What is a VPN? A Guide for Absolute Beginners (2020)

The VPN industry has gained a lot of momentum over the years since people’s concern about online privacy and freedom is exploding. Basically, VPN helps you stay anonymous online by hiding your real IP address so that you can have a secure time browsing the web.

Want to know more? We have prepared this beginner’s guide to serve your queries such as what is a VPN and how it works, followed by our top picks of some of the best VPNs in the current market. Read ahead!

What is a VPN? 

Virtual Private Network or VPN helps your device create a secure connection to other networks while you’re connected to the device’s internet. So, you can connect with a server in Germany while in reality, you are in the USA. This will help you access websites that are restricted in your region as well as protect you from cyber-attacks. 

Let’s get a little technical now. When you are on the internet, your connection is given an Internet Protocol, IP address which reveals your geographic location as well as your browsing history and what you’ve been up to. Hacking into your device gets quite simple in that case.

That is to say, your IP address is your digital address and has the potential to put you at risk. Hackers can access the entirety of your internet activities through this. Not only that, anyone who has access to your IP address can track down your physical location. 

That’s where VPN steps in, and it encrypts your internet activities. What VPN does is, it masks your real IP address and provides you with a temporary one. As a result, both your geographic trace and web browsing traces are masked and well taken care of.

This is how a VPN basically works. 

As you connect to a VPN, your original network connection will be encrypted and redirected via the provided VPN server. Let’s say you’re using VPN to connect to Spotify from a restricted region, if you use a US-based VPN then Spotify will see your network as coming from the USA. VPN, coupled with an antivirus, can protect you on the internet from any breach of data.

Why Do We Need a VPN?

So now that you know What a VPN is, let’s take a look at its benefits and why we need it.

VPN is necessary to protect you on the web. Your device is likely to contain a lot of personal information, so does your internet browsing history and activities: photos, personal messages, contact information, and so much more. 

The devices are usually synced with your email and other social media profiles. All that is put at risk as you connect to your local server as it is not encrypted; this makes it easy for attackers to hack into your network and access your personal information.

By using a VPN, you can browse the web anonymously and freely. You can also access websites that were otherwise restricted in your region because, as far as servers are concerned, you are not located in your region anymore.

You can choose to move about the globe: USA, UK, France, India - server from any country of your choice!

Best VPNs in 2020

I think we have established that we need a VPN to keep ourselves protected while browsing freely. But which VPN should you opt for that will provide you with top-notch experience? We have prepared a comprehensive review of some of the best VPNs in 2020.

1. NordVPN

With advanced functionalities and ever upgrading features, NordVPN has been at the top of its game for quite some time now. It comes with a strict “no-logs” policy, wonderful interface, and unbreakable protection. They boast a huge server pack, the biggest we’ve seen; over 5300 servers across 59 countries. So accessing blocked websites is simply a walk in the park with this one.

In order to sign in, you’ll have to follow a three steps process, which is super easy and time-effective. You need to go to the NordVPN website, where you’ll have to decide on a payment plan first. There are options from monthly billing to annually and tri-annually. Once you’ve filled out the form, the VPN is ready to go. Simply install and launch it on your device.

The extended your billing plan is, the lower the price will be. If you sign up for the monthly plan, you’ll have to count $11.95 at the end of every month. On your yearly plan, the cost drops to $6.99 per month, which further drops if you’re signing up for a bi-annual pricing plan, to $3.99 per month. The tri-annual price plan will cost you only $2.99 per month.

The VPN comes with an advanced CyberSec technology that will keep you away from scams and other major cyber threats. As soon as it detects a malicious software, the VPN will notify you and act as you instruct it to. It will also hide pesky pop-ups and uncalled for advertisements to ensure that you have a smooth browsing time. 

With NordVPNs military-grade encryption and data protection technology, you can rest assured that you are in good hands. Its advanced Kill Switch feature will protect your device if the VPN server drops until you manually switch it off or the tunnel is restored. 

Get secure and private access to the internet with NordVPN

2. CactusVPN

Based in Moldova, CactusVPN started its journey in 2011 and has been providing a global server network that offers premium quality features and a user-friendly, straightforward interface. While it’s a growing company, CactusVPN has left us with no chance of overlooking its performance and offers.

The VPN offers over 23 servers in more than 14 countries across the world, making sure that your anonymity is maintained at all costs. Moreover, it offers 6 security protocols covering PPTP, OpenVPN, and more. 

As you install the tool on your device, you will meet a tabbed interface. You get to pick a server of your choice from there. The interface is very simple and gets straight down to business as soon as you enter. 

Convenience is a priority for CactusVPN, and they have kept the tool purposefully simple. You don’t have to be tech-savvy to learn your way around it.

There are a set of advanced settings as well, that will help you connect to a server almost immediately after launching. We particularly love the Application Killer feature of this VPN, which helps you select a list of applications that you’d like to shut down when you are connected on the internet, to avoid disruption. This feature helps make your connection a lot smoother and safer.

The service offers servers in 14 countries, 2 of which are the prime countries if you are planning to stream online: USA and UK. While Australia, France, and Canada are not as popular, you’ll still experience flawless connections on their servers. We were quite impressed with how well Asia was represented with servers across South Korea, Japan, and Singapore. 

Enjoy Real Privacy and Bypass

Blocks with CactusVPN

3. Avast VPN

Easy to use service with a strong network offering solid performance, AvastVPN is nothing short of best when it comes to protecting your connection on the internet. With a network in more than 55 locations across 34 countries, their server pack might not be the largest, but it sure is one of the fastest.

You must have heard of the Avast antivirus. This Czech company has, in fact, earned its reputation primarily for its highly functional antivirus. They’ve later stepped into the VPN industry to further enhance their cyber protection service.

At first glance, the VPN might not look like the smartest one, but it surely offers all the features that you might need to keep a safe network at an affordable price. The company has a strict logging policy. Some users have also raised concerns over the responsiveness of customer care service.

That being said, we’ve found this service to offer performance just as promised, with high speed at any optimal locations. Avast also features advanced kill switch technology to help you maintain anonymity at its best. 

Its pricing plans are divided into a few categories. You get to choose to bill annually, bi-annually, or tri-annually, and the price will vary depending on how many devices you are connecting.

If you want to subscribe for a 1 device plan, then you’ll have to count $3.99 per month for annual billing, and it may go as low as $2.99 per month for tri-annual billing. But if you want to upgrade to a 5 device plan, then you’ll have to pay $4.99 per month in case of annual billing and $3.99 per month for tri-annual billing. 

Encrypt your Internet connection at the click of a button with Avast VPN

4. ProtonVPN

Proton VPN is a famous name in the industry, and they have earned quite a reputation for their transparent privacy policies coupled with their strict commitment to protection. Their main focus is on total anonymity, security, and privacy.

Moreover, we were impressed by their strict no-logs policy, which ensures that the user data stored within the company is well secured and never breached. That’s not all, Proton’s biggest strength lies in their robust security features that are crafted with advanced technology tailored to meet all your needs. 

Whether you’re trying to stream Netflix, get a torrent, or mask your IP address from any cyber threats, Proton VPN is always at your service. They have a large server fleet with over 698 servers across 44 countries to offer you top-notch performance with advanced encryption technology. You’ll love their smooth interface that is very straightforward and easy to navigate. 

The service doesn’t offer any free trial, but one thing you can be assured of: if you arent satisfied, Proton VPN will offer you 30 days money-back guarantee.

ProtonVPN Is A High-speed Swiss VPN that safeguards your privacy

5. VyprVPN

An allrounder, Vypr VPN as you can unblock streaming platforms as well as maintain complete anonymity during your time on the web. It’s a reliable service for users across the globe, including Europe and Asia. You can choose between the 700+ servers that are spread across 60 countries.

It is torrent-friendly and strictly maintains a no logs policy to help you claim the best experience of privacy. In fact, VyprVPN is the first-ever service which was publicly audited for their zero logs service, and guess what? They passed! 

The price plans are divided into three tiers and can be billed monthly, annually, or bi-annually. Although you will not be offered a free trial, the company offers a 30-days money-back guarantee in case you are not impressed. So is it your money’s worth? We’ll leave that up to you. 

The service is compatible with Windows, macOS, iOS, Linux, and more. You can connect multiple devices on one subscription; the number will depend on the plan, though. Moreover, Vypr is prompt at their customer service.

You can reach out for help at any time of the day; they are available 24/7 via email or chat services. You can have all your queries answered with ever polite and responsive customer care service of Vypr VPN. 

VyprVPN Is The VPN Service That Puts You in Control

6. Zenmate VPN

Wouldn’t it be simply awesome if you could gain military-grade service at a price you can easily afford? Zenmate makes sure you get all that you need and more at a very low price point. The product is easy to navigate, featuring advanced protection technology. The service offers servers in over 30 locations worldwide so that your digital address can travel around the world, whenever you want, wherever you need. 

Zenmate can help you stream Netflix without trouble. Not only that, but you can also unblock BBC iPlayer, HBO Go, Amazon Prime Videos, and so much more.

Zenmate also ensures fast speed and high performance whenever you are connected. It’s best if you can find the optimal server in order to enjoy the smoothest experience. With its zero logs policy, your data will remain safe.

What we love about Zenmate is that it offers a 7-days free trial for its premium version, and if it feels like your money’s worth, then you can sign up for the experience. The service also is offered at a limited free version offering 4 locations. 

Just One Click to Ensure Security and Privacy Online with Zenmate VPN

7. Ivacy VPN

Absolute competence backed by superior quality functioning and advanced features is what makes Ivacy so popular in the VPN industry. The service has a neat interface which will get straight down to business as soon as you sign up, you shall be protected at any cost. The app is designed beautifully with several shades of black and blue, to keep things classy yet simple. 

Based in Singapore, Ivacy has been climbing up on the industry since 2007, offering military-grade protection to users. It will run on Windows, Mac, Linux as well as Smart TV. You can keep all your devices that have an internet connection safe with Ivacy.

As a cherry on top, Ivacy offers 5 simultaneous connections with one subscription as well as an internet kill switch. None of your devices is likely to be breached as soon as you are using Ivacy. 

The plans are categorized into three enterprises, from monthly to the bi-annual payment process. If you sign up for the monthly plan, you’ll be billed for 48.95 per month, but if you subscribe to be billed annually, you can save 66% and pay only $3.99 per month.

That’s not all; using the bi-annual price plan, you can save up to 77% by paying only $2.25 per month. Needless to say, the plans are cost-effective, and the service is one of the cheapest on the market. 

Protect Your Digital Presence Best VPN Service of 2020

8. CyberGhost VPN

Need a VPN you can trust? Based in Romania, CyberGhost VPN, with its huge server fleets, does not make any compromises when it comes to performance and transparency, offering customers a VPN can rely on, that too at an affordable price.

The company publishes a transparency report on a regular basis to ensure that there are absolutely no logs on your browsing history and traffic destination and that no corner is being cut to ensure your safety.

With more than 5700  servers across 90 countries, Cybeghost has one of the largest server fleets in the market. We’ve tested their speed and were very satisfied with the performance, CyberGhost was not kidding when they claimed to be one of the best VPN in the market.

Their speed is very consistent across various servers and locations, and we’ve found it to be one of the quickest to respond to user requests.

The app is built with a brilliant user-friendly interface and can operate in Mac, Windows, iOS, Android; you name it. You can enjoy the internet with absolute invisibility from any device and operating system. Be a ghost on the internet with CyberGhost.

Boost your digital anonymity with CyberGhost VPN

9. PureVPN

Strong security, coupled with the ability to unblock blocked content, PureVPN offers the ultimate service to anyone who is in need of some security on the web. Your files and devices will be in safe hands, keeping you protected from breach of network.

Users had raised concerns about the company’s misleading privacy policy in the past. However, PureVPN had made impressive efforts to put it all in the past and move forward. They’ve upgraded their privacy policies omitting all the loopholes that might misguide users into believing something that’s not true. PureVPN is all about transparency now. 

With features like kill switch and split tunneling, Pure VPN ensures that your connection is encrypted and maintains all safety protocols. You can also stream and use torrent with this one, from any part of the world, despite the restrictions. 

PureVPN does not offer a free trial, so all their plans are paid, and the prices may vary according to your plan. There are three major pricing enterprises you can choose from: monthly, 6-monthly, and annual. The monthly package will cost your $11 per month, while the 6-month subscription offers service at only $9 per month. The annual subscription will cost you $5 per month.

We appreciate the service’s no data logging policy, there’s no independent third party involved as well. So your data is well protected even within the company itself. The split tunneling allows you to traffic through VPN and ISP at the time time, bringing the best of both worlds together. 

Experience The Fastest VPN Service Ever with PureVPN

Bottom Line

The rising concerns on cybersecurity have led the VPN industry to be more active and responsible by performing better and being more transparent with their users.

Ever so often, our audience wants to know what a VPN is and what its benefits are. In this post, we have tried to meet your queries about the service and its mechanism. 

In an effort to keep you safe on the web, we have assembled some of the best VPNs in the market so that you can mask your geo-location with one that is provided by your VPN. We hope you will choose the best one that offers complete anonymity coupled with freedom on the web.