VPNs aren’t just for criminals or people with something to hide. There are many legitimate reasons to hide your online activity and your IP address while browsing, torrenting, or streaming over the public internet.
Another reason, VPNs are essential, is that you’re missing out on a lot of quality overseas content.
Let’s take a look at 6 ways a VPN can protect and enhance everything you do online.
1 – Encrypt Your Traffic Over Public WiFi
When using public wifi, you have no idea how or if traffic is encrypted. For all you know a hacker could be eavesdropping on all the sites you are visiting and potentially stealing your username and password. It’s not just cafes, gyms, and coworking spaces where this is a concern. If you live in a building with shared WiFi and there are 10 – 60 units that can all access your network, you should be concerned. The majority of public WiFi is encrypted and safe to use, but why leave it to chance? A VPN encrypts all the traffic before it leaves your computer. It’s near impossible to tell what website you’re visiting unless you’re compromised in some other way.
2 – Hide Your Browsing History From Your ISP
Every day the rules about what data ISPs can collect, or are required to collect, get broader. In the interests of safety, we’ve surrendered our privacy. Now there’s a chance that the company you buy internet from keep logs detailing everything you do online. The trouble with that, is you don’t need to be doing anything illegal for it to affect you. If your ISP is collecting this data then you are trusting that they will keep it safe, because when they get hacked now you get hacked. Exposing you to risks such as identify fraud, phishing and malware.
3 – Hide Your IP Address From The Site You’re Visiting
If you visit questionable sites to stream videos, you likely don’t want these sites to know who you are and how often you visit. There’s a risk that these sites sell that information to advertisers, and it’s just good practice to keep your cards close to your chest when it comes to online security. A VPN hides your internet traffic in both directions. The site you are visiting has no idea who you are, and your ISP has no idea what site you are visiting.
4 – Keep Your IP Address A Secret While Torrenting
When you torrent, everyone can see your IP address. This isn’t great, because several jurisdictions have laws against downloading pirated content. In the EU, Australia and India, especially, rightsholders send cease and desist letters to your internet service provider if they catch you torrenting movies. Depending on your ISP they might send this on to you, and if you reply they’ll hound you to try and make you pay for the movie you downloaded. Intimidating you with legal fees and threats. The easiest way around this is to just get a VPN.
5 – Avoid Account Holds When Overseas Banking
It’s incredibly frustrating when you’ve just landed in a foreign country, gone to send money to your travel card and a warning “ah oh!” Unusual activity detected, please reset your password or call the bank to restore your internet banking. Now you have to sort out a sim card and call home only sit on hold while paying $1 a minute for an international call. There’s no rhyme or reason to how banks decide to block accounts. Sometimes you’ll be in a country for 2 weeks before your account is blocked. A VPN, especially a mobile VPN is the easiest way around this because your bank can’t tell you’re overseas.
6 – Access A World’s Worth Of Geoblocked Content
Different countries have access to different online content and services. In China, for example, VPNs are extremely popular to get around their Great Firewall and view Facebook or YouTube. In Vietnam, the BBC and Medium are blocked by most ISPs – more like a fire fence. Even in the US, UK and Europe, there’s content that’s not available to you. US Netflix, for example, has 100s more titles than Australian Netflix. SkySport is only available in the UK. Likewise, Hulu and HBO are inaccessible outside the US. A VPN can unblock all of this, so you can browse the internet unimpeded enjoying content without restrictions.
Let’s Wrap This Up
A VPN is a simple piece of software that can immediately secure your private data behind an additional layer of encryption. It can also secure your identity by hiding your IP address from both your ISP and the website you are visiting. Finally, a VPN can unblock content that’s only supposed to be available to certain regions. Adding hundreds of extra movies and series to Netflix, or unblocking entire services like Hulu, with the click of a button.