Internet security is a hot topic, and there are countless people nowadays using search engines looking for anonymous VPN and things of that nature. In reality, all these people are trying to make sure that their privacy and data security is safe while cruising the web. The truth about VPN providers is that they can’t guarantee to make one completely anonymous on the internet, that’s quasi-impossible, provided we’re not talking about Edward Snowden and similar types. What a good VPN service does is to encrypt all of your internet activity, making sure no one except from the respective VPN provider can know what you’re actually doing. On top of that, a VPN will hide your real IP address, which means also your geographical location, making sure the websites you’re visiting can’t determine where you really are, so you can pretend for example that you’re from a different country when trying to access a certain service, and so on and so forth. Makes sense, doesn’t it?
What Is A VPN?
To begin with, let’s define terms. The VPN acronym stands for “virtual private network“, and it makes for a tool designed to mask your real IP address and to secure your internet connection/activity from privy eyes. When your computer/smartphone/whatever device is connected to a VPN, all your internet traffic, meaning your online activity, passes through an encrypted virtual private network, also known as a tunnel, which in theory should protect you from surveillance from your ISP or Big Brother, and also would prevent one’s real identity from being revealed. As I already told you, there is no 100 percent anonymous VPN service in the real world. Even if you’re using a VPN, a good one that is, “they” may still be capable to determine your identity, especially if you’re signed-in into their services, or by using cookies.
The Anonymity Myth
Also, there’s no true anonymity by using a VPN since the provider knows who you are/what’s your real IP at all times if the subscription is on your name. And yes, VPN providers get raided or even hacked by government entities etc. To make it real simple, a VPN will protect you from scrutiny from third parties, such as network admins, Big Brother, and ISPs by using tough to break encryption. This is great in terms of digital privacy but doesn’t mean real anonymity, so be advised. Even if the difference is subtle, the devil is in the details.
Why Use A VPN?
Most people use VPN services to prevent their internet browsing habits from being monitored, or to bypass censorship from both governments and private entities. For example, if certain content is blocked in your country, a VPN service will provide access to the respective content hassle-free. Also, if you’re browsing the internet from insecure locations, such as the free Wi-Fi at your local McDonalds or Star Bucks, or whatever public Wi-Fi hotspot, a VPN would make for higher connection security. Better safe than sorry, right? Speaking of staying secure on the internet, if you’re a P2P aficionado and you want to download/upload files in complete privacy, or to stream content from outside the US, access full Netflix, break out of a restrictive network, bypass content surveillance and web censorship if you live in a country like China, Pakistan or Iran, use internet search engines without having your activity logged by your ISP, watch home-specific broadcasts while abroad or if you just believe internet privacy is a human right, well, VPNs are a must-have tool, or at least worth considering.
How To Choose A Top Notch VPN Provider
The best VPN service providers are usually charging for their service, as in they’re subscription based. And that’s because they have to pay for bandwidth, servers in different countries, tech support and so forth and so on. Free VPNs are okay for occasional use, but they usually don’t offer the same level of protection as paid ones, i.e. in they log users’ activities, internet speed slows down significantly when connected to the VPN service, they serve ads when connected, and also have shady commitments with regard to privacy. Subscription-based VPN providers such as Surfshark take all these issues more seriously, i.e. there’s more privacy/anonymity, ads are a rarity, they offer free trials, and boast zero logging policies.
Zero Logs Policy And Why It Is So Important
The best VPN providers must keep zero logs regarding their users’ internet activity. And by that, I mean zero, zilch, nada. In laymen’s’ terms, everything that you did on the internet after finishing a VPN session must not be stored anywhere, as in no connection logs, no usage logs, no metadata, nothing. If there are no logs stored, if government agencies come knocking at the VPN provider’s door for evidence of a “paper trail” regarding a certain user/customer’s internet habits, well, tough luck for big brother.
Watch Out For Shared IPs
Another feature to look after in a good VPN is shared IPs, meaning that there are many people using the same IP address at the same time. In this way, it becomes much harder to determine what each person did on the internet at a certain time. Basically, shared IPs mix your internet traffic with the internet traffic of other VPN users. The exact opposite of that is a dedicated IP, which means you’re the only one using it, thus making it easier to track you on. The closest thing to an anonymous VPN is a no-log VPN, and that holds true especially regarding timestamps stored together with IP addresses, which make users easily identifiable. Also, look for chaining VPNs, also known as Double-Hop, a feature that allows users to jump through multiple VPN tunnels by using two or more servers. The Double Hope feature slows down internet speed quite a bit, but if you’re ready to trade speed for security, Double Hop is the way to go.
Finally, try to subscribe to a VPN service which allows payment with cash or bitcoin. In this way, you’ll gain an additional level of anonymity and privacy, as the VPN provider itself doesn’t know who you are, especially if you register via a burner email and a fake name. There are VPN providers out there that even allow you to send cash via post. However, they’ll still be aware of your real IP address, so keep that in mind.
I will close with a piece of advice: all things considered, keep your guard up at all times, and remember there are ways your data is being trafficked and monitored that would displease you.
“If you want total security, go to prison. There you’re fed, clothed, given medical care and so on. The only thing lacking… is freedom.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower