If you use the Internet on a daily basis, you will undoubtedly come across the acronym VPN. So what is VPN? How does it benefit internet users?
Before we go into why a VPN is useful, it’s important to have a basic understanding of how it works. A VPN acts as a shield protecting you from everything that is harmful on the internet. The VPN network is connected to the home network in order to accomplish this. In most cases, the devices that are utilized at home are part of the home network. As a result, they can be connected to the VPN network via a virtual tunnel and appear as part of it. As a result, employees in the home office can use a VPN to connect to the company’s infrastructure.
Benefits of a VPN
With the best VPN services, you can access resources on a network without a direct connection. VPN allows unrestricted, anonymous surfing.
- You may have a torrent client installed on your computer, or you may be using BitTorrent. VPN gives you absolute security, otherwise you risk fines or court hearings.
- Access to blocked content (e.g. Stan or Hulu)
- You can use VPNs to log into Facebook without hesitation, for example, or check your emails at the airport using your smartphone with the iOS operating system. Your online behavior for banking, accounting or the transfer of company data works just as easily.
We will look at all these benefits in more detail down below:
- Access blocked content from anywhere
Your online activities include, for example, watching your favorite series from other countries without translation in real time on TV. With VPN you can bypass the unpleasant geo-blocking in which your IP address is constantly changing.
- Anonymity on the internet
The strong encryption protects your anonymity because the VPN provider funnels your online data traffic through a secure “VPN tunnel”. This way you avoid censorship by governments, for example.
Depending on the provider, your data traffic is also subject to excellent AES 256 encryption levels at work or at home. This protection protects your privacy.
- Download without risk
Some torrents may not be used in some countries. However, if you want to stream unnoticed or use the internet connection for surfing, you need a VPN.
This prevents companies from creating files on you and bugging you with ads or selling your data to third parties. However, if you use advertising networks such as Facebook, Google and Twitter, information about you will be collected.
- Privacy under control
VPN protects your identity because you are not surfing with a publicly available IP address. Your online actions can only be traced back to the VPN server, a personal one only if you are logged into websites of content providers such as Google or YouTube via Windows, for example. VPN providers do not monitor your activity across servers and rarely keep logs.
- Save money and shop cheaper on the internet
Online prices vary depending on which country you are booking from. Companies such as airlines, rental car companies or software companies set their prices based on the country IP address.
With VPN you can always get a good price because your virtual location is always changing. You can save several hundred dollars on airlines and rental cars and even up to 40% on software subscriptions.
- VPNs are affordable
With OpenVPN (free VPN providers), advertisements are likely to appear frequently during your activity. In addition, only a few foreign server locations are available to you and the data protection declarations are often unclean. In addition, you have to accept restrictions on data traffic and your privacy, which are significant disadvantages of a VPN connection.
VPN applications from a paid provider, on the other hand, work without advertising, protect your privacy and usually give you a free trial period before you buy the software.
- Protection against attacks from the Internet
When using a public network, other users in the same network can access your data. For example, to prevent access to your email login, images or files, you should use a VPN connection. Of course, this also applies to companies whose employees work from home or abroad.
- Bypassing geographic censorship
Connecting to a VPN server worldwide allows you to access a country’s internet as if you were actually there. This will help you avoid geo-blocking and surveillance by any regime that may have placed restrictions on parts of the internet.
For example, you can use your usual streaming services like BBC, Hulu or Amazon. VPN connects through the servers in your home country, so you can easily watch your favorite series, among other things.
Disadvantages of a VPN
Unfortunately, you also have to accept the disadvantages of a VPN connection:
- Optimal protection likes to slow down.
- Some streaming providers have introduced VPN blockers that suddenly disable VPN connections.
- Another disadvantage of VPN connection is the failure. Nothing is encrypted at this point and you can be identified by the IP address.
- The complicated configuration is also considered a disadvantage VPN. Sloppiness makes it very easy for hackers and other online threats.
Paid subscription required or do free VPNs work too?
For example, the following VPN iPhone disadvantages, also for other devices, can usually be avoided with paid subscriptions: The VPN provider logs when and how often you have logged in via which server on which website.
When choosing a VPN provider, make sure that it does not store any log files and does not belong to the “14 eyes” countries (network of some countries for surveillance). Free VPNs might be suitable for occasional use, but not for serious and permanent use. Trust paid services with a good rating.
* Tip: Pay attention to different discount campaigns and vouchers from VPN providers!
Your VPN connection can suddenly drop out
Even with a premium VPN, the connection can sometimes fail. A new installation is pending and encryption fails. Many apps for VPN offer a kill switch that immediately disconnects from the internet.
A VPN gives you more privacy, security, and freedom, but you have to weigh the VPN pros and cons for you. The free VPN is not recommended, but you can get access to global servers, security and decent speed for little money.