You may have only recently been aware of this great alternative way to browse the net, but it has been around for over 25years! When a Microsoft employee in 1996 developed the peer-to-peer tunneling protocol or PPTP. It provided a more secure and private connection between a computer and the internet. And this was mostly used exclusively in businesses. Until the early 2000s when everyday internet users became more aware of the high risks of working online and sought out more secure ways of doing so. Thus, its new popularity.

VPN It is an acronym for Virtual Private Network. It is an essential security tool or gateway that protects your privacy online, it is a private connection over the internet. In effect it is an Internet within an Internet, secure, private, and encrypted from prying eyes, malware, hackers, and anyone else who may wish to know who you are and where you surf from, It can be compared to driving through a tunnel. Anyone observing will know your car is on the road but cannot identify specifics of your car- its color, model, or the number of passengers.

VPN Pros:
1. Encrypting and masking your IP address: This is especially true that VPN encrypts your real IP address or keeps it masked, that way, your physical location is hard to tell by hackers, regulatory bodies, or shockingly the Internet Service Provider (ISP).

2. Breakthrough the boundaries: A VPN can be your new best friend, helping you bypass any geoblock. If you’re in a censorship-heavy country and need to access blocked websites, a VPN can give you back your online freedom!

3. Free Streaming on restricted sites: And if you are an entertainment lover, VPN enables you to bypass geographic restrictions and get you to access any streaming service in the world whether it is Netflix or Disney+!
4. Maintain anonymity: a VPN tucks away from sight, your browsing history and your online activities remain anonymous.

Here is a chart that showcases why some people would employ the use of a VPN:.

But wait a minute, before you go thinking VPN is the best tool ever invented since the emergence of the internet, there are some dangers associated with using one.

VPN Cons:
1. The Price of a Mistaken Identity: since some low-quality VPNs have limited servers and IP addresses, you might be sharing the same IP address with a harden criminal in the dark web! Imagine being arrested for a crime you did not commit!
2. VPNs are considered Illegal in some countries. Some travelers have had to serve extensible jail time for just having VPN installed and enabled on their mobile devices or laptops as they arrive at some country’s borders. You might want to make proper research before embarking on international travels.
3. There exist “Hidden Charges”- as we often find out in most financial transactions, they are “hidden charges” not declared by the financial body while advertising the great benefits you gain as a customer. Since your data goes through a VPN server, it can be collected and stored without your knowledge. This information can be shared with the authorities or worst still sold to the dark web where hackers lurk.
4. VPN can slow down your internet speed and quality. This occurs as your data has to reach the VPN server (in any distant part of the world) to be encrypted first before launching you into your desired site.

So, before you go searching your app store to download and install one, consider closely it’s cons and make an informed decision!

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