Just got a VPN. Love it and want to share the basics.Submitted by johndowns76 on Tue, 02/25/2014 - 06:27
A VPN is a virtual private network. Basically what it is, is a middleman between you and the internet. Everything that passes between you and the VPN is encrypted so it is very very hard to spy or insert malicious data. Then the VPN actually contacts the sites you are browsing using their own IP address. The Main effects are that no sites can tell who you are, no more targeted ads, and data that can be linked to you is encrypted. It is very useful when using public wifi networks.
Ultimately, there is probably no avoiding the spying of an entity with the resources of the NSA for example but, for lesser threats it is great.
My VPN also has a few extra perks. It has gateways in quite a few countries so you can appear as if you are there, skirting location restricted viewing and such. It uses group IPs so even if your data were monitored on the other side of the VPN(which couldn't be linked to you anyway), it would be indistinguishable from many other peoples data so no one could perform "metadata" style analysis. It bypasses any ISP restrictions. It also stops news sites blocking you after a certain amount of articles read per month.
If you are interested in looking into one, here are a few pointers. Make sure the company keeps NO LOGS of any kind. Many people don't like the idea of their VPN being based in the US, but it is actually one of the few countries that has no legally mandatory data logging. I've also read that Turkey is ok. With a year contract I pay less than $3.50 a month so you shouldn't have to pay more than 6 or 7 even without a contract. Mine also accepts bitcoins and many types of gift cards so payment can be anonymous. Multiple country gateways is a plus and I believe a Swiss gateway can actually afford the highest level of privacy available. There are many good options out there so do your research.