So you want to be anonymous online? That’s great and a VPN app is a good way to start. Heck, it is the best way to start.
In fact, you don’t need any other software as a good VPN solution could easily get the job done. You will need to know a few things, though. Nothing here is rocket science but will require some small effort on your behalf in order to protect your privacy even more. Here’s what you need to know…
1. Browser extension alone is not enough
In most cases, Chrome and Firefox extensions offered by VPN providers act as proxies and will not completely protect your identity online. You will still be able to access all the content that could otherwise be outside of your reach — due to regional content licensing agreements and/or censorship. However, while you browse the web with your all-new IP address provided by a VPN service, other apps installed on your computer, including your OS, may be communicating with other servers, and that traffic will be totally open, with your local IP address appearing to those apps.
The best way to protect yourself is to install the “regular” desktop app on your computer and let it “handle” all the traffic. It will also “cover” your web browsers.
2. Install VPN on all devices you use
As we’ve already noted, installing a desktop app on your computer is a good start, but there’s more that needs to be done. If you really want to protect your privacy, you should install VPN on all devices you use. Better yet, if such an option is available, set up your router with a VPN and let all devices in your home or office benefit from a secure connection. This includes products such as streaming devices, gaming consoles and smart TVs.
Most VPN services provide mobile apps for iOS and Android devices, which is neat, but not all of them come with router support. That’s not necessarily the problem if said VPN lets you connect, say, 5 or more devices at the same time.
3. Test a VPN for IP address and DNS leaks
This is more for techies as you may not be able to test this feature thoroughly during a week of use. There are a few websites that could help you test a VPN for IP address and DNS leaks — such as IPleak.net, IPleak.org, DNSleak.com, and DNSleaktest.com — but for the best results, you would have to try them out on a regular basis.
More tech-savvy users will use some other methods and/or tools, whereas most of us will go for top VPN services that have proven their worth over time. You don’t have to look too far for such VPNs — we have just the right page for you. Check it out here.
4. Make sure Kill Switch is turned on
From time to time, even the best VPNs on the market suffer from connection drops. It’s just reality, but these (best) services include a kill switch feature that automatically kicks in should a problem with the user’s connection is detected.
Also, most services have the kill switch feature turned on by default. However, that’s not the case with every single VPN on the market. The best thing you could do is go to “Settings” and make sure that the kill switch is indeed turned on. Otherwise, if a connection drops, your real IP address could be exposed. And you don’t want that to happen.
5. Use a dedicated private IP address
Some VPN services offer a dedicated IP address which can come in handy for those working with people and companies around the world. Or for those whose jobs have such requirements — i.e. some server software has a white-list set in a way to accept only connections from previously defined IP addresses.
In such cases, you may want to get yourself a dedicated IP address from a VPN provider and still benefit from increased security and privacy. Otherwise, you will be assigned a random IP address in a country you have selected. This works perfectly for streaming, torrenting and web browsing; but for work, you may need to have a fixed (dedicated) IP address.
And that’s our list. Hopefully, the 5 points outlined above will help you get the most out of your VPN connection. Beyond accessing content, the idea of VPN services is to leave little to no trace behind. So why not take advantage of that?