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What is a VPN?

VPN stands for “virtual private network” – a service that encrypts your internet traffic and protects your online identity. With a VPN, you can securely access apps, websites, and entertainment platforms from anywhere in the world.

mobile vpn

Why do I need a VPN?

People don’t like to be tracked and watched – that’s the main reason why they use a VPN.

When you’re browsing through a VPN, your traffic is encrypted. No one can see what you do online, nor interfere in any way.

A VPN also allows you to bypass internet censorship. When you connect to remote servers, you can easily access the global internet.

Here’s when you need a VPN:

vpn on public wifi

You use public Wi-Fi regularly

A VPN is your best friend when using public Wi-Fi. Hackers have many methods to steal your data on public hotspots. With a VPN, you can stop worrying about data loss or identity theft. With a secure VPN connection over Wi-Fi, you can browse online in full security.

vpn travel

You want to access blocked websites

If you want to use Facebook in China or access streaming services while abroad, a VPN can help. It changes your IP address and redirects your connection to the internet through a remote server. This way, a VPN allows you to unblock various websites.

vpn at home

You want to encrypt your data

Using a VPN is a good idea even when browsing from your own home. VPN encryption will protect your internet traffic and keep you from leaving online footprints. This way, your ISP won’t be able to sell your entire browsing history to the highest bidder.

vpn against surveillance

You want to avoid government surveillance

Government agencies track and collect your browsing activity, messages, social posts, and other private data. They even share this information across country borders. A VPN will make it difficult to do by encrypting your traffic and hiding your IP.

vpn freedom of internet

You need to mask your location

People working in countries with limited freedom of speech rely on a safe internet connection for their work. Sometimes, their lives might depend on it. Using VPN protection provides extra security for such sensitive messages.

vpn for file sharing

You use file-sharing services

Despite many legitimate uses, many ISPs try to discourage their users from P2P file sharing by setting bandwidth limits. A VPN makes it difficult for your internet service provider to detect that you are sharing files and shape your internet connection.

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How does a VPN work?

When you connect to a VPN service, it creates an encrypted “tunnel” over the internet. That secures the data traveling between you and your destination — anything from a search engine to an online banking account.

vpn encryption

This tunnel is created by first authenticating your client with a VPN server. The server then applies an encryption protocol to all data you send and receive.

To ensure each data packet stays secure, a VPN wraps it in an outer packet, which is then encrypted through encapsulation. It keeps the data safe during transfer, and it is the core element of the VPN tunnel. When the data arrives at the server, the outer packet is removed through a decryption process.

Setting up a VPN

While more and more internet users join the VPN trend, many people still believe that using a VPN service is somewhat close to rocket science. While it’s true that some digital security tools can be confusing, top VPN service providers design their apps to be intuitive and easy-to-use.

For example, with NordVPN, you can connect with just one click. Once you set up your NordVPN account and download an app for your device, all you have to do is:

open vpn

1. Open NordVPN

Launch the NordVPN app you have downloaded on your PC, Mac, or smartphone.

log in vpn

2. Log in

Use the same login credentials you used to sign up for the NordVPN service.

connect vpn

3. Connect

Click the Quick Connect button, which will automatically select the most suitable server for you. Don’t like it? Pick a new location from the map.

That’s it – your internet connection is fully encrypted now! To have more control over your VPN experience, you can explore the server map/list and the Settings section.

VPN encryption protocols

A VPN protocol is a set of encryption standards and transmission protocols used to create a secure connection between two devices. Best VPN providers commonly support a number of such protocols. These three are the most notable ones:

Frequently asked questions

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