Why you should use a VPN - Benefits of a Virtual Private Network

Why you should use a VPN - Benefits of a Virtual Private Network

In today's digital world, so much of our lives have moved online. We do our banking, shopping, communicating, and entertainment browsing virtually. However, being online also means exposing ourselves to potential privacy and security risks. As we access public WiFi networks or use applications, our data, and online activities are at the mercy of hackers and companies looking to collect and sell our information. The key way to guard against this is to use a VPN (Virtual Private Network).

In short, a VPN connection creates a secured tunnel for your internet connection and masks your online identity. In this expanded blog post, we'll take a deeper look at how VPNs work, the key benefits they provide, and our top recommendations for beginners.

How VPNs Work

As noted, a VPN establishes an encrypted connection between your device and the internet by routing your traffic through an intermediary server. This hides your actual IP address and encrypts all of your online activities, whether browsing, downloading or streaming. Instead of directly connecting to websites, your connection appears to be coming from the VPN server's location (country).

When using a VPN, your activity is routed through the VPN provider's encrypted server before going to its destination. To the outside world, it looks like all of your traffic is coming from the VPN server instead of your actual location.  So you could be in Thailand but have your VPN connection routing through the United States.

Staying Secure When Traveling

Whether for business or pleasure, many of us rely on public WiFi when traveling. From airports to coffee shops, unsecured hotspots let us stay connected on the go. However, they also expose us to unique privacy and security risks away from the safety of our private networks. This is where a VPN shines by providing a layer of protection for your data even when farthest from home.

When connecting to public WiFi overseas, your online activities could be monitored or intercepted much more easily without a VPN. With one, your entire connection is wrapped up in an encrypted tunnel before ever reaching the hotel, airline or cafe network you're using. This prevents bad actors from spying on logins, messages, and transactions within range.

Increased Privacy and Anonymity Online

With your real IP address concealed, using a VPN gives you enhanced privacy and anonymity compared to browsing without one. On public networks, as noted, a VPN prevents hackers from snooping on your activities or stealing personal data as your connection is invisible to them. You also gain the ability to access content from anywhere and you avoid region restrictions that can limit access to your favorite streaming sites while abroad. For instance, you could stream shows only available in certain countries by connecting to a VPN server based there. A VPN also lets you maintain your online freedom to keep up with work, stay entertained, or keep in touch with contacts regardless of location.

Potential Speed Improvements

While an additional network hop may initially seem detrimental to performance, VPNs can sometimes enhance speeds. They do this by preventing throttling from your internet service provider (ISP). Some ISPs intentionally downgrade connection speeds once a certain data cap is reached each month to push users to more expensive plans. Using a VPN circumvents this practice since the ISP only sees an encrypted connection to the VPN server.

What to Look For In a VPN Provider

With the numerous options available, it's important to choose a service known for high-quality features. Look for providers with no-logging policies, fast server networks, military-grade AES-256 encryption, unlimited simultaneous device connections, and available 24/7 customer support. Avoid those that could store usage logs, as this compromises user privacy in the long run.

Finally, public WiFi hotspots present a risk of having your device infected by malware if left unprotected. Using a VPN drastically reduces this threat by adding another barrier for cybercriminals to breach before touching your device. The reassurance of security no matter where life's adventures take you makes a VPN an indispensable tool for any world traveler's digital toolkit.

By outfitting yourself with a VPN, you gain an essential tool for securely boosting your privacy in today's digital age.

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