What are the Advantages of a VPN?

Advantages of a VPN
Click here for a summary of the advantages of a VPN
What Are the Advantages of a VPN?

There are plenty of advantages to using a VPN. We’ve summarized the main advantages in bullet points below:

  1. You can hide your IP address to become more anonymous and bypass geoblocks so you can access more online content.
  2. Your data traffic is encrypted, which allows you to safely connect to public Wi-Fi hotspots.
  3. You can download files more safely and privately.
  4. You can bypass government blocked sites.
  5. You could even save money online by getting cheaper deals in other regions.
  6. Online gaming is improved through expanded access and increased protection.
  7. Online throttling by your ISP is less likely to occur.
  8. With a paid VPN service, you can use multiple servers on multiple devices with just one account.
  9. You can get anonymous and safe access to the Tor network.
  10. You’ll get extra protection from ad-trackers and phishing attacks.

Sounds appealing, right? Read the full article for more information.

If you’re looking for the advantages of a VPN, you’ve come to the right place. But first, let’s answer the question of why you should use a VPN. If cybersecurity statistics are anything to go by, we should all be worried about the dangers posed by the internet. In 2020, we saw record-breaking data loss to cybersecurity breaches, plus huge cyber attacks on corporations, government agencies, and infrastructure.

While it is a wonderful resource, the internet is littered with malware, cookies, hackers, state-wide censorship, and high-level cybercrime. Given the trends above, now is a better time than ever to ask yourself the question: how can I protect myself online?

Well, VPNs offer a great solution to solve or improve multiple threats that you might encounter online. Whether you’re worried about your security and privacy online, or just want more online freedom, you could benefit from a VPN. This article will take you through the advantages of a quality VPN service.

What Can VPNs Do? A Summary of the Advantages of a VPN

We want to dispel the idea that VPNs are unsafe or not worth using. Just do a simple Google search, and you’ll see common searches like, “are VPNs safe” and “are VPNs bad.” As long as you stick to a trusted VPN service, VPNs are not only safe, but will even increase your personal security online. Read on to find out more about the benefits.

1. Hide your IP address and bypass geoblocks

Bypassing censorship with a VPN

One of the greatest advantages of a VPN is that it changes your IP address. This is a number that gets automatically assigned to your network and works similar to a home address. Because websites and governments can see your location from your IP address, you might be unable to access certain blocked pages, due to geographical restrictions (geoblocks).

However, with a VPN like ExpressVPN or NordVPN, you can get around these geoblocks. When you connect to a VPN server in another country, you’ll be assigned an IP address from that country instead. Essentially, you’re hiding your own IP address and replacing it with a new one.

Cloaked by your new international identity, you’ll be able to browse foreign websites as if you were a local resident yourself. You’ll also avoid leaving a footprint that can be directly linked back to your real identity. However, your new IP address is not an invisibility blanket. While you’ll be able to browse with more anonymity, you should always avoid visiting websites that fall foul of the law.

2. Encrypt your data traffic

A VPN encrypts your data traffic. This prevents hackers and other malicious parties from getting a hold of important data like your account credentials and financial information. What’s more, you’ll be much safer when you log on in your local Starbucks.

This is important, because there are a lot of risks to using public Wi-Fi without any safety measurements in place. Whether you’re a self-employed entrepreneur or just like browsing in a public place, we always recommend using a VPN when you’re using public internet hotspots.

3. Download files safely and anonymously

The advantages of a VPN when downloading from the internetBecause your IP address is hidden and your connection encrypted, third parties will no longer be able to figure out what exactly you’re doing online, nor who you are. They’re unable to read what is being downloaded through the secure VPN-connection. For those working from home and handling sensitive company information, this is a particularly useful advantage. Privacy and anonymity are guaranteed, or at the very least greatly improved.

However, even with a VPN it’s important to remember the golden rules of using the internet. Don’t download anything you wouldn’t ordinarily download. This means no clicking on suspicious email links or attachments and no downloading .exe (executable files) from untrustworthy websites.

4. Bypass government censorship

In countries where the government controls and regulates the internet, such as China, Iran, or Eritrea, not all websites are available. This is commonplace in totalitarian regimes that may limit what information can be spread by the media. This is also the reason why certain whistleblowers choose to publish or share private information on the dark web. This type of censorship can be bypassed, like all other geographical restrictions, by using a VPN. This makes VPNs an important tool in the battle for press freedom.

5. Save money online

Saving money online is one of the lesser known advantages of a VPN. Prices for shopping online can sometimes differ based on the country you’re visiting from. For example, shopping online from an English IP address could cost you more than somebody who’s using an Indian IP address.

A VPN connection allows you to connect to VPN servers from around the world. Since you can masquerade as a resident of pretty much any country worldwide, this allowes you to profit from the best international rates. In a lot of cases, it even allows you to get the same airplane flights for a lower price. If you’d like to try this out, you can use any of our top 5 VPN providers.

View the Best VPN Providers

6. Improve online gaming with better access and security

Because all of your internet traffic is encrypted when you use a VPN, your exact location is manipulated. Just like this can give you access to certain sites, it will also allow you to play online games that may be restricted in your home country. Or perhaps the game you want to play has a later release date in your country than in other parts of the world. With a VPN you won’t have to wait anymore. Just choose a server in the country of origin and join in on the fun. An additional benefit is that, if you’re unfairly getting booted off the server, you can join again by doing a quick IP address change.

Finally, VPNs also provide a safer online game experience. Worrying about DDoS attacks will become a thing of the past. The encryption from the VPN provides an extra layer of security, making it much harder for attackers to target you. You can also try out different tips to increase your internet speeds while connected to a VPN for a smoother experience.

7. Stop your ISP from slowing your internet connection

Bandwidth throttling is the deliberate limiting of your bandwidth by your ISP (internet service provider). This essentially decreases your online speed. Some ISPs do this often and some do it on occasion, while some don’t do it at all.

ISPs may throttle users’ internet connections to decrease the traffic on overloaded servers. Occasionally, ISPs won’t like the fact that a user is downloading great amounts of data, so they might slow their connection to discourage overuse. Sometimes, it’s even done just to get you to buy a more expensive package!

However, when you encrypt your data with a VPN, internet service providers won’t be able to see what you’re doing online, nor will they be able to cut you off.

8. Use multiple servers on multiple devices with just one account

The best VPN providers will let you use your account across multiple devices. This means, for example, that you can encrypt the connection of your desktop, laptop, smartphone, tablet, and another work laptop simultaneously. More generous VPN providers will offer up to ten connections with just one subscription. Some providers even provide easy instructions on how to set up a VPN on your router, so everyone using your network will instantly be protected by a VPN.

As such, with just one subscription, you can increase the privacy and security of all your devices in one fell swoop, helping you protect your children online while at the same time allowing you to binge US Netflix.

9. Get anonymous and safe access to the Tor network

Tor Logo SmallAlthough this is not for everyone, some people like to go on the Tor network for extra privacy and anonymity. This is also one of the network you might connect to if you wish to access the dark web.

The Tor browser encrypts your data by tunneling you through several locations, or “relays.” This means you are virtually undetectable to anyone who wants to track you. However, the caveat is that these Tor servers are limited and also publicly listed. In other words, your ISP, network administrator, government agencies, hackers, websites, or anyone else who might look at your IP address will know that you’re connected to the Tor network.

If you use Tor in combination with a VPN, your connection to the Tor network will be hidden from your internet provider. This is desirable, because many associate the Tor network with the dark web, which is in turn associated with cybercrime. Hypothetically, a government agency could ask an internet provider to pass on information about which of its users have ever connected to the Tor network. This would not prove any illegality, but can make you appear more suspicious in the eyes of the law, even if you’re not doing anything illegal.

A VPN will give you that added layer of protection and privacy. It’ll ensure that no one knows you’re using the Tor network and, on top of that, will keep you safe if you choose to access the dark web. After all, the dark web has all sorts of malware floating around. A VPN is a first wall of protection against any attacks black hat hackers might have planned for you.

10. Extra protection from ad-trackers and phishing attacks

Some of the bigger and best VPN providers provide extra security. NordVPN, for example, offers a number of extra protection features with its software, including:

  • CyberSec: To avoid ads and protect your security from malware, phishing, and other threats.
  • Invisibility on LAN: Your computer will be invisible to others on a local area network (LAN).
  • Internet kill switch: Should your connection to the VPN server suddenly drop, a kill switch will immediately shut down your internet connection. This ensures that you aren’t suddenly transferring data without the anonymity and enhanced encryption of a VPN.

The benefits of each VPN can vary, so it’s worth comparing the best VPN providers and studying some reviews.

What Are the Disadvantages of a VPN?

We’re firm believers that the advantages of a VPN outweigh the disadvantages. However, like with anything, there can be some drawbacks to using a VPN. These include a possible small reduction in your internet speed and their illegality in certain countries. Check out our full breakdown of the disadvantages of using a VPN for more information.

What Are the Best VPNs?

We believe that ExpressVPN is the best all-round VPN of this moment. With stable and reliable connections, it’s ideal for anonymous and safe online browsing. What’s more, ExpressVPN is very user-friendly. There’s even a reliable money-back guarantee you can use to try out the service. While ExpressVPN is a little pricier than other VPN providers, it’s one of the highest quality VPN services out there and won’t log data that could compromize your browsing activity.

To get ExpressVPN, simply navigate to their official website and download the software in three easy steps:

ExpressVPN-download

ExpressVPN
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If you want to see a bigger list of the best VPNs, we can help. To make things easy for you, we’ve collated a list of the best VPNs and even added a quick guide on how to download a VPN in 3 easy steps.

Final Thoughts on the Advantages of VPNs

Let’s recap. There are many advantages to using a VPN, but the headline benefits are as follows:

  • A VPN will provide you with more freedom on the internet by allowing you to circumvent geoblocks and government blocked websites.
  • You’ll have more security thanks to the encryption of your internet traffic.
  • You’ll have greater anonymity because your IP address is cloaked and no longer tied to your identity.

These features will enable you to:

  • Browse the internet with more freedom.
  • Feel secure while you browse, with the knowledge that you aren’t being spied on.
  • Stay safe on public Wi-Fi networks.
  • Download files more safely and anonymously.
  • Bypass government censorship for journalistic or whistleblower purposes.
  • Get around geographical restrictions for entertainment.
  • Protect yourself from the more tenacious ad-trackers and phishing operations.
  • Access the Tor network safely and without your ISP knowing about it.
  • Make cheaper purchases online, such as airplane tickets.
  • Play games that are banned in your country.
  • Stop your ISP from throttling your connection.

To top it off, you can do all of this on multiple devices, using multiple servers, with just one account.

But remember, while the advantages of a VPN are many, they won’t keep you completely anonymous or safe online. It’s still possible to download malicious software or give away your personal information by being negligent. Additionally, there is the problem of browser fingerprinting.

All in all, a VPN will not give you total online protection. However, it does give you a much better shot at keeping yourself safe online and enjoying the internet with greater freedom and anonymity.

The Advantages of a VPN: Frequently Asked Questions

If you’re looking for more information on the advantages of a VPN, check out some of our most frequently asked questions below.

There are lots of advantages to using a VPN. You can use it to:

  • Hide your IP address to bypass geoblocks.
  • Encrypt your data traffic, improving safety on public Wi-Fi hotspots.
  • Protect yourself from phishing attacks and stop ads from tracking you.
  • Bypass government blocked sites.
  • Save money online by benefiting from regional discounts.
  • Access online games blocked in your country.
  • Avoid ISP internet speed throttling.
  • Use multiple servers and devices with a single subscription to a high quality VPN.

For a more detailed breakdown, take a look at our full article on the advantages of a VPN.

Like with anything, there are also disadvantages to using a VPN. Here’s a quick summary of some of the main drawbacks to a VPN:

  • Your internet speed may suffer slightly.
  • Connection loss can be a common problem, particularly with free VPNs.
  • In some countries, VPNs are illegal.

For more information, see our detailed breakdown on the disadvantages of a VPN.

Our research has shown that ExpressVPN is the best VPN available at the moment. However, we also like the high-quality service provided by:

  • NordVPN
  • Surfshark
  • CyberGhost

For more information on features and free VPN trials, check out this list of the best VPN providers of 2021.

Author
Tech journalist
Tove has been working for VPNoverview since 2017 as a journalist covering cybersecurity and privacy developments. She has broad experience developing rigorous VPN testing procedures and protocols for our VPN review section and has tested dozens of VPNs over the years.
Author
Cybersecurity journalist
Chris is a tech journalist with many years' experience covering the latest news in online privacy and cybersecurity. He's also a published author and works as a Product Manager for some of the most innovative software development companies.