Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) are increasingly important security tools to keep your data safe and private. Whether you want to access streaming video, blocked social media, or to keep your information protected while using public Wi-Fi, you use a great advantage. It is definitely a good idea to know how to use a VPN.
But despite the recent surpluses of VPN service providers and users, it is still something that not everyone knows about. It can also become confusing, with a variety of VPN options and various settings and features to handle. To help with that, we take a closer look at how to use a VPN, and why you should!
What is a VPN?
Before we jump into how you use a VPN, you should carefully know what they are. Instead of going into some intricate details, let me Android Authority 's explanation of everything, Gary Sims, handle it in this great Gary Explains video below.
How to use a VPN
] For this tutorial, we will use ExpressVPN as the main example. It is one of the best VPN services around, offering everything you want from a premium VPN. Of course, there will be special remarks where other VPNs do things differently than ExpressVPN.
Read the following: How to install a VPN on your Android device via settings?
Most VPNs require an email address to register and get started. For ExpressVPN it is also what you use to log in to the various applications. Others, such as PureVPN, either send a user name and a password or let you set them yourself. The service ensures that your email address is not shared or used for anything other than customer service. If you want more anonymity, you can always create a dummy account as well.
Several payment options are available with most VPNs, such as credit and debit cards, Paypal and Bitcoin. ExpressVPN and some others also include the ability to pay wallets. NordVPN accepts cryptographic courses than Bitcoin, while PureVPN also allows you to use gift certificates from stores such as Best Buy, Lowe, Sears and more. Most people will not struggle to find a way to pay that works for them.
Some VPN services, such as Mullv, take anonymity to another level by not requiring an email address to register. The service also encourages the use of cryptocurrency to pay for subscriptions, ensuring that the service has very little information about you.
ExpressVPN is compatible with most devices and operating systems. Apps are available for Windows, Mac, IOS, Android and even BlackBerry OS, and they are easy to download and install. It also offers useful installation guides to set up the VPN routers directly on Linux systems, media and game consoles. Browser extensions are also available for Chrome, Safari and Firefox.
ExpressVPN has one of the most robust list of compatible devices and operating systems, but each VPN service will at least have easy-to-use apps for Windows, Mac, iOS and Android. The VPN site will have download links for all compatible devices, and Android and iOS apps can be found on the respective Google Play Store and the Apple App Store.
Almost all VPN services offer apps for the common operating systems that people use – Android, iOS, Windows and MacOS. However, if you want to create a VPN on routers, game consoles, and other devices, make sure the VPN you choose supports them.
Connecting to a server
Once you've downloaded and installed the app on your device, it's easy to get started if you don't want to touch the settings or server location. Most apps have a prominent connection button that you can tap to start using VPN. The server closest to you, or the one the app picks up, will offer the lowest latency and fastest speed. If you are just looking to keep your online activity and information private, it will be the best option.
Some users may want to know how to use the VPN server in a particular country. For example, you need to connect to the right US server to access Netflix's US directory, Hulu, and other streaming services, or the right BBC iPlayer server. Another consideration is torrent, because not every site or server can support it. It is always important to know every aspect of how to use a VPN, even if you do not plan to use it very much.
ExpressVPN automatically picks up a "smart site" for you – it's the server with the lowest latency and maximum speed. If you are looking for something specific, press the "Select Location" button the entire list of available servers. Once you have found out what the best servers are for your needs, you can favor them so that they appear at the top of the recommended page.
VPN services like PureVPN and CyberGhost are guessing how to use a VPN by picking a server entirely with the "Mode" and "Purpose" lists. If you want to watch videos on Netflix USA, just select the "Stream" mode and select Netflix from the list. The app will then make the best choice for you, which is ideal for the first time.
Settings and Functions
The settings and functions are where competing VPN services really differ. Let's take a look at what ExpressVPN offers.
In the menu at the top left you will find Express VPN's lap test, a help department and diagnosis. The Help section contains a contact page and allows you to test security features with an IP address checker and a DNS leak test.
The Option button opens the setup page, which offers the following functions:
- General: Here you can set the startup behavior and enable functions such as Network Lock. Network locks ensure if the VPN connection ends unexpectedly, the Internet connection is also turned off to avoid leakage.
- Protocol: You can choose which security protocol to use when using VPN. All options like OpenVPN (UDP and TCP), L2TP / IPSec, PPTP and SSTP are available. Of course, you can always set it to Automatic, and the app decides on the best protocol to use.
- Browsers: This is displayed in Windows or Mac OS apps. You have the ability to configure and enable all browser extensions here, which are available for Chrome, Firefox and Safari.
- Advanced: Advanced options include the ability to configure IPv6 leak protection and select whether to use ExpressVPN DNS servers only while connected. Having both enabled is definitely the best way to go.
In general, most VPNs can choose a VPN protocol. We recommend using the OpenVPN protocol for the best combination of security and speed. But other security settings and features vary.
How to choose the right VPN for you
Many elements go into how to use a VPN for your needs. There are hundreds of options available, making everything a little more difficult. Let's take a look at the key factors you need to consider when choosing a VPN service.
Read the following: How to properly use a VPN and save a lot of money
- Free vs. paid VPN: Paid VPN services offer a much better quality of service without ads, data caps or speed restriction and more security and privacy features. They are definitely the best way to go if you are serious about your privacy and security on the Internet.
- Privacy: The best VPNs hold zero activity or connection logs such as ExpressVPN, NordVPN, and IPVanish. Others can only keep connection logs, so it depends on whether you are comfortable with it. Each VPN that holds all logs is a complete no-one approach.
- Where VPN is based: This is another key factor, as the country's privacy and data storage laws may be at stake. ExpressVPN is based in the British Virgin Islands, which is good. IPVanish promises zero login, but it is based in the US, which may be relevant.
- Where you are : Your site plays an important role in determining which VPN is best for you. For example, if a VPN service does not have any servers near your location, you will not get the best speeds.
- Security: You get different security features with different VPN devices. SaferVPN offers a Kill Switch, which is the least you should expect. ExpressVPN adds IPv6 and DNS leakage protection to the mix. NordVPN goes out with features like confusion, special servers, double VPN and more.
- Usage: Not all VPNs allow everything you might want to use the service for. For example, while ExpressVPN and NordVPN provide access to Netflix U.S., IPVanish does not. Services like SaferVPN have only one place for P2P, while some, like TunnelBear, do not allow it at all.
- User friendliness: Almost every VPN service is very easy to use, and it is up to how specific you want to be. SaferVPN is one of the easiest VPNs for watches and whistles. That being said, PureVPN takes the guesswork out of the server selection with its different modes.
- Pricing: Pricing is often the most important factor when choosing something. ExpressVPN is in the upper end of the price spectrum, while SaferVPN is much cheaper. In any case, significant discounts are given if you choose long-term plans. Special offers and deals are also often available.
Our VPN recommendation
Android Authority recommends ExpressVPN to our friends, family and colleagues. It marks most of the boxes with high-end VPNs, and is ranked highest in our latest comprehensive reviews of quality VPN. ExpressVPN offers the perfect balance between speed, security and privacy.
At the top of ExpressVPN, we also examined services such as NordVPN, PureVPN, SaferVPN and IPVanish. There will be much more in the coming days and months.
Conclusion – Using a VPN
We continue to give you more good VPN coverage with our ongoing series of VPN reviews, guides, comparisons, best listings and more! Looking for a certain VPN to review? Let us know in the comment field below.