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What is a VPN? Virtual Private Networks demystified at last

VPNs, or virtual private networks, are becoming increasingly popular. Many internet users are concerned about their privacy and resort to using a VPN to browse anonymously. But how does a VPN work, and what are the benefits of using a VPN connection?

When reading about virtual private networks, you’ve probably encountered terms like ISPs, IP address, geo-blocking, IPsec, L2TP, and other technical terms that might be difficult to grasp. This short introduction helps you make sense of VPNs and explains how they can make your life better.

What is a VPN?

A virtual private network, or VPN, creates a private network across a public internet connection by masking the user’s internet protocol address (IP). The private network is established through a tunneling protocol that involves encrypting traffic data. Basically, a data tunnel that connects your local network to an exit point in a completely different location makes it seem that you are accessing the internet from another place – it could be a different city or even country on another continent. The data is encrypted, preventing internet providers and potential eavesdroppers from decoding the data. By combining tunneling protocols and encryption, VPN connections are highly secure and private.

How does a VPN work?

Data is uploaded from your device to the VPN server and exits the public internet connection. Other users and services cannot trace you as your device seems to have the IP address of the VPN server. Because of this, even your Internet Service Provider (ISP) cannot monitor your online activities, and your privacy is secured.

Why should you use a VPN?

Using a VPN has several advantages for different use cases, from online shopping to gaming and streaming. VPNs empower people from all walks of life: movie lovers, globetrotters, gamers, and security-aware users. Here are just a few of the benefits of using a virtual private connection for anonymous browsing.

Safely surf on public Wi-Fi 

Phantom VPN creates an encrypted tunnel between your device and a remote VPN server operated by Avira. After client and server have verified each other as authentic, all incoming and outgoing traffic is routed through that tunnel and your data is encrypted.

Secure your online transactions 

Online banking is very convenient, especially on the go, but it is one of the preferred targets of cybercriminals. To protect your financial data, use a VPN for your online banking activities, especially when using public Wi-Fi. A VPN is also useful when shopping online. In addition to your credit card details, you also provide personal information such as your address and phone number. Imagine how much information cybercriminals can collect if they track your data. The encryption provided by a VPN connection adds another layer of protection and provides more safety when shopping online. 

Browse anonymously 

While browsing, you leave traces and companies track your activities for targeted advertising or to collect and sell information about you. Establish a free VPN connection to browse anonymously online, protect your privacy, and prevent advertisers from targeting you. The IP address of your device is hidden, and others cannot monitor your activities.

Bypass geo-blocking and firewalls 

By hiding your real IP address, you can bypass regional censorship and geo-blocking. Many websites and services are blocked in certain regions, preventing users from accessing them. You might have encountered messages like “This content is not unavailable in your country” when browsing YouTube. With a VPN, this is not a problem: you can appear to access the service from a whitelisted location and get access to geo-restricted content. For example, you can choose a VPN server in the UK to watch a British TV show you like and bypass geo-blocking. This feature also enables gamers to beat restricted gaming servers and play against competitors around the world. With a VPN, you can: 

  • Listen to music without restrictions
  • Watch TV shows and films from anywhere
  • Access censored social media networks
  • Check for better deals like cheaper air tickets

Keep your home office secure 

VPNs are crucial to keeping confidential data secure while working from home. In fact, this is the motivation behind developing VPN technology. In 1996, Gurdeep Singh-Pall, a Microsoft employee, laid the basis of VPN technology by creating the Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP) to enable people to work securely and effectively from the privacy of their homes. Remote working is risky: attackers can intercept data from unencrypted connections. Using a secure VPN connection with advanced encryption to connect to your company’s network, you can ensure the sensitive data you send and receive is protected. 

Choose Avira Phantom VPN, the best no-log VPN

Avira Phantom VPN creates an encrypted tunnel between your device and a remote VPN server operated by Avira. After the VPN client and VPN server have verified each other as authentic, all incoming and outgoing traffic is routed through that tunnel and your data is encrypted. We use the most advanced encryption standard, AES 256, and commit to a strict no-log policy. 

Avira Phantom VPN from Avira is one of the best VPNs available cross-platform. You can use it on your PC, laptop, or mobile device, across all major operating systems: Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS. 

Avira does not track your internet usage, meaning your web use is kept safe from ISPs, advertisers, and online snoops. Moreover, Avira’s Phantom VPN is truly private, as no user logs are ever recorded. Avira’s strict no-log policy is in line with our belief that privacy is a fundamental right. With servers around the world, you can bypass restricted content and censored websites with the free VPN download. Avira is one of the most trusted software brands in the world and has a 30-year history of ensuring privacy and security for its customers. 

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Get the free VPN from Avira

Avira Phantom VPN is the best free VPN for mobile devices, PCs, and laptops. No matter what operating system you prefer, Avira’s free VPN protects your privacy and enables you to browse anonymously. You get 500 MB of traffic per month, which can be extended to 1 GB per month if you register your account. The data volume of 1 GB is enough for occasional browsing, but if you’d like to use the VPN for streaming video content, you should consider the Avira Phantom VPN Pro.

Get unlimited VPN traffic with Avira Phantom VPN Pro

The Pro version gives you the possibility to select a custom location. You can choose from 150 server locations in 37 countries and change your virtual location with only two clicks. In addition, you get unlimited data so you can stream geo-restricted content.

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Important: Your current Windows version is outdated and no longer supported.
For your security, we recommend switching to Windows 10 before downloading Avira software.
Update your Windows version here.
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Important: Votre version actuelle de Windows est obsolète et n’est plus prise en charge.
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Importante: La tua attuale versione di Windows è obsoleta e non è più supportata.
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Важно: ваша версия Windows устарела и больше не поддерживается.
Из соображений безопасности перед загрузкой ПО Avira мы рекомендуем перейти на Windows 10.
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Önemli: Kullanmakta olduğunuz Windows sürümü eski ve artık desteklenmiyor.
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重要 : 現在お使いの Windows バージョンは古いため、サポートされなくなりました。
安全のため、Avira ソフトウェアをダウンロードする前に Windows 10 に切り替えることをお勧めします。
こちらより Windows バージョンをアップデートしてください
重要信息 : 您当前的 Windows 版本已过时,并且不再受支持。
为了安全起见,我们建议您在下载 Avira 软件之前切换到 Windows 10。
在此升级您的 Windows 版本
重要資訊 : 您當前的 Windows 版本已過時,並且不再受支援。
為了安全起見,我們建議您在下載 Avira 軟體之前切換到 Windows 10。
在此升級您的 Windows 版本