Without a VPN device, everything you do on the web and social media can be traced back to your device using your internet address.

It is identified, by international convention, by the letters IP.

This address, which is a series of unique numbers, linked to your connected device, can reveal the physical location of your computer or smartphone with the possibility of locating you in real time.

But when you're connected through a VPN, your internet activity is encrypted and your real IP address is hidden.

No one can see who you are or the nature of your online activities, not even ISPs, authorities monitoring your connection, or hackers in a rush to steal your personal information.

► To read also: Mali: how to continue to listen to RFI and watch France 24?

he only thing that an ISP or a state surveillance authority can see is the existence of encrypted data traffic between a computer server located, for example, in another region of the world and an unidentified device in your country.

While dozens of countries censor web content, the only way to circumvent these restrictions is to use VPN networks to access blocked websites. 

VPN: how to 

To install VPN software on your machine, you must first ask yourself the right questions.

A VPN for what?

And what will be my use: is it to download files, consult blocked sites, follow live television or radio broadcasts on the Web?

Once your usage has been determined, you must, first of all, choose your VPN solution provider carefully, according to your Internet browsing needs.

While there are a plethora of very effective paid VPNs that still require a monthly subscription, some of these software are free.

But be careful… None of these programs offer satisfactory levels of protection.

Worse, most of the creators of this free software make a living from data trading, selling your login information to third-party companies or states.

Most free offers are clearly scams, with the added bonus of installing spyware or ransomware without your knowledge.  

ProtonVPN, the best of free  

One exception to the lackluster landscape of free VPNs is ProtonVPN from the Swiss company Proton Technologies AG, which is also known for its ProtonMail encrypted messaging system.

To install the software in its free version, nothing could be simpler.

On the official page of the Proton site, you click on the button in the center of your screen "Get ProtonVPN now", which will direct you to a pricing page where the free offer is obviously listed.

To download the software, you must register, providing a valid user name, password and e-mail address.

You will then receive an acceptance code to activate your account.

Once you have completed all these steps, ProtonVPN will automatically open for immediate use, or if not, you can click "Quick Connect".

ProtonVPN's interface is very pleasant, intuitive and clear, just follow the instructions that appear on your screen. 

Advantages and disadvantages of VPNs 

What are the advantages and disadvantages of this VPN in its free version?

The security settings offered by the software are excellent and guarantee, in particular, the non-conservation of logs [or journal] on the remote computer servers installed by the Swiss company.

Remember that a log file is used to store a history of digital events on a server, computer or application.

This "log" which is in the form of a file, or equivalent, lists and timestamps, for example, everything that an Internet user has done during his navigation.

In addition, the encryption process used by ProtonVPN is of military quality by using a standard considered to be the most advanced in the world (and which is called AES 256 bits for information only for computer security enthusiasts).  

On the downside, ProtonVPN does not shine with the number of protected servers the Swiss company has, which will significantly slow down your access to Internet pages.

It should be clarified that the connection speed to a VPN server is one of the most important parameters to take into account when using this type of software.

This online browsing speed largely depends on the number of servers you have access to.

To put it simply: the more numerous and well distributed they are in the world, the more fluid your Internet browsing will be by reducing latency times during it.

And it is in this specific area, with a limited number of computer servers, that ProtonVPN shows weakness, posting very disappointing connection speeds.

Moreover, the free version of the software offers only one possible connection per subscription, the one that has been certified with your email address.

It is up to you to choose wisely the device on which you are going to install it.

The program does not work for viewing online TV programs, especially those broadcast by Netflix.

Finally, some countries such as China, Russia or Turkey block the online installation of this VPN and its use is a criminal offence, under the law and according to the telecom regulatory authorities in these countries.

Free or paid, choose your VPN according to your uses 

It should be noted that the premium, and therefore paid, offers of proton VPN add multiple functionalities to the free device.

They are, of course, very efficient, but excessively expensive, which de facto excludes a large number of users.

Comparatively, the VPNs of the competition display at a lower price much superior services included by default in their formulas which will unblock any inaccessible platforms and Web content, regardless of the country in which you reside.

These subscription VPNs like ExpressVPN, CyberGhot or NordVPN have been designed for intensive use of the Internet with optimal connection speeds.

All these software also offer free testing of their paid solutions for a minimum of thirty days.

The summary of the

France 24 week invites you to come back to the news that marked the week

I subscribe

Take international news everywhere with you!

Download the France 24 app