It’s no doubt that VPNs (short for Virtual Private Network) are all the rage nowadays. This technology has taken the digital world by storm, especially over the past few years, and is now a stable tool for millions of users around the world. During the 2020 pandemic, VPN usage surged by 27.1% and as of 2022, over 26% of all internet users rely on VPN services. VPNs aren’t showing any signs of slowing down either, as the Global VPN market is expected to reach $107.6 Billion by 2027

But why? Well, there are several reasons why people may want to use a VPN. Some want to take extra steps to avoid malware and remain anonymous when browsing the web, whilst others simply want to access and stream content that is usually restricted in their country. VPNs also provide other uses that you may not be aware of, such as saving you money when shopping online or even improving your connection speeds. No matter what you do online, we can guarantee that a VPN will benefit you one way or another. Don’t believe us? Keep reading to learn the top 5 best uses for a VPN in 2022 and find out exactly how this technology can aid you! 

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Want to find out more about VPNs? Discover answers to common VPN questions and the top red flags to look out for when choosing a VPN!

The best VPN uses quick guide

Short on time? Here is a quick summary of the top 5 best uses for a VPN in 2022!

  1. Stream geo-blocked content
  2. Protect yourself from malware
  3. Stay anonymous online
  4. Save money with online purchases
  5. Improve connection speeds

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The top 5 best uses for a VPN in 2022

If you’ve watched the hype over VPNs from the sidelines, then you may be unsure of why this technology is being praised so much and if it’s really worth it. If this is the case, then you can read some of the best uses for a VPN in 2022 – 

  1. Stream geo-blocked content

If you have a subscription to any streaming service such as Netflix, Hulu, and  Amazon Prime Video, then you may already be aware that certain content is blocked based on your location. For instance, users in the UK will have a different selection of content in their libraries compared to other countries in the world. If you’ve travelled to another country and opened up your streaming service’s app then you might also have noticed that the library is different from what you’re used to. 

Alternatively, some streaming services such as ServusTV, Paramount Plus, and Disney Plus are completely restricted to certain regions. If you attempt to use these services from a country where they do not have broadcasting rights, then your access will be denied and you will be blocked completely from their website or app. When content is restricted based on a user’s geographical location, it’s referred to as geo-blocking. Geo-blocking is extremely common and is typically due to copyright laws, licensing agreements, and even government restrictions. 

To bypass geo-blocking and stream exclusive content on your PC, laptop, phone, or tablet from anywhere in the world, you need to spoof your location. Websites, apps, and services can see your exact location using your IP address and block you accordingly. So, to bypass these blocks, you need to mask your IP address and trick the service/website/app into believing you’re located elsewhere. This is where VPNs come in. 

VPNs often have thousands of remote services dotted in different countries all around the world. Whenever you connect to one of these VPN servers, your IP address is hidden and replaced by the server’s IP address (until you disconnect). This means that any website you visit will think you’re accessing it from wherever the VPN server is located. This is how you can successfully spoof your location to stream geo-blocked content. 

For example, if you want to watch content from the UK-based streaming service, BBC iPlayer, then you need to connect to a VPN server that is located in the UK. When you connect to one of these servers, you’ll appear to have a UK IP address, no matter where you’re actually located. You can then head to the BBC iPlayer website or app and it will think you’re based in the UK and will therefore allow you to access and stream their content. 

Similarly, if you want to check out the US’s exclusive Netflix library, then you just need to connect to a VPN server that’s based in the US. This trick will work with any streaming service and in any country. Regardless of your real location, you can unblock and watch any geo-blocked content from around the world by simply connecting to a VPN server that corresponds with a website/service’s designated broadcasting area. All in all, using a VPN, you’re no longer restricted to streaming content from your own country and instead can access exclusive movies, TV shows, and even live streams from anywhere in the world. 

Discover how to bypass geo-blocking for streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and ServusTV!

  1. Protect yourself from malware

Malware is malicious software that has been designed to intentionally harm or exploit devices, servers, and networks. Malware can be used by cybercriminals to steal financial data, cause damage, destroy files, damage devices, and even take full control of a victim’s device. There are several different forms of malware including viruses, trojans, spyware, ransomware, adware, and bots, all of which have unique attributes and different ways of infecting your device. Viruses, for example, can be spread through email attachments, instant messages, file downloads, and compromised websites. 

Since anyone can unknowingly infect their devices with malware which can cause irreversible damage before being detected and removed, it’s crucial to take steps to prevent cybercriminals from successfully launching malware attacks. If you regularly use your phone or laptop to connect to public WiFi hotspots, then you’re at even more risk. Cybercriminals have been known to set up hotspots to lure unsuspecting victims into connecting and leaving their devices vulnerable to a malware attack. 

A VPN acts as a guard that can shield you from cyber threats, significantly reducing your risk of coming in contact with malware. As a VPN encrypts your traffic, it becomes incomprehensible, making it near-impossible for hackers to intercept your connection to execute an attack or distribute malware. Of course, a VPN can’t prevent all malware from infecting your devices, so you still need to take extra caution when browsing the web, downloading files, and opening email attachments. 

Some VPN providers even go a step further to ensure more protection against malicious software by offering anti-malware software and built-in ad blockers. Surfshark, for example, is a reputable VPN that provides ad-blocking technology known as CyberSec. CyberSec is designed to block all ads, including banners, autoplay videos, and popups from loading on your browser whenever you enter a new web page. Ads can be loaded with malware, so by blocking them all, you slash your chances of accidentally clicking a malicious link. CyberSec also uses an extensive database of millions of infected websites to prevent you from entering any site that can spread malware to your device.

  1. Stay anonymous online

In the digital world, user data is incredibly valuable and is much easier to collect than you may think. Whenever you search for something on Google, update your status, or visit a website, information about you is being monitored and stored for companies to analyse and sell. Companies can also gather data through tracking cookies that can help build a digital profile of every single person who uses the internet. Although some cookies can be a beneficial and even essential part of websites, they can gather much more information about you than you may be comfortable with. 

But cookies aren’t the only way you’re being tracked online. Websites can also use your IP address to determine your exact location among other information such as your Internet Service Provider (ISP). This is why you’re likely to see a lot of location-based advertising when browsing the web. Although you can manually delete cookies through your browser or enable incognito mode when browsing, these steps will only partially conceal your identity and protect you from being monitored by advertisers, third parties, and hackers. The best way to maintain your privacy online and surf the web anonymously is by using a VPN. 

Since a VPN works by securing user traffic in an encrypted tunnel, the data becomes unintelligible to noisy companies and malicious third parties. Not only this, since your real IP address is concealed as the server’s takes its place, your online activity will no longer be associated with your location, making it much harder to track you. This is because many other VPN users would have connected to the same server as you, so all of your combined browsing habits will all be tied to the same IP address. This means that any websites you visit or third parties trying to spy on your activity will not be able to distinguish you from other VPN users. Therefore, it’s much harder to identify you and build a digital profile based on what you do or what websites you visit online. 

Overall, using a VPN is the best way to conceal your online activity and reduce your digital footprint so you can browse the web anonymously. Many users may think that it doesn’t matter what information is gathered about them when they surf the web, but it’s actually incredibly important to maintain your online privacy. Once your data is collected, it will never disappear and will be permanently stored by websites. Not concealing your identity with a VPN when browsing the web is comparable to living in a glass house where anyone can peer in and see exactly what you’re up to. Therefore, using a VPN to remain anonymous online is crucial! 

Want to find out more? Discover how to protect your privacy and browse the web anonymously using a VPN!

  1. Save money with online purchases

Being anonymous online can not only protect your privacy and keep you safe but can even save you money. Using a VPN to ensure online anonymity will prevent you from being affected by dynamic pricing, which means businesses will be unable to unfairly charge you extra when making online purchases. 

Dynamic pricing is when a business alters their prices based on data they have gathered from users. Through tracking cookies and IP addresses, these businesses can analyse potential customers and use this information to adjust (and typically raise) their prices accordingly. For example, airlines, hotels, and car rental services can change their quotes based on which country a user is accessing their website from. Since all user’s IP addresses are exposed, businesses can see their exact location and use it to make a profit. This results in users from high-income countries likely receiving more expensive quotes as the business will assume they can afford it. 

However, your IP address is not the only information that can be utilised for dynamic pricing. Other data such as your age, gender, job status, income, and browsing habits can be gathered through cookies and shared with every website you visit. Businesses will then analyse this data and present you with unique prices which are based on what they believe you’re willing to pay. 

A VPN will help you to avoid and even capitalise on dynamic pricing. Since your IP address is hidden when connecting to a VPN server, businesses will not use your location to inflate their prices. As we mentioned before, VPNs also reduce your digital footprint which means that there will be much less information about you that can be gathered by websites that you visit.

You can also use dynamic pricing to your advantage by spoofing your location and tricking websites into believing you’re accessing them from a lower-income country. All you need to do is connect to a VPN server that’s based in a country of your choice before heading to a website to view quotes. Then, you can clear your cache and connect to another server that’s located in a different country. After repeating these a few times, you can compare the prices between each country and then select the cheapest option. Overall, with a VPN, you can make the most of dynamic pricing and ensure that you’re always getting the best deal possible. 

  1. Improve connection speeds

It’s often assumed that VPNs drastically slow down a user’s connection speeds, but they can actually improve your connection speeds under certain circumstances. Firstly, let’s address the elephant in the room. Yes, using a VPN can slightly slow down your connection speeds. This is due to your internet traffic needing to travel further to reach a VPN server rather than heading directly to its final destination. If you connect to a server that’s located in a country that’s across the globe, then you can expect a bigger drop in speed when your browser is loading web pages, for instance. 

Don’t fret though, as this speed reduction is so minimal that you will barely notice it at all. You can still continue with your normal internet activities such as browsing through websites, streaming content in high quality, and playing online games lag-free whilst using a VPN. Plus, in our humble opinion, all the benefits and uses of VPNs definitely outweigh a slight speed loss. 

The good news is that VPNs can not only make up for this speed reduction but can even make your connection speeds even faster. This is by preventing bandwidth throttling. Bandwidth throttling is when an ISP (Internet Service Provider) will deliberately restrict and throttle the bandwidth of certain users. This typically happens when an ISP wants to regulate user traffic, reduce congestion, and even influence their user’s online habits. ISPs will often target users who are straining their network through heavy-bandwidth activities such as streaming, gaming, and torrenting. Providers also discourage users from using certain services by throttling specific websites or apps. 

Since when you use a VPN, your online activity is hidden, your ISP will not be able to target you and throttle your bandwidth. Even if you’re participating in an activity that your ISP would consider bandwidth-heavy, your traffic will be disguised, so you can avoid bandwidth throttling altogether. This will result in faster and much more consistent connection speeds simply by using a VPN when online.