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September 25, 2017

8/9/2017 9:52:00 AM
What is a VPN?

Rick Frederickson
Computer Technician

VPN is short for Virtual Private Network. It is becoming more popular for a number of reasons, primarily safety and privacy.
VPN has been around for a while. It has been known as a way that businesses can connect one location to another on a secure, private network. Remote users can connect securely from anywhere with Internet access to the business server in real time.
Enter the VPN service. VPN services use simple software to secure your Internet connection. You may never have heard of VPN services, but they are valuable tools. Remember, whenever you connect to the Internet your Internet Service Provider (ISP), and possibly others, can see what websites you go to. While some of the sites you go to are encrypted, most are not.
Think about it this way: If you pull out of your driveway, someone can follow you and see where you are going, how long you are at your destination and when you are coming back. They might even be able to peek inside your car and learn more about you. With a VPN service, you are essentially driving into a closed parking garage, switching to a different car and driving out, so that no one who was originally following you knows where you went.
While you're connected to a VPN, you pass through this protected tunnel and no one - not even your ISP - can see your traffic until it exits the tunnel from the VPN server and enters the public Internet.
Do you need a VPN? I'll answer that this way: If you value your security and privacy you may want one. VPN services are around $5 per month, so there is some extra expense.
If you feel adventurous and want to dabble in VPN, try downloading the Opera web browser. It has a free, unlimited Virtual Private Service (VPS) available that you can turn on in Opera's settings.

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