The term “VPN” is probably something you have heard a lot over the past few years. A VPN, or virtual private network, is a way to make yourself more anonymous online and allow you to protect your data more than ever before.
With more and more people becoming aware of companies taking and selling their data or being increasingly worried about hacks and data thefts, VPNs have skyrocketed in popularity; here’s why.
What is a VPN?
In simple terms, a VPN is a tool that hides your online activity. While it was first introduced as a way to protect users against data theft and hacks, it has been shown to be the perfect tool to stream shows and movies from around the world, get around website blocks, improve shopping experiences, and even get better deals on hotels and flights.
You can use a VPN to access geo-blocked websites you may need for work or college, use a vpn for gaming to play against players from around the world, or use it to give yourself the peace of mind that your data has an extra layer of protection.
Do I Need a VPN at Home?
While you don’t necessarily need a VPN for security at home, as your WiFi will do that for you, it is helpful for the other features mentioned, such as streaming foreign shows, getting past blocked websites, etc.
As mentioned already, data privacy has become a hot topic of late, and even the most casual internet user has become more aware of trying to protect what they share online. VPN anonymity means that companies can’t track what you do, but they also can’t store your information.
This means you can say goodbye to Googling scuba equipment and receive hundreds of adverts for the next six months. You also don’t have to worry about your email addresses or phone numbers being accessed by call centers or data hackers.
With the added privacy comes added security. If you are anonymous, it is hard to pinpoint where you are and which network you are using. This means that data thieves can’t simply hack into the network and gain access to your linked devices.
This is especially helpful if you often use public WiFi, as public networks often lack the most basic security measures.
How many times have you wanted to watch a show on Netflix or a video on the internet, and you receive the pop-up saying, “this content isn’t available in your country?” a VPN is a perfect way to get around these blocks.
There is nothing illegal about streaming a show on Netflix that isn’t available in your country, and it also means you have access to thousands of new titles simply by changing your VPNs location.
Online Banking Security
Your money is an asset that you want to protect at all costs and not give anyone a chance to steal even a single cent. However, sometimes no matter what you do, hackers can get into your online banking and take whatever they want.
VPNs offer increased security for your internet connection, ensuring that one weak spot is highly secured and almost impenetrable.
Online Shopping Protection
A small detail many people may not notice when they are online shopping is the small lock symbol next to a website URL. This lock indicates that the website is protected; however, not every online shopping site has these protections, and data thieves know that too.
While you shouldn’t be shopping on a website that doesn’t have that lock or the HTTPS code, if you have to, a VPN will offer the extra security you need.
For some reason, many websites are geo-blocked across the internet. More often than not, these websites will only serve the country they are in, such as a Japanese-based shopping website that only ships within Japan.
However, if you want to access that site to buy something for someone in Japan, for example, changing your VPN country to Japan will allow you to shop as if you live there. This also applies to academic websites that may be blocked for similar reasons.
Better Shopping Deals
Finally, many shopping, hotel, and flight websites track your data and can see what you are and aren’t interested in. They will sometimes use this data against you and raise the price of something they know you want to buy.
Many of these sites will also adjust prices depending on where you are, often adding exorbitant handling or shipping fees in the process. Once again, avoid this by switching on your VPN and either cloaking or changing your location.