Why you should be surfing with a VPN
Whether a virtual private network (VPN) is something new to you or if you know the ins and outs of it, you know it offers you a few things: privacy, security, and freedom. However if you are on the novice end of the VPN spectrum you might not understand what that means. What can you actually do with a VPN? Why should you shell out 5, 10, or 20 bucks a month for a VPN? Here are some reasons you probably already know, and a few that you don't.
Stay safe while shopping online
We spend an inordinate amount of time shopping online. Not only can you shop in the comfort of your pajamas, but you can also compare features and prices easily. Although when it comes time to make your purchase you need to enter quite a bit of personal information, including your credit card information.
Photo courtesy of Intel Free Press.
Using a VPN will give you peace of mind regardless of how many online purchases you make. Something that all VPN services have in common is that the data you transmit is encrypted and virtually impossible to crack. Not only is your data encrypted but it's transmitted through a private tunnel, so a third party trying to snoop can't even see what website you're using.
Not only can a VPN keep your personal information safe while shopping, but it can also help you get better deals too! While shopping around for the best price changing the region that the website thinks you're in can have an impact on your checkout price. All you have to do is go to your VPN software and choose a server in a different country (or region) to see if you can knock a few (or quite few) dollars off the price. This trick can even be used for digital subscriptions like Netflix, Microsoft Office, and Spotify.
Shopping for plane tickets is one area where I have personally had success using a VPN to change my IP address location. Beyond cookies, using a VPN can help you find cheaper airfare because when you use airfare aggregators they may not show certain airlines if you are searching from a particular region. This is especially useful if you're buying domestic flights from a foreign country.
Download and upload files anonymously
Peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing is a popular way to well… share files. More often than not, this type of sharing is of copyright protected content. There's no shortage of law firms, production companies, and telecom companies that are on the lookout for this type of activity.
Whether you're downloading Game of Thrones, Dallas Buyers Club, or content that's not copyrighted at all for work these companies sometimes can't tell the difference. If your internet service provider sees that you are participating in file sharing they may slow your internet speed (this is called throttling), regardless if the content was copyrighted or not.
Photo courtesy of urlesque.
A VPN will hide this activity, legal or not, and protect your internet speed. However, using a VPN isn't a foolproof way to avoid throttling- they might do so anyways based on the amount of bandwidth used while file sharing. However, using a VPN to keep your downloading habits private also gives you added the benefit of not getting added onto any uber secret watch lists (MPAA/NSA/GCHQ/BPI).
Public Wi-Fi protection
This might be something you are already familiar with, especially if you've read some of Mr.VPN's other articles. Public Wi-Fi networks are hands down the most dangerous place for your privacy and security. If you travel a lot or find yourself on coffee shop Wi-Fi on a regular basis then investing in a VPN is a smart idea.
There are a plethora of ways for hackers to snake their way into seeing your private data. Hackers, even those not particularly talented, can set up spoof Wi-Fi spots, use sniffer software that will siphon off data from your Wi-Fi connection, or even take over the Wi-Fi connection completely. Once they do any of these things any data you transmit- Facebook login, bank credentials, credit card information- is now in the hands of a stranger.
Photo courtesy of Charleston's TheDigitel
That is unless you have a VPN. A VPN is an important tool to have when surfing on Wi-Fi like those in hotels, restaurants, business parks, and airports. The private encrypted tunnel that a VPN provides will allow you to use public Wi-Fi without having to worry about your private information. Best of all, most VPN providers have plans and software so you can be protected on all the devices you use- Android, Apple, Windows, and tablets.