Despite over one-third of people online using a VPN at some point in their lives and the VPN market value expected to reach $92 billion by 2027, there are still many misconceptions and questions surrounding this technology. Some users have been discouraged from using VPNs due to rumours stating they are illegal, overly complicated, or otherwise not worth their cost. However, VPNs are, in fact, incredibly useful and easy to use, even for those who are not particularly ‘tech-savvy’. They also provide a ton of benefits that can not only keep you safe online but can also allow you to spoof your location, access geo-blocked content, and even save money with online purchases.
In this article, we’ll inform you on what exactly a VPN is as well as how they work. We’ll also summarise some of the main advantages of using a VPN and help you to choose a provider that is perfectly suited to your needs. So, keep reading to find out the answers to these questions – What is a VPN? How does a VPN really work?
What is a VPN?
To put it simply, a VPN (short for Virtual Private Network) is technology that establishes a private internet connection across a public network and encrypts its user’s traffic. This encryption happens in real-time and can disguise users’ identities and protect them from cyber threats. But that’s not all! Further in this article, we’ll discuss the other benefits of using a VPN.
How does a VPN work?
Each VPN provider runs a selection of remote servers that are based in various locations around the world. Through the provider’s app or client, users can connect to any of these available servers to encrypt all of their internet traffic. When you connect to a VPN server, all of your traffic is encrypted and reputed through the server, which then becomes the source of your data. This means that instead of your IP address appearing to every website, app, or service you visit when online, the IP address of the server will appear instead. Since your IP address pinpoints your exact location in the world, by connecting to a server that’s located elsewhere, you can successfully spoof your location.
Additionally, whilst connected to a server, your encrypted traffic is ‘scrambled’ and therefore indecipherable to third parties and cybercriminals. This is one of the main reasons why many choose to use a VPN, as it can help protect them from common cyber threats such as brute force attacks. However, there are many other advantages of using a VPN. Whether you’re a casual internet surfer, student, employee, business owner, or anything in between, there are many reasons for you to use a VPN when online!
What are the benefits of using a VPN?
There are many misconceptions surrounding the benefits of a VPN as many underestimate what this technology is truly capable of. Of course, a VPN isn’t an all-in-one solution to all online threats and privacy concerns. However, there are plenty of advantages of using a VPN when connected to the internet. Here is a rundown of the top benefits of using a VPN in 2022 –
- Disguise identity – Every website you visit monitors sensitive information about you through tracking cookies and your IP address. This information is stored, sold to third parties, used to show you location-based advertising, and even used to build a digital profile of you. If you want to avoid this and remain anonymous online, then you need a VPN. As a VPN encrypts your traffic and conceals your IP address, it can help you to maintain privacy when browsing the web. Since your real IP address is no longer shared with websites when you connect to a server, it is much harder for you to be tracked as all of your online activity is no longer associated with your location.
- Circumvent geo-restrictions – When content is geo-restricted (or geo-blocked) it means that content is restricted based on a user’s geographical location. Content can be geo-blocked for several reasons including copyright laws, government restrictions, and licensing agreements. You may have already encountered geo-restrictions if you’ve travelled to another country and noticed that your Netlflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, or other streaming service is displaying a different selection of content. These streaming services often adhere to licensing agreements by broadcasting certain content in a select few countries.
Since a VPN conceals your IP address and replaces it with the server’s IP address, you can easily spoof your location and trick services, apps, and websites into thinking you’re accessing them elsewhere, allowing you to bypass geo-restrictions and access content from anywhere in the world.
- Save money on purchases – Dynamic pricing refers to when a company will alter their prices based on information they have gathered about a user. Through sensitive data such as your browsing history and location, a company will adjust its prices accordingly so it can profit as much as possible from you. For instance, when booking travel services such as flights, hotels, and car rentals, your location can drastically influence how much you are being charged. If you are accessing a company’s website from a country that is considered high-income, then you’ll likely receive much more expensive quotes compared to users accessing the website from a low-income company.
With a VPN, you can not only prevent dynamic pricing but even capitalise on it. By concealing your sensitive information and spoofing your location, you can compare prices between various countries (by connecting to different servers) and then choose the cheapest option!
How do I choose the right VPN?
Choosing the right VPN can be a daunting task, especially for those who have never used one before. The answer isn’t that simple, as providers are not designed as one-size-fits-all tools for users. Factors such as your location, device(s), and reasoning for using a VPN can all influence which provider is best suited to you. To help you out, we’ve laid out various articles that will help make it easier for you to choose the right VPN for your needs.
Some VPNs are not compatible with all devices, so if you’re planning on using your VPN on a specific device then we suggest checking out one of these articles –
A provider’s server network size and locations can also influence whether or not they are suitable for specific users. Also, as some countries are highly censorship and have more internet restrictions, users living or travelling here will need a VPN that provides certain features such as obfuscation to help them successfully use the service. Here are some articles that help you choose the best VPN based on where you’re located –
As different providers have varying connection speeds, security measures, and selection of features, your reasoning for using a VPN can impact which VPN is best suited to you. Check out these articles that will help you find the best provider based on what you intend to use your VPN for –
Overall, VPNs are not as complicated as they might seem and can be incredibly useful for any type of user. When you connect to a VPN server, your encrypted traffic is shielded from cyber criminals, so you can browse the web in peace. Whether you want to access geo-blocked content, bypass censorship, avoid online threats, or simply remain anonymous when online, then a VPN is a necessary tool for you to have. If you’re unsure of which VPN provider to use, then we recommend you take a look at some of the articles we’ve listed above, so you choose the best option for your particular needs.