How do VPNs work and what's a good one to use


Okay so, VPNs. How the heck do they work?
I’ve been looking into them for a long time for various reasons (privacy paranoïa/lucidity, region-locked content, etc) but i still don’t understand how they function so i’d really appreciate a practical primer - ie. not something that goes into the technical details of how they work, but an explanation of how to use them and what kind of involvement that represents. Because i’m a big dumdum!!
I’m mostly confused because i’ve heard that good VPNs you have to pay for (which is fine), and that they’re independent programs from whatever you internet browser is, but i’ve also seen browser add-ons that supposedly do the same thing? Also some of them are free, but i don’t know if they actually work? And i’m also not clear on whether these require upkeep after the initial setup.

I’m also taking recommendations if you personally use a VPN you can vouch for!



(filing this under politics bc hiding my hot boys google searchs from the FBI is praxis or whatever)



I’m NOT an expert but my understanding of the basic idea is that you tunnel into a private remote machine like you might have done if you had private work servers and wfh in the past, so like with a code and some encryption and such. And then your web traffic instead of going through Comcast or whoever directly, instead goes straight to the private remote machine / server cluster / whatever and bounces around a bunch before going out into the general web (and that layer between you and the web is what protects you if you want privacy).

I have one for interacting with Sony because they require you to have a static IP, and one thing my VPN (NordVPN) does is let you pay extra to own a static IP they manage for you. So I can log into the VPN with special settings, and instead of giving me a random IP like usual, they give me the one I own.

NordVPN has an app you download and if you want to connect through their VPN, you just like open it and log in and flip a switch and it redirects all your traffic for you. It’s easy and good and I guess I’d recommend it? But also it does cost money and it’s not like I’ve tried the competition at all so :man_shrugging:

I have no idea whether browser add-ons can do what a downloaded application apparently can in rerouting your internet connection. I wouldn’t be super surprised, but I’m also a rube who sees new technology things they don’t understand and just quietly goes along with it.



Well i bought it because it wasn’t that expensive all things considered & it having solid (hopefully) mobile apps on top of the windows one is p sweet, if i end up having a bad experience i’ll drag u to hell with me.

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