A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a security service and application that has been rapidly growing in popularity over the last few years. What it will do is connect your computer to an offsite secure service via a high-quality encrypted connection that shields any data travelling through it from outside eyes. The offsite server will mask your IP address, making it appear as if you are in another country if you so desire. The combination of these two effects means that there is no other service online that offers you such utility for the cost of two lattes a month.
Why You Need It?
Chances are that you have used your laptop or smartphone in a public building, taking advantage of their free WiFi services while you sit down for a few minutes. You need to know now that this is a risk you are taking with your computer and your data, as nearly all public networks out there have no security attached to them whatsoever. This means hackers can easily set up a small and cheap device that will intercept data sent over the network. Data stolen this way is one of the quickest ways to lead to identity theft or online account theft.
A VPN is the only way to protect against this kind of threat other than simply not using public networks. Most firewalls and security programs aren’t effective at protecting data that is being sent over a network. A VPNs encrypted, “tunnel-like” connection means that you can consider it wrapped in a protective layer that will not allow hackers to see what you are doing. If anything, they will only know that you are using a VPN, which is the safest you can get on a public network. ExpressVPN is an excellent choice for this reason because it offers 256-bit, military-grade encryption.
By-Pass Regional Restrictions
If you are a frequent traveler or someone who likes to visit foreign websites, then you may notice blocks to certain content or websites depending on where you are in the world. You will most frequently see this on websites like Netflix, Hulu or major broadcast network websites. This problem might even come up when you are trying to do research for your job or an academic paper. This problem is called a regional restriction, and they are a major reason why most people get a VPN.
A VPN is a great tool in this instance as it makes you appear that you are browsing the internet in a different country. As long as you can connect to a country or region where the content is allowed, you can consider regional restrictions to be a thing of the past. The best VPNs won’t give you any slowdown when streaming, and you’ll be able to enjoy some of the comforts of home while you are away from home.
They Are One of the Few Ways to Stay Private While Torrenting
Torrenting itself isn’t illegal, but there are many people who know that torrenting in general raises red flags for internet service providers who think you might be downloading the latest season of your favorite show illegally. If they have suspicions, they will often throttle or cancel your internet service, with few ways for you to appeal. If you want to torrent and keep your connection safe, you need a VPN.
How a VPN helps you with this comes down to the fact that a VPN will mask your IP address. Since most surveillance and tracking software relies on that important piece of information, no one will be able to tell what you were browsing or downloading online, making your torrenting completely private to the outside world.
Governments Are Censoring and Spying on You
You would never suspect that one of the greatest active threats to your online privacy would be a government organization, but with the ongoing news stories about surveillance programs the truth is undeniable. The government is likely spying on your online habits and making records of your browsing activities. A VPN will help prevent this by hiding your IP address, cutting off a lot of the ways that governments like to use to track people. It is one of the only ways to fight back against this form of oppression.
What a good VPN will absolutely help you with is getting around government censorship of the internet. In much the same way that it gets around regional restrictions, the VPN will make you appear as if you are browsing the internet in another country. Countries cannot easily delete websites, so they’ll simply try to stop everyone in their borders from accessing it. This makes a VPN is a vital tool for journalists or travelers to oppressive countries that want to keep their information flow going.
Conclusion: There are other creative and inventive uses for a VPN, and there is no doubt that you will be able to figure out how to best use yours when you get one. Consider it an investment, both in your security and your privacy. Most people don’t value those highly enough, but with a VPN you’ll be able to be much safer in your online life.
Author: Cassie Phillips from Securethoughts