VPNs (Virtual Private Networks)

South Australian Apple Users’ Club

  Presentation by Peter Jenkins

    7 Feb 2020


‘VPN’ or ‘Virtual Private Network’ has become a newsworthy term associated with internet safety, anonymity and security.


What is a VPN?

Why use a VPN?

How does a VPN work?

How to get and use a VPN

How to choose a VPN

Can I use a VPN for free?

Best VPN services

Example and demonstration

What is a VPN?

A definition

A VPN creates a secure connection between you and the internet.
When you connect to the internet through a VPN, all your data traffic is sent through an encrypted virtual tunnel.
This has multiple advantages:

 •  You’ll be more anonymous on the internet: your IP address and location won’t be visible to just anyone anymore.

 •  You’ll be safer on the internet: the encrypted tunnel will keep away hackers and cybercriminals and your device won’t be as vulnerable to attacks.

 •  You’ll be more free on the internet: by using different IP addresses, you’ll be able to access websites and online services that would otherwise be blocked.

Another definition

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a secure connection route that guarantees online privacy and anonymity through an encrypted tunnel.
A VPN masks your IP (Internet Protocol) address to make you invisible online.
It replaces your real IP address with one from [the VPN service’s] secure servers to anonymize your location.
With a VPN connection, you can bypass all geo-restrictions and appear to be browsing from a different location.

Why use a VPN?

You should use a VPN if:

 •  you are concerned about your online privacy

 •  you are in a country that censors the internet

 •  you are interested in streaming content from overseas

 •  you are using a public Wi-Fi network

 •  you need to bypass an IP-based website block

 •  you are a journalist, activist, or whistleblower dealing with sensitive information.

What you will gain:

 •  hides your online activity from your government or internet service provider (ISP)

 •  hides your IP address from the websites you visit

 •  unblocks websites and bypasses geographical restrictions

 •  protects your data on public Wi-Fi networks

 •  stops ISP throttling and allows you to torrent safely.

How does a VPN work?

A VPN creates a private and encrypted internet connection between your device and a private server.
This means your data can’t be read or understood by your ISP or any other third-parties.
The private server then sends your traffic onto the website or service you want to access.

How VPN works

How to get and use a VPN

Subscribe to a VPN service

Choose a provider, go to their website, select a plan, make payment

Download and install their VPN application

For iOS, Android, Mac, Windows, Linux, etc, or extensions for Chrome, Firefox

Open the VPN application and choose a server location

Servers are in many different countries, so the server that you choose will depend on factors such as whether you want to bypass a geo-restriction.

How to choose a VPN

Here are the main factors you need to consider when choosing a VPN service provider:

 •  How much does the VPN cost?

 •  How safe is it?

 •  Which devices does the VPN support?

 •  How fast is the VPN?

 •  Where are the VPN’s servers located?

 •  Does it work with streaming and torrenting services?

 •  Does it work in high-censorship countries?

Can I use a VPN for free?

There are lots of free VPNs on the market, but most of them are limited at best and dangerous at worst.

If you decide to use a free VPN, look out for:

 •  Monthly data caps

 •  Limited server choice

 •  Slow speeds

 •  Abuse of your personal data

 •  No technology to bypass censorship

 •  No servers to unlock streaming services.

‘Freemium’ VPNs

Generally, ‘Freemium’ VPNs are safer than completely free services.
Some VPN providers offer a free trial or restricted service as well as a much more expansive paid version.
Freemium VPNs make their money through the paid product, which allows them to provide a limited free service.

Freemium VPNs tend to:

 •  Enforce monthly data caps

 •  Limit server location choices

 •  Throttle speeds

 •  Not support streaming services like Netflix

 •  Prohibit all P2P (peer-to-peer) traffic.

Best VPN services

There are many reviews and rankings available online. No particular VPN service is best for everybody; it depends on how you want to use the service, what devices you are using, etc, so you should check reviews while keeping in mind your particular requirements.

Here are rankings from three sets of reviews for 2020:

  TOP10VPN techradar cnet
1 ExpressVPN ExpressVPN ExpressVPN
2 NordVPN IPVanish IPVanish VPN
3 CyberGhost Surfshark Norton Secure VPN
4 IPVanish CyberGhost NordVPN
5 PrivateVPN Hotspot Shield Surfshark
6 Private Internet Access NordVPN PureVPN
7 ProtonVPN Private Internet Access StrongVPN
8 VPNArea StrongVPN CyberGhost VPN


Example and demonstration

    >>>>  Example (TOP10VPN number 1)       6 Feb 2020: USD 6.67 ~ AUD 9.88

    >>>>  Demonstration