Pinkbike Annual VPN Internet Security Briefing
It won’t be a quirky, overly familiar ad like at the start of your favorite podcast (although if VPN providers read, * hint, hint *) but a real breakdown of what a VPN is, why you might be using it – in one and our recommendations for long and short term options.
What is a VPN?
In short, a VPN hides from where you browse the internet. If you live in the United States or Canada and want a website to think that you are actually in Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso, or the United Kingdom, then a VPN is a great tool. This makes you much less traceable and therefore makes your data more secure. While we would never recommend (and can’t stress this enough) this, some unscrupulous guys also use VPNs to bypass geo-blocks on content from streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime or … no. , that’s it.
So how does it work? Well, before we get into VPNs, we need to understand what an Internet Protocol (IP) address is. Your IP address is a unique identifier linked to all of your internet activity, and just as the post office needs a postal address to deliver a package, a router needs an IP address to deliver to the requested web address.
A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, is a privacy tool that hides your IP address. After installing a VPN, you can choose the country where you want your IP address to appear, and then continue browsing as normal. Most of the time, it is recommended that you use VPNs to protect yourself when using unsecured public networks.
Which VPN should I use?
There are free and paid VPNs out there and the choice is yours. However, nothing is completely free, and you should be aware that not paying for a VPN will have some downsides, including showing ads or compromising your data and security. Other VPNs may only offer a limited service which limits the amount of data you can use and the speed at which you can use it, making them useless for streaming live events unless you want to. pay for an upgrade. We would be wary of any free VPN that claims to provide unlimited services as they tend to be the riskiest. A list of free VPNs is available on TechRadar here.
Another free way to change your location is to use the Opera browser. After downloading the browser, it’s easy to activate its built-in VPN. Go to “Settings” (or “Preferences” on Mac), choose “Privacy & Security”, then activate the free VPN. An icon titled “VPN” will appear in the browser, from which you can turn the VPN on and off and choose a location.
There are also paid VPNs which generally offer better service. Paid VPNs can cost as little as $ 2 / month and will give you more privacy peace of mind than a free VPN. A list of paid VPNs is again available from TechRadar, here. Most paid VPNs also offer a free trial, which would be a great way to try them out temporarily, just to see if this is the right choice for you.
What would we do?
A VPN is a smart thing to have on your computer or phone all the time, but if you’re only using it temporarily, the best thing you can do is probably get a free trial of a paid VPN. VPN, then cancel it before you get charged. NordVPN, Express VPN, and SurfShark all offer free trials and we’re sure others do too.
So there you have it, a Pinkbike article on how to keep your data safe while browsing online, just because we absolutely care about your internet safety.