You are on a page of a complete guide for everybody, even non-techie, on why use a VPN. In this guide, you can find out why everybody, you too, should use a Virtual Private Network (VPN), even if you think it’s too high-tech and you don’t understand how VPN benefits you. Therefore, from this article, not only will you learn what a VPN is and how you can use it to protect yourself, your family, and your friends, but how it can bring you some savings.
Moreover, a VPN should be a must if you travel and use public WiFi or streaming services like Netflix because VPN can secure your online privacy.
VPN is a software developed to protect your privacy by masking your IP address, encrypting your data, and transmitting inside a tunnel directly to a VPN server.
The VPN server acts as your door to the internet and can be located almost anywhere on the globe. Therefore, the server and its location define the origin of your transmission.
In simple words, it looks like you are located where the VPN server is. This technique allows you to hide your online identity improving your security and anonymity.
What is a VPN and what does it do?
VPN stands for a virtual private network, and the name defines the functionality. VPN creates a virtual network dedicated to only one user, for example, you. That virtual private network uses encryption to protect the owner of the private network and hides information exchanged between you and the VPN server. High-end encryption used by VPNs ensures that nobody can decrypt your data.
Therefore, your IP address, identity, and complete traffic are hidden from your Internet Service Provider (ISP), Government, hackers, or anybody who would like to gather information about you.
VPNs are crucial while using public or shared hotspots because cybercriminals can create fake hotspots to perform phishing activities and get your passwords or any other private data.
Additionally, a VPN circumvents your ISP by using a VPN server to connect you to the internet. Therefore, you can relocate yourself virtually to any place on the globe where VPN servers are located.
VPNs can also improve businesses, providing security and privacy and with dedicated IP, allowing secure access to the internal server. For example, with VPN, you can instantly open documents to present them to your customer from any device you have a VPN installed.
VPN is a tool for everybody, even for travel, gaming, or streaming.
Why use a VPN?
1. Secure access to the Public WiFi network
Public WiFi introduces a security risk. Someone can sniff your connection whenever you connect to a free hotspot at a local coffee shop or the airport. Moreover, hackers can use a specially prepared router to use phishing techniques to capture your logins, credit card numbers, or any other data they could use against you.
VPN, using encryption, protects you from cyber risks by hiding your browsing activity, banking information, account passwords, and more.
2. Data Privacy
– From Your ISP (Internet Service Provider)
At home, we feel more secure, but that’s not entirely true. Yes, it’s much more challenging to hack you at home, but as we know, it’s also possible.
Therefore you should protect your data everywhere on every device. Remember, your online activity is possible thanks to numerous protocols that go through your ISP‘s servers, and he can spy on you. He can see when, where, and how you browse.
Many will say that HTTPS makes your connection secure, but other elements of the connection, revealing what you do, can also be captured.
Whenever ISP can collect the data, they can sell it to advertisers, and in most cases, that’s what they do. Therefore, use VPN to obscure your IP address and your online activity.
– From the Apps and Services
As you might read, Social Media uses our data to make more money. They sell it to advertisers by offering better ad targeting. So, next time you open a website with ads, you will see the ones that might interest you. This might benefit you, but if you don’t like it, use a VPN to prevent apps and services from collecting information about you.
– From the Government
Selling information is one thing, but the Government can request all your data from data hubs. This also applies to VPNs registered in a country where the Government enforces censorship. This, among a couple of countries, happened to India in June 2022. The Government requested that every VPN company collect and provide all data about their users. This is also applicable to other ones that share your data and are part of the alliance:
- Five-eyes Countries: United States, United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand, Australia.
- Nine-eyes Country: Five Eyes countries + Denmark, France, Netherlands, Norway
- Fourteen-eye countries: Nine-eye countries + Germany, Belgium, Italy, Sweden, Spain
If the VPN company is registered in one of the countries listed above, the Government could be interested in monitoring your online activity.
Therefore, if you disagree with governments spying on you, you should get a VPN from countries like The British Virgin Islands or Panama, where censorship regulations still don’t impact VPN service providers, and they can offer a no-logs policy.
Check our VPN comparison table to find out in which jurisdiction they are located.
3. Unblock geo-restricted content
Worldwide freedom is one of the reasons people get a VPN. With a VPN tunnel and server that is local to the streaming service, you can watch your favorite series episodes in a country where the content isn’t offered. There are two reasons this might happen.
First, you travel and are no longer at home but still would like to stream your favorite content.
Second, you are in a country where content is not available.
In both situations, VPN is an ideal solution providing a valuable workaround to content restrictions because VPN service spoofs your location. Therefore, you seem to be streaming from the server location, not your current place. Just in case you are concerned, this VPN usage is not illegal (in the U.S. and most countries).
Get a VPN if you want to watch Criminal Minds or any other popular series unavailable in your location.
4. Secure remote work
During and after the COVID pandemia, remoter work became very popular. VPNs again come with a robust solution to remote access by encrypting the content and hiding it inside the virtual private network, allowing you or your employees to keep confidential information safe.
If you have a company and want to protect sensitive material, your workers can get secure access to the company’s network from their devices with a VPN.
5. VPN is compatible with numerous devices
You can install a high-end VPN on almost all your devices, including phones, tablets, desktop computers, Smart TVs, or routers. In addition, each VPN service provider may support native apps on different devices. Therefore, please take some time to check their offers.
6. Worldwide Smart Savings
Using VPN spoofing capabilities can bring you savings by shopping online. Depending on your virtual browsing location, you can get the same products or services for different prices. It’s common to see price differences such as subscription services, hotel bookings, or airline tickets. Therefore, use a VPN to instantly change your location to get lower prices and some savings.
Check our ranking of the BEST VPNs
VPN usage solutions
You can use VPNs in many different ways:
VPN for Business
- Work remotely using a secure encrypted tunnel to a shared network. Utilize a VPN to securely log into the remote company network to get access to projects and files. This will ensure that business communications remain secure and less susceptible to cyber-attacks.
- Control access to restricted content. VPN provides user access control as an option, so the business owner can decide which employee will be granted access to what confidential information.
- Lower costs for business devices. Let your employees use their private devices with a dedicated business VPN they can install. That way, you will save on the IT department because they will not have to prepare a dedicated computer for each employee.Instead, they can organize VPN configuration with internal network access using split-tunneling to distinguish what goes through a VPN connection.
- Worldwide limitations and risks. VPNs allow traveling for business without worries of a security breach or internet censorship limiting access to work-related websites. VPN allows you to bypass restrictions and access blocked content using your home location.
- Protection of your finances. Stay safe thanks to VPN anonymizing your traffic with an encrypted tunnel. A VPN connection can ensure that nobody will track your business transactions.
- Safely use public WiFi hotspots. Nearly everybody uses the free airport WiFi risking private data being open to potential theft. Protect your emails and bank account credentials with VPN encryption.
- Bypass governmental social media blocks. Prepare yourself and use VPN to work around bans on social media that you can experience in some countries.
Banking restrictions. Some banks might lock your account when they recognize login attempts from a foreign country. Therefore, a VPN with a dedicated IP can help avoid any possible account problems due to suspicious activity.
VPN for gaming
- Games limitations. Specific VPNs can help you access games that are not available in your region. Some countries ban games for particular areas due to their graphic content. Nevertheless, you can bypass those restrictions with a VPN server located in a different country.
- Play securely using public WiFi. As described previously, VPNs hide your traffic inside an encrypted tunnel. Therefore, you can securely play using free public WiFi.
- Protect Yourself From the Trolls. VPNs protect your IP address and your privacy. Consequently, you can enjoy multi-player games knowing that even if you upset someone, he will not be able to track your location.
- ISP throttling. As you might have already noticed, some internet service providers might slow down your connection if you play online games or stream content. Therefore, use a VPN to avoid any lags caused by your ISP.
VPN for streaming
- Get access to favorite foreign content. It’s well known that some streaming services use geo-blocking to limit the content available to specific areas. However, some VPN servers can bypass those restrictions and let you stream nearly anything you want to watch, regardless of your current location.
- Buffering Issues. Certain VPNs can improve streaming by providing dedicated buffering. That way, you will use a VPN server as your buffer and get the content directly from that server. This way, you will experience a smoother viewing.
Are there any VPN limitations
VPNs are not a solution for everything. First, you must remember that VPN will not alter your data, and you are responsible for sharing information. So whenever you take an online quiz or like a post, the app or website you use will still record your behavior to tailor ads and content. This will happen regardless of whether you are connected to the VPN. Of course, they might not know your location but will know your action.
Similarly, cookies can follow you. Therefore, you can use a VPN with additional functionality that removes all the cookies, trackers, etc., before they reach you. Consequently, you might have to combine VPN with different security techniques to stay extremely anonymous.
In addition, VPNs, like any computer software, are susceptible to malware and online attacks. Therefore, in case of infection, they can be a security risk. More about hacking in the FAQ at the end of the article.
Last, but not least, a free VPN increases the likelihood of attacks and security breaches. This is because they tend to sell your data or show you ads that might be infected with malware. That’s how they make money to maintain their infrastructure.
Therefore, if your goal is to increase privacy and security, you should invest in a paid VPN.
Legal aspects of using VPN services
Many people have concerns regarding the legality of VPNs. In most countries, they are legal to be used, but some countries like Russia, China, or India control the internet, and VPNs there are banned or regulated. Therefore, you are advised to check the laws of your country or the country of your visit before using a VPN. At the same time, traveling or living in countries that control the internet, ensure you understand how to use VPN and connect to a specific server to avoid any problems.
NOTE: If you are interested, then read a complete article about how to choose a VPN.
Below is the shorter version of the how-to.
How to choose a VPN
Follow the steps to choose the best VPN for you
Step 1 - VPN server locations
Create a list describing how you would like to use a VPN, focusing on countries you want to connect to, for example, for streaming or gaming. Availability of VPN server locations in different countries and regions helps to choose the best service for you, especially if you plan to travel.
We suggest choosing a vendor that provides a long list of locations to avoid servers with many users that might slow down connections. Having servers close to your place while traveling is also essential to get the best connection.
Step 2 - Fast and stable connection
Many factors can impact the speed of a VPN connection.
To name some of them:
- server location,
- server load,
- traffic routing mode,
- VPN protocol,
- data encryption level,
- the speed limit from ISP,
- antivirus software and firewall environment,
Moreover, achieving good speed measurements relevant to other users is difficult. Therefore, we suggest trying the preferred VPN service for a short time to know what you can expect using it in the future.
Nevertheless, we suggest the paid trial options to get a full VPN version. This is because free options are often limited and might not work as well as the paid option. For example, you can read about the PureVPN $0.99 deal.
Whenever you get the VPN, try to perform exhaustive tests at different times, each day of the week, with as many locations as possible. Additionally, test it on multiple devices with all available protocols you would like to use. This will give you a good overview of the VPN network performance.
Step 3 - Smart devices support
Confirm that VPN software supports your device with protocols you would like to use.
Some VPN vendors do not offer all the available protocols or additional features like a kill switch on all systems. Usually, high-end VPN providers support a wide range of devices.
In addition, for privacy protection, we advise picking a VPN vendor that offers browser plug-ins. Those plug-ins, in many cases, help to protect you from security leaks and help unblock streaming services.
Step 4 - The maximum simultaneous connections
Verify how many connections VPN allows you to have at the same time.
The number of connections allows you to pay once and use the service on all your devices simultaneously. Therefore, thanks to the high number of connections, you will be able to protect not only yourself but family and friends without spending additional money.
Moreover, it’s good to install a VPN on a router. Therefore, check if the chosen VPN supports your router.
Just to clarify, not all routers have VPN support implemented. So, you might have to buy a router that works with VPNs, which is not a VPN’s fault.
Related article: how to install VPN on router
The router solution is the best for tourists and nomads who often change their location but don’t want to set up all of their devices all the time. Instead, they can keep the devices connected to the router and just hook up the router to the internet in a new place.
Step 5 - Encryption
Check what type of protocols VPN supports.
Protocols define the level of encryption of your data going through the VPN tunnel. The level of encryption determines that connection’s security level and speed.
Remember, higher encryption means higher security but slower connection.
Step 6 - No-logs policy and jurisdiction
Pick a VPN that offers a no-logs or also called a zero-logs policy.
What is more, ensure that the VPN has an official, 3rd party audits and that the country or region of registration is not within the five-eye, nine-eye, or fourteen-eye alliance.
Look for a VPN located in The British Virgin Islands or Panama.
Step 7 - Additional features
The most important ones:
- kill switch,
- split tunneling,
- VPN server speed tester (ping test).
Remember that the more functions you get, the more expensive the VPN might be.
Step 8 - Customer support
One of the most important features is the level of support you can get.
Choose VPN with 24/7 human Chat support.
That way, you will always have someone to help you whenever you move to a new location and will have issues. VPN is a network service, so you should expect some problems, like with other networking services.
Good customer support will quickly help you to fix your connection. They even can restart the server if needed.
Step 9 - User-oriented interface
While searching for a VPN, pay attention to the user interface.
It should be simple and intuitive to make it easy to start – a one-button-press solution. In addition, it should present a clear list of server locations, supported protocols, and connection speed.
Step 10 - Plan, price, payment, and refunds
Picking a long time plan can lower the cost significantly.
We know that some users prefer monthly payments, but more extended plans for a well-established VPN vendor are safe, and you can get excellent discounts.
Regarding payments, you can choose a VPN that accepts cryptocurrency, providing you with higher privacy.
Usual payment methods accepted by the VPN services:
- credit cards,
For the first time, it’s good to test the VPN to understand how it works and how it can benefit you. Therefore, choose a VPN that offers a 30-day or longer money-back guarantee. This is enough to find out if you like it or not. If not, request a refund and get another VPN to find the best one for you.
Check our ranking of the best VPN
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about VPN services
Is it really necessary to use a VPN?
It’s a similar question to “Do I need antivirus”. The answer depends on whether you are concerned about privacy, security, and protection against spoofing and phishing cyber attacks.
VPN is an easy-to-use and relatively cheap solution for online protection because it’s all about your passwords and fragile information that you should secure.
In general, the answer to this question is YES.
To make it a complete solution, use a VPN and other software that can protect your devices and you from cyber attacks. Some VPNs offer a complete package protecting you online. For example, you might be interested in Surfshark or NordVPN. We listed the advantages of those VPNs in our best VPN ranking.
Should I use a VPN for my business?
If you want remote access to your files or you have employees who would like to get secure access to any confidential documents on an internal server, then you should use a VPN.
Can someone hack a VPN?
VPN is software like any other and is not foolproof, therefore is susceptible to hacks and malware.
However, if you use a VPN that doesn’t track any information about you and your traffic, the risk of a specific cyberattack happening to you is very low. In addition, some VPNs offer memory-only services (RAM servers), reboot servers each 24h, completely delete all data, and provide the highest security level. For example, check ExpressVPN in our VPN ranking because they use TrustedServer technology – RAM-only servers.
Nevertheless, you should use complicated passwords with any VPN service to keep it highly secure. Additionally, if you look for a high level of privacy and security, you can pay with cryptocurrency to hide any information about you.
Finally, you are advised not to use a free VPN because they might not offer the best protection.
Is it illegal to use a VPN for Netflix?
No, but with some exceptions.
It is not illegal to use VPNs, especially for streaming content. VPN is a security measure and should not be recognized as violating any regulations. However, everything depends on the current law in a specific country, for example, Russia, China, or India. Therefore, check the restrictions in a particular country before using a VPN.
Related article: Virtual VPN for India
What is the cost of a VPN?
Everything depends on the size of the VPN network, level of support, and provided services. For personal VPNs, you can estimate, on average, cost at around $2 per month with at least a 2-year plan. In the case of business VPN, the prices start at around $5 per month.
In most cases, you can test the VPN before deciding to keep it or not because VPNs offer a money-back guarantee, so you can cancel your subscription if you don’t like their service.
You can also use special deals like PureVPN $0.99 deal to test a fully functional VPN for 7 days and not worry about any money-back guarantee procedures because you will not be charged after 7 days if you don’t want to use it anymore.
On how many devices can I use VPN?
Usually, the number of simultaneous connections is around 5. However, some VPNs offer up to 10 connections (PureVPN) or even an unlimited number (Surfshark). Check our VPN reviews page with a comparison table.
Nevertheless, you can use a VPN router to route the whole traffic through a secure VPN tunnel for complete network protection.
In this situation, you will use only one available connection to cover all the devices connected to that router.
Do I need a VPN on iPhone or Android devices?
With smartphones, we perform most, if not all, daily tasks online. In addition, we tend to search for free WiFi hotspots that are available publicly. Unfortunately, the way we use smartphones comes with a higher risk of getting hacked. Therefore, if you use your phone to log onto public WiFi, for example, while traveling, you should get a VPN.
Nevertheless, check if a VPN of your choice supports the iOS or Android operating system not to get disappointed. Some native apps might not exist or don’t work as expected.
What VPN alternatives do I have?
You can use Tor (The Onion Router), open-source software that prevents traffic analysis and was initially developed for the U.S. Navy.
TOR offers a free network of servers (nodes), randomly routing traffic between each other, significantly increasing your anonymity. The best combination is to use it together with a VPN. Unfortunately, multiple nodes routing your traffic will impact the speed of your connection. Therefore, TOR is not convenient for streaming or sharing files.
Related article about VPN alternatives: What are the best VPN alternatives
Another alternative to VPN is a Proxy service. Proxy plays the role of intermediary servers between your device and the destination. They are very popular but have a significant drawback: the latency and lack of privacy or security. As you can imagine, the most dangerous are free proxy services that tend to sell your data.
What is the best VPN for school Chromebook and WiFi
PureVPN might be an interesting VPN to use on Chromebook. Still, in general, you should be able to install every VPN that supports Linux, as Chrome OS is a proprietary Linux-based operating system designed by Google.
Nevertheless, whether you want to use the VPN on Android, iOS, Windows, or Linux, you should try to install a native app from a VPN provider. You might read multiple opinions on “what is the best VPN”, but your opinion based on experience from using a specific VPN is the most important. Therefore, we recommend testing VPN apps on your device like Chromebook to ensure that you have a proper OS version and don’t have any other services that might impact the VPN service.
Related article: How to unblock websites on school Chromebook
As you can see, the VPN setup on your Chromebook is pretty straightforward, and you can install different VPNs. After all, it’s just a matter of features that you can compare by checking our VPN reviews.
You can also go directly to the PureVPN review page to check the features or test it for 7 days getting a PureVPN $0.99 deal.
Remember, a VPN is an intermediary service that forwards your data while protecting your identity and location.