Using a VPN service like HideMyAss or BTGuard is a great way to protect your online privacy. With legislation like SOPA and PIPA (sign the e-petition here) all over the news, it’s no surprise that people are looking at ways to protect themselves from prying eyes whilst surfing the internet.
So why would you want to use a VPN in the first place? Here is a list of benefits you get by using one.
- Circumvent internet filtering and censorship such as government blocked websites.
- Protect your online privacy – no one can see your IP.
- Download torrents anonymously – no one can see your IP.
- Bypass some ISP’s throttling and traffic shaping.
- Bypass school or college network filters.
- Watch catch-up TV that’s unavailable in your country.
What Is A VPN And How Does It Work
A VPN (virtual private network) is a way of accessing the internet through an intermediary server. This is done via an encrypted connection (unlike using a proxy server) using a process called tunneling. All your ISP will see is that you are connected to another computer via VPN and because the connection is encrypted, no one can pack sniff (spy on you).
In essence, anyone on the internet will see the IP of the HideMyAss VPN and not your computers. See the data flow below.
There are several VPN services available online but I like to use HideMyAss. It is easy to use and has as huge list of countries that can be selected use as your IP.
This comes in useful if say you’re abroad working and you want to watch something on hulu.com. Because you are not in the US, hulu is blocked as you don’t have a US IP.
Using Hide My Ass, you can simply select one of the US servers and the site become available as hulu now thinks you’re in the US.