Top 10 Reasons Why You Should Use a VPN
The reasons why internet users choose the services of a VPN provider are multi-fold. Whether people are using VPNs as a means to protect their privacy, as a security measure to protect their internet traffic, or as a tool to gain access to content that is only available in certain parts of the world, VPN usage has gained tremendous popularity in the context of growing numbers of identity-theft related incidents, government overreach and censorship.
With the appearance of affordable and easy-to-use VPN services aimed at the average consumer, the “cloak of internet anonymity” is no longer something reserved for businesses only, therefore, with pricing and usage barriers out of the way, VPN has become something within easy reach for everyone. Here are the top 10 reasons why you too should use a VPN:
1. Online Anonymity
Probably the most common reason why people choose a VPN is due to its capacity to cloak your real IP address, your location, and make your internet activity unreadable to eavesdroppers, thus protecting your identity. There are several advantages to being anonymous online such as exercising your right to freedom of speech without fear of repercussion. The only way you can do that is to have a system in place that won’t link your online presence to your real identity. A VPN creates a disconnect between these two, so you can exercise both your right to freedom of speech and your right to privacy.
2. Secure Connection to Public Wi-Fi
We all love free Wi-Fi, but free Wi-Fi comes with several risks. Using an eavesdropping software is no rocket science, and it’s naïve to assume that your favorite Starbucks coffee shop’s open Wi-Fi won’t make you a target of any cybercrime. On the contrary! Unsecured Wi-Fi connections are extremely risky and anyone can take a peek at your online activity. When connected to a VPN, your connection is secured, and all your traffic from your device is encrypted, which no longer makes you vulnerable to hackers. If you find yourself relying a lot on open Wi-Fi, it’s best if you invest a few dollars per month on a VPN.
3. Unblocking Geo-Restricted Content
You’d really love to watch the new Netflix original drama Stranger Things, but it’s not yet available in your country? Or perhaps you want to watch something on Hulu or on YouTube, but again you’re greeted with the same message of the content not being available in your country. Same goes for Pandora Internet Radio or any service that has a geographical restriction. Your access to these services is blocked based on your IP address’s location. This means that if you can connect with an IP address from the USA or other country that’s not on the list of restricted countries, you can unblock geo-restricted content and gain access to all your favorite TV shows or music. With a VPN, you can easily make this happen.
4. Privacy and Confidentiality
Being able to surf the internet without your privacy being infringed upon is another thing that a VPN can help you with. Hackers are not the only ones prying on your online activity, the NSA’s surveillance capabilities are extremely far-reaching. So if you don’t agree with this type of government overreach, using a VPN will make sure the privacy and confidentiality of your internet communication is protected.
5. Internet Usage Tracking Prevention
IPSs easily have access to your internet traffic and activities. A VPN will hide all this even from your internet service provider. Whether you’re a reporter covering sensitive topics or you’re trying to elude some of the tracking practices of certain advertisers, websites or search engines, choosing to use a VPN is a good precautionary measure in all these situations.
6. Circumvent Government Censorship
A worrying number of countries block certain websites or social media pages thereby limiting freedom of information and infringing upon people’s right to information and freedom of expression. Perhaps the Great Firewall of China is the most illustrative examples of government censorship in action. But China is not the only country to apply such methods of controlling and silencing the population. Counties like Russia, Iran, Turkey and other countries in the Middle East have similar systems in place. To gain access to information and exercise their freedom of expression, residents of some of these countries use VPNs to bypass government censorship.
7. P2P Sharing and Torrents
If you’re based in the United Kingdom or in the USA, where torrent download activities fall under the scope of some copyright infringement laws and can easily get you into trouble, perhaps you’re better off getting a VPN connection from countries where copyright legislation is either laxer than in the USA, or it’s not usually enforced. With a VPN protecting your identity, you can use torrent websites without fear of legal repercussions. Be advised, however, that not any and all VPN providers support torrenting, so make sure to check with your VPN provider before you engage in such activities.
8. SEO and Marketing Strategy Analysis
A VPN can be a useful tool even for SEO experts and marketing specialists. With VPN services having multiple server locations, you can connect to a UK server, while living in Germany for example, and analyze search engine trends and search results specific for the UK. This can give you more insight into what your potential targets search for and what types of results they see.
9. Save on Hotel Booking and Travel Ticket Costs
Some airline booking and hotel booking websites may show different prices based on your geographical location. Moreover, they also tend to display increased prices if you search for the same destination or hotel for a second time because they now know that you’re looking to make a booking. Use a VPN and connect from different locations to see if you can land a better price than the one displayed for your original geographical location.
10. Unblocking Geo-Restricted Games
Just like unblocking geo-restricted media streaming services, you can also unblock geo-restricted online games. Connect from a geographical location that is not blocked by the provider and play your favorite games online, without limitations.
VPNs have many more applications (e.g. cloaking your VOIP calls, bypassing a restrictive network at work, etc.), but the above mentioned ones are the some of the most important reasons why people opt for a VPN. The benefits of using a VPN cannot be overstated, and given that the costs of a VPN have been significantly reduced in the last couple of years, there really is no good reason why you shouldn’t be using one.