VPNs while easy to use, can be confusing and complicated things. There’s a lot of extra security features, configurations, protocols, and settings in each VPN application that can be useful, but hard to understand. Not only that but the VPN market itself makes picking a VPN hard since each VPN provider website promises everything and hides their weaknesses. A good majority of the time you’ll also find random VPNs being top choices on VPN review sites for no reason at all. This guide will help you with some of the most common VPN questions, so you can come away learning a new tip, trick, or which VPN to buy.
1. What is a VPN?
A VPN is a virtual private network. A virtual tunnel encrypts and masks your IP address–virtually changing it to a different one in a remote location. For example, you might be in Los Angeles connecting through a VPN which makes your IP address appear like it’s in New York or England. Changing your IP address can be very useful–especially considering that a changed IP address can help you get around geo-restrictions, hide your identity/connection from malicious attacks and users, and even circumvent censorship. Many users also like to use VPNs to remain simply more private on the internet.
2. What makes VPNs different from one another?
VPNs come in all different shapes and sizes. Some VPNs are extremely cheap and barebones while other VPNs are more expensive without much more features at all. The primary differentiating factor that separates VPNs from one another is the amount of power a VPN has. Some VPN providers design VPNs for one singular use since it’s easier, while other VPNs design an entire VPN suite/package. This is much harder, requires more work, but the payoff is worth it for customers looking for tight security, mobile apps, forums, speed, and application reliability and accessibility.
3. Can you use two VPNs at a time?
Using two VPNs at a time can give you more security. A good analogy would be wearing two gloves on one hand. One glove keeps you warm and feels the best–while two keeps you even warmer, but feels a bit tight. Using two VPNs at is like doubly encrypting your traffic, a tunnel inside a tunnel. Using two layers of VPN can affect speeds while usually one good VPN doesn’t affect your rates considerably.
4. What’s the difference between Smart DNS, proxy, and VPN?
Smart DNS works by masking an IP address (without encryption or changing it) letting you access a website without geo-restrictions. The process works by the DNS proxy overriding selected DNS entries so that the DNS queries resolve to the proxy rather than the real server. Some uses for this would be accessing Netflix or other traditional media streaming sites like Hulu.
A proxy server works similarly to a VPN but usually is based on a web browser or application. Unlike a VPN, it doesn’t encrypt all of your outgoing traffic–only usually through one source. You might install a Chrome extension that acts as a proxy for your browser, a BitTorrent proxy or use a website that acts as a proxy with an input field for entering in web addresses.
A VPN is the most powerful all-encompassing security solution that encrypts all outgoing traffic on your computer, phone, or even tablet. When using a VPN, it masks and changes your IP address. A reliable VPN that uses OpenVPN 256-bit AES encryption with a no logging policy is a force to be reckoned with.
5. How do I use VPN to play video games?
A VPN is an excellent tool to use for video games since a VPN changes your virtual location. Many online video games restrict beta access or are even locked to a specific geo-location. Many gamers have experienced success even getting access to video games early since they are often released in particular locations first. You’ll find that a VPN can be invaluable to get video game discounts, early access to international betas, or even just to change your IP address if you get blocked from a server. Many competitive video game teams protect themselves from DDOS attacks as well.
6. What is the cheapest VPN that is decent?
Our favorite “cheap” VPN is Private Internet Access. PIA only comes in at $6.95 for a one-month subscription. However, if you’re interested in the most reasonable 6-month option, TorGuard VPN has an excellent $30 package.
7. Which VPN is easiest to use?
A lot of top tier VPNs are easy to use, but if you’re looking for the cuddliest, prettiest, cutest, easy VPN there is–check out TunnelBear VPN. However, if you’re looking to torrent securely (or at all) go with TorGuard VPN.
8. Which VPN provides the best value?
TorGuard VPN provides the best value since they continually update their vast array of applications (browser extensions, two PC applications, mobile apps) with new features to stay ahead of the game (dedicated IP address, Stealth Proxy, Stealth VPN). They also have great speeds, are perfect for torrenting, and they also offer a lot of extras to customize your VPN/security experience like email, or VPN routers. TorGuard VPN is also a solid contender for our favorite VPN to unblock Netflix since they have individual Netflix servers now.
9. Which VPN protocol should I use?
You have a few choices between L2TP/IPsec, PPTP, SSTP, and IKEv2. For a guide on these VPNs click here. The basic answer is that you should use OpenVPN since it’s the fastest and most secure. L2TP/IPsec is usually used on iOS due to API restrictions.
10. What’s the difference between a shared IP and dedicated IP?
A shared IP address is very common with VPN providers since it’s not feasible to give every user a unique IP address. It also is good for anonymity since you can’t be tracked down with your IP address since a lot of people share it when using the VPN.
A dedicated IP address comes in handy if you don’t mind paying a little extra for more convenience. A dedicated IP can help if you don’t want to have to enter in extra information to verify yourself on banking websites, or to re-log into a game, or any other website / application that smoothes a login process along by remembering your IP.
Thanks for reading our guide on the 10 most common VPN questions answered. Any comments? Let us know!