Certainly many of you hear about this acronym for the first time. Some already know very well and always resort to this service when WhatsApp is blocked in Brazil. Today we will explain what a Virtual Private Network (VPN), what it is for and how it can be configured on your device. Check out our tutorial.
As I mentioned in the introduction, the acronym VPN stands for Virtual Private Network or Virtual Private Network, a network technology that allows you to configure a secure extension of the local area network (LAN) over a public or uncontrolled network, such as the Internet, allowing you to communicate from one point to another (such as from a smartphone and a computer, or between two smartphones) in a secure and private way using the Internet.
For the VPN connection to be completely secure, we must rely on the VPN server
The technology behind this type of connection is called "tunneling", because it creates a tunnel establishing the communication between two points, through which data circulates. The VPN itself does not store any data, it is saved on the servers or clients that configure the VPN.
One of the main uses of VPN technology is to encapsulate a private IP of a corporate or company network within a public Internet IP, so that employees working from home can connect to the office network by accessing services, resources, servers, etc. Another very common use is WiFi networks opened from the smartphone, but in most cases, data traffic may not be secure.
Avoid doing banking transactions or disclosing secret data while using a third-party VPN
What is VPN for?
One of the main uses of VPN is to access restricted websites and services in a given region. Applications unavailable in Brazil, for example, can be accessed through a VPN network.
In addition, a private network is naturally safer when it comes to transfers of sensitive data via email, for example.
Advantages of VPN
Use a different IP than the one where we are
One of the advantages of a VPN connection is the use of a different IP address than the one we are connected to. For example, to download an application that is only available in a specific country or to access a specific channel in a country other than the one in which we are located.
Securely connect to open networks
On open or free networks, there is some risk that someone connected to the same Wi-Fi network may monitor traffic and steal your passwords. If we use a server connected to a VPN, all data going through this open network will be encrypted until it reaches the VPN server.
Securely access a local network via the internet
This is a VPN application for business. Using a VPN connection you can connect to a local network over the Internet securely.
Disadvantages of VPN
Security: Free or paid VPN?
For the VPN connection to be completely secure, we must rely on the VPN server. There are many free VPN services that control the data traffic they receive from users. In addition to collecting your passwords (which is illegal), these services also check usage statistics and browsing profiles that can be sold to third parties, such as advertising agencies and other companies dedicated to consumption.
Increased data usage slows down browsing speed
When connected to a VPN, all data is encrypted to increase the amount of data being transmitted. On a slow network, this results in slower browsing and if you are connected to your data plan, spend your monthly data package faster.
How to set up a VPN network?
There are two ways to connect to a VPN network: through a third-party application or through native support integrated with Android for certain networks. We will talk about the two processes below.
1. How to configure VPN through an application
Depending on the VPN network you want to use, an application dedicated to the best request. Android does not offer native support for open networks of VPN servers, so to use services that are not available in your region (WhatsApp blocking, for example), an app is the ideal solution. We recommend Betternet, which has an extremely simple, free interface (with premium paid version) and works well.
Free VPN Hotspot and Betternet Private Browsing
Betternet is an extremely simple application. You just need to download it from the Play Store, confirm the connection request and click "Connect". There is no need to create a password or login. The "key" icon in the status bar shows that the service is active. It is worth remembering that many VPN services are not secure. Avoid doing banking transactions or disclosing secret data while using a VPN. An alternative to Betternet is the Private Tunnel VPN.
Private Tunnel VPN Fast & Secure Cloud VPN
2. How to manually configure VPN by native Android support
Android smartphones offer integrated support for configuring PPTP and L2TP VPN networks. They are useful for you to have access to private networks in environments such as work, your home, etc. Just go to the Settings menu and then More (names may vary depending on the UI). In this section, you will find a window called VPN. Click on it.
After that, the Add VPN notification or simply the plus sign appears on the top bar, which you must click on. When doing so, you will be asked for the following data: Name, Type and Server address. See below what to put in each one.
note: The VPN configuration used in this tutorial is used only to illustrate the process. Therefore, before configuring a VPN, you will need to have the VPN network configuration data. The VPNBook website, for example, offers such data, however, it will probably track your behavior on the network (this is just an example).
- Name: this category simply serves to distinguish this configuration from the rest. The most common names are Home, Company, Office, etc;
- Type: here I need to choose the type of VPN we are configuring. Each type corresponds to a protocol with different characteristics, and will depend on each network. PPTP has a more basic security level, while L2TP and IPsec offer a higher level of encryption. Check here the meaning of each protocol and which one is the most secure;
- Server address: here we can put a DNS or a public IP address. In case we connect with our home server, it is recommended to use the services of a dynamic DNS. If you want to use the internet, for example, Google.com can be a DNS.
Then, we will be able to connect to the VPN network using a username and password that must also be provided in advance. Remember, this data is offered to users by those responsible for the VPN (see again the VPNBook website indicated above). As soon as the connection is made, we will receive a notification on the smartphone. To disconnect, just click on that notification.
Did you already know the VPN? How often do you use it?
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