A VPN is a virtual private network that shields your online identity and browsing activity from hackers, your ISP, government agencies, and other prying eyes.
How Does a VPN Work?
You might hear a VPN referred to as a tunnel. This is because a virtual private network creates an encrypted tunnel for your internet data to travel. This protects your online activity in several important ways.
A VPN hides your device's IP address. Your encrypted data travels through servers located anywhere in the world. All your activity is associated with the IP address assigned to the VPN server instead of your device's IP address. This means that your online activities are no longer associated with you.
Why does this matter? What if you were researching your medical condition online? All your search activities are tracked by companies for ad retargeting and by search engines for data collection. Do you really want to share your private medical information? Of course not.
Your ISP (internet service provider) tracks and logs all your internet activity using your IP address. A VPN tunnel prevents your ISP from tracking you and your browsing history.
Your data is encrypted when it's sent over a public wi-fi network. Without this encryption, your plaintext data is easily read and stolen.