Have you been feeling anxious in the digital space? Feeling like you have a million eyes on you each time you visit a website? It can definitely make you uneasy. Luckily there’s an easy fix, and it’s called a VPN.
In this article we’ll take you through the basics of what a VPN does and some of the biggest benefits you can reap from buying one.
VPN: definition and how it works
VPN stands for Virtual Private Network, so its name already says a lot about what it does.
A VPN is specialized software that keeps your browsing private and secure. Essentially it hides your identity, preventing possible cyberattacks and data theft. This is especially important in cases of public network use, where you’re highly exposed to potential threats.
To be more specific, this software encrypts your Internet Protocol (IP) address by filtering it through a server hosted by the VPN provider first. That way, it prevents your Internet service provider, third parties and lurking online thieves from tracking the actual you.
Credit: FLY:D on Unsplash
Some providers, such as Surfshark VPN with its IP Rotator feature, even make it a habit to frequently change your IP address to further protect your identity. With most VPN providers, you can also appear to be in a completely different country, adding to your disguise.
There are tons of advantages you can look forward to if you decide to use a VPN. Take a look at some of the crucial ones.
Benefits of using a VPN
When choosing a VPN, you can find both free and paid options. We recommend you go with the paid ones, since they have stronger security, encryption and data protection, as well as more advanced features. Free VPNs come with limitations and risk of malicious attacks on the software itself.
You can choose to buy a singular VPN service or opt for antivirus software that has a VPN built in, for example Bitdefender’s Ultimate Security plan. That depends on what you use your computer for and how much.
When you pick one, here’s what it can do for you.
1. Access region-specific content
When we said you could change your location, we meant it. Say you’re using a streaming service and a show you desperately want to watch isn’t available in your country. You can use your VPN to make it look like you’re browsing from a country where it’s unlocked.
This option is also convenient for gamers who want to access maps, skins and other in-game items unavailable in their location.
Surfshark VPN (Credit: Dan Nelson on Unsplash)
In addition, you can use this powerful feature when you’re traveling to a region where some of your favorite content may not be accessible.
Do keep in mind that you need to read the Terms and Conditions (yeah, we know - who does that?) of your games and services before doing this, since you could end up getting a penalty. It’s also important to remember that there are entire countries that have strict regulations or even bans on VPNs, for example Belarus, Russia and China. So make sure to be very cautious with your VPN use, friends.
2. Browse like no one’s watching
VPNs shield your browsing habits from prying eyes on the web. Those can be malicious hackers or just third-party cookies tracking your every move to later bombard you with targeted ads. For example, Surfshark VPN features a Cookie blocker that blocks all cookie-related pop-ups and lets you browse in peace (and secret). It works even when the VPN is turned off, which is also pretty neat.
In addition, their CleanWeb 2.0 technology makes sure ads and especially malware don’t stand a chance at all, since they’re blocked before they can even load.
The inability of sites to track your browsing means they can’t collect and analyze any of your data. So, your personal information - or your company’s information in case that’s what you’re using your computer for - is entirely hidden and secure.
3. Save money
It’s well-known that the prices of certain items and services vary based on your location, browsing time, age and many other factors. This most commonly goes for airline tickets and hotel stays.
You can use your VPN to avoid high prices and surcharges. Clear all cookies, turn on your VPN and visit an online shopping site to check out their prices. Then compare your findings with the offers you see when your VPN is off, when you spend a long time on the site or have an active account with the company.
Sometimes this can really help you find the best deals and avoid breaking the bank. But again, check the Terms and Conditions before you purchase something using a VPN.
4. Secure your smart home
The more smart devices you have connected to your network, the more exposed you are to potential cyberattacks. Phones and computers are generally designed to be decently secure even without a VPN or antivirus, but smart home devices leave a lot to be desired in that regard.
Protecting your home network with a VPN software means all devices connected to it are secure, be it an air purifier or Alexa.
5. Prevent connection slowdown
Your ISP can intentionally slow down your internet speed based on how much data you’ve consumed (data throttling) or your activities online (bandwidth throttling).
But with a VPN, what kind of data you send and receive and how much is entirely hidden. Therefore, if your ISP can’t see you, they can’t control you and they can’t throttle down your speed.
The bottom line
You can never be too safe online. So definitely think about getting yourself a solid VPN to pump up your privacy and security as much as you can. And if you have any questions or need help choosing the perfect software for you, feel free to reach out to us.