Research shows that in 2019 there were more data breaches in the UK than ever before. Using a VPN (Virutal Private Network) goes along way in ensuring your online connection stays private thus reducing your virtual footprint significantly – but to solve the “how do I know if my VPN is working?” conundrum and to ensure the VPN is protecting as you browse the internet, shop online, access your favourite social media websites or check your online banking status we must be thorough in our due VPN diligence!
In our free PC PowerZone UK VPN guide we aim to help you in both checking you have the best VPN for you, check to see if its working properly and also explain how you change your VPN on your PC browser, Android or Apple iOS mobile device.
What is a VPN?
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is like having your own private internet connection and it adds an extra layer of security to your online activities. For example, you could be out shopping and you run out of data so you search for a free local WiFi Hotspot and click to connect but without going through a VPN first you have exposed your personal data to would be hackers who would be too glad to grab your credit card details, private photos or any other sensitive data that is stored on your mobile.
Personal VPNs are becoming more popular because of the recent data leaks from the banks, ISPs and other large companies in the UK. When you access the web through a VPN your connection location is hidden, and you have a different IP address every time you connect.
What is a Double VPN?
A double VPN is where another connection or a series of connections is added to your VPN. To explain, every time you connect through your VPN your connection is encrypted to one secure server which connects then connects to the internet.
For extra security a double VPN adds at least another encrypted server to the chain. Today, more and people are opting to use double VPNs because they are the best way to secure your online privacy; this also known as VPN chaining.
The disadvantage of using a double VPN is that sometimes connection speeds drop because of the longer connection chain. For everyday web browsing, a single VPN may be more practical but for accessing sensitive data then you should consider using a good UK based double VPN provider such as Nord.
Why You Should Use a VPN
Protecting your online activity is important and there are good reasons to connect through a VPN, these include:
1. Hiding your IP Address
With access to your IP address, hackers can determine your location and “spoof” (pretend they are accessing the internet using your IP address) your identity.
2. Eliminate Public WiFi Security Issues
Using public WiFi can be dangerous because your data is unencrypted which can be hijacked by tech bandits. By using a VPN your connection is safe and secure – modern VPNs can also be used across multiple devices such as laptops, tablets and smartphones.
3. Overcome Geo-based Streaming Rules
Want to watch US Netflix in the UK? Or stream a movie while on holiday through iPlayer only to discover you are blocked from watching? With VPNs, you can hide your real location in order to appear you are accessing the internet from the UK.
4. Help to Avoid Identity Theft
Fight back against hackers by using a VPN. Personal details can be sold online including credit card information, driver licence details and passport information. Use a VPN to protect your identity and to avoid becoming the latest victim to data thieves.
How Do I Know If My VPN Is Working? (As it Should)
Worried that your VPN is leaking your identity, IP address and location? It’s a common concern, but there are steps you can take in order to check if your VPN is working as it should.
Step by Step Instructions to Find Out if My VPN is Leaking
Firstly you should check for IP leaks by turning off your VPN, find your real IP by visiting this website. Copy the IP address displayed.
Turn on your VPN, refresh your browser and go back to the IP test website. You should see a different IP. If your IP address is the same as in step one then VPN is leaking and you should immediately contact your provider or change VPN supplier.
Step Three – DNS Leak Test
Finally, head over to this DNS Leak Test website (with your VPN turned on) and if your VPN is clean, your IP should show the country you selected and a different IP address (remember to use the extended analysis option).
How to Change Your VPN?
If you find your VPN is slow or does not have the country you want to connect from then consider changing provider. Before that it’s always best to check with your current plan. If you use a free VPN service then often the paid subscription plans only cost a few pounds each year and may be worth subscribing too.
It all depends how much you are going to use your VPN and you get what you pay for. A premium plan will often offer the most stable service, fastest connection speed and good customer service.
Five Free VPN Services You Can Try Out
We have complied the best free VPN provider list for 2019. With only 5 providers selected, there is no in-depth overload of information or fake reviews – just 5 good VPN websites you can go and visit.
NordVPN – Free 30 day trial.
Express VPN UK – Not free but 30 day money back guarantee.
TunnelBear VPN – Free to use with 500mb per month limitation.
Hotspot Shield UK VPN – 100% Free plan but with limited bandwidth.
Windscribe VPN – Free access to 10 countries and 10GB per month in the free plan.
The UK VPN marketplace is growing year-on-year and this can mean lower pricing, faster connection speed and more choice which is great news for those who want secure their online activities. How do I know if my VPN is working? – In the end, once you have done the testing as demonstrated in our three steps guide you are free to stay with your current provider or visit a competitor who can offer a better service.