Among modern Internet users, virtual private networks (VPNs) are not alien. These are increasingly being used to browse the Internet today more than ever. But, this does not mean that every Internet user knows about VPNs. As a matter of fact, most people do not know VPNs exist, let alone what they are. Even so, the rising popularity of these networks raises the question of whether you should be using one.
In very simple terms, a VPN is a secure tunnel that connects your computer or mobile device to the sites that you visit when you go online. When the connection between your computer and a VPN server is established, your computer behaves as though it is on the same local connection with the VPN. This makes you look like you’ve moved to a new location.
If you visit a website via a VPN, you’ll appear to be browsing from the location where the VPN is located instead of your actual geographic location. The VPNs encrypt any data that you transmit or receive, making it hard for third parties like government agencies and hackers to track the activities you conduct online.
There are numerous benefits to using VPNs. Below are the common reasons individuals use them whenever they browse the Internet:
To Use Public Internet Connections Securely
The most common reason that individuals use VPNs is to ensure that their data is safe whenever they use public Internet connections. The VPNs are designed to provide users with an encrypted tunnel for moving data to and from host websites and devices. For individuals who want to keep their data secure, this security feature eliminates any chance of third parties snooping or spying on the data. Moreover, VPN security is particularly helpful in ensuring data safety whenever you are using the Internet connection in public places like airports, coffee shops, or libraries.
Public Internet connections are shared by many people within the vicinity. This means any information that you send from your device or receive can be accessed by third parties. To secure sensitive information like confidential documents, credit card details, private conversations, and login credentials, individuals use VPNs to encrypt any data they send or receive online. This ensures that third parties don not access their data.
To Access Social Media Sites During Travel
Most people opt to use a VPN because they enable them to enjoy Internet services while travelling the same way they would while at home. Social media sites like Instagram and Facebook are among the most censored sites across the world. This means that if you are travelling to a country like China, you can’t access your social media page. Individuals use VPNs to overcome these censorship barriers by using a VPN that’s located in the US to access favourite social media sites without much struggle.
To Enjoy Geo-Restricted Content
Social media sites are not the only sites that experience geo-restrictions. The Internet offers a wide range of infotainment and entertainment sources that are not accessible in all geographic locations. In fact, most of the content available online is geo-restricted – which means it is only available to users who live in specific geographic locations. Most people prefer to use VPNs because these allow them to transcend these restrictions and browse the Internet via remote servers from any location across the world.
This means that Internet users are able to stream services from their favourite sites even when they are in countries where access to those sites is blocked. Across the world, VPN usage spikes as people seek to access sites that stream events that are restricted to specific countries. For instance, people outside the US use VPNs to watch sporting events such as the Super Bowl.
To Find Great Deals Online
The VPNs are not just useful for streaming events; they also help users to shop anonymously for cheaper hotel rooms, airfare, and car rental services. Because websites keep track of shoppers’ activities and make it hard for them to find cheaper prices the next time they visit the site, VPNs help allow users to shop anonymously. They do this by leveraging high privacy settings that keep user shopping behaviour private. Individuals commonly use them to find great deals online. For instance, frequent travellers use these networks to search for cheaper air tickets as airfares tend to vary from one region to another.
Better still, VPNs allow users to get subsidized prices for products or services that are only available for shoppers in specific geographic locations. Most online shops have multiple price lists for shoppers from different countries. This means that shoppers in some geographic locations get subsidized prices that others don’t. For instance, airfares may vary from one country to another even when destinations and arrival times are the same.
To get the best offers, travellers overcome location biases by using VPN to access flight rates or product prices in different locations. Although it may be tiring and time-consuming to find such deals, VPN users are able to save money by buying stuff at subsidized rates that are available only to buyers in certain countries.
To Keep Their Browsing History Private
Keeping browsing history private is the other common reason individuals use VPNs. Most people want to browse the Internet without leaving digital footprints. The VPNs have a way of meeting this need by preserving user anonymity. By using VPN, users browse the Internet through servers that are located away from their actual geographic locations. In doing so, the traffic flows to and from the VPN server, keeping their actual location and identity anonymous for third parties, including the host of sites that the user visited.
This level of privacy goes a long way in protecting users from being targeted by cybercriminals because their personal details cannot be traced. Better still, when a user comes across a malicious website when using a VPN, his identity remains secure. Some VPN providers claim to offer users complete anonymity at no cost. However, to ensure that you pick a VPN that offers high levels of anonymity and safety, you’re better off using a paid version – probably the best new VPN in the market.
To Secure Remote Work
Most employers are embracing remote work by allowing employees to work from home or other locations other than the office. In order to secure company data and information, companies that embrace remote work are increasingly requiring staff to use VPNs to access company data. The VPN connects to servers in the office, allowing remote workers access to internal resources and networks. By doing this, companies leverage VPN encryptions to keep third parties, particularly cybercriminals, at bay.
To Secure Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) Calls
Having gained traction over the last decade, VOIP provides the most affordable way to call people. Google Hangouts and Skype are perhaps the two platforms that reflect the popularity of VOIP. While they may look like ordinary Internet activities, VOIP calls can be hacked by cybercriminals – just like any other Internet service. Individuals leverage the anonymity and privacy features that VPNs provide to keep their VOIP conversations from being intercepted or tracked by third parties.
Besides securing calls that are made over the Internet, VPNs have the ability to keep Internet speeds from being throttled. Depending on your geographic location and the laws that govern net-neutrality in your jurisdiction, Internet providers can reduce the quantity of content that you watch intentionally to maximize profit. To keep this from happening, individuals make use of the VPN privacy feature to keep Internet service providers from identifying them. This enables them to enjoy fast speeds while accessing the data they pay for.
To Access Games That Are not Available To Everyone
If you are a fan of a video game, you can probably think of one computer game that you enjoyed playing with a friend that is no longer available online because the developer either shut the online server down or quit supporting it. Using a VPN, you can access such games again. These networks are capable of fooling your computer to think that you are on the same network as your friend so that you can play your LAN game via the Internet. You can also do the same with game consoles like the original Xbox and PS2 that can plan on LAN but are no longer available online.
Across the world, cybersecurity has become a major issue. Whether you use the Internet as an individual or as a business, a VPN can help you to stay safe as you browse your favourite site or stream the content you love. By protecting your privacy and hiding your identity, VPN will make it difficult for third parties like government agencies and cybercriminals to track your digital footprints. Depending on what you want, you can subscribe to a free VPN version or a paid one. The latter is more advisable because it comes with more features and a server network