Last Updated: February 1, 2023
Staying online has become an essential way of life for almost all people in this age of living. Tons of information and such on the internet is free, but all of this comes at a price — your privacy. I’m sure you love your privacy, and at some point in your life have asked: Should I use a VPN? Well, in this article, you’ll be informed about all the entrancing aspects of Virtual Private Networks, how it works, and why you should use it.
What Is a VPN?
Today, the internet has developed into a mainstream network of technology for cheap communications. It has brought great comfort to everyday people and reinforced business growth for business organizations.
There has also been a rapid expansion of digital devices and the now open door to the Internet has caused security threats to the vast majority of users. Security and privacy threats are becoming more and more advanced by the day, which extends the demand for updated data security and protection. This raises the question: what is it, and should I get a VPN?
There are multiple solutions at hand in the market today, out of which the top option is to choose a great VPN. VPN is an acronym for Virtual Private Network, which is software that was designed to protect your digital privacy and make the lives of cybercriminals more difficult by anonymizing your data usage and location. However, you can also use the multiple advantages of a VPN, like bridging geographical blocs to access many streaming services across the world, or to download torrents fast, etc. Also, it provides the benefits of a public network and the security of a private network by forming an encrypted tunnel between the transmitter and receiver.
|Did you know: There were over 12,000 reported data breaches in the US between 2005 and June 2020 which helped contribute to identity fraud. In order to prevent this from happening, check out the top identity theft protection companies.|
How Does a VPN Work?
A VPN functions by selecting a path to change the information from your device’s internet connection by linking with your VPN’s private server of choice. This happens via a different route than your internet service provider (ISP), which means when your information is transferred to the internet, it proceeds from the VPN rather than your computer.
In answer to the question of “what is a VPN and how does it work?”, I’ll say that a VPN acts as a mediator of sorts as you connect to the internet, thereby concealing your IP address – the thread of numbers your ISP gives your device – and protecting your identity. Likewise, if your data is in some way cut off, it will be unreadable until it gets to its final destination.
There are various features and benefits when using a VPN:
The Disclosure of Your Data Transactions
First, of course, is the disclosure of your data transactions online and shielding from external access. Unencrypted data can be reached and viewed by anybody who has access to your network and wants to see it. So, you might ask the question: “Do I really need a VPN?” And the answer is yes. If privacy is on your mind, then using a VPN is key. By using a VPN, it can encrypt all web traffic, so cybercriminals and hackers can’t decode this data encryption.
Without an encryption key, no one can read your data. It would take thousands of years for processors to decipher the code in the incident of an excessive forceful attack on your private account. With your VPN turned on, your online browsing is hidden even on public networks.
Approach Any Region
Why use a VPN at home? For example, streaming services and websites frequently have content that can only be viewed from certain parts of the world. Normal internet providers use local network traffic, and their servers are in the country which shows your location. This means that you are not able to access content from home while you travel, and you also cannot access worldwide content from your home. By faking your location with a VPN, you can switch to other server nodes positioned in another country and successfully “change” your location.
Safe Data Transfer
Is a VPN necessary if you work from home? This technology enables parts of a company to be connected to the company’s main office, or for employees to set up a home office. So, in this age, when a lot of people work from home, this comes as a very useful tool. It also gives employees who do their work in the field the chance to establish a secure connection with the office in order to exchange data.
This means that your internet provider does not keep or log any information transferred across the network; no storage of information about your personal specifics, what you do online, what you download, or what you browse for. Accordingly, when you’re online, your privacy and anonymity are protected from everyone, including your internet provider.
|Did you know: VPNs let you buy regional products for lower prices. With a VPN service, it is simple to make it seem like you are from the same country as the website shop so that you can shop at the relevant online store.|
How Does a VPN Protect You Outside Your Home?
Connecting to the free hotel Wi-Fi or any other public Wi-Fi makes you vulnerable to hackers or anyone who wants to get into your private digital space. This is because this kind of network is a shared connection. And even though your activities can’t be traced back to you, there are all sorts of security threats when you’re connected publicly.
Hide Your Identity and Location
This is a very convenient method since the virtual private network affords you access to a private and trusted network, which is quite helpful if you are storing sensitive information. When using a VPN server, any traffic from your computer or smartphone is ciphered; it doesn’t matter if the site you are looking at uses SSL or not.
- Do I need a VPN when surfing publicly? The answer is yes. Because, if the Wi-Fi access point which provides your connection has suspicious malware, it won’t be able to reach or see your exchange of information. If anyone tries to observe your traffic, they won’t be able to see the URLs of the websites you have visited.
- Even if the Wi-Fi access point to which you are connected is malicious, it can’t see the traffic. Any party that is in a position to monitor your traffic can’t even see the addresses or URLs of the sites with which you are communicating. They can, however, monitor your activity if you don’t use a VPN or you access it over public Wi-Fi, even when the site has SSL.
- So, to answer the question: “Are VPNs necessary?” Absolutely. Our traffic is linked with the VPN server’s IP address but not to your own. This effectively hides your identity and location, which keeps your online traffic and data exclusively yours.
Protection on Public Wi-Fi
When you need an internet connection in public places, you should use VPN apps. All you will need to do is download these apps into every device separately, install them, and you can be secure no matter where you go.
- You can use VPN apps and services with monthly or annual offerings, which will cost you approximately from $4 to $10 per month. With this, you’ll get a set number of devices for use on a single account, or you can upgrade to more user licenses with more expensive offers.
Tips for Using VPNs on Public Wi-Fi
Here are some tips if you wonder what can and should I do with a VPN using public Wi-Fi:
Generate Strong Passwords
Even if you consider your network safe and secure, a simple and weak password makes you powerless and vulnerable.
It should contain a good mix of numbers, letters, uppercase letters, and differing characters. Never use personal credentials or sensitive information which is easily discoverable, like your address, date of birth, etc.
Avoid repeating passwords you have used in the past, and try not to reuse those passwords on more than one account, because if somebody breaks the passcode, he/she will have the ability to compromise multiple accounts of yours.
Look Out for Spoofers
How does a VPN protect you from phishers?
While using a VPN, there are significantly lower chances for phishing emails or texts to reach you and get into your personal information.
Phishing emails drop into your inbox and are usually constructed as a clickbait with some attractive subject. These emails seem like they are composed by a respectable person or company, but in reality, they come from anonymous cybercriminals. The phishing email then asks you to open an attached file or click on a link. They usually take advantage of our high-speed internet communication and compulsiveness to open new messages quickly and fall right into their scam.
Disable Automatic Connectivity
Some mobile devices have enabled the option to connect automatically to unprotected Wi-Fi networks whenever they get in range. If this happens and your VPN is not enabled, you put yourself and your sensitive information at risk of breaching.
Create Stronger Security Measures
Should I use a VPN? Yes, you should! And you should also enable two-factor authentication too. This requires two validations before you can proceed to log into your account.
Should I always use a VPN with two-factor authentication? In the unlucky event that your password is discovered, the two-factor authentication can protect you from unwelcome visitors accessing your profile by requiring one more password.
In this scenario, scammers will fail to go around the two-factor authentication, and you will be alerted. This can be an eye-opener for you to change your password and be safe and protected once again.
|Did you know: You should never use any websites like Skrill, other online banks, or online game wallets connected on a public network. Being on the same network with dozens of strangers can be risky, so staying away from vital information would be a smart thing to do until you get home and connect to a secure network.|
|A VPN stands for Virtual Private Network, which lets you create a safe connection to another network across the Internet.|
|It offers a lot of advantages, like safe data transfers, secured encryption, and access to any region.|
|You should use protection when connected to public Wi-Fi, like strong passwords and prevention from phishers.|
|Also, add another layer of protection by disabling automatic connection and adding two-factor authentication.|
Why Use a VPN at Home?
In this section, I’ll review the biggest advantages and some disadvantages regarding VPN home usage:
Your ISP Can’t Track You Online
Your internet service provider (ISP), in accordance with some other organizations, has full control over what you do online. There are some features that browsers offer to hide your tracks, but I assure you, that’s far from the safety zone in which you think you are.
If you’re still somewhere between VPN or not to VPN, I’ll clarify the benefits of using one.
- Of course, the number one strength of a VPN is to keep your data safe and sound and safeguard your internet privacy. Some free VPN’s may try to sell your data to third parties like Google or other tech giants, but all of the paid services are cautious in this matter and substantial for your safety. To avoid this, here are some VPN router solutions for your home.
- When a provider tracks your internet traffic, it collects it and then sells it to other companies for marketing purposes. This is how they target you with customized ads. Without a VPN, however, you may get caught up with an invasion of unnecessary ads which slow down your whole surfing experience.
- So, if you’re asking yourself: Do I need a VPN at home? You’re thinking in the right direction. It definitely stops unwanted trackers, spying software, and browsers from accessing your location and connection. Transmitted and received data stays only your data.
Hide Your IP While Torrenting
Torrents are used by a lot of the worldwide online community. Torrenting is a superior way to exchange content online and is easy to manage. There are a lot of strengths but also some weaknesses when you use torrent services.
- Are VPNs necessary when you download torrents? As with every other way of downloading and uploading files, while using a torrent your IP address is on the front, vulnerable and exposed to a lot of people and server nodes. So, as you download or seed files with torrents, your system is unprotected and at risk.
- But no need to worry, because Virtual Private Networks exist for these problems. They hide your actual IP address and keep cybercriminals, spies, and trackers at bay. By encrypting your output information, it creates a new route from its server, which can be across the globe, and masks your online presence. With this said, it is highly suggestible to use one of the top VPN options for torrenting.
Streaming Movies and TV Shows Unavailable in Your Country
Do you need a VPN for streaming? Streaming is a very popular method of entertainment these days. And there is a bunch of content: TV shows, documentaries, and stand-up shows which are not available in your country or uploaded on blocked websites.
But, there is a way around this. The best solution is a VPN for streaming. It easily changes your location, bridges the geo-blocking, and gives you access to content from foreign libraries. This means you can watch any content from HBO, Netflix, Amazon Prime, etc., wherever you are on the globe.
Some Cons When You Use a VPN
There are a lot of reasons to use a VPN. And alongside all the pros, there are some cons to consider when using Virtual Private Networks. The most significant drawback is the slower download and upload speeds. This is because you are bypassing your traffic to a different location before it lands on the browsing site. The speed might vary depending on the VPN server location, but it will always be slower than usual.
Sometimes, there are cases when your connection cuts off out of the blue. Not noticing this, you’ll think you’re shielded when in actuality it is the opposite. However, there is a solution to this with something called a kill switch. When the connection is dropped, the kill switch blocks all traffic from external sources, then reboots automatically to the same VPN server. If you are still wondering, “Should I use a VPN?” then I hope these minor drawbacks won’t make you change your mind.
|Did you know: 50% of users say they use a VPN for access to better entertainment content, 34% say it’s to access social networks and news services, and 31% say it’s to browse anonymously.|
If you are still asking yourself, “is a VPN worth it”, the answer is that most people use a VPN because in actuality it offers easy protection and peace of mind when it comes to privacy and data security. While there are multiple advantages and few shortcomings, using a VPN is generally of great value.
Very few free VPN services can lead to DNS leakage. But from overall perspective, most of the paid VPNs very successfully cover your tracks when browsing on the internet, watching streams or downloading content, and is a reason more on why to use a VPN at home.
Yes, it’s best if you keep it on most of the time in order to be safe from cyber-spies, data exploiters, and or big tech advertising information gatherers.
In this day and age, VPNs are very important privacy tools. It’s especially important to have it when you use public Wi-Fi, but it’s convenient even at home to stay in control of your data. So, the answer to the question of “Should I use a VPN” will almost always be yes.