What is a VoIP VPN?
A VoIP VPN is a virtual private network that protects you while making calls online. VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol and is a catch-all term for any voice-based communication that takes place on the internet.
A virtual private network, or VPN, is a system that encrypts your internet traffic while in transit and hides your IP address. When you use a VoIP VPN, your voice calls are given additional privacy as they travel along a VPN tunnel, shielded from outside observers.
Common examples of VoIP services include WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Skype. Of course, these apps all have video functions too, but if you only use their audio features, it still counts as VoIP.
Why do you need a VPN for VoIP?
You need a VPN for your VoIP app to enhance your online safety and protect your privacy. A VoIP VPN makes it harder for bad actors to snoop on your personal data while you’re calling people.
When you make a call using an internet service, you appear online using an IP address. That address can be used to determine your real-world location. Your internet service provider (ISP) can also track what apps you use and sites you visit, and can sell that data to advertising companies.
With a VPN enabled on your device, your data is encrypted and your IP address hidden. Your ISP won’t be able to monitor your activity, and your IP address (which can expose your real-world location) won’t be visible to the sites you connect to.
Your VoIP service will almost certainly use its own encryption — mainstream VoIP apps usually offer end-to-end encryption for the data that they transfer during calls — but a VPN adds additional overarching protection.
When to use a VPN to carry VoIP traffic
You should use a VPN for VoIP whenever you feel you want additional privacy for your calls, especially when using public Wi-Fi.
If you’re connecting to unsafe public Wi-Fi, your data could be exposed to anyone who has access to the network’s router. Using a VoIP VPN is a great way to protect yourself from the inherent risks of public Wi-Fi although, again, the VoIP conversations themselves are already encrypted, so hackers won’t be able to listen in either way.
A VoIP VPN adds additional security and keeps your IP address private. If your IP address is hidden, you’re less likely to be targeted with DDoS attacks, and the rest of the internet won’t be able to access your IP location information.
How to use a VPN on VoIP
Using a VPN for VoIP calls is simple. If you invest in a premium VPN service, you can install a VPN client on your device and connect to one of the VPN’s servers. To protect your next VoIP conversation with a VPN, follow these steps:
- Download a VPN application on the device you want to use for VoIP calls.
- Log into your VPN profile, or set up a profile if you haven’t already.
- Connect to a VPN server (if you’re using NordVPN, click the “Quick connect” feature to automatically join the best VPN server for your area).
- Once a connection is established, start your VoIP call.
Advantages and disadvantages of a VoIP VPN
A VoIP VPN offers many advantages and a few disadvantages that you should be aware of before using one.
The advantages of a VoIP VPN are numerous. These services make your data more secure and private, hide your IP address, and often come with useful extra features that make your online experience safer.
A VPN can also prevent bandwidth throttling. This is a practice in which your ISP limits your bandwidth and slows down your internet because you’re engaging in bandwidth-intensive activities, like VoIP calls. While your ISP can still target you with throttling if they wish to, a VPN stops them from tracking your personal activity and throttling your connection based on it.
On the negative side, VPNs can slow down your internet connection very slightly. With a high-quality premium VPN, however, you shouldn’t notice a significant enough speed reduction to disrupt or limit your VoIP experience.
How to choose a VoIP VPN
When choosing a VoIP VPN, you should look for a service that offers the following features:
- A large server network. A good VoIP VPN should provide a large server network, with server locations around the world. With more servers, you’re less likely to encounter slow internet speeds or data congestion, which can cause latency problems for VoIP calls.
- Obfuscated servers. Some countries, especially those with restricted internet freedoms, may not allow you to use a VPN. In such situations, a VPN with obfuscated servers will be vital, as it will hide the fact that you’re using a VPN from your ISP. Once you’ve connected to an obfuscated VPN server, you can start accessing VoIP services without your ISP even noticing that you’re using a VPN.
- Strong security and encryption. Security is one of the core benefits of a VPN, so make sure to use one with strong encryption protocols and a good reputation. Keeping your VPN on at all times will allow you to maintain an extra layer of security continually.
- Fast VPN connection speeds. With a premium VPN, you should be able to enjoy fast internet speeds without compromising on security. NordVPN, the fastest VPN, offers NordLynx, an incredibly high-speed protocol that balances rapid data transfer with top-tier security.
- Extra features. Good VPNs come with useful extra features to improve your internet experience. With NordVPN, for example, you get access to Threat Protection, a suite of tools that block ads, shield you from intrusive trackers, and scan downloads for malware.