What is a VPN?
A VPN, or virtual private network, can give you a secure connection when you use the Internet. When you visit websites and access content, advertisers and other third-parties are keen to track your browsing habits. A Virtual Private Network can give you a greater level of privacy, protecting you and your online identity from prying eyes. It masks your IP address and secures your data through encryption. A VPN keeps your online activity private from third-parties by creating a secure connection between your device and the rest of the Internet.
What can you do with a VPN?
You'll be amazed at the things you can do with a VPN. With premium VPN services offering easy-to-use VPN apps, the possibilities are endless. Here are our top 10 amazing uses for a VPN:
1. Avoid targeted bandwidth throttling
If you’re doing something online that uses a lot of internet bandwidth — gaming, for example — your ISP might target you with bandwidth throttling tactics.
Bandwidth throttling happens when your ISP attempts to reduce bandwidth congestion and regulate network traffic, and it has a direct impact on how fast your internet is. A VPN connection helps you avoid bandwidth throttling and slow connection speeds.
ISPs restrict users who consume large amounts of data and deliberately slow them down, to offer the same speeds for everyone. A VPN encrypts your online traffic so that your ISP can no longer see your activity sessions. Obviously if the ISP restricts the entire network in your area your data will slow down no matter what you do, but if they’re targeting you specifically because of your browsing habits, a VPN can help.
2. Access your home network when you're away
A lot of us store our photos, important documents, and large files on our home desktop computer, and most of us will have remote access set up, so we can access these files from anywhere in the world. To keep your precious files safe and secure its best to connect using a VPN, as it encrypts your internet connection.
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3. Save money on flight tickets, hotels, and car rentals
Did you know that a VPN can help you to book a cheaper vacation? By leveraging currencies and points of sale, you can get the best deals and cheapest rates for your next vacation.
Clearing your browser cookies or browsing in incognito mode may help you avoid flight rates, which increase based on your searches. But that's not enough these days, as prices may vary in different countries.
The trick is to make it appear as if you’re browsing from a country where the prices are lower. Your IP address reveals your geographical location, what you need to do is hide it. A VPN can hide your IP address in one-click. For instance, if the tickets to your desired destination cost less when booked via a French website rather than a U.K one, simply pick a server in France. which makes the internet think you’re a French user.
4. Make public Wi-Fi more secure
Connecting to public Wi-Fi isn’t always safe. If a Wi-Fi connection isn't encrypted or has been set up by a hacker, connecting to it could expose your browsing activity. A VPN protects you by encrypting your internet connection, limiting the risk of getting your payment details stolen while using public Wi-Fi.
5. Protect your mobile devices
VPNs have evolved into easy-to-use apps for smartphones, tablets, and even Smart TVs. With one NordVPN account, you can cover up to six devices, meaning that all your mobile hardware can enjoy the same level of protection. We advise covering all your devices with a VPN, to ensure continuous encryption.
6. Use other useful VPN features
While the core function of a VPN is encryption and IP address protection, premium VPNs also come with a range of other useful features. For example, NordVPN offers a Kill Switch function, ensuring that, in the unlikely event that your VPN stops working, your internet will instantly be cut, preventing unintended data exposure. It also has the Threat Protection function that helps you identify malware-ridden files, stops you from landing on malicious websites, and blocks trackers and intrusive ads on the spot.
7. Access your work or university network abroad
You might not able to access your school, university, or work network/intranet if you're out of the country. With so many of us relocating abroad amidst the pandemic, you might find your location blocked due to some kind of regulation, and unable to get access.
A VPN is great for remote learning and working. Not only will it help secure you from third-parties and cybercriminals online, you'll be able to switch your location and access your usual websites and networks.
8. Download and upload files securely
P2P (Peer-to-Peer) file sharing has a number of legitimate reasons, such as distributing open-source software, public domain videos, or simply sharing large sets of data across the network. However, many ISPs are not thrilled about their customers engaging in P2P activities; which can result in slow connection speeds, limited bandwidth – or even restricted access to file-sharing websites.
But your ISP isn’t the only bad guy here. All users on the same network can see each other’s IP addresses. This could impose a serious security threat, opening a door to cybercriminals, with dire consequences.
The good news is with a VPN turned on, you can use P2P without your ISP slowing you down and stay safe at the same time. With a VPN, your IP stays hidden and your online traffic is encrypted so that no one can see or intercept it.
So to stay on the safe side, use a VPN. An encrypted connection will keep your data safe, and even if a hacker does manages to intercept it, they won’t be able to use it, as encryption masks your data as useless gibberish.
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9. Avoid price discrimination when shopping online
Imagine getting off a flight and going directly to the closest Starbucks to grab a coffee. At the counter, you discover you are charged five dollars, while the guy before you has just paid four for the same coffee, just because he’s a local. Sounds unfair right? Well this happens online all the time.
Many online stores display different prices for the same items based on the location a user is browsing from. So, for example, the price for the same handbag could be lower for a German IP address than for a Swedish IP.
But how do they even know this information? Again – it’s your IP address. It reveals the country you’re located in, giving giving businesses the freedom to decide what search results to show you and what prices to offer.
So if you are about to buy those amazing shoes online or order that new sci-fi book, don’t just yet. First, clear your browser cookies. This will make websites forget you have visited them before. Then launch your VPN app and choose a country that you want to make it look like you’re browsing from. Try switching between different locations to see if the prices lower.
10. Protect your right to privacy
As well as all the practical reasons we’ve outlined here, one of the simplest and most important uses for a VPN is as a way to protect your right to privacy. We believe every individual should be able to communicate and access the free internet without instantly giving up their right to a private online experience. Using a VPN can give you back some control over your data and who gets to see it, log it, and monetize it.
What do people use a VPN for most?
The security benefits of a VPN are apparent. Worldwide trends lean towards prioritizing protection online. Safeguarding IP address information is one of the primary reasons for use.
Around the world, people are using VPNs to keep their data secure and their browsing habits private. These tools give people more control over their online presence, and help to preserve the right to online privacy.
Don't just take our word for it
By now you should have plenty of reasons to use a VPN. There are so many cool uses for a VPN in daily life. But don't just take our word for it, check out the NordVPN reviews to hear more from people around the world who use NordVPN everyday. Get more from the internet, and save money, it’s a no-brainer.
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