If you value your privacy but you don't use a dedicated VPN when you are connected to the internet, your private information isn't as private as you might think.
A VPN is a critical step to keeping your sensitive information secure. In this article, we will discuss how a dedicated VPN works, and why you should be using one every time you browse the internet.
What is a Dedicated VPN?
You're at a coffee shop, or a hotel, or out shopping. You whip out your phone or sit down with your laptop, log into the free public wifi, and start checking email, social media, the usual. But you don't log into a VPN server first.
There are three major problems that could occur here:
- Public WiFi. Everyone can connect to the network, which means nefarious users could compromise the network to see what sites you visit and what unencrypted data you send through the network.
- The WiFi network may not be operated by the organization you think it is. This means that the operator of the network has even more access to view your browsing information and potentially compromise your device.
- Public WiFi networks are a hotbed of malware and viruses. Many pieces of malware designed today infect one machine and spread to every other computer on the network.
Even a legitimate public WiFi network has privacy concerns. But before you swear off public Wi-fi and coffee shops forever, try a dedicated VPN.
VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. In our coffee shop scenario, your VPN is a secure private connection to a trusted ServerMania server which is used to route your traffic through.
How Does a VPN Work?
When you log into a VPN, you're logging into an encrypted connection between your computer and a ServerMania server. Any sites you visit will see a connection coming from the ServerMania data center instead of the network you are connect to.
As far as the public WiFi network is concerned, it can only see an encrypted connection to ServerMania and nothing more. Since the connection is encrypted, there is no data that can be viewed.
Dedicated VPN vs. Shared VPN
Before you rush to get a VPN, it's important to know there's more than one type of VPN available. Specifically, there is dedicated VPN and there is shared VPN.
Benefits of a Shared VPN
When you log onto any VPN, you're assigned an IP address. The IP address represents the virtual location of your VPN connection in the internet space, like a street address. Each VPN server owns a group or block of IP addresses, typically numbered sequentially - like a city block.
The key difference between the VPNs is in the name. With a shared VPN, you're sharing your IP address with other people, sometimes over 100. With a dedicated VPN, your IP address is unique to you.
The key benefit in a shared VPN is that because you're sharing your IP address with other people, it's nearly impossible to know who is looking at a webpage.
Why You Should Use a Dedicated VPN Instead
Since you could be sharing an IP address with anywhere between 2 and 100 people, you can get the bad neighbor effect. You, using the shared IP address, log onto a website, but the website thinks you're not legitimate because your IP address is being used by 100 people. This also makes it difficult to conduct e-commerce transactions. A dedicated VPN generates only one IP address per person to give you the best browsing experience.
How to Setup a VPN
It may sound complicated to setup your own dedicated VPN but we’ve created a guide to help you out. You’ll have your own dedicated VPN in no time.
What a VPN Can (and Can't) Do
Whether you use your device for business or personal use, a dedicated VPN will protect certain aspects of your browsing and personal information on the internet. But it doesn't cover everything.
If you log into a VPN server in an airport, the VPN can protect you from hackers stealing your login information, but it can’t stop you from visiting a phishing site designed to capture your login details. You need to remain vigilant when visiting sites to ensure they are legitimate.
Your service provider also won’t be able to see what sites you visit, or where you're visiting from. Remember: when you're logged into the VPN server, your traffic looks like it's coming from the server location.
What a VPN can't do is prevent websites you visit from collecting data while you visit them. They can't see where you're viewing from, but they can see what you do on their site.
There's also the one key thing to keep in mind: you have to trust your VPN provider not to track and sell your data themselves. Which is why it pays to invest in setting up your own VPN instead of using an external VPN provider.
Still have questions? We’re here to help
Do you still have questions about setting up a dedicated VPN we haven't answered yet? Have a question about hosting and servers? We can answer all of them. Reach out to us and let us know how we can help.
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