Several years back, these VPNs were seen as cool online tools that users can enjoy using or privacy tools for the paranoid. These products have however become popular tools in recent years as cyber threats and online surveillance continues to soar.
Today, they are crucial tools that every netizen should have. Here, we’ll look at some of the reasons why you should use a VPN when you are online. But before we delve much into that, let’s get the basics out of the way.
A VPN is an online tool that encrypts your online activities and spoofs your IP address to give a secure, private, and anonymous connection to the internet. Once you connect to a server, all the traffic send from your device is encrypted and tunneled through a secure tunnel to the server. This server then hides your IP address and gives you one that corresponds to its location.
From there, all internet services you access will see that your traffic is coming from the server and not you. And since your traffic is encrypted, your ISP, government, and other third-parties won’t be able to spy on you.
This may sound complicated, but VPNs usually have a simple interface that lets you connect with just a click of a button. If you are new to VPNs, here on this website is everything you should know about VPNs.
ISPs monitor everything that you do on the internet. They can see and log your online activities, and they can even choose to sell this data to advertisers. The government and other authorized agencies can also get your logs from the ISP.
If you’d like to use the internet without your ISP knowing the sites you visit or the apps you use, you’ll need a VPN. The encryption provided by a VPN ensures that no one can make sense of your data. All your ISP will see is that you are connected to a VPN server.
We all like to connect to free WiFi hotspots whenever we go out shopping, stop for coffee, book into a hotel, etc. However, public hotspots are a haven for hackers, and there are many risks associated with such connections.
These connections are usually not secure, and a hacker can easily snoop on your data in transit. They can also connect to your device easily and steal your data or even infect you with malware for further access. Apart from that, the free hotspot you connect to can even be a honeypot set up by a hacker to dupe you into connecting and steal your data. A VPN prevents against such access by encrypting your traffic and preventing any outside access.
Depending on where you are connecting from, there’s content you can’t access on the internet. This especially true when it comes to streaming services. For example, BBC iPlayer, though free, is only accessible to users within the UK. If you travel to other countries, you will be denied access. Netflix, on the other hand, is available in almost every country, but it provides different content for every country. The only reliable way to beat such geo-restriction is by using a VPN. All you need to do is connect to a country where the content you want to access is available. However, you also need to choose your VPN as well as the popular streaming services that have blocked most VPNs.
The government has the power to determine what its citizens can access. This kind of censorship is especially rampant in countries like China, Saudi Arabia, North Korea, the UAE, etc. Censorship and blocking, however, go beyond strict regimes as some sites are blocked in various countries. E.g., most torrent sites are blocked in the UK and Australia.
A VPN helps circumvent such restrictions as they are usually implemented at the ISP level. Since you will bypass ISP servers, you will open up the internet by connecting to a server in a different country. If you are visiting a country with strict censorship, you will need to choose a VPN that can evade VPN blocking.
Whenever you connect to the internet, you leave behind a digital footprint. Every search you make, the website you visit, the file you download, etc., adds to your digital footprint. This footprint is mostly associated with your IP address, and it can be used to track your online activities. Copyright trolls can even contact your ISP and send a DMCA notice, which will then be forwarded to you.
A VPN helps you use the internet anonymously by changing your IP address. This IP address will be shared with hundreds of other internet users, and so no one will be able to profile you. If your VPN provider doesn’t keep any connection or usage logs, you will be virtually untraceable.
A VPN is one of the most useful tools, and with the ever-increasing cyber threats and online surveillance, such tools have almost become a must-have. If you value your online privacy and security (who doesn’t?), you should consider getting one.