Why you Should Use a VPN

VPNs are a hot topic among internet users, but if you’ve never used one, you might not understand why it’s important to use one. The truth is that VPNs are an important privacy and security tool that almost every user can benefit from, particularly those who use public Wi-Fi networks like those in coffee shops and co-working spaces. With a VPN, you can protect your privacy online.

What is a VPN and how does it work?

A VPN basically offers a higher degree of privacy when browsing the internet. To accomplish this, a VPN creates an encrypted connection between your computer and the VPN server. By establishing this secure connection and routing your traffic to another server, a VPN keeps your traffic from going through the Internet Service Provider’s (ISP) servers.

Why you should use a VPN

Using a VPN offers a lot of advantages, the biggest being a higher degree of privacy. But what does that higher degree of privacy mean for you? For starters, your ISP won’t be able to track your internet activity. Since many ISPs sell anonymous browsing data to advertisers, helping them to better target ads, increased privacy on your home network is a significant advantage. More importantly though, using a VPN protects your data from hackers when you’re on a public, or unfamiliar network. This level of protection on public networks is essential if you’re accessing any personal or work data.

In addition to increased privacy, using a VPN allows you to circumvent geo-blocking and access blocked content. VPNs do this by establishing a connection to a server in a country of your choice. For example, if you travelled to the United States and found you could only access staples.com, but needed to order something to be delivered at your home in Canada, you could use a VPN to access staples.ca to place your order. In some countries, access to certain content and social networks are blocked by the government. By using a VPN, it’s possible to circumvent these blocks in a secure, anonymous way.

Things to Keep in Mind

VPNs are great tool for privacy, but they aren’t perfect. On the topic of privacy, it’s important to read and understand your VPNs privacy policy as many of them do keep some records of user behaviour and will hand it over to authorities under certain circumstances. Furthermore, there are many ways your online behaviour can be tracked. For example, many websites use cookies, which track your behaviour even after you’ve left their sites. VPNs can’t combat all forms of tracking so do your homework and make sure you understand how you are and aren’t protected.

Using a VPN can also often slow down your network connection and decrease the speeds at which you can upload or download data. Depending on the VPN and your individual internet behaviours, you might see a significant difference or barely notice a change in speed. Testing out a few VPNs and seeing how they affect your connection speed is a great way to ensure that you choose the right VPN for your individual needs.

By Mike Agerbo

November 20, 2019