Virtual Private Networks - Simple, Cheap, Secure

by Gary Hawkins, November 2, 2018

Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, Xaria will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase after clicking through the link.

Earlier this year, I wrote an article on Straightforward Digital Security Tips While Traveling, which presented some easy to implement strategies to keep your devices and your data secure while on the road. In this article, I’m going to add one simple to use addition to the digital security toolbox - the Virtual Private Network (VPN). If you’re at home or on the road.  If you're traveling, working, blogging, housesitting or homeschooling.  In fact, if you’re in any way connected to the Internet, using VPN software just makes security sense!

VPNs have been used by businesses for decades to connect remote employees to their corporate offices.  The VPN software sets up an end-to-end protective data tunnel that extends from the user’s computer back to the corporate office.  The outside world can not see any data that passes through this tunnel, and is hence safe from hackers, people attempting corporate espionage or anyone else for that matter.  The company’s sensitive information is secure, and this is the reason companies typically insist remote employees connect to the office via a VPN.

VPNs - Once Only Used By Businesses

VPNs - Once Only Used By Businesses, Now Affordable By All

What’s great for the rest of us is that cost-effective VPN services have emerged in recent years.  With this type of service, an encrypted data tunnel runs between you and a remote server operated by the VPN provider. When you access the Internet, your data passes securely through this protected tunnel until it enters the public Internet after the VPN server.  Thus, while you don’t have end-to-end protection, it’s way better than no protection because the chance of someone finding your data leaving what could be one of a thousand VPN servers is very remote indeed.  Most importantly, if you’re logging onto a public Wi-Fi network in a coffee shop, airport or library, your data is safe at the point where it’s most vulnerable – the public connection point to the Internet.

Another significant benefit of using a VPN is that the VPN provider hides your unique, Internet identification (you may have heard the term IP address).  Your IP address identifies who you are, where you’re located and even what device you’re using. Concealing your IP makes it more difficult for companies to track what you are doing and send you personalized online advertising. It also means you may be able to gain access to otherwise “geo-fenced” (in layman's terms something accessible only in certain geographic regions) applications, such as regional video-on-demand services like Netflix and the BBC iPlayer.  Try accessing Netflix from Europe when you’re next there - you can’t without a VPN!  Even better, if the country you’re in restricts Internet access, e.g., China, you won’t even be able to access basic services like YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Google without running a VPN. 

Simple Application Interface with NordVPN - Virtual Private Network Provider

User Access is Through A Simple Application Interface

And let me say not all VPN providers are created equal.  While most use the same proven encryption techniques when it comes to accessing your favorite services and the level of customer support they provide some providers are better than others.  For these reasons, we subscribe to NordVPN, and their VPN software runs on our computers, tablets and even smartphones.  The cost of this service is less than fifty cents per day for multiple devices, and that’s for the most expensive month-to-month plan.  Sign up for a year or longer, and it gets a lot cheaper.  For instance, we pay less than ten cents per day because we signed up for a multi-year contract. A small price to pay for all the benefits you get.

2018 NordVPN Pricing Plans

2018 NordVPM Cyber Month Pricing

NordVPN offers a 30-day money back guarantee, so you’ve got time to test performance across the devices and applications you use.  We’ve been very impressed with the performance of NordVPN, and with nearly five thousand servers in over sixty countries, you can be pretty sure your data is safe and sound! Their 24/7 chat support staff are excellent – so don’t worry about setup problems.  Xaria’s rates NordVPN with 💛💛💛💛💛 (five out of five possible hearts).  And don't just take our word:

  • PCMag rated NordVPN as outstanding and has selected it as Editors’ Choice VPN two years in a row. It is the only VPN service provider to get all checks on PCMag’s website.
  • VPNMentor has chosen NordVPN as the Best VPN Overall. NordVPN was chosen as the best in other categories such as - the best VPN for iOS and the best VPN for USA.
  • BestVPN has selected NordVPN as one of the best VPN service providers of 2018.
  • Selected as the best VPN overall in 2018 by TechAdvisor.

NordVPN - one of the best Virtual Private Network Providers

In the book, A Life Redesigned, I'll look in greater detail at VPNs and other techniques for ensuring your ongoing digital security while traveling, homeschooling or working.

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