Umpteen video calls with loved ones, binge-watching new and old content alike, endless hours of work for some and study for some from the comfort of bed – this year has been all about staying connected. The onset of the pandemic saw some hard times. Still, thanks to the communication era amped-up with the blessings of a speedy internet connection, we were saved from going crazy in isolation. However, with the increasing usage, we grow more and more conscious of the bandwidth and the security of the networks we rely on.
It is a legitimate reason to worry, given the rising traffic has forever been prone to becoming easy bait for data-hungry spies, advertisers, and ISPs, and engaging in other malicious activities. This is where Virtual Private Networks (VPN) comes into the picture. VPN secures the network by encrypting all the information and sends it through a tunnel to its destination. A VPN redirects your internet connection from your Internet Service Provider’s (ISP) servers to its own hence, securing your connection from hackers and peepers.
But why VPN, you ask?
Because apart from just masking and protecting your identity, VPNs can be used to expand your entertainment options by streaming geo-blocked content. It also helps you relocate your connection to access websites back at home while you are traveling abroad. It maximizes your bandwidth and safety alike, keeping your privacy intact. Moreover, it helps you in saving loads and loads of money by avoiding location-based price targeting. So it is a win-win for all the VPN users.
The first thing to do after selecting the desired VPN service is to download the company’s app available on the VPN service’s website to get started with a VPN. It is advisable to do so for all the devices you intend to secure. Generally, the subscription allows a certain number of licenses (mostly 5) to use the given service on any device for which it provides the apps. It is vital to choose a VPN that offers an app for the devices you use because only then you can use the service to its full potential.
Once the app has been installed, you are directed to enter the login information. In most cases, the username and password you created when you signed up for the service. But some VPNs assign a different username than the one from the billing credentials to provide more privacy to the user. After logging in, your VPN connects to the closest VPN server to your location for better speed and voila! Now your information is being securely tunneled to the VPN server.
However, it is not necessary to install the app provided by the VPN company. The ideal option will be to configure your device’s network settings to connect directly to the VPN service. If you are concerned about the potential for surveillance within app ecosystems, this might be a good option for you. Most VPN services will have documentation on how to configure your device. Manual configuration means you will have to manually update the server information on your computer, which is annoying. You also will not be able to access any of the other features provided by the VPN service, which you are already paying for.
iOS and VPN
As a brand, Apple has always paid careful attention to stability and security. While they may be more secure than other computers, out on the web, hackers do not care what kind of device you are using, making even Mac breachable. The Mac built-in VPN may confuse you, as it merely refers to how you can connect to a private network such as one set up by your company or educational institution so that you can access files remotely. It is not designed for anonymous browsing, sharing files, or dodging geo-restrictions while watching streaming services. Still, all of this is possible with the addition of one VPN service subscription.
It is also common knowledge that when releasing VPNs for Mac, companies at times have different versions available in the Mac App Store and on the company website, which is done to comply with restrictions imposed by Apple. Figuring out which will work for you can be a tricky business. To start with the obvious, your Mac VPN provider must offer a pre-configured client for its service. Having a good Mac client is a massive boon in terms of simply making things as easy as possible. Powerful iOS support is also a welcome feature if you have an iPhone as well as a Mac.
Next, you will want stable security with strong encryption. Good performance levels do not hurt, either, especially if your priority is to use your Mac VPN for streaming and torrenting. And if it is all about watching content, then make sure your chosen provider has a strong reputation for unblocking the likes of Netflix and Amazon prime Video.
Mac or not, VPNs are not rocket science. A lot of people still do not use a VPN because maybe they seem like arcane security tools. But many companies have put numerous hours to make them user friendly and easy to use. Most are now set-and-forget security tools, as it should be. And though opening your wallet to guard against potential threats is always annoying, buying a VPN is one of the best and easiest ways to shield your web traffic from just about anyone and everyone.