What is a VPN?

VPN stands for Virtual Private Network.

It secures devices connected to the internet with end-to-end encryption, preventing man-in-the-middle attacks.

Information transferred between your devices and the internet (and vice-versa) is encrypted from prying eyes. Every device has an IP (internet protocol) address, which identifies each device using a unique string of numbers. It is a standard system used across the world. It is your IP address (identifying your geographical location) which allows or restricts access to certain websites on your devices.


Why do you need a VPN?

The internet is not as safe as it could be. Today’s internet is the digital Wild West.

A VPN hides online activity from hackers, spies, internet service providers (ISPs), and governments. For many users, the best feature of a VPN is fooling an online service you’re in a particular country.

For instance, if you’re outside the UK, you will have trouble accessing BBC iPlayer.

If you use Netflix, some shows will only stream in certain geographical locations.

Some countries block websites/apps such as Google, WhatsApp, BBC, and social media.

VPNs are used for reasons including:

  • protecting devices and data when using open or public Wi-Fi
  • accessing sites which are blocked in a particular country
  • hiding from regimes restricting freedom of speech, monitoring online discussions, and/or opposing political ideology
  • surfing the web without being under constant surveillance (think NSA & GCHQ. Thank you, Edward Snowden).

For many of us, our biggest concern is not evading government surveillance or protecting our freedom of speech.

Instead, for those who travel and work internationally, we need to protect ourselves when using public and/or open Wi-Fi networks. Socially, our main concern is ensuring we can access favourite programmes on BBC iPlayer, Netflix, HBO, or watch YouTube animal videos.

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Benefits of using a VPN

A VPN helps users access online services, no matter where they are in the world.

However, VPNs are not created equal. Each has its strengths and, depending on a user’s requirements, their unique selling points will help you choose.

NordVPN is perfect for streaming Netflix (some series only stream in certain regions).

We are currently using ExpressVPN to stream the 2020 Euros via BBC iPlayer and ITV Hub (whilst in Vietnam).


Is a VPN legal?

VPNs are legal in most countries. Individuals and businesses have used VPNs for years.

However, a number of countries have banned VPNs; including China, Russia and Turkey.

Our advice is to research the country you’re visiting, as ignorance is no defence.

As a foreigner using a VPN, you’re unlikely to get in trouble if you’re caught using one.

What you access via the VPN is what will get you into trouble, should you get caught. This will only happen if a VPN provider keeps logs. Streaming Game of Thrones or watching cat videos on YouTube is unlikely to call the attention of authorities, should they have access to VPN data logs.


How do you use a VPN?

Investigate your options. Choose a VPN. Sign-up.

Download & install a VPN on your device/s.

Select a server in the country you want to appear as if you’re in i.e. the UK for the BBC.

Use the internet as normal. That’s it. Simples.

How do you use a VPN?

It depends what is important to you.

It could be ease-of-use, price, speed, accessing a particular platform, or customer support. jigsaw kloud has researched and tested numerous VPNs.

We’ve whittled the many VPNs down to 3; based on our experience, and online reviews.

VPN ExpressVPNNordVPNIPVanish
Best forBBC iPlayerNetflixKodi
#Devices36 10
Free Trial30 days3 days 7 days
Refund30 days30 days 7 days
Zero logsYesYesYes
Support24/724/7 24/7
12 Mths$8.32/mth$4.92/mth$2.67/mth

VPN’s that didn’t quite make the Top 3: CyberGhost, PureVPN, TunnelBear, ZenMate, Hide My Ass, VyprVPN, and HotSpot.

WindScribe (10GB/mth) and ProtonVPN


Disclaimer: If you click a link and buy a VPN, we may receive a commission. We contacted VPNs after our research to ensure fairness.