At the risk of sounding alarmist, your online presence is vulnerable. As we grow more and more reliant on constant access to the internet to manage our work lives as well as our private lives, we become increasingly liable to exploitation.
Identity theft and malevolent computer viruses abound, and accessing public Wi-Fi on our internet-capable devices can be a risky proposition. We’ve long past the point where striving to protect your online identity is considered the realm of the paranoid.
When searching for an answer on how to feel more protected or to have freer access on the Internet, you are very likely to stumble upon VPNs (Virtual Private Networks). It is, by far, the most popular topic among visitors to FlashRouters.
With the help of VPNs, you can maintain as active of an online presence as you please, secure in the knowledge that no one can access your information without your consent. This sort of protection is invaluable for protecting your family or small business.
What is a VPN?
While Internet jargon & acronyms can seem overused and intimidating, if security and privacy is your goal, VPN is one term worth learning more about.
VPNs, or Virtual Private Networks, hide your online presence by rerouting (or, as it is more often referred to, tunneling) all of your network traffic through their servers.
Consider VPN service as a sort of online cloak: no matter where you are, no matter which internet-capable device you’re using, or whether you’re using your own provider or a Wi-Fi hotspot, as long as you’re logged in to your VPN client account, your IP address will be hidden, keeping your information secure.
What Are the Best Reasons to use a Virtual Private Network?
Aside from protecting your online presence from eavesdroppers and hackers, VPNs provide a multitude of other services:
1. Increased Privacy
Once connected to a VPN service, your online movements will be cloaked through the use of an anonymous IP address.
2. Government Level Security & Encryption
Most VPN providers (ExpressVPN, IPVanish) encrypt users’ traffic with a minimum of 128-bit high-level encryption of various manners such as 128-bit CBC-Blowfish, high-level hash algorithms, and high bit count RSA. And what does that actually mean? It means that this information is practically wrapped in to decipher protection even by the most powerful computers. Your Internet provider will not do any of that, so to get this type of protection, you need to start using VPN.
3. Dismiss Internet Censorship & Mask Your Connection Location/Country
VPN services can provide a quick end to internet restrictions such as blocked/censored websites, traffic restrictions and blocked ports to some of the Internet’s most popular websites (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google) and services (Netflix, Hulu, Spotify, Pandora).
VPN service providers can set you up with an IP address in the country of your choosing, which expands your range of access for all sorts of sites. For example, if you wish to access a website that is almost completely exclusive to America, such as Hulu or Netflix, and you’re overseas on vacation or business, using a VPN provider with American-based server locations can bypass that restriction, allowing you the access for which you’re looking. Some of the most popular VPN providers with US-based servers include IPVanish, NordVPN, and PrivateInternetAccess.
A VPN is different than a web proxy since a VPN client will automatically work with all applications on your laptop/tablet/streaming device, due to the fact that your entire internet connection to that device is completely tunneled.
VPNs can also be used to bypass blocked websites and blocked ports, transcending the strictures of internet censorship in many restrictive countries and regimes throughout Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.
What’s more, Virtual Private Network providers are easy to use for a single device like a laptop or desktop. Oftentimes, it’s a matter of downloading a client (an installed computer application) and entering a username and password.
So whether you have a small business you wish to protect or are just interested in heightening the security around your private usage, subscribing to a VPN service will provide no small measure of comfort.
How Can FlashRouters Enhance the Virtual Private Network Experience?
FlashRouters devices are different because they are set up with internal router-based VPN client connection options, enabling you to utilize your subscription with an external VPN service provider.
Configuring your FlashRouter as a VPN client with PPTP, L2TP, or OpenVPN allows you to encrypt the connection of your Apple TV, Smart TV, Roku which completely lack VPN connection settings. So, with a FlashRouter, an AppleTV can become a VPN AppleTV.
As a second bonus, laptops, gaming consoles (XBOX, Nintendo Wii, PlayStation), and any other streaming HD video or media device can all be connected at the same time with one subscription.
Providers require payment per VPN connection, so if you try to connect multiple devices at the same time it will not work. But, by making the router the primary connection, the router can then share the VPN connection to all your devices for the price on one subscription. This can save you hundreds of dollars per year if you and your family all want VPN access at the same time.
For more general information and questions regarding VPN’s please visit our VPN FAQ.