The World Wide Web is growing as a rapid fire along with the world population and so is the concern for its security. It has in fact become a real challenge for internet users like us to keep our data safe. Although several precautionary measures have been introduced to safeguard data, a complete online security has never been formed due to several reasons like virus attacks and hackers. This has on the other hand raised fears of internet security particularly when one is on the move or away from his secure network in workplace/ home. It is during such times that VPN (Virtual Private Network) services come to ones rescue. Though VPN services initially provided internet security to remote users, it now extents its service to users outside their local network as well.
But, what actually is a VPN?
VPN is a secure network that makes use of internet to provide access to any user on the move or remote offices with the central network. VPN services require users to be authenticated and also secure data with encryption and firewall technologies. This service is easy to use and absolutely open for any platform.
The two main types of VPN are site-to-site and remote access VPN. While site-to-site VPNs provide security to users in a fixed location, remote access VPNs provide internet security to people who are not stable at the same location.
Merits of VPN services
The introduction of VPN service is indeed a blessing for all those who work online away from their secure internet connection. It has become more of a necessity than being just a service. VPN services have its own advantages and here are some of them.
- Access internet wherever you are with total internet security
- Protects the user whenever online or whenever he enters in to an insecure connection
- Hides user’s identification details from the public by reassigning with a new IP address or by displaying him as an anonymizer
- Useful for businessmen who are constantly on the move
- Although VPN services might slow down connection speed it does not hinder its functionalities altogether
- Provides safe online security provided the recipient website has HTTPS
Although VPN services have quite a lot of credits on its side, one must be aware of a fact that data is encrypted only when the connection between the user’s computer and the servers of the VPN services is made and not between the actual website (without HTTPS) and the service provider.
Client/ Server technology
This technology on a VPN service consists of a server that manages all users and functions of the client computer that may be situated in any remote location. The VPN server can be a stand-alone appliance, a router or software that runs on another machine. The user is required to know the name of the server and also the authentication details in order to make a connection with the client computer.
Top 5 VPN services
1.Golden Frog VyprVPN
VyprVPN provides VPN services along with Golden Frog who have their own servers. This is a paid service that can be made on monthly basis. VyprVPN encrypts internet data from PC and sends it across the Golden Frog servers. Sites that try to get the IP address of the user, actually receive the IP address of Golden Frog. This way, the identity of the user is hidden from the site.
- Secured VPN connection
- Encryption of web traffic
- Hides IP address of the user
- Complete web usage without restrictions
- Compatible with any VPN supporting device
- Site receives Golden Frog’s IP address or geo location instead of the user
- Business or ISP network understand that you are connecting to Golden Frog while you are actually getting connected to some other site
- VPN protection is given to instant and email messaging activities
- VyprVPN allows you to continue with the connection on a different device by logging on to Golden Frog
- Tends to slow down internet connection
- Comparatively expensive
- VyprVPN connection can be accessed only on one device
2.OpenVPN Shield Exchange
OpenVPN along with Shield Exchange offers secured VPN services for emailing activities. This service is available free of cost for the first 100MB of data usage and then onwards on pay-per-usage principle.
- Affordable service
- Service is available for Windows and Mac clients
- Secure connection between the user’s computer and the OpenVPN server
- Configuration of Shield Exchange is simple
- OpenVPN Shield Exchange encrypts as well as privatizes your data and protects the data that is being exchanged
- Hides your IP address from the public
- Protects the user from malicious sites
- Suitable for small time online activities
- Quite reasonable price beyond free data usage
- Total data usage is free only upto 100MB
- Slow internet connection on running this service
- Few shortcuts in portal interface does not work
3.AnchorFree HotSpot Shield Elite
Get online security and privacy with VPN technology from AnchorFree HotSpot Shield Elite particularly when connected to an open wireless hotspot. Hotspot Shield is available in two versions, one with ads and the other, ad-free.
- Traffic gets encrypted
- VPN protection becomes enabled
- Payments can be made flexibly
- Comes with two states, On and Off. While in ‘On’ state, data goes through the server and gets encrypted, ‘Off’ state makes browsing technique simple
- Users get prompt message whenever they connect to any unknown network or malicious site
- Websites sometimes get code on to them
- Changes browser settings at times
4.Private Communications Private WiFi
Private WiFi provides secured usage in public Wi-Fi hotspots. Private WiFi is available as a subscription based service and also on monthly or yearly payment basis. This service provides the user with ClamAV antivirus protection and Netfilter firewall only when he is active.
- Hides user’s IP address
- Data is encrypted
- Intimates the user when he is protected online
- Internet traffic encryption happens only when the service is activated
- Slow network performance
- Does not support mobile
- Cannot be used frequently
- Erratic behaviour of software
This service allows users to hide their own IP address from other sites and also to encrypt their network activity. TorVPN runs on any platform that supports OpenVPN which includes iOS, Mac OS X, Linux and Android.
- IP address is hidden
- Different IP address assigned.
- Traffic gets encrypted
- Connects to Tor internet
- Very helpful for those who want to get online anonymously or safely
- TorVPN is available free of cost upto 1GB
- Customers who use more than 1GB can pay for a plan
- Customers who pay for a plan can have three accounts and also have unlimited access to file sharing and social networking sites
- Setup has too many steps
- Free users get limited access
Internet users must understand that VPN service is not the ultimate security measure for online activity. It is the user who will be finally responsible for the maintenance of his data. Hence, enjoy being online but secured. Good Luck!
Bini, a writer by profession finds interest in technical stuff and innovations happening in varied industries. She writes for several sites including http://broadbandsuppliers.co.uk/ and http://freeinuk.co.uk/.