Should I leave my VPN on all the time?
Yes, you should keep it on most of the time to keep yourself safe from hackers, data breaches, leaks, and intrusive snoopers such as ISPs or advertisers. VPNs encrypt your traffic and protect your privacy from third parties and cybercriminals.
VPN hides your location by connecting you to a remote server, so no one will be able to tell what and where you browse. NordVPN also has plenty of additional functions such as Cybersec or Kill Switch, which provide extra layers of protection.
When you should have your VPN on
You should keep a VPN on:
- When you use public Wi-Fi. There are tons of insecure public Wi-Fi networks, and they are fertile ground for cybercriminals, who sometimes even set up rogue connection points to snoop on users. VPN’s strong encryption algorithms will help you protect your traffic from malicious actors;
- When you are in a country with harsh internet restrictions and a low index of internet freedom. Some countries restrict certain content. Using a VPN could save you a lot of trouble, and some VPNs have additional protections for these types of threats. For example, NordVPN Kill Switch function shuts down your internet connection in case the VPN connection suddenly stops;
- When you want to access content not available in your country or bypass content restrictions. All you need to do is connect to a remote VPN server in a country where your desired content is available;
- When you send sensitive data or perform financial transactions. Hackers may intercept your connection, but with a VPN encryption, no one will see what you do;
- When you want to avoid bandwidth throttling. Sometimes ISPs intentionally slow down users’ traffic. They may do this if they don't have enough resources to cope with 24/7 streaming and gaming. In many cases, they may target users based on what they're doing. By using a VPN, an ISP will not see what you do, so they will be less likely to reduce your connection speed;
- When there is no HTTPS extension. Not all websites are equally safe. There are still websites that do not use the secure HTTPS extension and use HTTP. HTTPS uses the TLS protocol to encrypt data traveling between users and a website. However, you should still use a VPN when accessing HTTPS sites. HTTPS encrypts only the connection between you and the website, while a VPN encrypts all your connections. HTTPS encryption is usually weaker than that of a VPN (learn more about it here). Moreover, VPNs can offer lots of other security functions (e.g., Cybersec, Kill Switch, etc.);
- When you want to bypass firewalls. A VPN will route you through an encrypted tunnel and hide your real IP. Nobody will be able to see what you do online and restrict your traffic;
- If you experience malicious pop-ups or annoying ads. NordVPN’s Cybersec feature will protect you from unwanted advertising and make your browsing experience smoother.
- When you simply want to browse privately. Even if you don’t engage in online activities that require a VPN, you won't want strangers snooping about your business. Think of a VPN as a virtual equivalent to window blinds in your house.
Enjoy privacy and security online with NordVPN!
When to turn off a VPN
While we advise you to disable your VPN as little as possible, here are a few exceptions:
- When speed is of the utmost importance (e.g., gaming or downloading massive files). Sometimes VPNs can reduce your speed as they create an encrypted tunnel and connect you to a remote server, which requires additional traffic resources. However, NordVPN offers exceptionally high speeds, so you might not even notice any difference;
- When the content you need to access is only available in your physical location, but the VPN service does not have servers in that area.
For situations like these, NordVPN has a handy VPN Pause feature that lets you turn it off for brief periods while ensuring that you never forget to reactivate your encrypted tunnel.
While we strongly recommend keeping a VPN on most of the time, you should also make sure you use a reliable service. The best VPNs do not store your data, have a wide selection of servers, and come from a reliable provider. Try out NordVPN — we have a strict no-log policy, high speeds and an easy-to-use interface.