A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a network connection that encrypts and routes your browser and data to a discrete network of secure offsite servers. When you use of a VPN, all your online activities go through a secure virtual tunnel between the VPN provider’s servers and your device.
A VPN uses technologies such as certified connections, data encapsulation, tunneling protocols and encryption to protect your identity and secure your connection. By using a VPN, you will technically get the benefits of using a Local Area Network (LAN) without needing a physical connection. While there are many uses of a VPN, the following are five of the best.
Gaming has grown from arcades to an everyday activity for some people. However, unlike in previous times, most games now come with a multiplayer element or they require a form of DRM verification.
Since most games also need an internet connection, they have high value for cybercriminals and hackers since your account most likely has your personal information attached. Moreover, your gaming profile and accounts might prove valuable to a hacker who will use it for spamming other gamers with fraudulent promises of in-game currency or advantages.
Since gamers sometimes play games on the go, you need to follow safety recommendations to protect yourself from hackers while using vulnerable public networks. However, with a VPN, you do not ever need worry about your identity or account getting stolen on these networks.
A VPN will encrypt your connection, preventing anyone from tracking or accessing your data. Moreover, with a VPN you can access geo-blocked games from whatever country you are in while keeping your IP and location private.
Regardless of your online or professional needs, you need at least some security and privacy when you are online. Without a VPN, most of the data that you send online will be visible to hackers and government entities that may want to intercept or track your activities.
(Image / Brian Klug)
With increasing incidences of personal computer hacking on top of recent reports of hacking of government and corporate databases, there is a need to keep yourself safe from malware, identity thieves, government agencies, and neighbors that want to steal your internet. With an encrypted connection, you can be certain that your financial and personal data are safe from tracking or tracing.
As such, a VPN will be helpful to prevent neighbors from pilfering your internet and potentially spreading malware and viruses through your network. Additionally, it will protect you if you are uncomfortable with anyone tracking or seeing your online activity or data.
Access Geo-Blocked Websites
If you are a globetrotter, you know that it is impossible to access your favorite movie streaming sites such as Hulu and Netflix while you are out of the United States due to geo-blocking. This is where a VPN saves the day, as with a VPN you will have instant access to all these services as if you were in your home country.
Some services such as Netflix offer different programming (that you may prefer) to another region or country due to copyright issues. The only way of accessing such programming is by routing your connection through a VPN that will change your IP address to make it appear as if you are in your preferred country or region.
Downloading Torrent Files
Torrenting websites and files have a bad reputation, but there is nothing inherently wrong about them. Whether you are downloading illegally or legally, using some apps will possibly get you in hoit water with your internet service provider or content creators. It could spell legal trouble down the line even when you’ve done nothing wrong. For this reason you need to hide yourself when you’re torrenting.
While there are many technologies such as Bot Revolt and PeerBlock that claim to block tracking, they will often prevent you from accessing your torrent or provide inadequate protection. A VPN is the best way of encrypting your IP address and making yourself anonymous when downloading torrent files.
Furthermore, if your ISP throttles torrent downloads, masking your IP with a VPN makes you untraceable thus giving you faster speeds.
Bypass Internet Censorship
While the web is a place for exchanging information and communication, this is not to everyone’s liking. Some countries such as North Korea, China and Iran monitor or prevent you from accessing websites from some Western countries. If you live in or are a frequent traveler to such countries, you may find yourself cut off from the Western world.
With a VPN service, you can visit any websites that you like and the government will not be any wiser. Since these countries block only a select countries and websites, routing your connection through a state that is not on their list would do the trick. You might need to experiment, but a good VPN on the case would only take a few minutes.
Do you use a VPN yourself? How has your experience been so far? Would you recommend other readers use a VPN? Join the conversation by leaving a comment below.