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What Is a VPN, and Why You Need One

A VPN, which stands for Virtual Private Network, is a service that relies on encryption and numerous servers around the world to provide a host of benefits and uses.

After connecting to a VPN, your IP will be masked by the IP of the server you connected to, also spoofing your location in the process. If you connect to a server in Canada, for example, the websites you connect to will think you’re in Canada.

Encryption is a key aspect to VPNs. The encryption process scrubs all of the metadata that your browser typically sends to a website when connecting.

This is often described as a “tunnel” that your VPN uses to hide all of your data, while still allowing you to browse the internet freely.

Why You Need One

Privacy

Most every corporation or online business has a reason to want your information online. They want to know more about your interests and habits, to inform their advertising campaigns.

Given just how much time the average person spends online each day, there is cause for concern. Everything you do online is tracked, whether by companies like Google or Facebook, or by your own ISP, or Internet Service Provider.

Information your browser gives away freely like your time zone, language, operating system and more will be hidden when using a VPN. Your ISP also collects a lot of information and can even see your browser history when not using a VPN.

Although the information above might not directly correlate to your identity, altogether it can be quite unique, and using a process called “browser fingerprinting,” it can be used to identify you.

It’s not only businesses that want your information, though. A black hat hacker with enough know-how and ill intent could use more sensitive information to steal your identity and wreak havoc in your life.

So-called “cybercrime” has been on the rise in recent years. Thankfully, encryption goes a long way to protect your privacy, and your sensitive information.

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When connected to a VPN, your actions online are inaccessible to all prying eyes, even to your ISP.

Accessing region-locked content on streaming services

An added benefit of connecting to servers across the world is access to location exclusive content on streaming platforms. Services like Netflix typically have different catalogues for different regions.

Many of these platforms want to prevent this from happening, and as such have found numerous ways to block VPNs from allowing this access.

Most every VPN will say they work with streaming services, but not all truly do. User reviews are your best bet for determining if a VPN works with a service, but even a VPN that works one day could be blocked on the next.

Bypassing region restrictions

In the same vein, you can use those world-wide servers to get around any censorship or restricted access your government puts in place. 

Unfettered access to the open internet is quite important in the modern world, and VPNs can help provide that.

It’s very important to note that VPNs have their own restrictions in some regions. For example, China and Russia both have potential legal consequences for citizens trying to use a VPN. 

Be aware of your local laws and use your own judgement when deciding if a VPN is for you.

Torrenting

While torrenting in itself isn’t illegal, it’s perfectly legal to use it for downloading public domain media and other non-copyrighted content.

Many people choose to use a VPN when torrenting to prevent their ISP from throttling their connection speeds. ISPs use this as a tactic to discourage the illegal practice of piracy.

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A VPN is also used for torrenting because of the anonymity it provides, and the consequences it  subsequently takes away. It is important to mention that engaging in illegal activity, such as piracy, when using a VPN is still illegal.

Convenience

VPNs provide a great deal of comfort and convenience to the average person stricken with anxiety over internet privacy concerns. With a VPN, public Wi-Fi need not be avoided.

Some VPNs even automatically block ads when connected, for another layer of convenience.

Which VPN do I choose?

There are a plethora of pros and cons to consider when deciding which VPN to give your hard-earned dollar. Here is a helpful article at VPNBrains that may provide clarity for which VPN best suits your needs.

As more and more people recognize the usefulness and even necessity of VPNs, the market will continue to expand. According to a Forbes article, the industry is expected to grow “nearly 17% by 2026.”

There’s no doubt in the importance of keeping yourself safe on the internet. VPNs are the obvious choice for the modern consumer privy to the dangers of the World Wide Web.

Don’t be left behind in the new age of cutting-edge technologies around every corner. Protect your data with a VPN.

Source: Plato Data Intelligence

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