With various cyberattacks increasingly growing in numbers each year, more and more internet users realize the importance of cybersecurity. This not only applies to big corporations or businesses, as literally anyone online can become a victim of cybercrime. Installing reliable antivirus software may have been enough to stay safe ten years ago, but nowadays, a few more measures must be taken.
The most prominent one must be a VPN or a virtual private network due to the broad scope of advantages it provides. The most widely discussed benefits of a VPN are privacy and security. However, nearly 60% of VPN users install this service not only to take advantage of these safety benefits but also to unlock content worldwide.
What else can you do with a VPN?
Here are 10 amazing things you may haven't heard about up until now.
What Is A VPN?
Before we dive into all the exciting VPN use cases, let's remember the very basics of what a VPN is. VPN stands for a Virtual Private Network. It is an online service that helps you protect your identity by encrypting your internet traffic, and it is crucial to ensure online privacy and security these days. With a VPN, you connect to a third-party server, connecting to wherever you want to go online.
This could be social media, your bank account, email, or anywhere. In the process, your IP address is masked, and your data encrypted. To anybody watching what you are doing, only the fact that you are connected to the VPN server is visible. However, they cannot see any of your activities, including the sites you visit. If you would like to read more about what a VPN is, you can find a lot of useful information here.
For these two reasons alone, you should be using a VPN. However, if you are still not convinced, we have listed ten more great things that VPNs do to improve everything you do online.
1. Unlock Better Deals
Retailers around the world use dynamic pricing based on your IP address. That means internet users in different locations could be charged different prices for the same goods or services.
One of the best examples is Apple Music. One month of Apple Music in the U.S costs $9.99. In India, the price is 120 rupees or about $1.73/month.
That's not all. The same goes for software, games, hotel bookings, plane tickets, and more.
With a VPN, you can take advantage of changing your virtual location to whichever country has the best prices to unlock hundreds or even thousands of dollars in savings. However, make sure to read the terms & conditions in each case.
2. Avoid Network And ISP Tracking
It isn't a secret that ISPs (Internet Service Providers) worldwide have been caught tracking their users. And this isn't limited to the US only. ISPs do this not only to monitor what people are up to but also to sell targeted ads.
An ISP can even sell your user data, including web history, location data, and app usage to third parties. VPNs can help you not only avoid this threat but also prevent local network monitoring, so you can freely use the internet without having to look over your shoulder.
3. Bypass Geo-Restrictions
For many, this is the main VPN standout feature. However, people often don't quite realize how far it can go. Most VPN users understand that they can use it to unblock HBO Max, stream any Netflix version they want to see, check out the BBC iPlayer, and access much more blocked websites.
But VPN capabilities extend much further than this. Let's say you are an academic. With a VPN, you can access scholarly resources like JSTOR that may be banned in certain countries. Better yet, with VPNs, you can unlock Google, Gmail, and YouTube while traveling in China. The possibilities are truly endless.
4. Enhance Your Gaming
Gamers around the world have embraced VPNs over the last few years for several reasons. First, they can use them for deals and get early access to new games.
There's also a wide variety of other benefits. These days, DDoS attacks threaten gamers everywhere, and few tools better protect against them than VPNs.
VPNs have also been found to improve gaming performance in certain environments by reducing latency and helping with the next issue.
5. Overcome ISP Throttling
ISPs can be pretty mischievous. They not only track what you do, but they can also decide to slow down certain websites. Gamers and streamers alike feel this pain the most when ISPs decide to throttle sites like Netflix and Steam.
The same tools that allow you to bypass ISP monitoring also enable you to connect to third-party servers and navigate around these challenges. Some VPNs even have dedicated gaming servers to help you get the best performance imaginable.
6. Connect Back Home Securely
We all have sites from back home we like to visit while traveling. Let's say you want to do a little shopping, but connecting from abroad has its issues. You may either be channeled into a country-specific online store or get an error message saying, "Sorry, we're not available in your country."
This can be a serious obstacle to your online shopping plans. Fortunately, with a VPN, you can connect to a server in your home country and browse as if you were there. You will not only be able to access the online store but also do so more securely.
7. Work, Home, And School Networks Unlocked
This is useful regardless of whether you have left the country or are only a few hundred feet from one of these places. These networks may have restrictions in place to prevent data from falling into the hands of cybercriminals.
With a VPN, you can make it appear that you are browsing locally and also set up a secure connection to exchange data. This is important if you are sending sensitive information between these networks.
8. Safely Use Public Wi-Fi
Public Wi-Fi has such a bad reputation in the cybersecurity world that many experts advise that you avoid it altogether. Public Wi-Fi in places like restaurants, cafes, airports, and hotels may pose plenty of risks. Remember that usually, you have no idea who the network admin is and what they are monitoring.
In addition, cybercriminals take advantage of public Wi-Fi's open nature to implant malware like keyloggers and other trackers.
Unfortunately, it's unrealistic to expect that people will never use public Wi-Fi. So what should you do if you need access to your bank and have no data on your phone?
Using a VPN immensely improves your security on public Wi-Fi by creating an encrypted tunnel between you and your target web servers. As a result, you can rest easy, knowing that your data will remain private.
9. Anonymous Downloads
P2P (peer-to-peer downloads), like torrents, play an important role in internet use. Some may use them for illegal purposes, but there are plenty of legal uses, such as downloading open-source software like LibreOffice.
P2P downloads use torrent trackers that can rake in tons of data about their users, including your IP address. In some cases, this information is given to the authorities or straight up sold on the dark web.
With a VPN, you get two benefits. In addition to preventing any of these issues happening to you, you can also bypass ISP or network blocks that may interfere with P2P file sharing. It's an absolute win-win.
10. Forget About Advertiser Tracking
Do you ever get creeped out when something you searched for on Google pops up on Facebook as an ad? This is called retargeting and is growing increasingly common online. Retargeting is everywhere. Most commonly, online retailers use it to increase their sales.
While it may be an effective tactic for them, it's also a major privacy intrusion. These trackers follow you around the web and can get super personal.
When you combine a VPN with privacy-centric browsers like Brave or Epic Browser, you can say goodbye to these invasive practices and enjoy a truly anonymous web experience.
Few things have been more transformative to people's online habits over the last decade than the growing use of cybersecurity tools. And a VPN is probably the most prominent one. VPNs are true as innovative and integral as the first elements of the internet itself, like IP addresses and servers.
While most internet users may have heard about the privacy and security benefits of using a VPN, the rest of the advantages often remain forgotten. Whether you want to connect to the internet more securely, improve your gaming experience, bypass geo-blocks, or anything else, a VPN is the best tool for you to do all of that. You may see plenty of free VPN services online, but keep in mind that those should not be trusted, as only the paid versions will enable you to use all the perks a VPN can offer.