Everything you need to know about VPNs (including whether you need one)

VPN.nl, recommends, free VPN, have reviewed

Photo: Depositphotos.com

You have probably heard about VPNs and maybe you have even been thinking about getting one for yourself. But how much do you really know about how they work in the Netherlands? Here are five key questions and answers to help you get started.

1 What is a VPN?

VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. It is a tool that enhances the privacy and security of internet users.

‘A VPN essentially does two things,’ says Koen Kuijper from VPN.nl. ‘First of all, it encrypts everything you send and receive over the internet. This means it is really difficult for other (unwanted) parties to intercept your online data, especially when using public Wi-Fi.

Secondly, a VPN swaps your real IP-address with a new one, so your online actions are virtually untraceable.’

Without a VPN, your internet service provider (ISP) has a record of the websites you have visited. But when you use a VPN, your web activity is linked with the VPN server’s IP-address, instead of yours.

Here is a one minute video explainer

2 What are the advantages to a foreign national in the Netherlands with using a VPN service?

The main reason people choose a VPN is to protect and anonymise their online activities, such as sending e-mails, online shopping, paying bills, streaming and downloading content.

‘But there are also specific advantages for expats or international students in The Netherlands,’ Kuijper says. ‘Changing your IP-address means you can virtually travel to another part of the world. So essentially, a VPN lets expats browse the internet from their home country, as if they had never left. Travelling to another virtual location also means you can bypass local censorship and stream movies and series anywhere you go.’

3 Isn’t there something dodgy about using a VPN? Why would someone with nothing to hide use one?

Edward Snowden once remarked: ‘saying that you don’t care about privacy because you have nothing to hide, is like saying you don’t care about free speech because you have nothing to say.’

There is nothing dodgy about using a VPN for surfing the web, streaming or gaming. It is completely legal. In fact, a Dutch government initiative recommends the use of a VPN for self-protection, especially when connected to a public Wi-Fi network.

Nevertheless, it is good to mention that using a VPN for downloading and sharing copyrighted material is illegal. So having a VPN is a little bit like owning a gun in Texas –  only use it for self-protection.

4 Should I choose a free VPN?

We all like a free online service, and the same can be said for a VPN. However, there are many untrustworthy free VPNs out there. Some may even sell your search data, while others simply do not work properly.

In other words: ‘If you are not paying for it, you’re not the customer; you’re actually the product being sold.’

There are a handful of reliable free VPN providers, like Proton or Hide.me. But even with these, there could be a data cap, preventing you from using the free service without restrictions. Moreover, you are likely to experience performance issues when using a free VPN.

In general, free VPNs are not an optimal solution, so definitely consider paying for a good service. A four or five star VPN shouldn’t set you back more than €3 to €5 per month. Keep in mind that prices go down considerably when choosing a one or two year plan. Moreover, all providers offer a 30-days-money back guarantee, so you can test their services without spending a penny.

5 What are the main things to look out for when choosing a VPN?

There are a few things to look out for when choosing a (paid) VPN-provider.

‘Privacy is key. So make sure you choose a provider with a no-logs policy,’ says Kuijper. ‘Secondly, it is smart to get a VPN with its head office in a country with favourable privacy laws, like Switzerland, Panama, Romania, Malaysia or the British Virgin Islands.’

Other important aspects to take into account include:

  • Speed: how is the performance when browsing, streaming and downloading?
  • Ease of use: are the apps easy to use on your laptop and smartphone?
  • Tech support: is there a 24/7 live chat to help you with any issues you may have?
  • Server list: a decent VPN lets you choose from a huge list of servers, spread over at least 50 different countries. Make sure it has one in the Netherlands and your home country.
  • Device support: some providers have no limit to the amount of devices you can link to one VPN-account, whilst others prevent you from connecting more than five or six devices.

Finally, don’t forget to take a look at the available payment options that the VPN providers offer. Most of them support iDEAL, credit card and PayPal. But if privacy is your top concern, you will likely want to search a provider that allows you to pay anonymously using cash or a crypto currency, like bitcoin.

To make choosing a VPN a bit easier, there are several comparison sites that have reviewed all the popular providers for you.

Internet Explorer Channel Network
News Related

OTHER NEWS

The Chic Home: Five-room HDB flat blends luxe elements for timeless appeal

The square layout and high floor with unobstructed views ticked all the right boxes for these homeowners. SINGAPORE – Two business consultancy owners, who want to be known only as ... Read more »

'Art transcends race': Paris Opera Ballet's first Asian etoile ballerina

Sae Eun Park is the first Asian ballerina to reach the top etoile rank in the Paris Opera Ballet’s 352-year history. SEOUL: When Sae Eun Park auditioned for the world's ... Read more »

Fit and fun Active venues to get the adrenaline going

Since the government has eased restrictions for all sports venues in Bangkok, many are eager to get back on the fitness track. Besides the obvious go-to gyms, there are alternative ... Read more »

Less is more La Scala welcomes a new chef and cooking style

Chef Eugenio Cannoni. (Photos: LA SCALA SUKHOTHAI) A few courses into chef Eugenio Cannoni's first tasting menu at La Scala and you'll notice that each dish is monochromatic. But that ... Read more »

Pandemic leads to epidemic The Covid-19 crisis has led to a rapid rise in household trash, including problematic contaminated waste. How the city addresses this may determine Bangkok's future

Bangkok, as the city that generates the highest amount of waste per day in Thailand, saw over 2.2 million tonnes of trash in 2018, according to figures from the Department ... Read more »

A new generation slasher Netflix's There Is Someone Inside Your House is meant for Gen Z audiences but it suffers from a lack of originality and is too predictable

Théodore Pellerin as Oliver ‘Ollie’ Larsson in There’s Someone Inside Your House. DAVID BUKACH/NETFLIX Recycling stories isn't new but common practice in Hollywood. However, it seems to be the main ... Read more »

Time is not on anybody's side Making its Asian premiere in Busan, Jakrawal Nilthamrong's new film is a study of old age and the unstoppable march of time

A scene from Anatomy Of Time. There's the anatomy — the bone and the flesh, supple or flaccid. Then there's time, the cruellest judge of all. In Jakrawal Nilthamrong's Anatomy ... Read more »

Sühring makes World's 50 Best Restaurants list

Sühring restaurant in Bangkok has been named No.40 on the 2021 World's 50 Best Restaurants list, the highest entry from Thailand this year. Celebrated last week in Antwerp, Belgium, the ... Read more »

Double time Chopard's Alpine Eagle Cadence 8HF beats with a high-frequency heart

Alpine Eagle Cadence 8HF in titanium. In 2012 Chopard played a pioneering role in commercialising the world's first chronometer-certified timepiece oscillating at a frequency of 8Hz, for achieving a higher ... Read more »

Torque Shop: Driving a car with worn engine mountings will cause other parts to deteriorate

A car engine with a faulty fuel or ignition system will not run smoothly. My car has recently begun to feel rough. It has lost its smoothness during idling and ... Read more »

Cultural Medallion batik artist Sarkasi Said, 81, dies from kidney failure

Mr Sarkasi Said used batik techniques in groundbreaking new ways to create contemporary art. SINGAPORE – Cultural Medallion recipient Sarkasi Said died on Thursday evening (Oct 14) of kidney failure. He ... Read more »

Butterball recalls more than 14,000 pounds of ground turkey for possible blue plastic bits

Turkey processor Butterball is recalling more than 14,100 pounds of ground turkey because the meat may be contaminated with pieces of blue plastic. The Mount Olive, N.C.-based company said the ... Read more »

Trans Netflix staff plan walkout over Chappelle special

Dave Chappelle, 48, has been accused of transphobia over Netflix specials including “The Closer”. LOS ANGELES: Transgender Netflix employees are planning a walkout to protest a Dave Chappelle comedy special ... Read more »

New cocoa fruit drink to make hot chocolate a has bean

Typically, 70 percent of the cacao fruit including the peel, pulp and juice are discarded, with just the beans used to make chocolate. THE HAGUE: Forget hot chocolate: a cold ... Read more »

Snack on the fiery flavours of Thailand Let your culinary imagination run wild with Ging Grai's gourmet popcorn

Popcorn has over the years evolved from a run-of-the-mill snack to gourmet delicacy. It is now offered with imaginative flavours — savoury and sweet. Fine restaurants in big cities wordwide ... Read more »

Jonah Hill asks fans, followers to 'not comment on my body': It 'doesn't feel good'

Jonah Hill this week asked fans, followers and others to “not comment on my body,” explaining that it’s “not helpful and doesn’t feel good.” “I know you mean well but ... Read more »

Banksy's shredded artwork 'Love is in the Bin' sells for a record $25.4 million at auction

LONDON— A work by British street artist Banksy that sensationally self-shredded just after it sold at auction three years ago fetched 18.5 million pounds ($25.4 million) on Thursday, a record ... Read more »

What's the deal with WitchTok? We spoke to creators bringing magic to TikTok.

Kiley Mann was 10 when she was gifted her first set of runes, a Nordic divination tool, which sparked a lifelong journey into witchcraft. “I’ve been studying spirituality and religion ... Read more »

Barnacles are famed for not budging. But one species roams its sea turtle hosts

Barnacles aren’t exactly renowned for their athleticism, staying glued in place for much of their lives. But turtle-riding barnacles are fidgety travelers. As adults, the turtle barnacles (Chelonibia testudinaria) can ... Read more »

Life Weekend Picks Podcast: What are Singaporeans' top picks among countries on Vaccinated Travel scheme?

Three women wearing traditional hanbok dress walk on a pavement in Seoul. Life Weekend Picks Ep 140: What are Singaporeans’ top picks among countries on Vaccinated Travel scheme? 7:53 mins ... Read more »

Food Picks: Home-style Taiwanese fare, Japanese food delivery

Vermicelli With Oyster and Egg Seaweed Soup at Nan Tai Eating House (left) and Vegetable Roll from En Brace. Hearty Taiwanese fare For simple home-style Taiwanese food, head to Nan ... Read more »

Rapper C. Tangana's saucy clip in Spain cathedral stokes scandal

The music video was filmed inside Toledo cathedral near Madrid and released last Friday (Oct 8). MADRID (AFP) – A steamy music video featuring erotic dancing and pixelated nudity inside ... Read more »

Movie review: Venom: Let There Be Carnage pumps action to ridiculous levels

Venom: Let There Be Carnage starring Tom Hardy. Venom: Let There Be Carnage (PG13) 98 minutes, now showing, 2 stars The first movie in 2018 was a Marvel flick that ... Read more »

Style News: The Paper Bunny's first store, Sigi Skin launches new skincare

The Paper Bunny’s first physical store is located at Takashimaya Shopping Centre. The Paper Bunny opens first physical store After eight years as an online-only business, home-grown stationery and lifestyle ... Read more »

Film picks: Japanese Film Festival, German Film Festival, Respect

Still from the film Beyond The Infinite Two Minutes. Japanese Film Festival 2021 This year’s edition of this film calendar staple will include online question-and-answer sessions with seven film-makers after ... Read more »

My Perfect Weekend with Zerrin's Susannah Jaffer

Ms Susannah Jaffer is a former magazine editor turned media. Who: Britain-born Susannah Jaffer, 30, is a former magazine editor turned media and e-commerce entrepreneur who is behind home-grown retail and ... Read more »

Rolling Stones drop hit 'Brown Sugar' from US tour

Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones perform in St. Louis, Missouri during the British rock band’s “No Filter” 2021 North American tour. NEW YORK: The Rolling Stones have cut their ... Read more »

Modern house of learning Silpakorn University has spent the big bucks to give its library a design makeover while maintaining the old architecture

Silpakorn University Central Library is promoting itself as a boundless learning space by offering a virtual tour of its new design. Photo: CHAYAPHOL PARACHART After pouring 680 million baht into ... Read more »

All about the colours Marc Jacobs collection is statement of self-expression

Marc Jacobs pop-up store at Central Chidlom. Photos courtesy of Marc Jacobs Located on Central Chidlom's 1st Floor, the Marc Jacobs pop-up store is all about colours. The retail space ... Read more »

A perfect marriage Gucci's centennial underscores connection between fashion and music

What's in common among Saweetie's Icy Girl, Sister Sledge's He's The Greatest Dancer, and Big Daddy Kane's I'll Take You There? Gucci appears in the lyrics of these numbers as ... Read more »

Mahanakhon SkyWalk is back for the brave

Chiva Som in Hua Hin, Prachuap Khiri Khan. Photo: Pongpet Mekloy King Power Mahanakhon recently reopened its service, welcoming visitors back to the Mahanakhon SkyWalk, Thailand's highest observation deck on ... Read more »

Apichatpong exhibition examines violence in Thailand

A deserted cinema in Kalasin province. photo courtesy of Apichatpong Weerasethakul The 100 Tonson Foundation is holding “A Minor History”, a two-part exhibition based on award-winning filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul's latest ... Read more »

See the khon dance through the lens

Moca Bangkok presents “Khon+Future”, a charitable photograpy exhibition that portrays khon artists from the Support Foundation, until Nov 6. A photo by Kanrapee Chokpaiboon. photo: Kanrapee Chokpaiboon Held to promote ... Read more »

Lessons learned from the October uprising

Sutham Sangprathum shares his thoughts about the Oct 14, 1973, uprising with Prachathipatai newspaper. Photos: Thana Boonlert When the Oct 14, 1973, uprising culminated in the collapse of the military ... Read more »

Blackpink will no longer accept gifts from fans, only handwritten letters allowed

Blackpink’s management agency said that the group had been weighing the matter for a long time. SEOUL – K-pop mega girl group Blackpink will no longer accept gifts from fans, ... Read more »

Host Pornsak doesn't worry about growing old now that he has his TCM licence

SINGAPORE – Host Pornsak Prajakwit, who obtained his licence to practise as a traditional Chinese medicine physician in April, has opened up about growing old in the entertainment industry. The ... Read more »

White Marvel Comics' editor wrote under a Japanese persona. Coworker quits over the news

A Marvel Comics editor-in-chief once posed as a Japanese man and wrote dozens of comics for the company using a fake Japanese name. Now, he’s being called out by a ... Read more »

‘A pleasure to have in class': Does being a teacher's pet set you up for failure?

When kids at Phil Stamper’s middle school got in trouble, their names were written on the chalkboard. Stamper aimed to never have his name go up there — his mom ... Read more »

Huge numbers of fish-eating jaguars prowl Brazil's wetlands

In a tract of central Brazilian wetlands, jaguars spend their days wading through chest-deep waters searching for fish. When not hunting, the big cats playfully grapple with each other back ... Read more »

Accused of bullying: Night Owl Cinematics' Sylvia Chan says sorry for 'harsh' language

Night Owl Cinematics’ co-founder and chief executive officer Sylvia Chan apologised in a statement released on Oc 13. SINGAPORE – Night Owl Cinematics’ (NOC) co-founder and chief executive Sylvia Chan ... Read more »