The world is changing, and it has become quite small these days, well, virtually. You can connect to services across the world to get access to its resources. But it has its limitations.
The streaming services, or should I say, the premium streaming services, broadcast their contents to users only from selected regions. These include services such as the BBC iPlayer, Netflix, Spotify, Hulu, etc.
If you want to view the contents, they show, you will need services from a VPN provider. It can help you to bypass the regional block and receive those services from the comfort of your home.
How does VPN work
A VPN service provider allows you to connect to the Internet via its server, which can be anywhere around the world. But does VPN change your IP address? No, it only masks the address.
You still use the internet with the IP address provided by your Internet Service Provider. The traffic, though is routed through the VPN’s server.
Now, you may be wondering “Does a VPN hide my IP address?” Well, yes. The websites or services you access will see the IP address that the VPN service provider has assigned.
How to start using a VPN
Don’t you want to use your Internet with some privacy and without any tracking by the ISP or your government? Well, I do, and all I need to do is change my IP address. The government has tracked down users by their IP address with the help from the ISP.
The websites know you are using their services, not your name but the IP address. So, how to change the IP address in Windows 10 or the older 8 or 7? Well, sign up for a VPN service.
There are many services around, some free and some paid. For general browsing purposes, you can do away with a free service. But they don’t provide you with high speeds or the security required for confidential works or streaming services.
For receiving a better quality of services, get a paid VPN service provider. Express VPN has an excellent reputation for the same.
They do have a premium charge but also provide unmatched quality of service and a 30-day money-back guarantee too.
Once you have selected the provider and paid for it, install their application for Windows and follow the setup process. Once the setup completes, it’s time to reap the fruits. Now, to change IP address, Windows 7, 8 or 10 users only need to turn ON the respective switch in the VPN client.
But how to change the IP address on Mac? You would be happy to know the process is the same. The manual process, however, is a bit complex.
If you don’t want to download the VPN application, grab the settings from your VPN provider’s account and enter those in the built-in VPN of your OS. This way too, a user can change the IP address on Windows or Mac.
Features of a VPN
It’s all in the name:
• Virtual – It relocates your device to another place without changing your country or even the ISP, in real. You are using a different IP address and thus, anonymous.
• Private – Your internet activity is encrypted and is hidden from anyone trying to sneak into your network, even the hackers. The connections won’t be linked back to you.
• Network – You get access from the dedicated network of the VPN servers presents all over the globe.
Benefits of using a VPN
When developed, VPN’s intended use was to allow the employees to have a secure connection to their company’s networks. It was needed to access the files while they were away from the office. But now, commercialised use is more popular.
The VPN provider encrypts the data packets, and the ISP cannot see them. This allows you to bypass censorship. You can use all the services of the country where the server is located. This means you can watch HBO Now and American Netflix with a US server and also access Hulu Plus.
Not all, but many VPN services also support the P2P protocol, the protocol used during torrenting. Using their services will enable anonymous torrent downloading.
As the data is encrypted, you are protected while using public Wi-Fi. And the best thing is you don’t have to invest in any extra devices or change your ISP. Everything would happen online, and you can have the services up and run, within minutes. And it’s entirely legal, in most of the countries.
But it slows down your internet speed at times. Although not noticeable during browsing, it can affect the streaming services or download of heavy files.
Australia’s Metadata Retention Law
There is an increase in the Australian internet users going for a VPN service as the mandatory metadata retention law kicks in.
This law requires the ISPs and the telecommunication companies, to collect and keep the communication data of its customers. Metadata is the background technical information of the communication, and it involves both the sender and the receiver. According to the law, companies should keep six different types of metadata related to a communication, for the next two years. The data included are:
- Any information that can identify the senders and the receivers such as the names, addresses, phone numbers or IP addresses.
- The source of the communications and it includes phone numbers, email addresses or IP addresses.
- The destination of the communications and it includes phone numbers, email addresses or IP addresses.
- The date, time and duration of the communications.
- The mode of the communications and the internet services used.
- The physical location of the communications.
In theory, the government can have access to quite a significant amount of information. So, start using a VPN soon and hide your digital footprints.
Although some VPN service providers keep those connection logs, many don’t keep any logs. They also may not fall under the jurisdiction of Australia. In case you are wondering, ExpressVPN is based in the British Virgin Islands.