In a world where everything is connected and everyone has an incredibly powerful device in their pocket, there is one element that has been on the decline — privacy. From checking out someone’s Instagram profile to tracing their IP address to pinpoint their location, technology has brought a ton of security and privacy concerns with it.
Moreover, between giant tech companies and government agencies, your every move is traced and analyzed. It’s the sad reality of the modern world that we live in, but luckily there is a way that you can protect yourself. All you need to do is invest in the ultimate digital privacy tool.
If you don’t know what a virtual private network is, then you’re missing out! Not only is this popular cybersecurity tool top-notch when it comes to keeping everything on your devices private and secure, but it’s also an excellent tool that will help you to access blocked websites — keep reading to find out how!
What is a VPN?
So, what is a virtual private network? You might have heard of it before, but it’s often referred to as a VPN instead. A VPN is a cybersecurity tool that helps users to mask what they are doing on their devices.
A VPN will encrypt your internet connection which makes it more secure and prevents anyone else from seeing what you are doing on your device. Not even your internet service provider or the government will be able to keep track of your internet traffic — making this the truly unrivalled security and privacy tool for your device.
Internet connection encryption is especially important when you are traveling and need to use public WiFi hotspots. As cheap and convenient as these hotspots may be, they also come with a ton of risks that you need to be aware of. Public WiFi hotspots are often made up of unsecured networks, and cybercriminals thrive on unsecured networks. Hackers can “listen in” on your device, stealing any data that is sent or received to your device through an unsecured connection. This allows them to steal login credentials, personal information, and even banking details.
By securing your internet connection with a VPN, you don’t have to worry about cybercriminals eavesdropping on your devices and stealing sensitive information from you. VPNs will give you peace of mind wherever you are, even if you want added privacy and security on your home network.
Extra Benefits of Using a VPN
VPNs have another important feature though. This is the feature that has made VPNs so popular in our modern world as it allows users to change their virtual location at the click of a button. In other words, while you might be in Singapore, you can change your device to access the internet as if you were in the United States.
How? Well, first let’s understand how websites pinpoint your physical location — they use your IP address. An IP address is a unique string of numbers that is used to identify your device on the internet, and one of the primary roles that an IP address has to fulfil is to give away your location.
While using a VPN, you can connect to a secure global server in another country. By doing so, your real IP address will be hidden, and your device will adopt the IP address of the server, tricking the websites into believing that you are accessing them from elsewhere.
You might be wondering why it would be helpful to change your device’s location. There are several advantages you can expect from changing your device’s IP address with a VPN:
- Bypassing geo-blocking – have you ever tried to access sports live streams or a YouTube video and been met with an error message stating that the content is not available in your region? That’s known as geo-blocking, and as frustrating as it may be, there are some important reasons why it exists — it’s mainly due to licensing rights. With a VPN, you can change your IP address and trick the website into thinking that you are accessing it from a different region!
- Bypassing internet censorship – some countries and governments around the world restrict anyone within their borders from accessing specific content on the internet. Each country has its reasons for employing internet censorship, but at the end of the day it usually comes down to either political or religious reasons. You can use the secure connection created by your VPN to get around these virtual fences and access any content on the internet!
- Finding cheaper flights and accommodation – unfortunately, many websites discriminate against you based on your location. This is especially true when it comes to searching for flights and accommodation. Next time you’re planning a holiday, make sure to use your VPN and connect to several different servers to see which country will offer you the best prices. The more you save on your travel expenses, the better your holiday can be!
- Cheaper subscriptions – our modern world has brought us tons of services we can subscribe to such as Spotify, Netflix, Amazon Prime, and much more. The same location discrimination happens here, and if you use a VPN you can sometimes get a cheaper subscription fee for popular services. It’s important to remember that some services, such as Netflix, have the same prices worldwide, so you won’t be able to find a discount.
Guidelines for Choosing the Perfect VPN
With all the reasons you’ve read above, you might be convinced to rush off and install the first VPN you can find. But, there are some important guidelines you need to follow when it comes to choosing a VPN.
Firstly, you need to make sure to use a premium VPN. Free VPNs might be tempting, but overall you will have a bad experience with them. If you’re using a free VPN you can expect slower connection speeds, less security, more ads, fewer global servers to choose from, and even daily data limits.
Secondly, keep in mind that not all VPNs are created equal. Some VPNs have better connection speeds whereas others may be better at unblocking websites. You need to identify the key areas that are more important to you when choosing a VPN and do as much research on each VPN vendor as possible before you install the VPN on your device.