Perhaps you've looked into VPNs and are now wondering, "Do I really need one?" It's a common question, particularly if you're not well-versed in the advantages of having a VPN. The answer, in short, is yes - investing in a VPN is worthwhile, particularly if you value your online privacy and want to ensure your internet browsing is encrypted.
VPN stands for virtual private network, and it essentially creates a secure, private network for your computer even when you're using a public internet connection. By hiding your IP address, VPNs make it nearly impossible to trace your online actions. If you're interested in learning more about why a VPN is essential and why it's worth investing in, keep reading.
5 reasons why you need a VPN
VPNs add an essential security layer not only to your home network connected devices but also when traveling, using public WiFi, or even working at the office. But let’s dig in deeper to see the actual benefits of it:
1. Protect your data
Whenever you enter the infinity of the internet, your data is accessible to dozens of prying eyes, such as trackers, your ISP, the government, and more. The best way to avoid this is to use a reputable VPN, which encrypts your data using advanced AES-256 encryption and additional security layers.
Apart from encryption, VPNs also use protected tunnels. Tunnelling protocols, like the advanced WireGuard, impact your connection speed less than other protocols without compromising your security.
Not less important are extra features. For example, specialty servers, like Tor over VPN or Double VPN, add additional security and privacy layer. Meanwhile, the kill switch feature protects your IP address even in times when a VPN connection drops.
Finally, a VPN protects you not only at home but also when traveling or using public WiFi. Connecting to an open WiFi network without protection can lead to various security breaches on your device, including a man-in-the-middle attack.
2. Avoid ISP spying
Hacking is less of a concern when you’re browsing the internet from your own network at home. However, your internet service provider is the one to watch out for at home. ISPs have access to enormous amounts of data about you and your online habits.
The US Congress has granted internet service providers (ISPs) the power to sell your data to third parties, which can be concerning. It doesn't help that many users don't have a lot of options when it comes to choosing ISPs. Depending on where you live, you may only have one or two wired internet providers available to you. However, using a VPN can help safeguard your privacy by preventing ISPs from selling your internet usage data to others and profiting off of it.
This concern is even more pressing in oppressive countries like China, where your browsing history could land you in jail. However, ISP throttling your connection is a common issue globally that a VPN can also stop.
3. Bypass geo-blocks
VPNs are especially handy if you are living or traveling outside of your home country. Without a VPN, you may find yourself using websites in different languages because the websites are localized to your current location. If you are from the United States but traveling abroad, you can VPN back to a familiar location and access web pages in your home language.
You can also use a VPN to legally watch shows or movies from another country. Some VPNs, such as NordVPN, even have specialized streaming servers that help you enjoy various Netflix libraries and other major streaming sites in full HD. And because a VPN funnels your internet traffic, it still protects your identity when accessing foreign locations on the internet.
4. Save money
Security is not all that a VPN can offer. By changing your IP address, it can also help you to save heaps of money.
It’s no secret that airline companies tend to increase the ticket price based on your actual IP location. However, if you choose a VPN server that’s further from your home region, you can snatch some delicious flight deals.
The same thing happens with streaming platforms, video game distributors, and other organizations. These providers also base on the country’s economic norms. So, if you live in the US, you might be overpaying compared to the countries such as Mexico.
Overall, correctly setting up a VPN and choosing the right server location can bring you a fortune!
5. Bypass government censorship
Ultimately, the decisions you make online are completely up to you. However, multiple heavily-censored countries, such as China, Russia, Iran, and more, are interested in limiting your online freedom.
For places like that, internet surveillance is insanely common. Consequently, citizens can’t visit popular websites, enjoy streaming platforms, or play video games, and even a VPN connection can be forbidden.
Fortunately, a robust VPN offers dedicated features to bypass government censorship. And it’s not only advanced encryption for your traffic but also obfuscated servers that hide your VPN connection from prying eyes.
Why you shouldn’t use a free VPN
One of the main draws of using a VPN is to protect yourself from hackers. However, some free VPNs actually install malware onto your devices, which is a huge security concern while spending time on the internet. Consequently, you end up paying not only for a reputable antivirus but also for scammers.
While VPNs are meant to protect your data from third-party snoopers, many free VPNs sell your data to others to make an income. Third-party snoopers typically use this information to better target ads to individuals.
Lastly, free VPNs often limit the amount of data you can use and only cover one or two devices. Plus, the suite of security is also usually outdated due to low investment, and this creates additional security flaws. However, there are free version of paid VPNs that offer free versions or free trials. With them, you can enjoy nearly limitless service.
Check out our guide about free vs paid VPNs to learn more about what usually are the differences between premium and free VPN services.
How much does a VPN cost?
There are several factors that influence the cost of a VPN. Some of them are:
- Number of simultaneous connections
- Diversity and size of a server fleet
- Quality of performance
- Streaming and torrenting abilities
- Customer support availability
- Subscription duration
However, a reputable VPN provider will always offer a fair price and quality ratio, thus you should take both criteria into account before buying a VPN service. For example, market-leading VPNs, like NordVPN or Surfshark, offer top-notch protection and budget-friendly pricing. To have NordVPN, the starting price is $3.19/month, and Surfshark costs even less – from $2.30/month. Meanwhile, the average VPN price is $3.90/month.
Also, keep in mind that we regularly update limited offers for getting premium VPNs for exclusive prices. This way, even the most expensive VPN will cost only peanuts.
What to look for in a VPN service
While deciding on a VPN to purchase, consider the following.
- Security. First and foremost, a VPN is a security service. Therefore, it should use advanced features to protect you from exposed online privacy and various cyber threats. This means, a VPN must include strong encryption, top-notch tunneling protocols, a kill switch feature, and more.
- Privacy. Where online security goes, privacy comes too. Hence, when choosing a VPN, it’s important to look for one with an audited no-logs policy.
- Extra features. Each additional feature that comes with a VPN ensures more security. Features like split tunneling, obfuscation, or threat protection are becoming rather essential nowadays.
- Unblocking capabilities. Bypassing geo-restricted content is a major concern not only for heavily-restricted countries. So, when selecting a VPN, make sure it unblocks your favorite streaming platforms and other websites.
- Compatibility. It’s the 21st century, and browsing on more than one device in your day is natural. That’s why it’s crucial that a VPN has native apps for all major platforms and allows you many simultaneous connections.
Data is one of the most valuable commodities on the planet. Online data is sold through a variety of platforms and there is only so much control individuals have to protect their privacy online. However, using a VPN will let you gain back some level of control over the data you share with your ISP and other third parties. So in short, if you were asking yourself if a VPN is worth it, the answer is a resounding yes.
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Is it illegal to have a VPN?
VPNs are completely legal because they're run on the same servers the rest of the Internet uses. What is illegal, however, is using a VPN to cover your tracks of the committed crimes and download copyrighted materials.
Should I get a VPN?
Yes, you should get a VPN if you want to enhance your online security and privacy. With the most secure VPN on the market, you can hide your online activity either from hackers or the government, avoid malware, and other threats.
Are free VPNs safe?
Yes, there are free VPNs that are safe to use, for example, Atlas VPN. However, the majority of free VPN services can’t offer you the needed amount of security. In other words, you receive outdated applications, rough data caps, limited connection speed, and more.