VPN is the abbreviation of “virtual private network” (or “virtual private network” in French) and designates a service which protects your Internet connection and guarantees your confidentiality on the net.
There are many uses that have made VPNs so popular. In France, a study states that 28% of Internet users use such software – both on computers and on mobiles. Among the reasons that justify such a tool, there is online privacy, protection on public Wi-Fi or access to unlimited content (no more censorship and geoblocks).
Our opinion : A very good VPN for security and anonymity
Our opinion : One of the best VPNs on the market!
There are, however, misconceptions floating around about VPNs that are often unfounded. Below, we have identified 4 clichés which are regularly associated with this software, and which are however false!
A VPN is only for dubious activity
By choosing a VPN that does not keep browsing history (“no-log”) like NordVPN or ExpressVPN, you will be anonymous on the net. No one, not even your ISP, will know what you are doing.
If some users can misuse this advantage, the arch-majority of users have a perfectly legal use of this tool. It’s a bit like cryptocurrencies, which have long been considered exclusively drug money.
Within a legal framework, users may want to secure their communications and data by using the encryption system built into VPNs. This is essential if you are frequently on public/shared Wi-Fis. This way, administrators and other network users will not see your information in the clear.
VPN holders may also want to become anonymous so that they are not monitored or tracked by ad trackers. Also, they can use this tool to access content that is not always accessible, especially in the event of censorship. Some TV programs, which are not available in their region, can be accessed through a VPN. With its network of servers, it allows you to deport to another country in the world.
VPN slows internet connection
To understand this received idea, you have to go back to the very functioning of this software. By default, you are connected to a router that is managed by your ISP (with a specific IP address). The principle of the VPN is to provide you with a secure channel to a second server which belongs to it (and which does not keep the logs). Your ISP will only see your connection to it, then it will lose track of you.
It is from this server that you can then navigate in total anonymity on the net. Since there is this second server that comes into play, there is a possible loss in terms of speed. However, if you choose the right VPN provider, with a solid infrastructure and a large server network, this will not be felt. That said, you have to choose a reliable partner for this.
Logically, if you choose a geographically very distant server (for example, the one in Los Angeles if you are based in Paris), there may be a small slowdown compared to the speed of your default router. That said, if you have a very good initial speed and opt for a solid VPN (with efficient servers), this will not be felt.
Private browsing is similar to a VPN
Web browsers (Chrome, Firefox, etc.) give you the option of using a “private browsing window” to surf the Internet. This has absolutely nothing to do with a VPN. By using this feature, you will have discretion on your machine at best. On the other hand, you will not be anonymous.
The purpose of this window is not to keep any traces on the standard browser. It thus makes it possible not to keep the browsing history, cookies or passwords. This is handy if you share your device with other people: it gives you relative discretion. On the other hand, your ISP and your network administrator will be able to know everything about what you do on the Internet.
A Free VPN Can Be Reliable
As with many software, we have some free VPNs that are available on the market. The reality is that none of them are reliable. Why ? Because a VPN needs a technical infrastructure (a network of servers with maintenance) to function. Without funding, they cannot provide the service.
The question then arises of the economic model of these “free” VPNs. In most cases, you are the product: the VPN will resell its users’ data to generate revenue and finance its infrastructure. This is the exact opposite of the very principle of this software, which aims to make you anonymous. This conflict of interest does not exist among publishers who invoice their service transparently and who are audited.
In any case, VPNs remain affordable software: the majority of them are less than 3 euros per month. In any case, you have 30 trial days (for example, with NordVPN or ExpressVPN) to test and appreciate the service rendered.
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These 4 misconceptions about VPNs are totally wrong!
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