In a way, the internet is still a wild place, even though it may look safe. We don’t usually see the threats in plain sight, or tend to underestimate them until we become victims ourselves. So, we need proper protection even if we feel we are safe. Today, we’re going to look into VPN, a cybersecurity tool protecting your privacy. And will be sharing teh reasons to use a VPN.
What is a VPN?
VPN stands for “virtual private network”. It is a digital tool that secures your online privacy. When you browse with no VPN, your traffic is out there naked. Hackers can intercept it and snatch your data, while your internet service provider or other interested parties can easily check what you do online. VPN gives you the much-needed protection so no one can see what you do online or where you browse from.
But how does it work? Well, it’s quite simple and complex at the same time. VPN routes your traffic through an encrypted tunnel so no one could decipher it. As a result, your traffic is safe from snoopers and cybercriminals. Moreover, VPN changes your IP by sending your traffic to remote servers and changes your virtual location. So, if you are in France, you can connect to a UK server, and nobody would see your French locale.
Why should you use a VPN?
VPN is an essential tool to protect yourself online. Below are the main reasons why you should use it:
- Staying safe on public Wi-Fi. Public Wi-Fi is often a fertile ground for hackers and snoopers as it hardly ever has proper protection. When you connect to a public hotspot, you get exposed to a lot of threats. VPN encrypts your traffic, so you are no longer at risk when connecting to a public network.
- Bypassing georestrictions. VPN changes your IP address and virtual locale, so you can easily bypass georestrictions of a certain location. For example, if you are in the US and want to use a service only available in Poland, just connect to a Polish server, and you will be able to use it. A service would see your Polish IP and think that you’re connecting from Poland.
- Avoiding censorship. VPNs are widely used by various activists operating from restrictive areas where the internet is heavily filtered. VPNs help to bypass these filtering tools by routing your traffic via remote servers and hiding your IP. However, we strongly recommend using VPN obfuscated servers, as those can help you in a lot of these cases. Such servers hide the fact that you use a VPN, so no one will be able to block your connection.
- Protecting yourself from third-party snooping. While most of us think that no one sees what we do online, it is far from the truth. Government agencies, internet service providers, and other entities can see what you do on the internet. VPN encrypts your traffic, hiding everything you do online.
- Hiding your whereabouts. Your IP address can tell a great deal about you. Anyone who knows it can see where you are with street precision or find out your internet service provider. VPN hides your IP, preventing anyone from seeing such info about you.
- Avoiding bandwidth throttling. Some internet providers curb users’ traffic when they engage in certain activities (e.g. gaming or streaming) to save up bandwidth. As VPN hides your activities, they won’t be able to see what you’re doing and so won’t slow down your connection.
- Protecting your IoT devices. VPN can protect your whole network if installed on your router, so you can protect any device connected to it.
- Safeguarding you while travelling. When you travel, your device always gets exposed to various public networks, and each of them introduces additional threats. VPN encrypts your traffic wherever you are, so you no longer need to worry about external threats while travelling through different countries.
What VPN service should you choose?
There are tons of VPN services available and it is easy to get lost among such a variety. So, how to choose the right one? Here are some tips on what to pay attention to when choosing a VPN service:
- Avoid free VPN services. While getting a VPN without spending a dollar is a tempting opportunity, you should avoid such services. The problem is that most free VPNs monetize their operations by gathering user data and selling it to third parties or bombarding you with annoying ads. So, instead of protecting your privacy, they introduce additional threats. Moreover, lots of them have very limited functionality, poor server infrastructure, and won’t provide you with proper protection. Some VPNs can even provide data to governments that stand behind them;
- Make sure the VPN service has a no-logs policy. This guarantees that the VPN provider doesn’t keep any of its users’ data and won’t be able to pass it to anyone trying to obtain it. Usually, reputable VPN companies conduct independent audits to prove that they adhere to such policies. Such info is normally publically available on their websites and doesn’t require much research.
- Make sure the VPN service has a customer support service. Even with the best app, you might encounter some issues, and you surely don’t want to lose your privacy even for a second. So, good customer service that can help you anytime is a must. Moreover, it indicates the transparency of a company;
- Check if the VPN provider has a vast server network because this will give you a wide variety of locales to choose from. Moreover, it will help to avoid server overload as there would be enough servers for all the users;
- It is also important for a VPN app to have some extra protection functionalities such as Kill Switch, obfuscated servers, Double VPN, etc. This will give you extra protection when you operate from high-risk areas where internet freedom is low and you could get punished for your activities due to freedom-of-speech violations. Kill Switch immediately terminates the internet connection if a VPN service is down, so you won’t get accidentally exposed. Obfuscated servers hide the fact that you use a VPN, so you could still use it in countries where such services are forbidden or discouraged. For rich and easily accessible functionality, check NordVPN app, which is powerful and easy to use at the same time;
- If you plan to use VPN for gaming and streaming, also make sure that the service offers high speed and won’t disrupt your activities with buffering. Again, NordVPN is a good choice here due to its ultra-fast NordLynx protocol offering blazing speeds;
- It should have a user-friendly and accessible interface. In this case, you will always be able to connect quickly and without hassle.
VPN is an essential tool nowadays. Don’t hesitate to spend an extra buck on it as the loss of your data or privacy could cost way more. NordVPN celebrates VPN Awareness month, so don’t lose your chance and grab a 2-year plan 72% off and receive 3-months for free.