Before we talk about the benefits of a VPN, we should start with an explanation of what a VPN is. A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, creates a secure connection between you and the internet that allows you to share data that is encrypted and therefore cannot be read by other people. You install a VPN onto your device, whether that is a smartphone, computer, or tablet, and it masks your IP address. As the information goes to an external server before going on to the internet, this means that the traffic will appear as though it is coming from somewhere else, which has a lot of benefits in itself.
- Security and privacy
Many people use a VPN because they don’t like the fact that so many people can access your data on a normal, unencrypted connection. This can also protect from hackers, especially if you are using public WiFi in a cafe, or mall where the risk is much greater.
- Access restricted content
Due to copyright laws, you may notice that some content is only available in specific countries. This can be frustrating if, for example, you want to watch a sports game from another country, or even catch up on a TV show that aired in England and isn’t accessible via BBC iPlayer unless you are in the UK. Even some films are only available on some versions of Netflix in specific places around the world. With a VPN you can tell the internet that you are visiting from a specific place, and the data that you send them as you browse will back this up, so you will be able to access restricted content in your country.
- Get the best price on flights
Have you ever noticed that you look at flights one day, and when you go back another day, the prices have jumped up significantly? This is because the site tracks your IP and knows that if you are coming back to look, you are more likely to book, so they up the price to get more from you. By using a VPN you look like a new customer and are likely to get a lower price.
- Combat bandwidth throttling
When you’ve been watching Netflix, you may have noticed it constantly buffering, even though you know you pay for really good WiFi. That’s because a lot of internet providers “throttle” bandwidth on certain things, such as video streaming and file sharing, leaving you with much lower speeds than you were promised when signing up. One way to combat this is by using a VPN. So, not only can you access programs from other countries, but you will also benefit from better speeds.
As you can see, a VPN is a fantastic idea for several different reasons and is a lot easier to use than you might think. Once it’s set up, it all happens in the background so you never need to worry.