Last updated on December 9th, 2021 at 07:46 pm
My name is Frank and I run a travel agency in Bogota, Colombia. Have fun while reading!
Data security is a very important topic these days, which one should consider when planning a trip. Believe it or not, simply connecting to a network, be it WiFi or any other connection, can lead to a variety of problems. Nowadays, this applies both at home and abroad.
This applies to Internet connections with the phone, the computer and any other device. For example, if you use bank accounts over an unsecured network, it is very easy for a cyber thief to steal data. This can lead to suddenly being left without money while on vacation.
Personal data are also affected. Passwords to personal networks such as Facebook, Instagram or address book entries can be stolen and used for criminal purposes. Who hasn’t received a message from a supposed colleague that later turned out to be a fake?
A VPN (Virtual Private Network) can provide protection here. In the following we will explain what a VPN is, how it works and why it protects.
What is a VPN?
VPN stands for virtual private network and is one of the best tools for surfing the internet with total privacy and security. This service encrypts data on the network and hides both your IP address and personal data. This means that instead of personal information, an unauthorized person, a possible criminal, only sees illegible data.
The IP address is the assigned address to a terminal device, for example a mobile phone or a computer. This works in a similar way to the home address and you get the mail from the Internet to the right place (it’s a bit more complicated, but in simplified terms this analogy is correct).
How does a VPN work?
If you have installed a VPN service on your device, for example a mobile phone or computer, this device first connects directly to a server of the service provider when connected to the Internet. (A server is, so to speak, the service provider’s central computer)
This connection between the server and the customer’s device is protected. The data transferred back and forth is encrypted before being sent and decrypted again either by the end device or by the server. In this way, the transported data can be intercepted, but it is not possible to read the information it contains.
A connection to the Internet then goes from the VPN server. In relation to the Internet, the server of the VPN service provider is the counterparty and the actual user remains hidden.
Some VPN services offer the service of dialing into the Internet locally in different countries. These providers have servers in different countries and then dial in locally.
So when I’m in Colombia, I can dial into the Internet locally in the USA via the VPN service provider. So when I visit Netflix (a video platform), for example, Netflix thinks I’m in the US and I can watch all videos without any restrictions.
Benefits of Using a VPN
Most of us have already connected to a public network, at friends’ homes, in a coffee shop or at the airport. Every time you connect to an unfamiliar network, you run the risk of data theft. Any data on a device can be stolen. Nowadays, our devices have information about our entire life.
Using a VPN cannot prevent data theft, but since this information is encrypted, this theft cannot normally cause any damage. The best VPN service providers (most of which are chargeable) now offer a level of encryption that can hardly be deciphered with today’s technology. Decryption with a supercomputer would take years.
Travel cheaper and book cheaper
Many people are not aware of airlines, travel portals and many Online stores often charge different prices for buying the same product. For example, if I dial into the Internet in Switzerland without a VPN (I’ll take Switzerland as an example, as it is one of the richest countries in the world and also has the highest purchasing power) and book a flight from London to New York, then the price is most likely higher than when I dial into the Internet from Colombia.
Commercial websites not only analyze the location of a person, but also whether I use an I-Phone or an old Sony mobile phone, whether I am on the Internet with a computer and which operating system, a tablet or a smartphone.
Much more data can be read; above, we will content ourselves with just a few examples. When using a VPN, these websites do not receive any information about the end user. Therefore, strategic price increases cannot be applied.
As a user, you can use a VPN service to artificially change your location when buying a flight or a product on Amazon. You can pretend to be in Colombia or Cambodia with the push of a button. The price is pretty sure going to change.
Here are some tips that will help you to get price advantages:
- Use countries with low purchasing power to purchase products or services.
- Change the server if you have repeated requests on the same website. This will change the IP address.
- Even if you get a cheaper flight price, try different settings each time and be not satisfied with the first result.
Access to blocked content
Many of us are very networked these days and also use many online offers such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney Plus, HBO or online editions of newspapers and magazines as well as Skype and WhatsApp. In addition, there are many social media such as Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, Instagram and many more.
There are still parts of the world where these services are restricted. In some countries these offers are permanently excluded, in other countries they can be accessible one day and not the next day.
An example of this is China, a country where services like Netflix, WhatsApp, Snapchat and other popular apps are restricted or blocked.
To the best of our knowledge, the following countries have restrictions and are under observation:
- North Korea
- Saudi Arabia
- United Arab Emirates
- United Kingdom
- United States of America
- South Korea
- Sri Lanka
So if you travel to one of the countries mentioned, you may not get the service you want without a VPN service provider. If you have special requirements for this, you should clarify beforehand which VPN service provider is suitable.
Not all service providers work equally well in every country. So if you want to enjoy the same content that is available in your home country while traveling, a VPN is the best option. But that’s not the only benefit. A VPN can also be used to view content that is available in other countries.
A VPN can also be an advantage for online gamers. You can thus connect directly in the country where the game provider’s servers are located. Possible updates may therefore be available earlier and any delays of any kind can be avoided.
Cons of using VPN
There are many benefits to using a VPN. However, there are also some disadvantages that we do not want to withhold from you.
With the best providers, there are relatively few failures and if there are failures, these are usually only brief. However, the connection can still be lost.
This is without a doubt the most significant negative aspect of using a VPN service. Data is constantly being encrypted and decrypted and the end user is on the move on various servers. There are also country-specific peculiarities.
An internet connection can therefore be slow at times. However, it’s not always the VPN’s fault, it can also be due to a slow local network.
If you need the highest possible speed at all times, you should definitely use a premium provider.
Not all devices are compatible with a VPN service, so you should check your device in advance.
Also check the operating system. Outdated systems may no longer be compatible.
How good are free VPN providers?
Just like antivirus and other applications, there are also free providers or versions.
So should one review a free option?
- This has already been done and the answer is no.
The 2016 study entitled “An analysis of privacy and security risks of Android VPN permissions-enabled apps”
showed that free providers not only do not protect privacy, but also misuse data. This research found that 72% of free VPNs collected data about users’ online activities and then sold it to various advertising companies. Most free apps generate income from advertising, and this practice is common with free offers.
In addition, the same study found that 38% of VPNs contain malware (defined as programs or code that can harm your computer, mobile phone, or open doors to data theft) and are used to collect your data.
The risks of Free VPN are:
- Free VPNs are usually slow.
- In many cases, connections to streaming platforms are not possible. Netflix, Amazon Prime etc. cannot be used.
- Only a few providers for PC.
- The bandwidth is limited.
- One is harassed by advertising.
We therefore clearly recommend not to use a free VPN provider.
How is VPN installed and used?
Using a VPN is easy and installation is straightforward. We can immediately give the all-clear to all technology skeptics.
First, you should check whether the device you are using is compatible with a VPN service. More information can be found on the websites of the providers.
- First, you can log into the VPN page with your computer or, if you are interested in the mobile version, check whether there is an APP in the Google Play Store or App Store.
- Registration on the VPN website.
- Select plan. Usually there are various terms and offers.
- After a payment has been made, the installation can be finalized.
- You can now use the service.
I love YouTube for instructions of all kinds. If you also have doubts or problems, search for the solution or instructions using the relevant search terms on YouTube.
Here is a good example:
In the event of problems, most paid VPNs offer 24-hour support.
We recommend the following VPN service providers
Pricing: 1 month at $ 12.95
6 months at $ 9.99 per month
15 months at $ 12.95 per month
Compatible with: Windows / Mac / Android / IOS / Linux / Router / Chromebook / Kindle fire.
ExpressVPN is considered one of the best (and also one of the most expensive) providers. However, it is ideal for people who travel internationally and need great service. In contrast to other VPNs, this provider has very good speeds. Using Netflix or Skype is therefore no problem.
ExpressVPN is one of the safest options on the market. The company prides itself on having the same encryption standard as the US government. Express VPN currently operates more than 3000 servers in 94 countries and 160 cities worldwide.
- A plus is a 30-day trial period. If you don’t like the service, you get your money back.
- There are extensions for the Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome browsers.
- 24/7 support service.
We recommend Express VPN for:
- Business travelers
- People with very sensitive data
- Everyone who wants the highest standards
Pricing: 1 month at $ 11.95
CLICK HERE TO GET THE BEST RATES FOR NORDVPN 1 OR 2-YEAR PLANS
1 year at $ 4.95 per month
2 years at $ 3.71 per month
Compatible with: Windows / Mac / Linux / Android / IOS / Android TV.
NordVPN is also one of the best providers for traveling abroad and it is known for its security and speed. NordVPN uses a level of encryption known as AES-256. This standard is also used by several government organizations. This provider has 5400 servers in 59 different countries.
- NordVPN offers good service for a good price
- 30-day trial period.
- Extensions for the Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome browsers.
- There is an expansion for video game consoles.
- 24/7 support service.
We recommend NordVPN for:
- Private travelers
- Users on a smaller budget
Price: 1 month at $ 12.99
1 year at $ 3.99 per month
2 years at $ 3.49 per month
3 years at $ 2.25 per month
Compatible with: Windows / Mac / Android / IOS / Linux / Apple tv / Android tv / Smart tv / Amazon Fire TV
CyberGhost is great value for money. The speed is a little slower than previous providers, but the company has 7,000+ servers in 90 countries. CyberGhost also has specialized servers for streaming services. This means that Netflix, Crunchyroll, Disney +, Prime Video and other options can be optimally used. This provider also uses AES-256 level encryption and data loss is highly unlikely.
- 45 days trial period.
- There are extensions for the Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome browsers.
- 24/7 support service.
We recommend CyberGhost for:
- All travelers
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