A VPN is short for “Virtual Private Network”, something that describes a process of creating a private, protected, and encrypted network when you go online. VPNs have an incredibly high list of benefits to their use, including hiding your IP address, creating a cloud of anonymity online, and even encrypting your internet traffic. This helps you have a safer online experience, but there are even more benefits to using a VPN.
In 2020, the pandemic saw a huge surge in VPN usage for a multitude of reasons; the primary ones being freedom online, and the others being issues of censorship and restriction. Ever since then, VPNs have continued to grow in popularity and they are a clear tool to enhance a user’s online experience. Whether you are a business or just a consumer, a VPN can provide a multitude of benefits like security using public networks, freedom online when traveling or just more access to your favorite online streaming platforms.
What does a VPN do?
A VPN operates by allowing a network to rework your internet traffic through a server by the VPN provider. In basic terms, when you go online, the VPN becomes your HUB of internet and online content. Everything goes in and out through there, meaning no nefarious third party or malicious cybercriminal can track your online data. We are seeing more and more ISPs (Internet Service Providers) logging users’ data to sell it for profit or use it in some capacity, so many people have opted to use a VPN because of this.
More Access to Content
Whilst you may be searching “update firestick” thinking you are getting more access to the latest TV shows and movies across the globe, there is in fact a much easier way. A VPN can allow you to stream content from anywhere on the globe, bypassing the regional restrictions some online streaming platforms put in place. For example, you may want to watch the latest episode of Bridgerton and in some areas of the world, it isn’t available. Using a VPN is completely legal, and it can provide a reworking of your internet access to allow you to set your location where Bridgerton is available. It essentially puts your location in an area where you need it to be, so whatever kind of TV show or movie you want, you can find a workaround to get access to watch it.
The same can be done in some regions of the world where you are restricted and cannot get access to news or online content. Due to certain problems, some countries, governments, or institutions restrict online access. This could be down to politics, an ongoing problem, or productivity but the internet can be accessed with complete freedom by using a VPN.
Higher Level of Security
One of the more appealing benefits of a VPN is its security benefits – it can be equally as useful as an antivirus when used correctly. A VPN can help secure your network to stop any background application, website, cybercriminal, ISP or third party from tracking your online traffic. They typically will plant a tracker or monitor and log your activity to create personalized and targeted advertising – in other cases, the damage can be far greater. A VPN-less online experience can see you can be inundated with pop-up ads and targeted advertising that can be quite annoying and spoil your online experience.
A VPN can be used to create an encrypted tunnel when online, meaning any private information you might input will be completely hidden. Without this, you could see a cybercriminal or hacker key log your activity and then go on to impersonate you and carry out fraudulent activity. This could extend to something like banking information or sensitive personal data, which could be exploited and cost you a huge financial sum. While a VPN does not stop hackers or scamming for viruses, it can be equally as effective as an antivirus. The latest firewalls and antiviruses can end up being more of a problem than the damage they prevent. With a VPN making you essentially invisible online, you will be completely protected from most of the threats that a firewall or antivirus protects you from.
Saves You Money Online Shopping
Usually, you can find a cheaper version or higher discount on an item online if you look hard enough, but it will not be worth the time. However, for bigger purchases, you can use a VPN and save a huge amount of money on the adjusted price and shipping when your location is reworked. For a big hardware purchase, you can see that for different locations different prices are given. A good example could be the Apple iPhone, as the difference in prices could be hundreds of dollars for different locations. If you are in the Netherlands, an Apple iPhone can cost almost $1,500 but in the United States it can cost around $999 – this shows that the price of a VPN is worth it when you go online shopping.
Software faces the same benefit of using a VPN to purchase it, as you can save a ton of money on your subscriptions to different software or online applications. Companies like Apple, IBM, and Microsoft adapt the price for different countries, as if you are in the United States you will find software like Adobe Pro higher than it is throughout Europe. The same was found with IBM and Microsoft software which bumped the price up for Americans but kept the price lower for Europeans. As well as software and hardware, you can even save money on things like streaming services and dating apps. An example like Netflix shows that it costs more money in the US than it does in Mexico, showing that you should be looking to save money by using a VPN when you make these purchases.
A VPN saves you money online by changing your location and make product providers or services think you are looking at them from a different country. The prices they charge will be changed hugely from country to country, so you can save a huge amount of money by putting your online shopping experience through a VPN.
Keeps Your Online Data Private
When you are using your home internet, you are protected to an extent against cyber criminals that might be lurking on more public and unprotected networks. This doesn’t mean you are all clear, however. Your online data is still available and can be easily tracked and collected by your ISP. They can see everything – what you do, where you visit, and all your behaviors in between. This data is typically collected and sold to private advertisers who can monetize and create targeted ad campaigns. It doesn’t even matter if you use the private browsing function too – they can still access it. The only protection in this regard is a VPN.
It isn’t just your ISP that puts you at risk – any applications, websites or third-party software you use can track your internet and data. Social media sites like Facebook are notorious for tracking data of users and using this in very shady circumstances. A VPN can stop companies like Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Tiktok from collecting your data and manipulating your online experience in a way that makes more money. On top of ISPs and online websites or applications, one of the biggest threats to your online data could be your government. A good example of a government that has tried hard to get consumer data is the United States, as they were caught in the past during the Snowden leaks to be buying data from cellphone provider Verizon. Despite laws being put in place to restrict governmental intrusion, phone and online data is still being leaked to the government as they aim to track your behaviors and online data. A VPN is a great addition for someone who wants a private and safe browsing experience.
Great For Remote Working
The benefits of a VPN are becoming especially useful in today’s world, where data intrusion and online threats are on the rise, and using the internet remotely is becoming the norm. Remote working has grown rapidly since the pandemic of 2020, and now the encryption of a VPN can be a huge benefit to a remote worker who wants to use a variety of networks while keeping their data private and secure.
A VPN allows a worker to use their company’s intranet and access private files and data without putting the business or office network at risk. A VPN is a wise investment not just for a remote worker, but for a business that is looking to enhance its protection and keep its employees from doing anything that could jeopardize the financial information of a company. A good example could be an employee who is traveling and working from an airport – they might want to sit and work before their flight using a coffee chain public network, but might not be aware that these networks are unprotected and often rife with cyber criminals. A VPN will encrypt their online activity and keep hackers from accessing their private work data and activity.