Do I need a VPN?
Yes, you need a VPN to protect your online activity, hide your IP addresses, and keep your data safe. A VPN should be the cornerstone of your online privacy and security at home, work, or public places.
A VPN’s purpose is to mask your IP address and send your browsing data through an encrypted tunnel, which prevents third parties from monitoring your online activity. It provides security against potential cyber threats and allows users to bypass internet restrictions, helps to avoid internet service provider (ISP) throttling, and safely access home content while traveling.
You can look closer at what a VPN is and how it works.
Who uses a VPN service and why?
Individuals and organizations use VPNs for multiple purposes:
- General customer. Regular internet users employ VPNs for everyday online activities to enhance privacy and prevent ISPs from monitoring their browsing traffic and throttling bandwidth based on activity. A VPN is essential to protect private data from hackers, especially when connecting to public hotspots. In addition, it lets users access home content securely while traveling.
- Businesses and organizations. Companies use VPNs for remote access. They help secure company networks for employees working from home or traveling. Moreover, VPN usage can help companies protect their confidential data from cyberattacks.
- Journalists and activists. These individuals often work in threatening environments, restricting freedom of the press and expression. VPNs help them access censored information and mask their location.
- Travelers. People traveling abroad use VPNs to securely access content or services from their home country that may not be available in other countries. They help protect web traffic when connected to unsecure online Wi-Fi.
- Students. Educational institutions usually restrict access to internal systems, so a VPN can help students bypass restrictive network policies and access academic resources from off-campus.
- Gaming enthusiasts. VPNs help gamers access gaming servers in different regions if allowed by the game vendor. They can also prevent potential DDoS attacks and reduce lag in some cases.
Even though a VPN is a go-to cybersecurity tool in these cases, it is not almighty. Some advanced tracking methods can still help hackers track your online activity, even with a VPN.
Why do I need to use a VPN at home?
The primary purpose of a VPN is security and privacy, but there are plenty of other pros and cons of using a VPN. Here are some of the main reasons why you need a VPN connection at home:
For safe home network
While many believe their home Wi-Fi is inherently secure, vulnerabilities can expose devices and personal data to cyber threats, including unreliable neighbors attempting to access your Wi-Fi.
Also, a VPN can protect your smart devices. For example, an unprotected camera is a treasure for a cybercriminal. Other Internet of Things (IoT) devices, like robot vacuum cleaners, doorbells, or appliances, can also be vulnerable if your home network is unprotected.
Using a VPN at home or setting up a VPN on your router can make it much harder for attackers to steal your private information. Even if they target your device with MITM attacks, they won’t be able to access your online traffic.
For a private and smooth connection
Unprotected traffic may lay the breeding ground for potential hacking. A VPN makes it more difficult for hackers to intercept your online traffic and steal your sensitive data or identity. This is especially important if you conduct sensitive transactions or handle personal information at home.
A VPN connection also acts as your digital shield against internet service providers monitoring your online activity. They sometimes log your browsing activities, so a VPN may help you protect yourself from eavesdropping. Additionally, ISPs may throttle specific types of traffic, such as video streaming or gaming, to prioritize other types of traffic. Therefore, using a VPN can help circumvent ISP traffic-based bandwidth throttling.
What’s more, a VPN can work as an ad blocker, shielding against intrusive and annoying ads. This may help you speed up the loading times, reduce data consumption, and save your mobile data.
For remote access to a home network
Another reason to use a VPN is for traveling. If you travel or are often away from home, you can use a VPN to securely access files or systems on your home network from anywhere in the world, as long as you have an internet connection. Remote access features like Meshnet can help you access files on your home computer or use services available only via your home network.
In addition, if you use remote desktop software to access your home computer from a different location, a VPN can ensure a secure and encrypted connection, protecting you from potential threats.
For all the reasons we’ve mentioned here, we strongly recommend using a VPN at home and elsewhere.
Do I need a VPN on my phone?
Yes, a VPN on your phone can enhance phone security, ensuring secure browsing. Consider that mobile phones are frequently connected to public Wi-Fi networks in cafes, airports, and hotels. These Wi-Fi networks are often unsecured and can be exposed to cyberattacks, so you’re better off with a VPN.
What other devices do I need a VPN for?
Other household devices might also need VPN protection besides using a VPN on a computer and smartphone. Portable tablets, for example, also connect to various networks and thus require the same level of protection. Smart TVs, often used for streaming services from around the world, can benefit from VPNs to broadcast your favorite shows securely.
A VPN can be beneficial to secure personal data and connect to global game servers via gaming consoles. Unprotected IoT devices, like smart thermostats or baby monitors, can be vulnerable to cyberattacks without a VPN. So remember — any device that connects to the internet and transmits data can benefit from the enhanced data privacy and online security that a VPN provides.
How to choose the right VPN
To find the best VPN, you must define your preferences first. Even though every use case may require a different VPN setup, the rule remains the same – choose a VPN that balances privacy, security, speed, and usability. You can follow these tips to find the best option:
- Choose a reliable VPN company. Pick secure VPN services with legitimate customer reviews, investing in product development and maintenance.
- Make sure a VPN supports your devices. Ensure that the VPN supports all your devices and platforms, like Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Linux, and even routers.
- Look for a wide selection of servers. Make sure a VPN service provider hasmany VPN servers, offering more virtual locations to choose from.
- Choose a speedy VPN. Pick VPN services that won’t slow down your connection significantly. NordVPN employs the NordLynx protocol, making it the fastest VPN available.
- Make sure you’ll get support. Purchase a VPN with 24/7 customer service to guide you if any technical issues arise.
- Pay special attention to the price. Never rely on free VPNs because most of them monetize their activities by collecting and using your sensitive data for marketing purposes or selling to third parties.
So, if you frequently connect to public Wi-Fi, carry out sensitive transactions, or want to stream your favorite shows securely, a VPN is definitely worth having. It adds an extra layer of security to your web traffic. Apart from all of the reasons to use a VPN mentioned above, you can use a VPN in other cases too, like saving money on flights and rentals or secure downloads. Check it out!
Read our blog post on how to use a VPN if you need further guidance.