Do you need a VPN? Benefits of using a virtual private network

By: Cristina | Last updated May 29, 2019
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VPN stands for virtual private network and is a very popular technology whose main purpose is to protect your online identity and data, although it has several other benefits.

Virtual private networks work by encrypting your data using certain protocols. They also change your IP address and make it look like you’re somewhere else than in reality. Online security is of paramount importance this day and age, because we spend almost our entire life connected to the internet. A lot of activities are carried through the internet, from paying bills to shopping and so on. Having your bank account emptied or your identity stolen is a legitimate fear and one that has to be addressed accordingly.

Virtual private networks use strong encryption protocols and security measures that ensure your privacy and anonymity are protected every time you go online.

What to consider when choosing a VPN provider?

VPNs are indeed a blessing for internet users, but not all VPN providers are equally good in what they offer. That is why it is important to choose a trust-worthy and reputable provider. Here are some aspects to consider when choosing a VPN:

  • Although there are some reliable free VPN providers on the market, you should opt for a paid one, for several reasons. Free VPNs usually come with limitations in terms of bandwidth, available servers and your privacy is not always their main concern, some of them keep logs on their users and sell your data to third-parties for marketing purposes; security is also not the best with free VPN providers
  • Choose a VPN provider that uses strong security tools; aim for AES-256 bit encryption and strong protocols; also look for a provider that offers an automatic kill-switch feature; this feature blocks all the traffic in case your VPN connection drops, to protect your privacy
  • Opt for a VPN provider that supports several protocols
  • Your VPN provider should have a large number of servers spread in as many locations as possible worldwide; major providers have even thousands of servers all over the world
  • You should choose a provider that allows a large number of simultaneous connections; some providers even allow unlimited connections (Surfshark for instance); the minimum you should accept is 3, although most providers allow up to 6, 7
  • Your VPN provider should offer unlimited bandwidth
  • Your VPN provider should have a no-logs policy
  • Aim for a VPN that is compatible with all the major OS
  • Choose a fast VPN provider, with good uptime scores
  • If needed, make sure your provider allows torrenting
  • Try to find a VPN provider that unlocks geo-restricted content such as Netflix

Why should you use a VPN? Here are the main benefits:

A good VPN keeps you safe and protected every time you are online. While that helps you even if you’re mostly connecting from a secure home/work network, it is especially useful when you are using public WiFi networks, which are not as safe. A good VPN encrypts all your data so even if a hacker can somehow get access to it, it would be useless to him without the encryption key, because he won’t be able to decipher it.

VPNs are very useful to remote workers or employees who have to access their home network when they are away from home.

VPNs work by letting you choose from a large number of servers located all over the world. By connecting to any of these servers, your IP address changes accordingly, making it look like you are located in a different area than in reality. For instance, you can use a Hong Kong server to connect from Paris. This way you are significantly harder to track and your privacy is protected.

Another important reason why so many users connect through VPNs is to get access to content that is restricted to them for geographic reasons. A lot of websites impose a geo-censorship and deny you access from their content unless your IP address meets their requirements. Streaming services are a good example. All good VPN providers can unlock such services such as Netflix, Hulu and so on. You choose a proper server location and you are good to go. There are also countries that limit internet access for their citizens. The Great FireWall of China is the best example so users in China can benefit greatly from a VPN to break that firewall and gain access to YouTube, Facebook and so on.

P2P sharing is another popular internet activity and VPNs can help you in that area, too. Torrenting is allowed by most VPN providers and they even have dedicated servers for torrenting. A VPN is a great solution to stay anonymous while torrenting.

Best VPN providers to consider

ExpressVPN

Key features:

  • Over 1,500 servers in 94 countries
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • Up to 3 devices connected simultaneously
  • Fast VPN
  • 24/7 customer support through live chat and email
  • Unlocks Netflix

NordVPN

Key features:

  • More than 5,000 servers in over 60 countries
  • Very secure
  • P2P support
  • Unlocks Netflix and other geo-restricted websites
  • Up to 6 devices simultaneously

CyberGhost

Key features:

  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • Very fast
  • Unblocks Netflix
  • P2P friendly

Vypr VPN

Key features:

  • Over 700 servers all over the world
  • 3-day free trial
  • Very secure
  • Affordable
  • P2P friendly

SurfShark

Key features:

  • Over 800 servers spread in more than 50 countries
  • Free trial included for Android, iOS and macOS devices
  • Unlimited number of devices simultaneously
  • Good security features: AES – 256 bit encryption, kill switch feature, camouflage mode, MultiHop feature

PureVPN

Key features:

  • More than 2,000 servers in more than 140 countries worldwide
  • One of the fastest VPNs on the market
  • 24/7 live chat support
  • Extremely user-friendly interface

AES 256-bit encryption and other security features included: DNS leak protection, Kill Switch and more

By: Cristina | Last updated May 29, 2019