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Do I need a VPN? A detailed look at the world’s essential privacy tool

Governments, advertisers, and even hackers may be trying to monitor your browsing history. Without a VPN, your internet service provider (ISP) could be recording your online activity and selling it to the highest bidder. So, can you protect your identity with a virtual private network? And do you need a VPN?

Zen Bahar

Zen Bahar

Jan 15, 2021 · 5 min read

Do I need a VPN? A detailed look at the world’s essential privacy tool

Do I need a VPN?

Yes, you definitely need VPN; it’s one of the best tools designed to protect you online. But what is a VPN and how does it work?

VPNs encrypt your data and redirect it through a secure server. You can browse online and act as you normally would, but outside observers will neither be able to see what you're doing nor track your location.


With data privacy increasingly threatened by government authorities, tech giants, and hackers, this is the perfect time to start using a VPN.

What happens if you don't use a VPN? First and foremost, you’re risking your privacy and security. You can be hacked, your online activities monitored and certain services denied. A VPN enhances your digital security and provides you with an encrypted shield.

How do VPNs work

A VPN uses encryption to protect you against snoopers, third-party advertisers, and cybercriminals.

When your VPN is on, your browsing data is encrypted, sent to a secure server, and decrypted, before being passed on to its original destination. The same process occurs when information is sent back to you. Even if a hacker intercepted your data along the way, all they'd see would be a jumble of indecipherable code.

Since even your ISP won't be able to monitor you, you don’t need to worry about your browsing habits being logged and sold off to advertisers. It’s a simple and effective way to maintain your privacy.

Why should I use a VPN?

Here are five great reasons to start using a VPN today.

    1. Protect yourself against cybercrime
    2. In 2020, more than half of your most valuable possessions exist digitally. For cybercriminals, your identity and financial details are valuable assets. One of the best ways to protect yourself is with a VPN.

      When you use a VPN, you make it much harder for attackers to access your private information. Even if they target your device with router hacks or MITM attacks, they won’t be able to decrypt your data.

    3. Bypass geographical restrictions
    4. A good VPN provider will maintain servers across the globe. That means you can funnel your data through an IP address in another country, bypassing any local browsing restrictions.

      If you’re based in Europe, for example, but want to watch a sport that’s streaming exclusively in the US, you need the best VPN for streaming. When you connect to a US server, your device will appear under a US IP address, granting you access to geo-blocked sites. VPNs offer a truly global internet experience.

    5. Get past firewalls and network restrictions
    6. VPNs can help you circumvent firewalls imposed by governments and institutions like universities. To restrict your online movements, these organizations need to see said movements in real time. Using a VPN can mask your activities, letting you slip through the firewalls.

      Some VPNs suffer connection losses, which could momentarily expose your activity. That’s why NordVPN comes with the in-built Kill Switch. This feature automatically cuts your internet connection if your data isn’t fully protected and only reconnects once your VPN is active again.

    7. Maintain personal privacy
    8. Everyone has a right to privacy, both in the real world and online. But there’s no shortage of people and corporations who’d like to get a look at your browsing activity. In fact, many ISPs are legally allowed to sell your data to corporations, advertisers, research bodies, and government agencies.

      A VPN gives you back control of your internet privacy. When you switch it on, even your ISP won’t be able to track you. If you’re tired of third-party companies buying your browsing data, it might be time to get a VPN.

    9. VPNs can make digital sharing more secure
    10. When you share files with someone, you don’t want a stranger spying on the transfer. Poor quality VPNs don’t offer effective P2P file sharing, but premium services like NordVPN do. With powerful encryption protocols and a strict zero-logs policy, your uploads and downloads will be safe from prying eyes.

why you should use a VPN

Do I need a VPN at home?

A VPN could be useful at home if your internet is provided by someone you don’t entirely trust, like a landlord, friend, or neighbor. Remember — if someone has access to your router, they can snoop on the unencrypted parts of your internet activity. A VPN encrypts your data at all times, keeping you secure no matter how you’re connected.

Even if you have control of your router, there are still risks. An ISP could track what you do online, selling your data without your consent, and your home Wi-Fi can sometimes be hacked from outside the house. Most routers use WPA2 encryption, but, if you forget to update your hardware, it could develop some serious security weaknesses.

A VPN can stop ISP tracking and help to keep you and your household secure.

Do I need a VPN on my phone?

Phones are just as tempting to hackers as computers and are sometimes more likely to be the target of Wi-Fi snooping. And if you use the Wi-Fi auto-connect function on your iPhone, you should be particularly careful when you’re outside your home.

Public Wi-Fi is a hunting ground for hackers, as it often has no security and leaves user information vulnerable. If you lose your mobile coverage, your device may auto-connect to the nearest public Wi-Fi, putting you at risk. That’s why many VPNs, including NordVPN, offer easy-to-use mobile apps for a wide range of operating systems.

Do I need a VPN for my business?

Criminals often steal valuable data by targeting the devices of employees within a corporation. Whether you’re running a business or working for a larger company, a VPN can be invaluable.

The threats are only getting worse. As remote working spreads, cybercriminals are taking advantage of unsecured home routers and devices. If you’re one of the many people using one device for both leisure and work activities, a VPN is a great way to add that extra layer of security.

Choosing a VPN

There are many different VPNs on the market, but not all are created equal. Before you pick one, here’s what to look out for.

It’s important to choose a VPN with no data caps, so you can get the fastest download and sharing speeds. A zero-logs policy and high-grade encryption are essential too. Otherwise, the very people promising to secure your data might end up leaking it.

Another thing to consider is the devices and platforms a VPN can be used on. You can use NordVPN on up to six devices simultaneously across every major platform. You can also download the NordVPN app for desktop, iOS, and Android. It features a one-click connect button that secures you and your device in seconds.

You can check out these NordVPN reviews to hear from our customers, and learn about their VPN experiences.

How to get started

If you’re ready to take internet privacy to the next level, you can get started in just three simple steps:

    1. Set up a NordVPN account.
    2. Download the app for each of your devices. NordVPN works on all major operating systems and is even available for Android TV. Plus, you can get it as an extension for your Chrome and Firefox browsers.
    3. Open the app, log in, and click Quick Connect.

And that’s it! You can even set NordVPN to launch and connect automatically whenever you go online. It will secure your connection without you giving it a second thought. Protecting your privacy online is more important than ever — and it’s never been easier. If you’ve ever wondered “Why do I need a VPN?” or questioned whether it’s worth the money, hopefully now you understand the benefits it offers.

Use a VPN to surf privately and keep your information secure.