The digital age has not only made life faster and easier but has also added some challenges. Browsing the Internet alone is unsafe due to the increased risk of cyberattacks and threats to sensitive data on our devices.
A VPN has therefore emerged as the best way to reduce cybercrime. It allows Internet users to browse privately and helps unlock blocked content from other regions. Not only this, but it is also perfect for remote job workers that need to create a secure home working environment.
Using a VPN for browsing is becoming increasingly popular due to its vast added benefits. If you are interested in knowing how a VPN can benefit you, you are in the right spot. Today, we shall look at several advantages of a VPN to determine whether it is the right tool for you. Let’s get started!
Should I Get A VPN?
Before we jump into a list of VPN benefits, you need to know whether you need a VPN at all.
You will require a VPN if you cherish online privacy and wish to stay anonymous while surfing the Internet. A VPN also blocks your ISP or Internet Service Provider from viewing your surfing history.
Plus, if you have loads of confidential or sensitive data on your PC, you may want to protect it from cyberattacks by using a VPN.
A VPN encrypts the Internet connection and data while allowing you to view restricted content from other regions, whether at home or traveling.
Decide whether you need a VPN based on the following:
- Do you have a remote job?
- Do you feel safe browsing the Internet without any online privacy?
- Do you use public WiFi often?
- Do you travel often?
- Do you have confidential/sensitive data stored on your devices?
- Do you have any other security or privacy concerns?
What Is A VPN?
A Virtual Private Network or VPN encrypts data transmitted from one point to another on the Internet.
It prevents data from being exposed to the World Wide Web and keeps search history anonymous. VPNs are commonly used for geolocation spoofing, anonymous online activity, downloading files safely, increasing browsing speed, and even preventing your ISP from tracking your searches.
People may need to use a Virtual Private Network for various reasons. These include:
- Preventing cyberattacks
- Working remotely
- Accessing content from other countries
- Keeping office data or network safe
How Does A VPN Function?
A VPN establishes a connection between two points or devices. When a VPN is turned on, it connects your PC, mobile, or another device to a remote server.
Your smart devices use information passed on from the server to browse the Internet instead of surfing directly.
When certain websites track user data for information, they will only see the server’s information rather than the actual device’s settings.
Benefits Of Using A VPN Service
Now that you know what a VPN is, how it functions and whether you need to invest in a VPN service, it is time to shed light on the advantages of a VPN.
VPNs are suitable for both personal and office use. They are great for employees who need a secure home connection to access workplace computers, data, and software safely from anywhere in the world.
VPNs, therefore, are great tools for corporate networks as they help ward off hackers and data breaches. Let us look at the advantages of using a VPN service for both personal and professional use:
Anonymity And Privacy
While using a VPN server, the information of your network will stay hidden and the information of the server you have connected to via the VPN will be shown instead.
This disguise helps a user browse and surf the Internet anonymously without revealing their true location.
Hackers looking to steal credentials and confidential data are thrown off. Even third parties cannot access secure or sensitive data on a user’s device or network.
Applications and websites are unable to capture user data as the web browser automatically restricts access while using a VPN. Some VPNs also provide military-grade 256-bit encryption, which makes data transfers highly secure.
Access Geo-Locked Content
Most popular websites that offer services like movie and TV show streaming offer different content for different locations. You can access content only available at a specific location without any hassle through a VPN.
A VPN connection appears to be coming from the server you choose while turning it on which automatically makes websites think you are present in the region.
A VPN service changes the IP address of your connection to allow you to enjoy all forms of entertainment. However, check out the Terms of Service and other agreement notices before accessing restricted content.
Some countries and regions ban VPNs, which can cause you to face penalties.
Apart from website access to streaming services like Netflix, VPN providers also aid in watching sports with geographical restrictions.
Perfect For Remote Employees
Companies and businesses nowadays use network connections to keep all employees connected, especially those working remotely.
With many employees gaining access to corporate networks, data, and confidential information via Internet activity from all across the globe, the risk of data breaches is higher.
Anyone using the same public WiFi network as a remote employee can easily gain unauthorized access to a company’s intranet if a VPN is not used.
Losing data and information can cause a severe blow to a company’s reputation and can cause them to lose valuable information to competitors. Therefore, VPN services for business networks are perfect for hiding real data behind dummy information.
Save Money While Shopping
Online shopping can be super fun and becomes more so through VPN providers. Many shopping websites track user information, including hotels and airlines, to show higher prices for some regions.
Some eCommerce sites may also use shady pricing tactics to sell the same product for different prices in different regions. Since a VPN is often free or very cheap to use, having to pay for it instead of expensive hotel rooms, flights and products is worth it.
A VPN prevents automated algorithms behind these certain websites from distinguishing whether you are a frequent buyer, first-time, and where you are based. Assumptions based on geolocation, socioeconomic status, and shopping habits are also ruled out.
The best part is that a VPN also protects credit card information from being stolen when you use a VPN to shop. Personal data is also kept secure which prevents identity theft.
Affordable Security Solution
With tons of security solutions already available and new ones emerging regularly, it can get quite difficult to pick the right ones for use. The latest software and firewalls often offer pretty expensive packages.
Some may even cause added errors instead of handling existing issues. With free VPN services, however, costly monitoring charges, licensing fees, and other hidden costs can be eliminated.
A VPN cannot scan for malware or block hackers from connecting to your devices, but it can make you invisible online to bring about a similar effect. Intruders are automatically thrown off without real knowledge of where your system lies.
Maintaining added servers and using third-party party SaaS software can bring about additional costs for a company. Upgrading these services as a business grows causes charges to increase further. An Internet VPN does not need to be upgraded and can be used for businesses to ensure corporate network safety, reach remote employees/clients, and promote better service quality.
Enjoyable Gaming Sessions
If you have a suitable bandwidth package, gaming while having your VPN turned on can bring some great benefits.
Gaming while using a VPN can protect you from DDoS attacks and bully gamers from gaining unauthorized access to your home network.
You can also pick and switch between servers to get the best gaming speed and improve your connection. Also, some gaming facilities and titles are available in certain regions, so using a VPN means you can gain access to those to enhance the gaming experience.
Apart from video games, playing online becomes even more fun, and you may even be able to start playing games that will be released later in your own country.
Avoid Bandwidth And Data Throttling
Have you noticed that certain sites load up slower at certain times, or some fail to load? This may be due to bandwidth throttling.
Generally, Internet Service Providers are responsible for this as they have administrative access to your network. Any restrictions they make can cause the Internet speed to slow down significantly.
A VPN encrypts Internet traffic so your ISP cannot see what you are doing on the Internet. Disguising web traffic and search history prevents data throttling, increasing Internet speed. This is because your ISP will not be able to set a data cap based on your bandwidth usage or how much data has been used.
Prevents Censorship While Traveling
Countries that restrict access to certain sites and social media apps can make travel super boring. Using a VPN unblocks restrictions by spoofing your traffic.
However, ensure a VPN is legal to use in the country you are traveling to prevent penalties.
More Affordable Calling And Network Lines
Long-distance call charges can raise your bill alarmingly. A VPN can help you connect to your local ISP point instead of remote servers and dial-up networks to reduce call charges significantly.
Using a VPN can be great for businesses too. A company can easily bypass network capacity lines to establish strong connections between offices using public infrastructure instead. More affordable local connections and broadband lines through a local ISP help reduce network maintenance costs.
Stop ISP Tracking
Your Internet Service Provider or ISP not only tracks users’ online activity but can also use data obtained through connections to make money. They may sell your information and browsing data to government agencies, advertising departments, and even third parties without your consent.
Your data could also be sold for other reasons but it is still a breach of online privacy. In some countries, ISPs are allowed to sell your data legally, while in others, they can store your online activities without being penalized.
A Virtual Private Network is, therefore, great if you wish to block ISP tracking, want online freedom, and wish to prevent identity theft, credential breaches, location leaks, and other issues.
Safe Public WiFi Usage
Are you out and about most of the time? Do you enjoy browsing at Internet cafes, libraries, and spots with public WiFi connections? Then you need VPN technology to keep your mobile and laptops secure via remote access.
Using a VPN will prevent hackers from gaining access to your data while you are out. This is especially important if you are a remote employee that makes use of public WiFi often.
Safe Online Banking
Nowadays, financial institutions and banks ask for two-factor authentication when a user logs into the mobile banking app. Some banks, however, still have not rolled out this feature which puts login credentials at risk.
Unsecure networks and public WiFi can easily cause a hacker or cybercriminal to gain confidential information which can cause a huge loss of money. A VPN prevents this.
Cons Of Using A VPN
Just like the advantages of a VPN, there are also some disadvantages of using a VPN. Let’s take a look below:
VPN Blocking Software
Websites that wish to charge customers differently for the same products/services based on the region have found out about VPNs and have launched VPN blockers.
This software blocks users from making use of VPNs to access a particular website. When users register an account on such websites, user data and IP addresses are often stored.
The VPN blocker automatically detects and compares IP addresses while you are browsing to see if the locations match. The website will automatically restrict/block access if your IP address is found to be different.
Using a VPN may sound simple, but it isn’t easy to set up. A Virtual Private Network is an encryption tunnel used to hide data. Poorly set up connections can cause data breaches.
Poor configuration can be more harmful than regular browsing as the leak makes it obvious you have something to hide. Your network and devices get extra attention from hackers, making you prone to cyberattacks.
Poor And Slow Connections
Even top VPN services can cause dropped connections, leading to disconnectivity from the Internet.
A broken connection makes your true information visible again to ISPs and other parties. If a website you were using was against your ISP’s policies, you could permanently lose your connection if detected.
VPNs also pull a certain kind of bandwidth to function, which can ultimately slow down connection speed.
A poor or dropped connection is something you would not want in the middle of an exciting game. Using a VPN could make gaming frustrating, and some gamers even believe using a VPN for matches is a bad idea.
Some countries/regions ban VPNs and have strict policies against use. Breaking rules could lead to penalties, blocked site usage, and loss of Internet connection.
A lack of encryption knowledge can cause you to invest in a VPN that is not as reliable for encrypting data. You may end up investing in a tool that is not as equipped to keep your data safe from prying eyes. Staying updated on all the latest news is your best bet.
A VPN can be a great tool, especially if you work a remote job or want to keep confidential data on your devices safe.
However, it is important to consider pricing, legislation, geolocation, and access tokens and determine if your VPN logs data before investing in one. Good luck!