If the terms VPN or Virtual Private Network sound like strange words to you; or if you want to know exactly when using one is worth it, this post is for you.
The term VPN sounds fancy and secretive, doesn’t it? In reality, the Private part only means “invite-only network”; that’s all there is to it, the internet that you are using is just a Public Network using physical machines, and a VPN is just a software-run network that runs for a selective list of people.
Imagine if Facebook was only viewable if you had a very long secret password and that’s what a VPN is essentially, but for all internet traffic.
So this brings us to the question of why use a VPN?
If you are using a network you own, there is no real reason to use a VPN unless you want to view region-locked content; in fact, an argument can be made that it is best to not use a VPN at home, it is just a TLS “HTTPS” stream, like an underground tunnel dug through the internet just for you.
For a security sense, you want to use a VPN at a coffee shop, any public network or a hotspot that you don’t own, to hide what you are doing from the provider of the internet or to stop them from manipulating your experience; but using a VPN at home you could not only slow your internet down but become a target of interest if all you do is use a VPN, it’s interesting, it won’t directly get you in trouble, but it’s certainly interesting.
The Virtual Private Network creates a secure pathway or private underground tunnel through the internet routing devices for your traffic, imagine an underground tunnel just for you, where you travel to the provider’s server and then exit into the global public network.
TOR on the other hand scatters your traffic through a network of machines without much pre-organisation or ability to link traffic to a user, this breaks an analysis method that measures the data tempo normally used for Quality of service, but in other use cases for guessing what you are doing on particular websites.
VPNs have a time and a place, for sure but overuse is also suspicious and detrimental to you as your ISP is unable to prioritise latency-sensitive traffic like voice calls over web page requests, generally speaking, the ISP will just prioritise all your traffic below other requests giving the internet a “janky loading” visual experience.