We have covered the topic of staying safe and anonymous online before. We looked at HotSpot Shield, SpotFlux, and CyberGhost as potential VPN options for the security-conscious. With the recent NSA scandal and news of the PRISM surveillance program, it’s understandable that some users may wish to invest in a good VPN that will help protect their data.
However, using a VPN with your PC is only half of the battle. These days, everyone has a smartphone. It’s easy to miss, but that thing is connected to the internet as well. If you want to keep your browsing on the down-low even when on the go, you’ll need a VPN for your phone as well. For this guide, we’ll take a look at how to use one within the confines of Android.
What Is A VPN?
First, let’s start with the basics. A VPN is a virtual private network. It’s a special way of funneling your internet traffic that protects your privacy and adds an extra layer of security.
Think of it this way. When you connect to the internet, your traffic goes from your computer, over the air, through the router, down the cables connected to your house, across your internet service provider’s (ISP) station, and to the internet at large.
At any point along the way, a dedicated snooper could take a look at your traffic. Whether that’s someone performing man-in-the-middle operations on your WiFi network or an ISP checking for piracy, you’re essentially browsing naked.
Some people won’t care that Time Warner knows how much time they spend on Facebook. But if you’d just rather not have anyone look over your shoulder, you can use a VPN.
The VPN acts like a tunnel. It opens up at one end, scoops up your traffic, and carries it all the way to the destination website. The idea is that when you use one, no one can tell what you’re doing.
This has a lot of helpful applications in business environments. Employees can use a VPN to securely access company resources while away from headquarters.
A large number of users also switched over to VPNs after the implementation of the Six Strikes rule to prevent their ISP from throttling their internet speed.
Other users like VPNs so they can access the American Netflix catalog while abroad. Bottom line, VPNs are useful.
Unfortunately, most will cost you. Free VPNs such as CyberGhost inundate their users with advertisements or throttle download speeds. For best results, get a paid service.
How to Use VPNs for Android
Thankfully, both Android and iOS support VPNs natively without any tinkering. Our MIUI 4.1 ROM had it buried in the Settings app underneath the Wireless category. It should be in a similar place on most ROMs.
Setting up a VPN takes some back-and-forth at a PC. You have to enter in the configuration data, including a name, type, and server address.
If that doesn’t work out of the box, try adding advanced options like DNS search domains, DNS servers, and forwarding routes.
We can’t provide an exact process or specific data for setting up a VPN as it varies from client to client. Be sure to look up your provider’s help page, chances are they have a how-to guide.
If you can get this setup, it will automatically route all your internet traffic through the VPN servers. All the apps will use this setup. It’s a hassle-free way to keep everything mobile safe.
VPNs are one of the more useful tools available to computer users today. Whether you’re looking into it for business, personal, or torrenting applications, there’s a good use waiting there.