What is a VPN ?
A Virtual Private Network, or VPN, masks your device’s IP address by rerouting your Internet connection through other networks and/or servers. In other words, a VPN serves as a sort of third party standing between your device and any website, software, server, or network you want to access.
In many cases, a VPN software or service could reroute you through networks or servers in far flung locations. For instance, your VPN might use a server in an entirely different state or country to mask your IP address, making it seem as iff you are accessing the Internet from the location where the VPN server is.
Because your VPN might have servers scattered around the globe, users can usually choose which location they want to appear to be in. This comes in handy for those who want access to content or websites that have been geo-restricted in their region. Just choose a country on your VPN app that is not restricted, and connect as if you’re located in that non-restricted country.
In this post, we’ll tell you all about the pros and cons of using a VPN, and how to set one up. Read on to find out.
Is a VPN good for mobile? Pros and cons
These days, the Internet has become a way of life. It’s difficult to do anything without going online – everything from a trivial Google search to banking transactions can be done online. But this Internet dependence has opened the door to increasing cyber attacks that can result in your identity being stolen, or even your bank account balance being wiped out.
For these reasons, a VPN is a great idea for mobile phones.
Here’s a quick look at some of the benefits of using a VPN:
Your VPN ensures a secure connection. If you use public WiFi, this is especially true for you. Public WiFi networks like Telstra Air, for instance, can give hackers easy access to your data. A VPN masks your IP Address to make such access difficult, thereby securing you from bad actors.
VPN software can keep you anonymous, protecting your privacy from being invaded by your Internet service provider, apps and services on your device, and even the government. Private data has become big business these days, so keeping that data private should be a top priority, and a VPN is an easy way to do that.
- Access geo-restricted content
In some regions, access to certain content, websites, apps, etc., are restricted by government, service providers, app developers, and more. For instance, Netflix restricts some content from being accessed in certain locations. These sort of restrictions are referred to as geo-restricted content. With a reliable VPN software, you can bypass such restrictions by choosing to connect through a server in a non-restricted location.
Like everything else, a VPN has some drawbacks to consider as well.
Here’s a look at some of the cons of using a VPN:
- Your data is not 100% secure
While a VPN secures your data, some of your information can still be tracked and accessed by websites. This is especially true is your cookies are on, which allows websites to track your browsing habits regardless of your masked location.
- A VPN can be attacked
Yes, a VPN can secure and protect your online activities, but they can also be attacked by malware.
- Avoid “free” VPN software
There are a ton of “free” VPN services out there. However, the old adage, You get what you pay for, is a great way to look at VPN services. If you’re using a free VPN, they are probably collecting and selling your private data. Such free VPN software are also more susceptible to malware, and they run ads that can become quite annoying.
How to set up VPN
Setting up a VPN can be as simple as downloading the VPN software, logging in, and connecting via any of the server locations you wish. However, it’s best to manually connect to your VPN provider without downloading any software or app. This can really help keep your device more secure and free of unnecessary apps.
But keep in mind that, even when you set up your VPN manually on your device, you will still need a VPN service or remote server.
Open your device’s Settings menu > go to Wireless & Internet or WiFi & Networks > tap VPN > go to the advanced options menu or tap the plus sign at the top right corner > enter the log in information provided by your VPN provider, including server address, username, and password.
Here’s how to set up VPN manually on iPhone:
Go to Settings > tap General > then VPN > tap Add VPN Configuration > enter the log in information provided by your VPN service > tap Done.
Employing VPN software on your phone is often a good idea – at any time. In simple terms, if you want to keep what you are doing online private and prevent your phone company (Vodafone, Telstra, Optus and the rest) having access to it, a VPN will deliver against that requirement. VPN software are especially useful when you are using a public WiFi connection – for example, Telstra Air or the free WiFi at your local cafe.
The total cost, if you shop around for VPN software online, is around $60 a year and that often includes a license to use your VPN on up to 5 devices – your phone, laptop, iPad and a couple of additional family connections. The only real downside to them is having to remember to turn them on. I certainly have VPN software installed on my phone and in my view, you should, too.