A virtual private network (VPN) provides a lot of great features and is one of the best free to download tools that you can use to improve your browsing experience. A VPN such as Hotspot Shield has dozens of benefits including access to blocked content, secure online sessions, and added malware protection, among others.
Best of all, these can be enjoyed without the need to shell out money, so there’s really no reason for you not to use a VPN.
If you’re currently not a VPN user or are planning to install one on your device, below are a few tips to maximize your software’s features. Remember these tips for a safer and more enjoyable browsing experience when using a VPN.
1. Check your IP address
Access to region-locked content, network bypass for unblocking websites, and secure browsing are some of the benefits that make a VPN a great tool for personal use, and all these are possible because of a feature that hides a user’s actual IP address and temporarily replaces it with one from a different virtual location.
However, sometimes connecting to a different virtual location fails, which may be due to a lot of factors such as Internet connection issues or system slowdowns. To make sure that you are successfully connected to the intended virtual location, always check your IP address. An easy way of doing this is by going to IP address checking websites such as whatismyipaddress.com and whatsmyip.org .
2. Keep your antivirus updated
While the Internet is a goldmine of content and information, it is also rife with infected links and sites carrying malware attacks. Installing a VPN on your device drastically improves your protection against malware such as ransomware, spyware, keyloggers, and rogue security software, to name a few. But just to make sure that you’re fully protected, always keep your antivirus updated.
3. Don’t forget about your firewall
Firewalls are created specifically as basic protection for your device against malicious standalone software such as viruses and malware, so always make sure that your firewall is up and running. Your firewall, combined with an updated antivirus and a VPN, provides a sturdy defense for your system and device against online attacks.
4. Turn off location-based services
As what the name suggests, location-based services (LBS) are apps and services installed on devices that rely on a user’s location and time of day for certain functions, making use of various tracking tools like GPS. Since these typically run continuously in the background, it’s easy for users to forget about them.
As you connect to another virtual location using a VPN, you may also forget that these apps are running. You may not know it, but LBS can actually leak your exact location to snoopers, even when you’re connected to the Internet via a VPN. To make things safer for you, turn off all LBS on your device while using a VPN. Here is a great resource on how to turn off Google’s location tracking.
5. Delete browsing history and cookies
Browsing online while using a VPN makes your sessions safe because it allows you to surf anonymously and enjoy a secure and encrypted tunnel for all your information at the same time. However, all websites that you visit are retained even after you turn your VPN off. It’s the same for website cookies.
Cookies are helpful in keeping track of your online activities, but it can also be used for surveillance.
To protect your system and device even after disconnecting from a VPN, remember to delete your history and cookies.
Hotspot Shield VPN
Hotspot Shield is one of the most trusted and secure VPNs on the market. First, it lets you access websites that are blocked in your country and by your local network (like in school or at work). You also get to mask your IP address, browse anonymously, establish an encrypted connection, block malware-infected sites, and secure your sessions while connected to public hotspots, providing a safe online browsing experience.
Download the free Hotspot Shield VPN app now and discover the best ways to stay safe online.