Read this guide to find an answer to the question why do I need a VPN?
You will also discover what is a VPN and what are the benefits of using it like: P2P sharing, streaming blocked content, saving money by getting the best deals, protecting your privacy, and more.
What is a VPN, and why is it useful?
Let’s make it simple: a VPN (Virtual Private Network) connects your devices (PC, smartphone, tablet, gaming console, or even a Smart TV) to another computer (server) that is located somewhere on the Internet. That server allows you to use its IP address for the Internet (browsing, downloading, etc.). Thanks to that, you are now visible on the Internet like you had that IP address. Therefore, if you connect to the server in a different country, you look like you were located where the server is, and you can access things like you were from that country.
Moreover, the connection between you and the server forms an encrypted tunnel, and everything you send or receive from the Internet is hidden inside that tunnel.
You might ask, so what?
Let’s clarify that thanks to the tunnel and IP change, you can use a VPN to:
- access geo-blocked content simply by bypassing restrictions.
- protect your data and credentials from snooping on public free WiFi hotspots.
- gain anonymity by hiding your actual location.
- let you use anonymously P2P file sharing through servers located in a place where it’s allowed.
VPNs are very common these days, and many people use them for torrenting or streaming content from different countries.
Nevertheless, the most important is the privacy and security that VPN provides. For example, with a VPN, you can work online at a coffee shop using a free Internet access point without the risk of being a victim of a network breach.
NOTE: Cybercriminals tend to set up fake free hotspots that work like the official ones and wait for you to use them. Immediately after you log in to that hotspot, they can see everything you do online and all the information you type in or download. In addition, they can capture your credentials when you try to log in to your social media or bank account. The website looks original and works the same, so you will not even recognize that someone is phishing your information. With a VPN, all your data is protected by the encrypted tunnel.
VPNs are also used by travelers who can remotely:
- Access a Business Network, including all its local network resources. What is important, the local resources can be protected from regular Internet access, allowing the only secure tunnel to go through the firewall.
- Access Your Home Network, and use, for example, Windows Remote Desktop over the Internet like they were sitting in front of the computer at home. They can use local files or even play games.
- Bypass Internet Censorship in countries like China. VPNs can get around the Great Firewall of China, providing travelers access to the entire Internet.
- Stream Geo-Blocked channels, for example, US Netflix. So, whether you are an American traveler or foreigner willing to watch US Netflix, Hulu, ESPN, or any other channel, you can use VPN to bypass the geo-restrictions.
In addition, VPNs help overcome throttling problems that your Internet Service Provider (ISP) might impose on you. For example, whenever you try to download or stream a media file, you may observe that the transfer is very fast at the beginning, but in seconds the speed drops to lower, in many cases, a slow but stable connection. This might be a sign that your ISP controls your download speed. A VPN can eliminate that limitation thanks to the encrypted tunnel that hides what you do. Therefore, ISP can’t see when you download, stream or just browse the Internet and cannot limit your connection bandwidth.
As you can see, you can use a VPN service to hide your traffic from anybody on your local network. It can be a hacker phishing with fake WiFi in a coffee shop, or at the airport, your ISP, or the government. Moreover, you can use VPN to trick services so that they think you are right next door instead of being on a different continent. This is useful while unblocking websites at school, work, or abroad.
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Use VPN to save some money on shopping deals
As you already know, VPN can cloak your identity giving access to almost any location on a globe. Therefore, you can open websites from different locations like you were browsing from there, for example, get better prices for flight tickets, hotel rooms, or car rentals. Moreover, with VPN, you can trick those websites so they will give you offers like you were browsing from a different place. Similarly, online shops also change prices according to geolocation. That is why a VPN service can let you get the cheapest offer online.
More resources about VPNs: What is a VPN | VPN features | VPN Reviews | Do I need a VPN at home? | How to choose a VPN | VPN for Amazon Fire TV Stick | How to install VPN on router | Is Free VPN safe?
VPN as a complete solution for your house
For more advanced users, it’s worth boosting online security with a VPN router. Integrating VPNs with other privacy applications, such as secure email, cloud storage services, or antivirus, is doable. If you like the idea, choose a VPN that offers additional tools that can work as an internet security suite. For additional applications, you might want to check ExpressVPN, NordVPN, or Surfshark.
Maybe I just use a free VPN?
Ok then. Please, ask yourself a question: do you look for privacy, security, and performance?
If you answered YES, then definitely free VPN is not an option for you, especially since free does not mean better.
Please tell me, how would a free service be possible to have equal quality as a paid option while having similar maintenance costs?
Free VPNs have problems with streaming platforms, the limited bandwidth of data allowance, or slow connections.
How does the free VPN pay for the infrastructure?
The answer is quite simple. They use advertising, flooding you with targeted ads, or trade your data on the market. So basically, you are thinking of getting software that will do what you try to avoid using a VPN. There is even a risk that they might infect your device with malware or virus.
Nevertheless, a free VPN can be excellent if you just want an extra layer of online privacy. Therefore, a free VPN might be enough if you want anonymity for a short time when you visit locations known for heavy internet censorship.
Now you should know precisely why you need it, so test the VPN for 30 days and see if it’s worth it.