What is a Virtual Private Network and why do I need it?

You have probably heard a lot about VPNs lately (Virtual Private Network). With the impending “porn ban” coming into legislation on the 15th of July, the IP bouncing software could become a staple of internet browsing for the future but how much do you know about them? 

Firstly, VPNs give incredible security between private networks, allowing remote computers to access the same secure local network, which is hugely beneficial for businesses with agents sometimes working from home. That is the logistical benefit to a VPN but there is also the personal. 
To be put it simply, your computer carries a fingerprint, just like we do. This ‘fingerprint’ is called an IP address. With enough sophisticated technology, an IP address can be tracked and tracked, especially if you’re operating on an un-secure network. A VPN makes it impossible for your IP address to be tracked because it is bounced to a different part of the world, anywhere but your actual location. In other words, a VPN creates an encrypted barrier between your device and a server.
As you already know, the UK adult content restrictions that start on the 15th of July will require users to hand their personal details and proof of age to a private company to validate their age. If you do not wish to hand your details over but want to carry on enjoying the internet without interference, you need a VPN

Does a VPN Protect my Data? 

Yes, it does. When the internet was young and immature, little to no effort was made to protect data or security in general. Computer power was so primitive that any encryption or software designed to protect the security of the user would have made things more difficult, so the primary concern of developers was to keep networks as open as possible. 
Fast forward to 2019 and the computing power we now have in our mobile phones is in many ways vastly more powerful than the supercomputers built to guide the first rockets to the moon and as Spider-man said, “great power comes with great responsibility”. As we input more data into our devices, so to do we become more dependent on them and therefore more vulnerable. Not using a VPN could be historically looked back on in a similar light as not wearing a seatbelt. You probably can get away with not using on and most the time, you’ll be fine, but why run the risk? 

Is a VPN easy to install? 

For mobile devices, installing a VPN is as simple as downloading an app. All VPNs worth their salt will be available for download from the App Store, Google play store and Microsoft's equivalent. They are also incredibly simple to operate. Most will have a single button “on/off” switch and will work in the background as you browse the internet. 

Are VPNs Free? 

Most VPNs will be available for free, offering the basic security of a hidden IP address. This service is the very base layer of protection but is certainly better than nothing. More established VPNs normally cost around £3 a month but offer a wider range of features. If you’re not too keen on committing to a subscription-based VPN just yet, here are some of the best free VPNs available for free today! 

Hotspot Shield (I personally use this on my mobile device)  

Get your VPN today. 

Now you are probably thinking that the only reason we are telling you about this now is because of the impending legislation and yes that is exactly why. We make no bones about it, this block can become a real hassle and ultimately change the way you access the internet. If you want to keep the fundamental freedom of the internet then consider this, a VPN is not just protecting your security, but your personal data too.