When it comes to a VPN, it is arguably the crucial, must-have tool to get internet freedom whilst also keeping your data and privacy secure. VPNs have a multitude of benefits, from allowing you to enjoy a wider variety of content to stopping nefarious third parties from collecting your data and tracking your activity.
You should look for the best free VPN for PC to get your security bolstered and your internet freedoms restored. Popularity is growing for the online tool, as 41% of online users in the UK and the US said they use a VPN at least once a week.
What Does A VPN Do?
The foremost function of a VPN is to protect your online anonymity. VPNs are particularly effective at protecting against bad actors online, including hackers and big corporations that are trying to steal your data. VPNs can hide your browsing activity, encrypt your data through your network and even mask your IP address to make you untrackable online.
As the world enters further into the digital and tech space, the higher at risk your privacy and anonymity is. It has already been reported that a person’s data is viewed as a commodity, something similar to oil for the big tech companies that can monetize or sell it.
Whether it is your ISP (internet service provider), big companies, or hackers, there is a large number of people incentivized to track your computer and collect your data and activity every time you browse the web.
A VPN can act as a barrier against this, working using encryption to mask your connection and hide your location. The actual technology behind a VPN can be fairly confusing, but the best metaphor would be imaging the internet as roads and websites as places we are driving to. Without a VPN, you would be driving a convertible showing everyone who you are, what you are doing, and how you are feeling doing it. You are completely traceable to anyone who is on the roads or at your stops. A VPN is a private tunnel covering these roads. It covers your path and doesn’t let anyone else in. You can go from destination to destination in complete faith that you aren’t being followed or watched.
In a more technical sense, a VPN works on the OS (operating system) to rework internet traffic through different servers. That means that your online activity and IP address get hidden while you surf the internet. When you use the internet through a VPN, you are using proxy servers, something that isn’t yours.
A VPN is the closest thing you can get to complete anonymity on the internet other than the Tor network. Tor is quite slow as it bounces your connection across a peer-to-peer network, whilst the VPN method still ensures protection as you glide around the internet at a more-than-reasonable speed.
How Does A VPN Help Me?
A VPN can work for you whether you are using a public network or sitting in the comfort of your own home. On a public, unsecured network, it is far easier for hackers to intercept things coming and going from your computer. Whilst most of the information will be fairly useless, it could still lead to bank details, login information, or more. Hackers can throw wide nets, meaning using public wifi at airports, libraries and co-working spaces can put you at risk.
Whilst your home network will be typically much safer, you can still use a VPN to take steps to make your activity even more secure. Using a VPN for home online activity protects you more against privacy threats than security ones. Your online activity is tracked every time you go to a website or use an app. Companies will try and steal your data to help them improve their offering to you and other customers, leading to targeted advertising and more. A VPN can hide you from this, maintaining your online anonymity.
Using a VPN at home not only secures your activity up a bit more but also makes it harder for anyone to track you, seeing as they won’t be able to find your IP address.
Without a VPN, your ISP can access everything you do. In the US, they passed legislation making it unnecessary for an ISP to get permission to track your online activity or sell your internet data. As well as monetizing your online movements, they can also throttle your internet speed if you tend to download or stream a lot. A VPN is a great tool to keep your ISP in the dark.
This leads to another great way a VPN can help you – streaming online content. The most common use of a VPN is to access content that isn’t available in a certain country. VPNs can also lead to cheaper travel tickets and better online shopping deals, as your location affects the prices and deals that are available to you.
Four Reasons To Get A VPN
Whilst we have covered the security and privacy reasons to get a VPN, here are four more reasons to add a VPN to your online activity:
Protect yourself on public networks – In today’s remote working world, you will likely find yourself doing some kind of online activity in an airport or coffee shop at some point. Whilst this free hotspot is useful, it is also incredibly exploitable by hackers. Creating strong passwords is a big step in keeping yourself safe using these, but adding a VPN is truly the cherry on top when it comes to using public networks securely.
Secure your online banking – online banking and making transactions have become so simple and quick that it is easy for security to get lax around them. Whilst banks have strong internal security online, they leave you to fend for yourself outside their walls. A VPN adds your wall of encryption so no one can break in to see your banking details or purchasing habits – whether it is your nosey ISP or cybercriminal hackers.
Get the best shopping deals – VPNs have that useful anonymity cloak that stops companies from collecting data on you for targeted advertising. It also helps when it comes to targeted pricing, as businesses will change their prices for you based on location. So when you’re next booking that long-haul flight or looking to purchase some clothes, think about whether you want to save some extra dough using a VPN.
Access more content – Have you ever traveled to a faraway land and realized a certain social media website or online streaming service wasn’t available? Some countries, regions, or institutions have different services and sites blocked. It could be for bandwidth, censorship or simply trying to increase productivity. VPNs can give you that freedom you need and get passed any blocks on content, no matter where you are.
As you can see, there are a vast amount of reasons to get a VPN and not so many against it. Whether you want to protect yourself in your remote working space, hide away from your increasingly-aggressive ISP or get access to your favorite content from around the globe, a VPN is something you should add to your online arsenal.