What is a VPN?
A Virtual Private Network (VPN for short) is basically a network of servers around the world that allow you, the end user, to browse the Internet through one of these servers. So if you’re living in let’s say, Canada, that would mean that instead of browsing a website through Canada, you could actually be browsing websites through a US server, making it seem like you’re from the US.
Why you need to use a VPN?
So why mask who you really are and go through the trouble? Several reasons:
- Blocked Websites – Many services are blocked from certain countries. So let’s say you’re living abroad and you want US based services. Services like Netflix, Spotify and other cool ones are only for US. Using a VPN allows you to give the impression like you’re from the states, bypassing the block.
- Illegal downloads – A large group of Internet users download “illegal” content. This can be music, video, torrents, software, you name it. Some countries (US) have many horror stories of individuals being hunted down and prosecuted due to this. Using a VPN allows you to conceal your real location, giving you some better security.
- Private Browsing – This could include research into a competitor’s website, not wanting Google or any “big brother” government agency from tracking your content or even browsing in a public place. When using a public Wifi (coffee shop) your data is wide open to others in that network.
Private Internet Access (PIA)
Private Internet Access (PIA) is one of the largest services offering a lightweight, personal VPN service. PIA was named PC Magazine’s Editor’s Choice in 2013. I’ve personally used the PIA service for the past few weeks and here is the review.
Installation & Usage
PIA supports all the main platforms, both PC and mobile phones. After purchasing the service, you can download the client. Windows, Mac OS X, iOS, Android, Ubuntu are all supported. We used the Mac OS installation, the installation is very simple and straightforward. After installing there’s a new icon on the top toolbar:
After inputting your username and password into the program, you can click on the icon and decide which server you want to connect to. There’s a lot of options, from the US to Asia.
That’s it, select a location and it’ll connect you.Had a small problem with this at the beginning, that after selecting a country it didn’t actually switch my IP. At the end it was because I inputted the wrong password. But after that your whole Internet connection will be encrypted and seem as if coming from the destination server. Feel free to safely browse the web.
Pricing & Terms
Although PIA doesn’t offer a free version to try out, they do offer a 7 day money back guarantee, which is just as good. They have a few different packages but the price here isn’t very high. It’s around $3-$6 per month, depending on the duration of the subscription. For people that are downloading a lot of illegal content or using the Internet a lot in public places (coffee shops) it’s a bargain.
Using Private Internet Access is simple to install and configure, offers many different locations. Furthermore the technology securing the traffic is a 256 bit encryption. It just works, no fuss.
Easy of Use9