This week, we’ve been talking about VPNs. A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, creates an encrypted Internet connection between two devices. Encrypted means that it’s scrambled in a way that someone who intercepted it wouldn’t be able to decipher the data. The data can only be deciphered on the other end. Kind of like speaking in a code that only you and the person on the other end of the line understand.

ISPs usually charge an additional monthly fee for a VPN and there are multiple paid subscription VPN services. ProtonVPN offers both paid and free versions of their services. It works for Windows, Mac, Linux, Chromebook, Android, and smart TVs.

The free version is good for one device and it can make it appear that you’re accessing the Internet from the United States, Netherlands, or Japan. If you upgrade to the paid service, there’s an option for 55 countries and up to 10 devices.

Just head over to their website at https://protonvpn.com/free-vpn and click on Get ProtonVPN Free.

Choose the free plan.

Create an account by providing your username, password, and email address.

Choose a verification method. Then enter the code you receive via text or email.

Then select which type of device you’d like to download the files for. Choose Windows, Android, Mac, Chromebooks, and even your smart TV. Having a VPN on a smart TV may allow you to watch programming from other countries that you’d normally be blocked from.

Once you choose your configurations, you can download the app.

When the file shows up in your downloads folder, click to launch.

Follow the instructions from the Setup Wizard.

Log into your account. If you like, you can choose to have the VPN start when you start your device, but that can slow things down.

The dashboard will open.

To connect via VPN, click on Quick Connect.

It’ll take a moment to connect.

You’ll be able to view your connection on the map.

With the free version, you can also connect via Japan and the Netherlands.

Keep in mind that the farther away the server, the slower the conneciton.

Just click Disconnect when you’re finished.