Getting Started with VPN and why you should use them
A VPN stands for Virtual Private network. They are encrypted network connections, allow you to connect to computer service cloud or physical from a remote location without comprising security of the network. They also allow the every day user to browse the internet without anyone being able to see what they are doing.
When using a public Wifi Connection you should always use a VPN because you don’t know where you traffic is going or who else is connected to the VPN someone else could be listen to the traffic. Potential then owner of the public wifi access point could also change the DNS server that the router uses this is called DNS Hijacking, whereby someone create a fake website that looks like the real one and then point the real website to their fake one. So for example the attack could create a fake Natwest Bank account and the point Natwest.co.uk to their fake website. Using a VPN can prevent this because your traffic is wrapped in an encrypted tunnel where all your traffic is wrapped in SSL layer and then sent across the internet. Additionally, in general DNS traffic is not encrypt which allows anyone on that wifi network see which website you are visiting.
Because by default DNS Traffic isn’t encrypted. DNS stand for Domain Name Server, it’s basically the service that translates url into IP address because computer need IP address to know where to route your traffic e.g. the DNS translates google.co.uk into 22.214.171.124.
IPS provided can prevent you accesses sites depending on the country you’re in. Here in the UK most torrent site are blocked. In 2013 the UK government introduced mandatory web filters, designed to block access to ‘adult’ sites by default. These blocks are opt-in or opt-out, which means you can either turn on these parental filters (which turns them on for the whole household) or tell your ISP that you want full access to the internet.
Again having a VPN encrypts all your traffic so that includes your DNS traffic.
Accessing Remote resources
The best way to access a remote resource such as a database or a file server is beside a VPN. Because it means you don’t have expose ports in your firewall which should always be avoid if you can help it. Additionally, older service like smb file sharing and other ageing software that you personal or your company be depend may have weak or non security protocols. With a VPN all this goes away because all the traffic can be wrapped in SSL and sent your home or company network as if you was on the local network.
As side note this can also be used to play older RTS games that only support LAN networking.
I personally use namecheap VPN it’s cheap, fast and the doesn’t collect logs. I wouldn’t host your own unless you really need to because it can be expensive and time consuming. You also need to maintain it, which is a hassle.