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Is a VPN worth it?

VPNs are worth it. If you value your online privacy, a VPN, or virtual private network, is an essential tool. Encryption protects your data from hackers, ISPs, and other snoopers, so you can browse the internet with genuine privacy. But let's go deeper into this subject. What is a VPN? And why should you be using one?

Karolis Bareckas

Karolis Bareckas

Is a VPN worth it?

5 Reasons you need a VPN

Do you need a VPN? The short answer is yes, investing in a premium VPN will enhance your cybersecurity and protect your privacy. A VPN, or virtual private network, allows your device to connect to the internet with a greater level of safety, and limits how much personal data you expose in the process. Here are five reasons to use a VPN.

5 Reasons you need a VPN

1. Protecting yourself on public Wi-Fi

People often connect to public networks in cafes, trains, airports, and other public places. These are the ideal hunting grounds for cybercriminals. A hacker can set up fake public networks, infect your device with malware, and steal your personal details in a matter of minutes.

To set the trap, they leave their network open, so anybody can connect without a password. They might even give the hotspot an innocent-sounding name, like “Café Wi-Fi.” Once you’re using their connection, they can intercept your emails, login credentials, credit card details, and other sensitive information.

How can a VPN help you? A virtual private network redirects your data through an encrypted tunnel, so nobody can see what you do online. If you’re unlucky enough to connect to a fake hotspot, all the hacker will be able to view is incomprehensible code.

2. Accessing blocked websites

Websites are often blocked based on your geographical location; this is particularly true in certain repressive regimes.

How can a VPN help you? When you connect to VPN services, you acquire a new IP address. You might live in China, but with a VPN you can connect to a server in Germany — your new online identity allows you to access the internet with no restrictions.

NordVPN even has obfuscated servers designed to bypass heavy censorship and mask the fact that you’re using a VPN.

3. Improving your privacy

Wherever you go on the internet, you’re always followed by the prying eyes of your internet service provider (ISP), data brokers, and advertisers. They collect information about your browsing habits, the websites you visit, the devices you use, and even your individual search queries. How many times have you googled something and started receiving related ads soon afterwards?

Dozens of companies specialize in building consumer profiles and selling this sensitive data to third parties. If you don’t feel comfortable with the idea of somebody monitoring your behavior, a VPN is the solution.

How can a VPN help you? Your internet traffic is directly linked to your IP address, and a VPN helps protect it. Since your IP changes as soon as you jump on a VPN, nobody can snoop on your data and see what you do online. As for your ISP, they won’t be able to track your browsing history, because everything you do will be encrypted.

4. Avoiding bandwidth throttling

Sometimes you might not get the bandwidth you are paying for. Sudden speed drops, videos buffering, and endless downloads can ruin your online experience.

There are several reasons why your ISP might decide to throttle your bandwidth:

  • Prioritizing alternative services.
  • Avoiding “traffic jams” during peak hours.
  • Restricting you from downloading or uploading large amounts of data to maintain the speed of the overall network.

How can a VPN help you? With a VPN service enabled, your ISP won’t know what you’re doing at any one time, so it can’t throttle your bandwidth based on activity. A VPN won’t stop an ISP from enacting sweeping throttling actions across a large area, but it can help you from being singled out and targeted.

5. Enhancing your gaming experience

Online gaming is highly competitive, and some players would do anything to gain an advantage. In a DDoS attack, your network is flooded with traffic coming from multiple infected devices. This could slow down your internet connection, cause lag, and completely ruin your gaming experience. Plus, NordVPN's Meshnet feature can let you form remote LAN connections in games that support this function.

Game developers have been also fighting against vicious players, as every DDoS attack can cause them revenue losses. Using a VPN for gaming can help the situation.

How can a VPN help you? DDoS attacks target your IP address, but if you change it, wrongdoers can’t do you any harm. You can connect to a NordVPN server, which will take the blow instead of your own network. Your online activity will be unhindered by any potential attacker.

Are VPNs worth it?

If you’re someone that enjoys their online freedom and doesn’t want to be a victim of internet snooping, and cybercrime then you should already be using a VPN. By surfing the net with a VPN active, your activity will be hidden behind a wall of encryption. Security like this is also great in a business environment, where employees need to remotely access recourses in a secure way.

Our lives are becoming increasingly integrated with the internet, which exposes us to ever greater security and privacy risks. According to NordVPN's Research Lab, you will spend around a third of your entire life online. Smart devices are also proliferating (a staggering 90% of Americans now own at least one such device), further driving our dependency on internet connectivity. Using a VPN is one way to raise your overall cybersecurity standard while staying continually online.

Be wary, however, of free VPNs. If a VPN company offers free services, it typically means you are the product. In the case of free VPN providers, a lot make their money by selling customer activity logs to third parties, usually for advertising purposes. While it might be tempting to go with free NordVPN alternatives, they won't give you the same protection and functionality as a premium service.

A VPN establishes a private network for your device by redirecting your online traffic through a VPN server. If someone tries to view your IP address while you’re connected to a VPN server, they’d only see the IP address of that server. The encrypted connection will also guarantee that anyone spying on your data (through unsecured Wi-Fi, for example) will only see scrambled, incomprehensible code.

NordVPN is one of the leading VPN options on the market. It has more than 5,200 servers in 60 countries, providing users with top-notch services. NordVPN protects your browsing sessions and offers rich features, such as Threat Protection and Kill Switch, making it good value for money. It’s also available across several mobile devices, providing VPN protection no matter where you are.

How much does a VPN cost?

VPN prices range widely, from completely free to several hundred dollars per year. It's important to remember that, with VPNs, you get what you pay for.

There are plenty of free VPNs on the market, but they don't offer the same speed, security, and stability as the premium options. The same goes for extremely low-price VPNs, or those bundled with other free services, like browsers or antivirus software.

When you invest in a premium VPN, you invest in high-quality encryption, rapid internet speeds, multiple server locations, and additional safety features. With these benefits, you can keep your VPN on at all times, without compromising your internet experience.

How to get started with a VPN

Setting up NordVPN is simple and it takes only a few minutes to download the app and create an account.

    1. Download the NordVPN app, either from the NordVPN website or through your preferred app store
    2. Open the NordVPN app and click Sign Up.
    3. Follow the on-screen instructions to set up your account and choose your plan.
    4. Once you've created your account and purchased your plan, select the server you want to connect to, or click Quick Connect.

Is it worth getting a VPN for children or elderly people? Absolutely: you don’t need to be a tech expert to use a VPN, because it works like any other app. Soon enough, a VPN will be as much of a staple of cybersecurity as antivirus software.

Once you’ve downloaded it, you can encrypt your data and change your IP in the NordVPN app with one click. And with one account, you can support up to six different devices: smartphones, laptops, tablets, routers, Android TVs, and more.

Take your privacy into your own hands.

Stay safe with the world’s leading VPN.

Karolis Bareckas
Karolis Bareckas Karolis Bareckas
Karolis is a tech geek who writes about cybersecurity, online privacy, and the latest gadgets. When not rattling his keyboard, he’s always eager to try a new burrito recipe or explore a new camping spot.