Simple step-by-step help for beginners. See how to get started using a VPN in only 5 minutes.
More and more people are using a Virtual Private Network (or VPN) these days, due to very real concerns about internet security, privacy, and the inability to access geo-restricted content. With rampant news reports of data breaches, credit card and banking fraud, identity theft, blanket government surveillance, internet censorship, and unauthorized sharing of personal information, internet users are smart to protect themselves with a VPN.
What is a VPN? Simply put, it’s a valuable tool that will let you access the internet confidentially via a secure, private network. A VPN can prevent others from hacking your accounts, spying on your internet use, and viewing your location and personal information—even if you’re using public WiFi, a notoriously easy target for internet snoops and hackers. A VPN will also allow you to access location-blocked TV websites and apps from any location—a very handy perk.
A VPN service is an add-on to your regular internet service provider (ISP). Most VPNs require a paid subscription. There are free VPNs available, but they are generally slower, limit your bandwidth, and lack many of the advanced security and usage features included in their paid counterparts. To choose the VPN that’s right for you, check out our list of the top 10 VPNs. We conduct extensive tests of VPNs on a regular basis to find the ones that perform best and offer the best value.
If you’re just learning about VPNs for the first time, check out our introductory VPN Guide For Beginners. It goes into more detail about the benefits of VPNS and how to choose a VPN that’s right for you.
How To Use A VPN
Once you’ve made your choice of VPN provider, you will need to sign up for the VPN service, and download and install the app on your computer or mobile device. Follow the directions on the VPN’s website for installation, then click the app to launch it. The top VPN services (like the ones we recommend) all have a simple installation process. The instructions are clear, and you should have the VPN installed in a couple of minutes.
Choose a Server
Next, you will need to choose a server to connect to. You should see either a list or a map showing the particular VPN’s available server locations. The server you connect to will become your “virtual location,” meaning any websites you visit will “think” that’s where you’re located no matter where it is you actually are.
Your optimal server choice depends on what you want to use the VPN for. For example, if you are in Paris and want to use your VPN to access your U.S. Netflix account, you’d need to choose a server in the U.S. If you want to watch BBC TV from outside the U.K., you will need to connect to a server in the U.K. If you are simply using the VPN for security and privacy from your home area, connecting to the server physically closest to you will give you the fastest possible connection speed.
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Our #1 best VPN — NordVPN, has dedicated servers for different uses. This is a unique feature that really comes in handy and delivers the fastest speeds for all the ways you’ll use your VPN. You can connect to special “Ultra-fast TV” servers, Tor servers, double-encryption servers, and more.
Ready to Browse
Once you’re connected through a VPN server, just use the internet the way you always do. You can visit websites, use apps, watch streaming services, and more. Most VPN services include a “kill switch” that will terminate your connection if the server itself disconnects (known as a “VPN dropout,” which is rare). This ensures your privacy will always be protected. To check whether the VPN is working, you can view InfoBlyp’s Geolocation page.
If the location of your IP address matches the location of the VPN server you’re connected to, rather than your actual physical location, the VPN is working as it should.
Take Charge of Your Internet Usage
Using a VPN on your computer, tablet, or mobile device will greatly decrease your chances of being hacked, as well as prevent the government, copyright trolls, and anyone else from spying on your internet activities. A good VPN is simple to use, costs just a few dollars per month, and provides internet privacy, freedom, and peace of mind. Using a VPN is the best way to use the internet safely, and privately. To see why VPNs are a must-have tool for anyone who uses the Internet, check out our list of the many benefits of a VPN.
After reading this post, we hope you can appreciate how easy it is to use a VPN. If you’re still not sure, we’ve also included a video of how we setup and use NordVPN on Windows. And yes, it’s just as easy to setup on Mac or mobile. [Just click the screen to start or pause video.]
Best VPNs 2018
While NordVPN is our favorite, ExpressVPN and IPVanish are popular as well. Here’s a brief comparison of these top VPN services.
|#1|| Total privacy & security
Unblock ALL sites & apps
Unlimited bandwidth & fastest speeds
Apps for all devices
Perfect for beginners
30-day money-back guarantee