Why use a VPN (Virtual Private Network)? It's a question many people ask in this digital era, although the answer ought to be immediately clear. While everyone would agree that access to the Internet is a necessity these days, many remain oblivious to its hidden dangers and potential.
This is where this guide comes in. We encourage you to read on as we shed light on this important issue. Here you'll learn all about the major benefits of using a VPN and why more people ought to start using one.
Let's jump right in!
Table of Contents
- Why use a VPN?
- Top benefits of a VPN
- What VPN should you use?
Why use a VPN?
A VPN is a tool for people who want to enhance their privacy online, secure their Internet connection, and access geo-blocked content. It accomplishes this by encrypting your data, making it unreadable to hackers, and by hiding your real IP address to thwart unwanted tracking and surveillance.
Perhaps an easier way to think about this is to imagine that you're at a crowded party and you want to communicate a message to a friend across the room. Normally, you'd just shout your message across—but what if it's a secret that you don't want everybody else in the room to hear? If so, then you'd want to get close and whisper it into your friend's ear, or alternatively to gesture in such a way that only the two of you will understand.
This is exactly what a VPN does. It takes your data and encrypts it, then sends it to a VPN server which acts as a middle man between your device and the Internet. Third parties like your ISP and the government will still see the flow of data (the act of whispering or gesturing according to our metaphor), but they'll have no idea what it means, because it's encrypted.
Of course, the example above is an overly-simplified analogy, and there is certainly more to VPNs than all that. That said, it's a general concept that's easy to grasp even for people who've never used or heard of VPNs before.
Top benefits of a VPN
Now that we've talked about the basic things, we can delve into the actual benefits of using a VPN. After all, it's the main focus in this guide, but beyond that, we'll highlight the major features of this privacy tool that people can leverage.
VPN benefits for online privacy
Of course, you can't list the benefits of a VPN without highlighting online privacy. The truth is that many people go about their activities over the Internet and share sensitive information without realizing the risks.
How would you feel if each time you took a stroll outside, there were somebody following you around and taking pictures of everything you do and the places you go? You'd probably get creeped out, right? And yet that's basically what happens every day when you use the Internet without a VPN.
Whether you're doing a Google search, logging on to a website, or posting on social media — all these things leave a digital paper trail that can be used to track your activities. What's worse is that third parties collect this information without permission to serve their own purposes. We're talking advertising companies, governments, and yes, hackers/cybercriminals as well.
image source: ClearVPN
A VPN protects you from these threats by encrypting your data and effectively hiding it from prying eyes. Third parties only see the IP address of the VPN server, and not your device or the data. And since the data is encrypted (AES-256 which is the same encryption technology used by banks and government institutions), any data that gets intercepted is useless without the proper decryption keys.
Advantages of VPN in using public Wi-Fi networks
While public Wi-Fi networks are convenient and handy in a pinch, they're also the worst networks in terms of digital security. Anyone can get on these networks and there's no way for the average user to know who controls them. This makes it an ideal hunting ground for hackers looking to steal sensitive information from public Wi-Fi networks.
However, with a VPN, you can connect to public Wi-Fi without having to worry about these threats. Think about it — even if a hacker does manage to siphon off your sensitive information, the data is useless without the means to properly decrypt them.
To give you an idea, it would take approximately 2.29*10^32 years for a quantum computer to crack AES-256 encryption. But even ignoring that fact, it's unlikely that hackers would go through all that trouble to target a random person with such an attack.
image source: Kryptall
Have you ever found that you're not able to access certain websites or online content because of your location? Perhaps there's a movie or TV show that you want to watch on your streaming platform, but it's not available for some reason. This is known as a geo-restriction or the practice of geo-blocking.
image source: MAX
In the case of streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, these platforms have to abide by licensing agreements and only make certain content available in specific regions. Companies do this for a variety of reasons, including maximizing profit or trying to comply with different regulations across the world.
But that doesn't mean you have to miss out on your favorite shows and movies, just because you're not located in the right region. Another popular benefit of using VPN is that you can bypass these geo-blocks by connecting to a server, which is located where the content is available. This will make it seem like you're accessing the website from that location, and thus will allow you to access the content.
Stop Internet speed throttling
It is a common practice among ISPs (Internet Service Providers) to throttle or reduce the connection speed of users that consume a lot of data. This can be a problem for people who stream movies a lot, download torrents or online gaming.
image source: CIMA
If you believe that your ISP is throttling your connection, then this is another area where a VPN can help. By encrypting the data on your connection, ISPs won't be able to determine what you're doing or how much bandwidth you're using.
For example, most ISPs have systems in place that filter out torrent activity and throttle down those connections to preserve bandwidth. But since a VPN encrypts the data, there'll be no way for the ISP to determine what you're doing, thereby preventing throttling.
Things you can do with a VPN to save money
Most people are surprised to know that VPN benefits aren't limited to privacy and bypassing geo-restrictions; they can also help you save money. This is because many businesses adjust their prices based on geo-graphical location.
For example, a premium Netflix subscription in Pakistan is much cheaper ($3.59 a month as of this writing) compared to the US ($19.99 per month). By taking the time to see where you can buy the product or service for less, then using a VPN to make it look like you're trying to access it from that location, you can save a significant amount of money.
Note that this is not limited to streaming services and online shopping. You can also use the same strategy to buy airline tickets, book hotels, secure reservations, etc.
What VPN should you use?
Of course, just like any form of digital service, not all VPNs are equal and it's important to choose the right one if you're interested in any of the advantages we've outlined above. In fact, many of the VPNs out there actually do the opposite: collect and sell your personal information online, or simply don't work like theyre advertised.
If you're new to internet privacy tools and interested in the advantages of using VPN, then consider getting a user-friendly premium VPN service like ClearVPN. Unlike most other VPNs on the market, they offer features that ensure you're never more than 2 taps/clicks away from the advantages that you're looking for.
One good example is the Quick Connect feature that automatically selects the fastest VPN server based on your location and the results that you want to achieve. So even if you've never heard of a VPN before, you can still get all the benefits without navigating the complicated settings and connections.
But whatever VPN service you choose, it's important to make sure that it supports all of your devices.
In the case of ClearVPN, their VPN app works on all mainstream devices and operating systems. So whether you’re using a Windows computer or a mac, an Android smartphone or an iPhone, you can use ClearVPN to secure your Internet connection.
What is the main purpose of using VPN?
The primary reason you’d want to use a VPN is to prevent data theft and tracking of your online activities. This privacy tool accomplishes the goal by encrypting incoming and outgoing data and redirecting your connection to an external server.
Can VPN make internet faster?
Yes, but only in cases where your connection is being throttled. ISPs usually do this to restrict activities that consume a lot of data. A VPN can put a stop to this by encrypting your data and preventing ISPs from pulling any information about your network activity.
How does a VPN protect you?
A VPN protects you by encrypting your data and hiding your IP address. With the VPN active, third parties will only see the network activity on the VPN server and nothing on your actual device. And thanks to the added encryption (AES-256), any data that gets intercepted would still be useless for hackers.