A VPN or Virtual Private Network provides an encrypted tunnel between two computers on the Internet. Unlike a proxy service, once a VPN is established, all incoming and outgoing traffic between the two systems is encrypted. It therefore encrypts not only your web browsing, but also your email, IM, skype, VoIP, downloads, etc. Most importantly, your ISP, cannot log, view, or control your Internet activity whatsoever.
From the perspective of websites and other services on the Internet, when you are connected to the VPN your traffic will appear to originate from the VPN server. Therefore, if you are from the UK and connect to a US VPN server, your IP address will appear to be a US IP address. Your actual IP address and location will be completely hidden and impossible to determine unless you voluntarily give this information out.
The majority of VPN users use the service to protect their online privacy by limiting the amount of information that their ISP and other organizations are able to record. Privacy minded individuals believe they have the right to control who has access to their personal data and a VPN privacy service gives them that control.
If you use your laptop or mobile device at WiFi hotspots, hotels, or other public networks your connection is susceptible to eavesdropping by identity thieves and other hackers. A VPN service will encrypt all traffic between your device and our VPN servers thereby giving a very strong level of added protection.
In some countries, typically where there is a limited right to free speech, it is very important to be able to protect your identity or risk being severely prosecuted. A VPN service allows you to communicate online anonymously protecting your identity from being exposed.
Many countries censor content and services that are accessible from within that country. A VPN service will enable you to bypass these restrictions by connecting to a VPN server in another country. Examples of such services include Skype and Facebook.
Some companies on the Internet limit access to their content to a geographical region. A VPN service allows you to connect to a server in the target country, thereby appearing to be within that geographical region, giving you full access to the content. Examples of such services include Netflix and Hulu.