This article was contributed by Idrees Shafiq who works as a Marketing Analyst at Astrill.
Given how technology keeps evolving, so is the need for greater privacy and security measures. Cybercriminals and third parties are always a step ahead in trying to capture your data and other sensitive information for malicious purposes.
Being on the internet and putting yourself out there will always be risky, so as a user, you can protect your online privacy by taking the necessary steps to protect yourself. That's where a VPN comes into the picture. VPNs protect your privacy by encrypting internet traffic and masking your IP address so that third parties cannot trace your identity or which websites you're visiting.
It sounds like a huge relief. And the cherry on top? VPNs also enable you to bypass geo-location restrictions, so you have unlimited access to all the content you couldn't watch in your country due to censorship.
So now that we're aware of all the perks of getting a VPN let's go over why you need a VPN on your Windows device and how to set it up.
Why You Might Need a VPN
Safety from Public WiFi
Public WiFi is convenient but comes at the cost of risking your security. When you're out in public, randomly scrolling through social media, or replying to some of your emails, you should know that your online activity is getting tracked.
If you're entering your banking details or account passwords, it can get hacked if you're using a public network. VPNs protect your data while you're on public networks.
Access to Censored Content
VPNs have an IP spoofing feature where you can make it seem like you're accessing the content from another location. You may want to catch up on your favorite TV shows, and by using a VPN, you can access so many diverse TV shows and movies which you wouldn't have been able to access from your own country.
Netflix US, Hulu, and HBO Max are all streaming platforms that offer quality content, but unfortunately, they aren't available in all regions. VPNs remove that barrier so you can access all that content quickly.
Data Privacy from Social Media
We all love social media, but unfortunately, it also risks our privacy. The Cambridge-Analytica scandal of 2016 has proven that users' data isn't safe and can be used by third parties and advertisers for many purposes.
We can unknowingly consent to our data being used by third parties and advertisement companies for their purposes. With the help of a VPN, you can prevent social media apps and other websites from collecting personal data about you or tracing your location. Your data remains in safe hands, and you retain your anonymity.
Remote Work and Businesses
VPNs provide data encryption. Encryption puts data into a coded format, so an outside party cannot read or decipher it. Your confidential data remains safe. Since remote work has become widespread since the pandemic, and companies are growing concerned about their data and privacy, a VPN would be a good investment.
Remote employees can safely access company resources even when they're away from the office, and any of the company's confidential data remains safe even when it's being used off-site.
VPNs mask your IP address and hide your online activities so that your Internet Service Provider and other websites cannot track your browsing history. It protects and keeps your online identity hidden so your confidential and sensitive data doesn't fall into the wrong hands.
Gaming & Torrenting
VPNs help improve the gaming experience. They help reduce latency, protect from DDoS attacks, and access region-locked game servers. VPNs provide excellent streaming; you can watch HD-quality videos without buffering issues.
You can also download and stream movies and TV shows from Torrent without compromising speed. Since VPNs mask your IP address, your torrenting activities remain private and cannot be tracked by third parties.
As we mentioned earlier, VPNs enable location spoofing. Your IP address will make it seem like you're accessing a website or application from a different location. Many businesses, such as subscription services and airlines, offer the same benefits but at different prices depending on the region. If you change your area to one where prices are provided at a cheaper rate, you can save a lot of money.
Things You Need Before Setting Up VPN on Windows
Even if you're using Windows to establish a connection with VPN, you will need to choose a VPN service. The VPN service you select determines who runs the servers you'll connect to.
It would help if you chose a VPN provider based on various factors, such as Security Protocols, Speed, number of Servers, and their No-logs policy. AstrillVPN for Windows ensures your security with thousands of servers and excellent security protocols that retain anonymity and confidentiality.
Choice of Protocols
You will be asked to choose a Protocol when setting up a VPN. The Protocol that you choose will determine the strength of the encrypted connection between your device and the VPN server. Some of the most commonly used VPN protocols are OpenVPN, IPSec (Internet Protocol Security), L2TP/IPSec (Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol with IPSec), PPTP (Point-Point Tunneling Protocol), and WireGuard.
Each Protocol has pros and cons and differing security, speed, and compatibility levels. The choice of Protocol depends on many factors, including the VPN provider you use, your specific goals and needs, and the operating system you're using.
How To Set Up VPN on Windows
- Choose a VPN provider that meets the criteria of what you're looking for.
- Download and install the VPN by going to the VPN provider's website and downloading the compatible version with your device. Run the installer and follow the instructions until it's installed on your device.
- Launch the VPN and add your VPN login credentials.
- Connect to a VPN server. You will find a list of available VPN servers. Choose one that fits your needs, whether gaining access to censored content or high speed. Then click “Connect” or “Connect to VPN.”
- After this process, you must verify your VPN connection. Many sites will (such as whereismyip.com) confirm that your IP address is associated with the server location you chose.
- You can adjust the settings and play around with other features as well, such as “Kill Switch,” “Smart Mode,” and “Port forwarding.”
- Disconnect by clicking “Disconnect” or “Disconnect from VPN” once you use it.
VPNs offer many benefits to individuals and businesses alike. With the digital era comes a lot of uncertainty, and users are growing concerned about their data privacy daily, seeing as cybercriminals have become more competent in how they hack and illegally gain access to people's sensitive data.
It is always better to be safe than sorry, and VPNs offer an effective solution to ease people's concerns and ensure their data is always safe and secure.
About the author
Idrees is a Marketing Analyst at Astrill with diverse experience in data protection and cyber security, particularly internet security. He is an active tech enthusiast with a will to absorb and convey acquired knowledge to the world. In his leisure time, he enjoys indulging himself in a variety of exquisite cuisines for the sake of earthly fulfillment.