You may have faced the technology term Virtual Private Network, otherwise known as a VPN.
To those who are unfamiliar, this term sounds overwhelming, and most people question whether they even need it, but believe it or not, the answer to the question Do I Need a VPN? is yes, everyone needs one. In short, a VPN ensures the safety and privacy of your data on the Internet. VPNs give you the amazing ability to encrypt all that you do online at the click of a button to shield your data against third-parties such as governments agencies, advertisers, ISPs, and cyber goons.
Why Do I Need a VPN?
There are several reasons to use a VPN like making your data secure, ensuring online anonymity, circumventing internet censorship, unlocking restricted content and more.
1. Make Your Online Data Secure
Your data is never safe online, regardless of where you are. Be it your workplace, public Wi-Fi, school or home network, you cannot discount the security threats that are growing every passing year.
You may opt to continue with your online activities like social networking, remote working, shopping or online banking, without knowing that your private data could easily be intercepted and stolen by any cybercriminal.
With a VPN, you can protect your data easily by encrypting it. Encrypted connections are used to ensure the integrity of your data while transmitting it. As a result, you get to use the internet from any network with complete peace of mind.
TL;DR: Your data is encrypted and no website can see what’s being transmitted.
2. Don’t Let Anyone Track What You Do Online
Monitoring has become common practice on the Internet. It is not always cybercriminals who are after your data. Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and government agencies also want to know what you do or what you browse on the internet.
More particularly, government agencies want to keep an eye on everything their citizens are doing online. Although they justify these surveillance activities citing “national defense” concerns, you don’t have any way of knowing that it doesn’t involve any malicious practice.
Here, a VPN saves you from the troubles of monitoring and surveillance by helping you anonymize your online activities. Not only is your data encrypted but also you are assigned an anonymous IP, which keeps your online privacy intact.
TL;DR: Your ISP or local government won’t know what you’re doing or be able to track you.
3. Avoid Censorship on the Internet
China and Russia are not the only countries that practice internet censorship. There are some other countries which also implement censorship laws, such as Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia, and North Korea.
Censorship reduces our access to the Internet. In China, for instance, netizens cannot access services like Facebook and Google, to name a few. Likewise, in the UAE, you cannot access many popular VoIP applications.
The good news is that you can overcome censorship with the use of a virtual private network. Using it, you can instantly spoof your IP and location to experience a free and open Internet unlike ever before.
TL;DR: A VPN can virtually transport you to another country where there is no censorship.
4. Get Around Content Restrictions
Censorships and filters aren’t the only restrictions that you may face online. Even if your country doesn’t have any censorship laws or your school and workplace is without web filters, you can face roadblocks in enjoying your favorite content due to regional-limitations set by your streaming service.
Netflix US, Hulu US, Sky Go Live, ABC iView, ZDF, Spotify and hundreds of other streaming channels and services implement geo-fencing policies to restrict specific countries from broadcasting certain content.
One of the most common examples is Netflix’s US library which cannot be accessed outside the US. But with a VPN, it gets pretty easy to circumvent such restrictions and watch the content you want from anywhere.
TL;DR: A VPN will let you access content that is accessible only to specific geographies, like Netflix’s United States catalog.
Advantages & Disadvantages of Using a VPN
- Hides your real identity
- Helps you circumvent region-locked content
- Protect your online data
- Bypasses firewalls and even bandwidth throttling
- Helps you get around online price discrimination (increased prices based on your perceived location
- Using an unreliable VPN can put your privacy in danger
- Some VPN services can slow down the overall speed
- Some VPNs can get banned because of anti-VPN tools
- Top-tier VPN services are pricey
When Do I Need a VPN?
1. Net Neutrality
Net Neutrality is imperative if you want to enjoy an unbiased internet experience in your country. However, the FCC doesn’t want the US netizens to enjoy Net Neutrality, which is why they are going to great lengths to abolish it.
With the Net Neutrality repeal, internet users have been experiencing severe blocks of speeds, higher fees, and other such problems. All in all, the internet as we know it has drastically changed.
However, VPNs are one such tool that can allow users to circumvent network congestions and experience a faster internet. You can say goodbye to Net Neutrality with a VPN.
2. Investigative Journalism
Investigative journalism is serious work, which even puts the lives of the journalists themselves, their sources, and whistleblowers at risk. Journalists who are reporting from conflict zones are always in need of a tool that can allow them to remain anonymous on the internet. Moreover, the tool should also be capable of keeping their data secure and private.
VPN services can help journalists to ensure total security of their data and the integrity of their sources. It can save them from potential leaks that could end up in exposing themselves and their sources.
What Should I Look For in a Reliable VPN?
For starters, a reliable VPN provider should offer a “log-less” service, which means that your activities are not saved to the VPN server at all. After all, privacy and security is the primary reason for using a VPN and the provider should not have any way to trace what you do online when you’re on the provider. Secondly, it should offer protection against IPv6 leaks (disabling IPv6 traffic), DNS leaks (revealing your DNS to an ISP), and WebRTC leaks (exposing your IP address via your browser’s WebRTC functionality).
Most important, it should boast features that let you enjoy round-the-clock data protection, data privacy, online freedom and, not to mention, the fastest streaming.
Frequently Asked Questions
The following are some commonly asked questions about using VPNs:
Do I Need a VPN at Home?
Yes, a VPN can keep you safe from other threats and provide access to restricted content, among other things
How Does a VPN Work at Home?
A VPN always functions the same way, no matter what purpose you’re using it for. What it does is encrypt your traffic and mask your IP address. The result? You get to experience a safer and restriction-free Internet.
What Happens if I Don’t Use a VPN?
If you don’t use a VPN, your entire Internet connection remains unencrypted. This enables interested third-parties such as ISPs, advertisers, and cybercriminals to intercept your data and use it to pursue their agendas.