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Do I need a VPN at home? A detailed look at an 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

Mar 22, 2022 · 7 min read

Do I need a VPN at home? A detailed look at an essential privacy tool

Why do you need a VPN service?

You definitely need a VPN; it’s one of the simplest and most efficient ways to protect yourself online. But what is a VPN and how does it work?

A VPN is an essential tool for online privacy protection. It encrypts your data and redirects it through a secure VPN server. You can browse online and act as you normally would, but outside observers (e.g. an internet service provider) won't be able to see what you're doing or track your location. A VPN will also protect you on often unsafe public Wi-Fi hotspots that can be intercepted by hackers.

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

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 a VPN protects privacy

VPNs encrypt your entire connection. Encryption protects you against snoopers, third-party advertisers, and cybercriminals.

When your VPN is on, your browsing data is encrypted, sent to a secure VPN 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 home VPN?

Using a VPN at home is as important as having an antivirus installed — its vital protection. The primary purpose of a VPN is security and privacy, but they're actually really versatile. Here are some other ways you can use a VPN at home:

    1. Protect yourself against cybercrime
    2. In 2021, more than half of your most valuable possessions probably exist digitally. For cybercriminals, your identity and financial details are gold dust. 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. Get past firewalls and network restrictions
    4. 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.

    5. Maintain personal privacy
    6. 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 already asking yourself “should I get a VPN?” The answer is probably yes. Especially if you’re tired of intrusive snoopers, the selling of your data, and constant online ads.

    7. VPNs can make digital sharing more secure
    8. When you share files with someone, you don’t want a stranger spying on the transfer. Premium services like NordVPN offer effective P2P file sharing. With powerful encryption protocols, your uploads and downloads will be safe from prying eyes.

    9. Protect your devices
    10. A VPN can protect your camera and other devices (e.g. IoT items). An unprotected camera is a treasure trove for a particularly cruel cybercriminal. Other devices, like IoT baby monitors, doorbells, or appliances, can also remain vulnerable if you browse unprotected. Set up your VPN directly on your router to protect every device in your home.

For all of the reasons we've mentioned here, we strongly recommend using a VPN, both at home and elsewhere. With just a few clicks, you can supercharge your online security and protect your data.

Online security starts with a click.

Stay safe with the world’s leading VPN

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 mobile devices may auto-connect to the nearest public Wi-Fi, putting you at risk. That’s why NordVPN offers easy-to-use mobile apps for a wide range of operating systems.

why you should use a VPN

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.

NordVPN has NordLayer — a great solution for secure B2B activities. NordLayer will make your business way safer by providing your online traffic with top-notch security.

VPN privacy: what does a VPN hide?

We’ve listed a few things below that a VPN hides.

Your web activity — to maintain internet freedom

Without a VPN, everything you do online can be monitored and tracked by intrusive snoopers like your ISP and other third parties. Your sensitive information could then be sold to third parties like advertisers, the authorities, and government agencies or even used to initiate malicious actions against you.

Your IP address and virtual location

Without a VPN, your IP address is exposed. Your IP address and the IP addresses of all the devices connected to your home Wi-Fi can be stolen by cybercriminals to track your location, right down to the street level, if they want to.

VPN changes your IP by routing your traffic via a remote server. So nobody can see your virtual location and you have your online privacy protected. For example, you can browse in the UK with a French IP, and everyone will think you're browsing from France.

Your networked devices

Not having a VPN connection on your home router lets a hacker see all of the devices connected to your local network and the traffic coming from those devices. Cybercriminals can spy on that traffic, blackmail you, steal your files, and cause much avoidable mayhem. So your home network has a higher chance of being attacked by criminals.

How can a VPN help protect against identity theft?

While a VPN connection can't guarantee 100% protection against identity theft, some of its functions can help to reduce its possibility. Identity thieves usually use personal data to impersonate their targets. For example, they can intercept your web traffic, check what you do online, and snatch your data, which can later be used for identity theft. So a VPN could be partial protection against such theft.

How to choose a VPN

Not using a VPN is pretty risky in this day and age, so consider using a VPN to protect your safety and your family's online privacy. We've created a checklist of vital features and functions to look out for so you get the best deal and protect your online activity ASAP.

Number of servers

Make sure a VPN service has a large number of servers, as this means that you will have more virtual locations to choose from. Moreover, it will reduce the possibility of server overloads because users always have more options to route their internet traffic through. Many servers will guarantee better speeds and user experience.

Operating system support

You should also check which operating systems a VPN service supports and whether the list satisfies your needs. In addition, make sure the VPN service is available for mobile devices. These devices are frequently exposed to various threats, so it is important to protect them.

You can also download the NordVPN app for desktop, iOS, and Android. It features a one-click connect button that secures your device in seconds.

How many devices can connect at once?

Another vital aspect to consider is how many devices you can protect with a single account. For example, you can simultaneously use NordVPN on up to six devices across every major platform.

Additional features

Pay attention to all the additional features a VPN provider offers. Make sure you get a good package for the money you spend. NordVPN has a lot of useful features, including:

  • Kill Switch, which cuts your internet connection if the VPN service stops working and protects your traffic from accidental exposures.
  • Threat Protection, which checks newly downloaded files for malware and blocks them, and hides malicious ads.
  • Obfuscated servers, which hide the fact that you use a VPN.
  • Multi-factor authentication, which provides you with an additional layer of protection for your account.

Transparency

Always use VPNs from transparent and reliable providers. We strongly advise against using free VPNs because most monetize their activities by collecting your data and using it for marketing purposes or selling to third parties. Some of them flood you with ads or will have poor functionality and infrastructure.

The presence of easily accessible and professional customer support is also a sign of a reliable provider that is ready to solve your issues ASAP.

Speed

Make sure that the VPN service won't significantly slow down your connection. NordVPN has the NordLynx protocol, making it the fastest VPN available. This will guarantee an awesome VPN usage experience.

How to set up NordVPN at home

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 at home?” or questioned whether it’s worth the money, hopefully now you understand the benefits it offers.

Online security starts with a click.

Stay safe with the world’s leading VPN

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