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10 Benefits Of A VPN

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VPNs, or virtual private networks, are security tools that safeguard your data during online activities. They establish a secure virtual tunnel through which your data travels, preventing unauthorized access by hackers or other undesired third parties.

If your goal is to enhance your online security and privacy, exploring the benefits of VPN is beneficial. Below, we highlight ten advantages of using a VPN and offer guidance to help you choose the right VPN for you.

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What Are the Benefits of a VPN?

VPNs offer numerous benefits, like bypassing geographical content restrictions and providing an extra layer of security to reduce the risk of online threats. These advantages prove particularly valuable on public Wi-Fi networks but are also significant when using a VPN at home.

Read on to learn more about the benefits of VPNs.

1. Encrypting Your Personal Data

One of the most notable benefits of a VPN is that it encrypts your data. Simply put, encryption turns your data into secret messages that only the recipient can understand. A person who doesn't have the data's encryption key will be unable to decode its contents.

VPNs use several types of encryption. Basic encryption that uses algorithms is known as symmetric encryption. However, many VPNs use Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) encryption, which divides text into grids and scrambles them. The best VPNs typically use AES-256 encryption, which means the keys are 256 bits long.

Other VPN services may use public-key encryption, which is meant to prevent hackers from gaining access to the encryption key and using it to decipher the code via both public and private keys. Finally, some VPNs use transport layer security (TLS) to verify users' identities so hackers can't act as a sender or recipient to decipher messages.

2. Enhancing Your Online Privacy

VPNs create a digital tunnel that allows users to send data without the interference of others. Even if you're just browsing the internet or scrolling social media, all of your information and online traffic will stay private.

In addition to security features like encryption mentioned above, VPNs hide your IP address so that others can't trace activity back to your device. The VPN will replace your IP address with a dedicated address for your device, a static address used by multiple devices or an address that changes every time you use your device.

3. Bypassing Geo-Restrictions

Certain online content may be restricted based on your location due to government regulations or limitations imposed by streaming services. For example, some countries may censor websites or platforms they consider dangerous to their people, and streaming services may not have the legal rights to stream some content in certain locations. Geo-blocking can be an issue if you are in an area where the content you are seeking is unavailable.

VPNs can help bypass these geo-restrictions so you can view the content. When you sign up for a VPN service, you can try connecting to the VPN's servers in another country or region. Then, you should be able to view the content available in that location.

4. Staying Secure When Using Public Wi-Fi Networks

Due to their shared nature, public Wi-Fi networks may leave you and your device at risk. Hackers can use the network to intercept your internet traffic or snoop around to see your recent online activities. In some cases, attackers can use public Wi-Fi to infect your device with malware.

The combination of security features from VPNs, especially encryption, makes it much safer to use public Wi-Fi networks. You can feel more confident knowing the VPN gives you a private network connection that makes it more difficult for hackers to access your data.

5. Getting Around ISP Throttling

ISP throttling, or internet service provider throttling, is when your internet service provider intentionally limits your internet speed. Your ISP may do this if you use your internet service for activities that take a lot of data, like streaming high-definition video, or it doesn't condone, such as torrenting (uploading or downloading files to share them across a peer-to-peer network).

Perhaps one of the biggest benefits of a VPN for personal use is that you can use it to avoid low speeds. If you think your ISP is restraining your connection speed, you can try setting up a VPN. If your speeds are faster while using the VPN, your ISP is likely throttling your connection.

In addition to speeding up your internet connection, a VPN can also prevent your ISP from viewing your online activities or data.

6. Working Remotely Safely

Remote work poses certain threats to company data. Unauthorized users could intercept work messages and interfere with employees who are using public Wi-Fi networks. By encrypting files and messages, VPNs offer a way to secure business data.

Another benefit of VPNs for business includes remote access for employees working from other locations. Remote access VPNs can create a secure connection between a remote employee's device and the company network, allowing them to access applications and other company tools without creating additional vulnerabilities. Overall, it can create a more efficient and safer remote work environment.

7. Sharing Files Securely

As mentioned above, the advantages of a VPN mostly center around the technology's added security. One of the most important reasons to use a VPN is to secure files that you might share with friends, family, peers or colleagues.

The VPN will create a private network for you to use when sharing files, which prevents people from finding your IP address or tracking your internet activity. Therefore, they can't follow the files back to your device. Your VPN will also encrypt the files so only intended recipients can view or use them.

8. Increasing Anonymity

People generally use VPNs to secure their data and hide their internet traffic. In addition to providing a private network, concealing your IP address and encrypting your data, a VPN can also hide your browsing activity. For some people, the added privacy is enough to improve their online experience.

Knowing that your ISP or hackers can't access your internet history and see what you've been doing online can be comforting. However, VPNs take it up a notch by making it extremely difficult for them to trace the connection back to your device. Therefore, they won't be able to see who uses the connection or what you do with it.

Bear in mind that a VPN cannot make you fully anonymous. If you want anonymity, you'll have to use The Onion Router, a network that anonymizes web traffic by redirecting web traffic through a series of different routers.

9. Protecting Your Financial Information When Conducting Transactions Online

Making purchases and other financial transactions online can be riskier than doing these same things in person, especially if you use public networks when conducting the transactions. VPNs give you access to a private network to enter and transmit financial data so hackers can't steal credit card or bank information.

Businesses can also benefit from using VPNs to protect financial information. Whether you use a VPN to secure company finances or keep customer data safe, one of the greatest advantages of using a VPN is that unauthorized users have a much harder time accessing data they shouldn't be privy to.

10. Reduced Ad Tracking

VPNs can't completely stop targeted ads due to your browser data, but some have features that can help reduce how much of your data is being shared with advertisers. For example, Norton VPN has an ad-blocking feature that intercepts cookies as they're being sent to an advertiser. This removes any identifying information that could tell the advertiser where the cookies came from or whom they belong to.

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What to Keep in Mind When Choosing a VPN Service

When choosing a VPN service, you must first consider your reasons for getting one. Are you trying to get around geo-restrictions? Or do you want to secure your device while using public networks?

Your reasons for using a VPN will help you determine which features to prioritize. Then, you can begin narrowing down the list and evaluating your choices further. Use some of the tips below to make sure you're getting the best VPN for you.

Only Use a Trustworthy VPN Provider

Make sure you're choosing a VPN service that has experience providing customers with secure networks. Take some time to research the company's history and customer reviews. You should also look at connection speeds, server reliability and security features.

Remember to check the type of encryption the VPN uses and browse its security features. You should also look up speed tests from trustworthy third parties that feature the VPN speeds to ensure you can browse without major interruptions.

Lastly, take a look at the VPN servers to see their server locations and maintenance. If you won't be able to access servers in non-geo-restricted areas, or if the company doesn't perform regular server maintenance, it may not be worth your money.

Ensure That the VPN Service Is Compatible With Your Device

Before purchasing your VPN, make sure that you can use it on your device. Many VPNs are available on popular systems like Windows, Mac, iOS and Android, but you should also check the VPN's router compatibility and device allowances. If the VPN is compatible with your router, you may be able to use multiple devices on the network as long as the VPN allows for multiple simultaneous connections.

If you only plan to use the VPN for a single device, router compatibility and device allowances won't be too big of an issue. However, if you want to use it for your phone and laptop, you may want to make sure there's an easy way to make that happen.

Finally, check that the VPN is compatible with your streaming programs. Some streaming platforms will block IP addresses used by certain VPNs. If you set up your VPN and get an error message from your content provider even after changing your IP address a couple of times, the VPN's servers have likely been blacklisted by the platform.

Always Verify That the VPN Connection Is Secure and Properly Working

When trying out a new VPN, the app may tell you that your VPN is turned on and working correctly. However, that doesn't necessarily mean it's securing all of your data.

Each VPN has its own features and capabilities, so it's always a good idea to run a few tests to make sure the VPN hides any information you want to keep secure. For example, you could try some of the following tests:

  • DNS leak test: Some VPNs may leak the IP addresses of the websites you visit. If you run a DNS leak test and the IP addresses listed match the IP addresses for the websites open on your device, that means that your VPN is leaking your browsing data.
  • WebRTC leak test: Some browsers use WebRTC to ensure faster speeds, but this means that your VPN may leak your IP address. If the IP address displayed during this test matches your device's real IP address, then your VPN isn't working properly.
  • Malware test: Even though you'd expect your VPN software to be completely safe, it's always a good idea to run an antivirus scan on the program's files to make sure it's a safe and legitimate program.

Read the VPN Provider's Privacy Policy to Understand How They Handle Your Data

One of the most crucial benefits of having a VPN is keeping your data private. So, if your VPN provider is the one keeping track of your data or using it for its own profit, is it really providing you with a valuable service?

Choose a VPN with a no-logs policy to ensure that no one sees your browsing history or gets hold of your IP address. A no-logs policy means that the VPN provider doesn't log any of your data. For example, it won't save information regarding what websites you visit, files you share or geo-blocked content you view.

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Summary of Digg's 10 Benefits of a VPN

The pros of VPNs are endless for people who value their privacy while using the internet. You can encrypt your personal data, keep yourself anonymous by hiding your IP address, view geo-blocked content, protect your financial information and more.

However, it's important that you do your research before choosing just any VPN service. Make sure that you're using a reputable service and getting as much value for your money as possible.