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A virtual private network (VPN) is vital to protect yourself from malicious actors and fraudsters. But you may not be aware of several reasons why using a VPN can benefit you.

VPNs offer a lot of benefits. Don’t browse, stream or shop online without one.

In this article, I explore some of the most common VPN uses and some lesser-known reasons to use a VPN. If you take your online privacy seriously, continue reading to discover some VPN benefits you need.

Key takeaways: 

  • Using a virtual private network can make your online activities faster and more secure
  • A VPN can allow you to get around regional content restrictions so you can stream movies or sports that aren’t available in your home country,
  • Many benefits of a VPN for home or work are available in mobile versions for your smartphone and tablet.
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What Can a VPN Do For You?

Whether it’s enhancing an online activity or unlocking parts of the internet you didn’t know existed, a VPN can make browsing safer and more efficient. It allows you to:

1. Protect your online communications

The most obvious reason for using a VPN is to create a secure encrypted tunnel for all your online activities. Different protocols and methods can accomplish this, so find out what’s included with each vendor’s VPN before purchasing. Don’t get into a contract that doesn’t satisfy your needs.

2. Change your IP address

With a VPN, you can mask your internet protocol (IP) address with one routed through a VPN’s servers. Changing your IP has many benefits, including privacy, eliminating location-based streaming, and content restrictions.

3. Change your online location

When using a VPN, you’re routing your traffic through one of the provider’s servers located somewhere else in the world. By doing this, anyone watching your traffic sees that you’re coming from the VPN’s server location and not your real location.

4. Protect your identity with encryption

When performing online tasks that require you to enter sensitive information like your Social Security number or credit card details, it’s essential to use a VPN to verify that you’re sending this data through an encrypted tunnel.

Having a VPN in place is the only way to ensure that your information isn’t being captured and manipulated.

5. Watch live sports or events from around the world

For many people who love soccer, cricket, rugby, and similar sports, most of the teams they enjoy watching are located in a different country and aren’t offered as a live viewing option from their cable or satellite provider.

With a VPN, you could change your digital location to access geo-restricted content to watch soccer or cricket games live as they occur. Many sports streaming services have strict location policies around their websites. These can be bypassed with a VPN.

6. Increase internet speed and bandwidth

Many internet service providers (ISP) use speed throttling and bandwidth limits on your internet services to control the traffic that flows through their service.

With a VPN, the ISP has a harder time locking down an IP address, allowing your traffic to pass through unfiltered, increasing speed and bandwidth.

7. Protect yourself while traveling

While traveling for work or pleasure, you can relax knowing that you can have a secure connection no matter where you’re headed. Be confident that all your online activity is filtered through your VPN provider, whether at a coffee shop or a hotel’s public Wi-Fi.

8. Block third-party tracking

Most websites allow third parties to monitor or collect data about their visitors, including some without your approval. Most VPNs block these onlookers and only route you to trusted sites.

9. Get mobile protection

VPNs aren’t limited to computers. Having a VPN on your mobile device is the best way to get the most out of your cellphone and plan. Increased performance, access to blocked services, and virus scanning are only some of the features included with a mobile VPN service.

10. Unlock blocked content

Depending on your location and the ISP that you use, some online services may be blocked. Some examples include torrenting sites, adult entertainment, gambling, or even streaming services like Netflix.

11. Avoid government censorship

It’s illegal to access certain websites in some countries. Examples include social media platforms and websites known for pirated content. They are blocked by governments. Using a VPN to appear to be in another country can bypass this restriction.

12. Access free communication services

Communication services that offer enhanced security benefits like WhatsApp are free in some countries and blocked in others. Without them, you may be stuck paying for communication services that aren’t secure.

13. Connect to a remote network

A huge VPN feature is its ability to allow you to access other networks remotely. This can be used to work securely from home while accessing your office or to connect to your home office while in the business office.

The main benefit is a strict, two-way tunnel that provides secure, unfettered access. Lastly, suppose you’re attending school at a university. In that case, you can tap its online library of resources and databases that can only be accessed over a secure channel.

14. Prevent traffic policing

Periodically, ISPs gather your online traffic to analyze it to create metrics on sites visited and performance. These metrics are used mainly to help the ISP improve its services. But law enforcement can also request these records to see sites you’ve visited. By using a VPN, you can keep certain eyes away from your activities.

15. Expand online shopping

Many online retailers like Target and Amazon offer their products at different prices in different countries. For example, a smartphone for sale in the United States might be $1,000, but in the United Kingdom, it may be $800, including shipping.

Using a VPN, you can price shop locally and globally to ensure you’re getting the best deal for the items you purchase online.

How Do You Choose a VPN?

The best approach is to determine which features are necessities for you, then find out which VPNs offer the ones you seek. Most VPNs come with a free trial.

FAQs About VPNs

What kind of information does a VPN prevent hackers from seeing?

If you use a VPN, online bad actors can’t see your IP address, physical location, browsing and download activities, and personal information such as credit card numbers and bank accounts.

Is it legal to use a VPN?

In the U.S., Canada, and many European countries, yes. However, some governments, such as those in China, Russia, and India, heavily restrict their use. And North Korea, Iraq, and Belarus ban them entirely.

What hardware is required to install a VPN?

No hardware is required. Today’s software-based VPNs are just a quick download away. Your virtual private network can be running in just a few minutes.