand. I’m happy with it.

    Mike
    3 years ago

    Astrill VPN has always been good against he Great Firewall of China.
    It’s also good for P2P. For Streaminf IPVanish is excellent.

    Tripp Frohlichstein
    3 years ago

    Good stuff as usual Gary. And I recommend to anyone wanting ti learn Keynote, by Gary’s explanation at Udemy Academy. Very helpful even for those of us with decent experience using Keynote. And yes, I paid for the Udemy course.

    Squafdonoboles
    3 years ago

    Is Wi-Fi required in order to use a VPN?

    3 years ago

    Squafdonoboles: No, you can use a VPN with a mobile connection too (like on your iPhone) or with a wired connection. But many people use a VPN only for protection over non-encrypted Wi-Fi, which isn’t an issue with mobile or wired. But if you are looking to keep your ISP from monitoring your activity, then it is still useful even over wired or mobile connections.

    Glenn
    3 years ago

    I use Private Internet Access (PIA) and I am quite happy with it. There is even an option where if the VPN connection fails, the internet connection fails as well, so this is quite handy. The only thing I don’t like about PIA is the way you are given your own username usually supplied with a letter and 8 numbers (e.g.: p24675245), and it is difficult to get your own username.

    assaf
    3 years ago

    I get a serious decrease in WiFi speed while using VPN: i.o. usual 100 Mbs I get something around 16-24 Mbs. What about that?

    3 years ago

    assaf: Maybe try a different VPN service.

    K2
    3 years ago

    As long as you are on the topic of secure network access, you might want to cover the topic of DNSSEC as well as the interim solution DNSCrypt because folks don’t realize that DNS requests are made in the clear over UDP. Any network sniffer can gather metadata of where you browse on the net. Thank you for your timely topic on VPN.

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