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10 most interesting uses of a VPN

VPNs are one of the best ways to protect your privacy when browsing online. But you'd be surprised at how many other amazing things a VPN can do. From online threat-protection to securely accessing your favourite TV shows – there are so many things you can do with a VPN.

Lewis Lambert Fox

Lewis Lambert Fox

Dec 23, 2021 · 6 min read

10 most interesting uses of a VPN

What is a VPN?

A Virtual Private Network gives you online privacy by hiding your online identity. 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 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, with inbuilt CyberSec, the possibilities are endless. Here are our top 10:

1. Avoid bandwidth throttling

Can you think of anything more annoying than constant buffering when watching funny Youtube videos or streaming your favorite TV series? Unfortunately, bandwidth throttling can happen to anyone trying to access streaming services, file sharing platforms, and online gaming websites. If there’s anyone to blame, it’s your ISP.

Bandwidth throttling happens when your ISP attempts to reduce bandwidth congestion and regulate network traffic, and it has a direct impact on how fast you can stream and download content online. A VPN connection helps you avoid bandwidth throttling and slow connection speeds.

IPSs 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. And if they can’t see it, they can’t control it, right? So, now the secret is out, the solution is simple: open your VPN app, pick a server, and enjoy the Internet without your ISP slowing you down.

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 secure

Did you know that public Wi-Fi is unsafe? It isn't encrypted, so when you connect you could expose everything you do to hackers and criminals spying on the network. A VPN protects you by encrypting your internet connection, limiting the risk of getting your payment details stolen if you shop online, check your work inbox, and regularly make financial transactions.

5. Protect your mobile devices

VPNs have evolved into easy-to-use apps for smartphones, tablets, and even Smart TV's. Cybercriminals have also evolved their phishing, and malware techniques to target smartphones, and not just desktop computers and laptops. Better VPNs also protect you against malicious websites and malware, which is exactly whatNordVPNs CyberSec feature does.

6. Keep your online chats private

Sure, secure messaging apps like Telegram and Signal exist, but some contain risky security loopholes where you have to turn on 'encrypted chat'. A VPN provides an extra layer of protection by routing your data through an encrypted tunnel, so you can rest easy.

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.

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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.

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. Use VoIP anywhere

It doesn’t matter whether you call your mom or organize a teleconference with your business partners – the possibility that someone may be secretly listening to your private conversations is more real than you think.

Even though VoIP services are becoming more secure and difficult to hack, they aren’t bulletproof. In fact, most of them are quite easy to use for eavesdropping.

What’s more, services like Skype are often blocked in highly-censored countries, so combining VoIP with a VPN is a must, especially if you are traveling or temporarily living abroad.

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. This trend is replicated in the German top usage trend: protection when connecting to public Wi-Fi.

In the US, the main reason for using NordVPN is for online shopping and finding the best deal for yourself. Whether it’s finding cheaper flights by appearing to purchase them from a different country or accessing cheaper sports streaming platforms unavailable in home territories, it seems many American users recognize the financial benefits of a VPN.

Don't just take our word for it

By now you should have plenty of reasons to use a VPN. 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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