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Private VPN For Windows
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Private VPN for Windows

Using a private VPN for Windows is an easy way to protect your privacy online without too much work. Even if you've never heard of a VPN, you can get one set up and protecting your private information on shared and private networks very easily.

How a VPN works

A VPN encrypts your data and creates a virtual tunnel to transport your online activity to and from a private network of servers. You are assigned a virtual IP address by this network of servers which hides your real IP, and allows you to do your typical online activity with an alternate IP. By hiding your IP on shared networks, there is a much smaller chance of having your data spied on or even intercepted because you simply don't exist on the network. Even on your own private network at home, your ISP and government can make logs of your online activity and engage in what's called 'online profiling', or creating an image of who you are by tracking what you do on the internet. Hiding your IP prevents them from seeing anything and everything you do on the internet.

How to set up a VPN

You don't need any hardware. You'll need to choose a VPN service provider. This will be the service that allows you access to their private network. You could potentially set up your own VPN server in the case that you have a home office, but this is expensive and takes some technical skill. For a user looking for privacy, this is not necessary. Simply sign up for the service and install the software as instructed. Windows XP, Vista, and Win 7 were all designed to use VPNs, and there are a few types of VPNs you can use. PPTP will be the fastest and easiest to set up, but OpenVPN and SSTP (for Vista and Win 7) have better encryption and more secure tunneling protocols. For privacy on Windows OS, these two are recommended. Don't worry about the setup process - if you're 'technically challenged', many services offer one-click installation or something similar.

VPN Services

Choosing a VPN will mean comparing VPN services and their features. Things that will differ the most between services will be server location and quality of customer support. Most offer unlimited bandwidth and free server switching (but not all). Length of trial periods will vary, but 7 days is the standard. Some have nifty interfaces that allow you to choose servers based on speed, while others save you RAM and have a straightforward and boringly efficient method (I prefer the second). OpenVPN is very common, while users looking for SSTP servers may have to shop around.


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