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Is a VPN worth it? When and why should you pay for one

The answer is yes — 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, even when connected to public Wi-Fi. But let’s go deeper into this subject. What is a VPN? And why should you use one?

Karolis Bareckas

Karolis Bareckas

Is a VPN worth it? When and why should you pay for one

Five reasons you need a VPN

Do you need a virtual private network? The short answer is yes, investing in a premium VPN will enhance your cybersecurity and protect your privacy. A VPN 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. It protects you on public Wi-Fi

People often connect to public networks in cafes, trains, airports, and other public places. These are 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 no snoopers 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. You can access 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. It improves 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, snoopers can no longer 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. You can avoid 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. It enhances 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?

The short answer is yes, a premium VPN is always worth having. If you enjoy your online freedom and don’t want to become a victim of internet snooping and cybercrime, then you should be using a VPN. By surfing the net with an active VPN, your activity will be hidden behind a wall of encryption. You can use a VPN at home and in a business environment, where employees need to remotely access resources in a secure way.

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’ll 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 5,500 servers in 60 countries, providing users with top-notch services. NordVPN protects your browsing sessions and offers such features as Threat Protection and Kill Switch, making it good value for money. It’s also available across six mobile devices, providing VPN protection no matter where you are.

The dangers of using a free VPN

Let’s take a look at free VPNs vs paid VPNs and why the free ones might be dangerous. If a VPN company offers a free service, it typically means that you are the product. A lot of free VPN providers make their money by selling customer activity logs to third parties, usually for advertising purposes. This goes completely against the idea of privacy, which is one of the main reasons for purchasing a VPN. They also monetize their services by bombarding you with ads, some of which might infect your device with malware.

Developing and maintaining an effective server infrastructure requires financial resources. When offering their services for free, VPN providers usually lack the necessary resources and struggle to offer their clients a high-level of security, specialty servers, and a dedicated IP address.

Most free VPN services cannot ensure a fast connection speed, which may hinder your gaming and streaming experience. While it might be tempting to go with free alternatives to NordVPN, they won’t give you the same protection and functionality as a premium service that invests in the infrastructure, introduces new features, and works to provide the best possible user experience.

What to look for in a VPN service

When choosing a VPN provider, look for these aspects and steer clear if you see any red flags:

  • Security. It includes strong encryption, top-notch security protocols, and a kill switch. You should be able to find information on the provider’s website on the encryption standard that it uses, as well as security protocols that determine how the tunnel for your data transmission is formed, and any additional security features it offers.
  • Strong privacy policy. Choose a VPN service provider that does not collect information on the traffic that passes through its servers. For example, NordVPN is transparent about not logging its users’ online activity.
  • Extra features, included into the package. Most VPN providers offer extra features that boost your overall cybersecurity level, such as threat protection, private DNS, split tunneling, and obfuscated servers.
  • Highly rated. Make sure the VPN service is appreciated by users and reliable cybersecurity experts, as well as unaffiliated cybernews sites.
  • Transparency about prices. Always opt for a paid VPN that clearly states what you are paying for because free VPNs are known for logging and sharing their users’ data with third parties.
  • No restrictive data caps. In case of free VPNs, beware of data caps and similar restrictions that are there to pressure you into upgrading to a paid version. With paid VPNs you get unlimited features and regular updates without being pushed to pay extra.

So is a VPN worth it?

A VPN is definitely worth it because it allows you to protect your online data. Securing your internet traffic on public Wi-Fi, protecting yourself from the prying eyes of hackers and ISPs, watching your favorite content while traveling — all of this and more can be achieved with a premium VPN service, like the NordVPN app. According to NordVPN’s Research Lab, you will spend around a third of your entire life online, so why not spend it securely?

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.