What is a VPN?
VPN stands for “virtual private network”. The easiest way to describe this is to imagine your private network at home, which only you can access, being expanded to be accessible to people on devices outside your home with your approval. It makes your private network available over a public network, but people still require approved access to use it.
VPNs are heavily favored with businesses, as they allow employees to work remotely and still have full access to all the relevant programs and information they would only otherwise be able to use in the office. They allow business private networks to be used anywhere a person has access to the internet, provided they have the correct credentials.
Some VPNs might also make use of encryption software to enhance security, but this is not a required feature. The basics of how a VPN works is by tunnelling under the existing public networks, to sort of piggyback along these connections, but remain secure.
There are three main types of VPN: remote access, intranet-based site-to-site, and extranet-based site-to-site. The site-to-site variations tend to be most commonly used by businesses while individuals often favor the remote access options.
Which free VPN is the best?
So what is the best free VPN you can use? Because the best VPN varies completely depending on your needs, this is not a simple question to answer. To be able to determine this, you need to consider whether you intend to use your VPN for business or personal activities. Companies and individual users have completely different needs when it comes to networks, and you need to make sure the VPN you choose will be able to support what you are wanting it to do.
Most free VPNs are targeted at individual users. This is because individual needs tend to be far less complicated and taxing than that of businesses. That is not to say there are no free VPNs that could support your business needs. But you will need to check their specifications closely to make sure they can handle the amount of traffic and users that will be relying on it.
Is there a completely free VPN?
Some VPNs are advertised as free, but some with sneaky hidden costs. Such is the nature of the Internet. While this is not necessarily companies being deliberately deceptive, they can sometimes come across as misleading. There are VPNs that are completely free and will never cost you a cent. But be aware that they tend to come with less features and flexibility than other versions that may attract a cost.
When searching for a free VPN, it’s worth your time to look closely and make sure that it is indeed totally free. Check the advertisement and company website closely to see if there are any hidden costs or fees. And also check that the VPN has everything you need to support your personal or business needs.
Is free VPN safe?
This is a common question, as one of the most important things to consider in choosing a VPN is safety. Whether you plan on using your VPN for personal or business needs, you will likely be accessing and sending sensitive information through it. Nobody wants to run the risk of unauthorised persons, or even criminals, obtaining access to these details. Some paid VPNs will boldly advertise themselves as being safer than free versions — and with good reason. This is an important marketing tactic, given the high premium people place on safety in general, with lack of education and alarmist advertising making online threats seem far more prevalent than they really are.
In truth, cyber-attacks on individuals are extremely rare. Small businesses likewise are unlikely to be targeted by hackers. When such attacks occur, it tends to be larger businesses that are at risk. This is because hackers need to go through similar processes in accessing VPNs, regardless of their size and risk versus reward is a key consideration. Bigger businesses usually hold more bankable information that is attractive to hackers.
Athough cyber-attacks on individuals are rare, they can lead to devastating consequences. Identity theft can not only be immensely stressful, but it can also end up costing a significant amount of money.
The good news is that most free VPNs are safe. As long as you select one that only allows access to people of your choosing, you can rest assured of your data likely remaining secure.