If you’ve been online for the past few years, you’ve probably heard of the term “VPN”. A VPN, short for Virtual Private Network, is a (mostly) paid service that allows you to encrypt your information and hide your IP address when using the internet.
We looked into 9 of the most popular reasons users all over the world use a VPN connection. Here is why a VPN connection is more of a necessity than a luxury.
Here’s the gist of it all: Net Neutrality has officially died. June 11th marked the start of an internet where traffic is completely equalized. Now, internet carriers can push their own services and products onto consumers.
What this means for the average user is that, in the long run, any and all data that could be collected on and about your internet surfing habits would be up for sale. Your data, and the data of billions of internet users, is now integral in aligning how the average consumer engages with the internet.
Here’s where VPNs come into play; they help you encrypt your precious data, mask your IP, and provide an all-around better e-experience.
Privacy isn’t the most popular reason for why people all over the world use a VPN service. In fact, according to the Global Web Index, it’s the third! Here’s a list of the 9 most popular reasons for VPN usage all over the world based on the GWI and our own research.
Access Geo-location restricted websites
Anyone who’s traveled a little knows that website access isn’t a free-for-all. Streaming websites are subject to copyright agreements, and sometimes that means an inability to broadcast or stream specific content outside of the US or the EU. A VPN can usually bypass this pesky little problem. All you have to do is pick an IP from the list that your VPN provides that matches the requirements of your streaming website. This way, you’ll never worry about missing out on your favourite show again!
Get social, anywhere
Are you planning on taking a trip to China soon? Maybe you’re looking at a vacation in Egypt? Consider having a VPN setup prior to making your trip, as both countries have a knack for banning social media platforms and certain social media accounts. Internet censorship is a serious issue in many countries around the world, and a VPN is a necessity if you want to browse the web freely. Do note that a VPN might not always be enough, and that being knowledgeable about a country’s internet rules and regulations is a must before any trip.
Hide from Big Brother
Thanks to whistleblowers like Edward Snowden, it’s no longer a secret that governments are looking into what you’re doing online. A VPN gives you that extra layer of protection that helps hide your page-to-page activity from prying eyes, making you a little more difficult to randomly spy on. Just as with using a VPN to access blocked websites and social media channels, it’s important to understand the internet rules as they apply in the country you’re residing in, a VPN isn’t always enough.
Research like you’ve never researched before
Have you ever wanted to look into what your competitors are offering without them knowing? What if you’re working on a sensitive topic you’d like to keep under wraps? Maybe you want to do a little e-digging in topics you don’t want anyone else knowing you’re looking into? A personal VPN can reroute your IP address and make your computer untraceable, making you untraceable by association.
Torrent to your heart’s delight
For those of us that thrive on sharing anything online, the past few years have gotten pretty scary. Authorities that focus on catching copyright infringement online have doubled down on their scrutiny of the average user, and torrenters are no longer safe. With a torrenting VPN, however, P2P file sharers can breathe a little lighter. A Torrenting VPN can mask your IP, your uploads, and your downloads, making it very hard to pinpoint who a VPN-using torrenter is and where they’re located. Here’s a pro-tip from us: when picking a torrenting VPN, make sure to double check the VPN’s policy on data logs. Don’t settle for anything less than no logs what-so-ever.
Break (out of) the internet
Ever heard of the “Acceptable Use” policy term? Some companies, schools, and other facilities enforce draconian bans on websites that violate what these authorities deem as acceptable. A VPN connection can help you bypass these pesky bans. It can even hide your data usage from the system administrator. Of course, we at TheVPN.Guru do not endorse breaking the Acceptable Use policy, but a VPN will help you bypass these restrictions when there’s a justifiable reason to do so.
Stay connected with your loved ones
Have you ever traveled to a country where your Skype account simply doesn’t place calls anymore? VoIPs, short for voice over internet protocols, can sometimes be restricted by certain countries. This can be a big problem for the warry expat/traveler, as communicating with loved ones in an affordable and easy way isn’t something most people worry about losing. If you’re in the UAE, for example, a VPN can help bypass the country’s restriction on VoIP service such as Skype, ensuring that you always know what your family and friends back home are up to in full audio/visual glory.
Get cheaper deals, anywhere
We’re going to let you in a little secret: Your location affects the prices you get while shopping online. Give yourself a better chance at landing that sweet deal at a cheaper price by simply picking the server you want to use on your VPN. A change in the IP address tricks the website you’re using and keeps your wallet happy by landing you the genuine cheap deals you crave.
Get your game face on
Here’s one for the gamers out there! Have you ever lagged so badly that you went on a gamer’s rampage? A VPN is exactly what you need to make sure you never throw your gaming equipment out of the window. A VPN can give you faster connection speeds, and open up access to servers you’d only dreamt of connecting to before. Plus, it’s a great way to stay anonymous online. This way, you keep your online data protected, even if you’re the type of gamer that likes to purchase expansion packs.
At the end of the day, no one wants their data to be available to the rest of the world. Privacy is an important aspect of human nature, and making sure your information doesn’t land in the wrong hands is worth those monthly VPN subscription fees.
A reader, writer, and avid internet user. Hiba has spent the better part of her adult life looking for ways to have a safer and more user-friendly online experience, all while praising the uses of VPN connections to anyone who would listen.