VPNs were originally created to give businesses a secure connection for remote work. Nowadays, cyber-attacks have become all too common, so many everyday internet users are relying on VPN service providers to protect them from hackers trying to steal sensitive information such as banking details.
Although VPNs are increasingly popular, many people are still confused about what such a service can offer them. In this article, we will explain what VPNs are, how they work, and the main advantages of using one.
What Are VPNs and How Do They Work?
A VPN or a Virtual Private Network is a popular way to bypass geo-restrictions. Let’s say you’re a Swedish expat that wants to watch content from back home. Usually, the content will be limited to IP addresses from within the borders because of copyright issues.
A VPN service provider has thousands of servers all over the world. You can select Sweden, and it will route your internet connection through one of its Swedish servers and give you a Swedish IP address. Now you have full access to any geo-restricted website or service.
Advantages of Using a VPN
Most people use VPNs to get more options on streaming services like Netflix or Hulu. The movies and TV series offered by these platforms are usually owned by other vendors, so their distribution rights are limited to some countries.
This practice is very frowned upon by production companies, so streaming services are expected to do everything in their power to make sure users don’t gain access to geo-restricted content. Nevertheless, the most popular VPN service providers still manage to give their users access despite countermeasures. Once you start using a VPN, you’ll see that unrestricted access to content from all over the world isn’t the only advantage.
Whenever you’re using the internet, you’re sending out personal information, and you’re making yourself vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Public Wi-Fi networks are particularly dangerous.
A VPN will encrypt your data and can keep your private activity private. It’s essentially creating a hidden tunnel through which you can surf the Web. Whether you’re browsing from home or through public Wi-Fi, you remain anonymous to any potential snoopers from hackers to government officials.
Money online retailers will show different prices to shoppers from different countries, depending on how much they think they’ll be willing to spend. For example, the same product will have a higher price in Germany than in India. Airline companies are known to do the same. Even if the tickets have the same departure and arrival details, they will have different prices depending on your IP address.
By using a VPN, you can save money on flight tickets, hotel bookings, and online shopping.
If you’ve ever noticed you have slower internet speed on some websites or at certain hours, you may have experienced bandwidth throttling. Internet service providers or anyone who has administrative control over your network can slow down your connection to limit upload or download rates and avoid network congestion. For ISPs, it also serves as an incentive to get their customers to opt for a more expensive internet plan.
A VPN will encrypt the internet traffic on your device and circumvent bandwidth-throttling.
Interesting related article: “How a VPN can protect your computer.”