A VPN is increasingly becoming an essential tool for technology users. It provides much greater protection and more freedom to take advantage of all the internet has to offer. But while a VPN is becoming a vital and necessary companion for technology buffs, why and when do you need a VPN? What are the benefits? And do you always need to use one?
A VPN is a vital security measure, as it creates an encrypted tunnel between a remote server and your machine. Your internet traffic is routed through this tunnel and shields your data from outside forces. This provides maximum privacy and protection. It also gives you more freedom, enabling you to connect to a server in a specific country and access content exclusive to that location.
But should you leave the VPN running all of the time? For the most part, yes! It will protect your data from hackers and secure your browsing history. This will prevent advertisers or ISPs from accessing your browsing data. But there will be times when you might need to pause it, for instance, if you want to access local content or connect to a nearby device, like a printer. If this is the case, finding a VPN with a pause option will allow you to connect to local devices and websites without disconnecting your VPN.
There are plenty of VPN providers to choose from. However, only a few, such as NordVPN, can give you excellent security, fast connection, secure torrenting, and plenty of streaming options.
Why keep your VPN on all the time?
There are considerable benefits to having a VPN and keeping it running 24/7. Security and data protection are not the only reasons to keep a VPN permanently connected. There are also perks of being able to lift restrictions on geo-locked content and it will enable you to safely access public Wi-Fi.
Here are the top 6 reasons why you should run a VPN all the time:
1. Privacy and Anonymity
The biggest reason to constantly maintain a VPN is the privacy and anonymity it gives you. While you may not have anything to hide, it’s still horrible to think there might be outsiders prying into their personal browsing.
With a VPN, websites will be unable to track you or your browsing data. This also means that external companies will be unable to monitor your browsing in order to target you for advertising. So, if you’ve searched for a product on Google, or even talked about something privately online with a friend, those words will not be reflected on the adverts you see. Your data is completely encrypted and protected and will remain private.
2. Unrestricted Worldwide Internet Access
Keeping a VPN constantly connected means that you can have access to geo-restricted content from around the world. When you use a VPN, it connects you to a secure server in a location of your choosing, so it can make it look like you are in that country.
So if you want to watch Hulu or HBO Max but aren’t in the US, a VPN will let you bypass these restrictions from anywhere in the world. It will connect to an American server and create an American IP address to make it appear as though you are in the States, even if you’re not. The other benefit of this is that you can switch servers seamlessly, so you can access an American server to watch Hulu, then switch to a British server to watch BBC iPlayer.
3. Faster internet
Some Internet Service Providers (ISPs) will impose bandwidth limits and encourage you to upgrade to a premium (more expensive) package in order to get faster internet speeds. A VPN will connect you to a remote server and will not be constrained by any bandwidth or download limit.
Everyone wants faster internet, but those who prioritize downloading, streaming or gaming, will find a VPN a hugely valued asset. When choosing a server to connect to, the one thing to consider is the closer you physically are to your new server, the faster the internet connection will be.
There are times when a VPN might slow your connection. If this happens, either pause your VPN or connect to a different server.
4. Security and Protection
A VPN will give you greater security and internet protection. Everything from your bank details to your emails will be safe and secure. Your data is encrypted and your activity protected as it is automatically secured with military-grade 256-bit AES encryption. In layman’s terms, this means that even if someone could access your data, they would never be able to decipher it.
A VPN also protects your communications, such as emails and Zoom meetings. You need a VPN to ensure your personal messages stay private and secure. The other benefit is that you can transfer money safely and securely. A VPN will also protect your mobile device.
5. Safe access to public Wi-Fi
Public Wi-Fi networks are extremely vulnerable, making it easy for hackers to access your private information. Some cybercriminals will even set up rogue connection points on public Wi-Fi to spy on users and access their information. Without a VPN, your personal data and communications are at risk. A VPN will make it appear as though your data is coming from your connected server instead of your actual device.
You need a VPN to ensure the protection of your connection is second to none. If you have a VPN, it would take the fastest supercomputer millions of years to decipher the encrypted data. So not only does a VPN secure your actual connection, but even if your data was susceptible to attack from a vulnerable public Wi-Fi connection, there is no way your information will be readable.
6. It can save you money
Without a VPN, external companies can read your information and use it against you. For instance, if you look at a flight or hotel room and then visit the same site later, the price may actually increase. These sites track your search history and frequency and may use your digital footprint to show you more expensive prices.
A VPN will hide these searches from those companies so they won’t be able to exploit your frequent visits. This means a VPN can soon pay for itself by ensuring you are always offered the lowest price. The other benefit is that you can access sales from across the world. By comparing prices in different locations, you can save a lot of money.
When should you turn off your VPN?
A VPN is an essential tool, but does it need to be on all the time? Generally, we would recommend you keep it on as much as possible. But there are certain scenarios where you may need to consider turning off your VPN. In these instances, we would recommend pausing your VPN rather than switching it off. Finding a VPN with a pausing option is a good solution.
One possible reason for pausing your VPN is internet speed. Although it can increase speed for gaming because your ISP won’t cause a delay, using a VPN can also sometimes slow your connection.
Another reason is that sometimes the content you wish to unlock is only available in your physical location and a VPN would be a hindrance.
Pros and cons of using a VPN at home
Using a VPN at home is preferable, advised even, but it isn’t always essential. The main reason it may not be necessary, is that your internet activity should already be shielded by your password-protected Wi-Fi network. The other concern is connecting to a remote server can slow your connection speed.
However, the pros of using a VPN at home largely outweigh the negatives. The main benefit is completely securing your internet from external hackers, as well as preventing your own ISP using your data against you by selling it to third-party companies. It also allows you to watch geo-blocked content at home at your leisure.
Which VPN should I use?
It’s important to choose a reputable VPN, instead of opting for a free version. Free VPNs are not as secure, may sell data to external third parties and are the first to be foiled by sites like Hulu. We recommend using NordVPN, ExpressVPN or SurfShark.
All three offer high-level security and are astonishingly fast. All protect your browsing data and all three will unblock geo-restricted content, like Hulu, HBO Max or BBC iPlayer. ExpressVPN is more expensive and SurfShark’s no logs policy isn’t audited, so we would recommend NordVPN. But any of them will do the job.
The bottom line
Ultimately, a VPN is a necessary and valued tool in 2021. It completely secures your private and personal information and prevents your data from getting into the hands of third parties who can use this information against you. This mainly manifests itself in targeted advertising and increasing the prices on certain goods depending on how many times you’ve visited the page. With a VPN, you will always access the lowest price and your personal information and browsing data are safe and secure.
It also lifts restrictions on geo-blocked content, like Hulu or BBC iPlayer. Another benefit is that it works on your mobile devices and protects your connection on public Wi-Fi.
Overall, we recommend keeping your VPN running all the time and then pausing it if you need to access local content.
We would recommend using NordVPN, as it is one of the fastest and safest VPNs on the market.
Need more help choosing a VPN? Take a look at our guide to the best VPNs on the market.
Is a VPN really necessary?
A VPN is an essential tool to fully protect your browsing data. It provides a fast and secure service that maintains your anonymity. A VPN also enables secure connection to public Wi-Fi and encrypts your information.
Should I always turn on my VPN?
You should always have a VPN turned on or at least still running. Some VPNs, like NordVPN, have a pause button. This is a useful tool if you’re having network issues or if you want to access content or services from a different region.
When should you not use a VPN?
One reason you may not use a VPN is when gaming or downloading, as a VPN can sometimes slow your connection speed. The other time to pause your VPN, is when you want to access content that is only available in your location.