A VPN, or virtual private network, is a tool that helps you access the content you want wherever you are, and also provides you with privacy and security to keep you safe online by encrypting your browsing activity. We’ll dive into this later. First, here’s a little background about how the internet works when you’re not using a VPN, which will give you a better idea why using a VPN is always important when you’re connected to the internet.
If you’re connected to Wi-Fi without a VPN — for instance when you’re at school, home, at a coffee shop, or traveling in another country — you’re connected to a public or shared network through an internet service provider (ISP), like Comcast, AT&T, Cox, Verizon, or Charter.
This means that any information you send through the public network is just that: public. Since an ISP can see what information you’re accessing, they can control the content you have access to by blocking and censoring any website or app they want.
On top of that, virtually anyone with the tools and know-how, including governments and businesses, can see what you’re doing, track when you do it, and know where you do it from simply by knowing your IP address and the information connected to that address (the account holder’s real name, physical address, etc.).
What’s worse is hackers and cybercriminals can steal your personal information — such as credit cards, financial account information, passwords, and other personal data you don’t want out in the open — and use it to commit fraud. Therefore, connecting to a public Wi-Fi network without a VPN is not safe.
This is where Hotspot Shield comes in. Hotspot Shield basically creates a private network out of a public network by masking your IP address and encrypting your online activity so it isn’t traceable to your internet service provider (ISP), hackers, cybercriminals, and others snooping in on your browsing activity.
Hotspot Shield VPN has the following advantages:
- Helps you access content wherever you are (if your favorite video game is blocked, you can turn Hotspot Shield and start playing it)
- Masks your IP address
- Encrypts data between your computer and the VPN server
- Hides your physical location
- Doesn’t log your browsing activity
- Allows you to access popular streaming services like Netflix and YouTube from other countries