VPNs — Blocking the “Other” Watchful Eye.

You. They’re looking at you.

You get it. Privacy is important, and everyone is collecting your data. Brave browser keeps the websites you visit from getting every ounce of info from you that they can, but that’s not enough

But did you know there’s another way that companies can snoop into what you’re doing online?

Your internet service provider is the company that runs the “pipe” that gets the internet from wherever it is and into your house, similar to your water provider. Without this “pipe”, whether it’s satellite or physical, you’re stuck: no connectivity, nothing for your tech toys to do, and *ugh* TV that you have to watch commercials on.

Every time you send a request to the internet it has to travel through the pipes that your Internet Service Provider has installed. And those pipes, computers really, can store information about what you’re doing. That is, unless your using a VPN.

VPNs, or Virtual Private Networks, are services that allow you to connect to someone else’s computer that you’ve paid to not snoop into your traffic. From the VPNs computer you can go anywhere you like and your ISP only knows that you’re connected to the VPNs computer.

So far all the advice I’ve given you has been free, if time consuming. This is a bit the opposite. Free VPNs do exist, but they are collecting the data that your ISP no longer gets and, you guessed it, selling it. Unless you’re in a country where internet use is restricted (China, Iran, North Korea, etc.) if you use a free VPN you’re likely to see more ads and have less privacy than you would have had before. Definitely no bueno.

The only exception to this rule, as of right now (3–30–2020) is ProtonVPN’s free VPN service. It doesn’t get you as much access as their paid plan, or as many options, but it is functional and secure. It’s the only free VPN plan that I have seen positively reviewed by privacy-focused websites.

Here is a list of the best paid VPNs

These have been ranked by speed, price, privacy, and many other items. The source is RestorePrivacy.com, which is an amazing resource if you’re interested in this more than just my daily posts.

#1: Express VPN — $6.67/month
#2: Nord VPN — $3.49/month
#3: Perfect Privacy — $8.95/month
#4: ProtonVPN — $4.00/month
#5: OVPN — $7.00/month
#6: VPNArea — $2.99/month
#7: VPN.ac — $3.75/month
#8: Trust.Zone — $2.88/month
#9: AzireVPN — 3.50/month
#10: AirVPN — $2.96

It’s a good idea to think of this as an extra “charge” on your internet bill. You’re simply paying for your internet provider to not snoop into what you’re doing.

If you want to support me, please support yourself by downloading Brave Browser (←Affiliate Link) and installing it on your computer and phone. See this article for my how-to on installing Brave.

If you already have Brave, head on over to my website and tip me a few BAT. Thanks!

Right now the world is under quarantine because of COVID-19. Make your time at home matter in the long run. I’ll do my best to publish a privacy how-to every day for the next few weeks. Follow me here on Medium, follow my Facebook page, or send me a message and tell me to start a newsletter.

Top image provided by Niv Singer on Unsplash and edited by me

Writer, coder, learner, designer, father, nerd.