There are multiple reasons why people choose to use a VPN. Most of these fall into the following categories: privacy, safety and freedom on the internet. This article explains the added value of a VPN-connection by illustrating the most important benefits of a VPN.
What can you do with a VPN? A summary of the benefits of a VPN
Using a VPN has a number of advantages. A quick summary:
- One’s “real” IP address is hidden and the user becomes anonymous
- Data traffic is encrypted, which allows you to safely connect to public wifi hotspots
- The ability to bypass geographical restrictions
- Users can download information safely and anonymously
- The ability to bypass government censorship
- It is possible to save money while shopping online
1. Your real IP address is hidden
Because the user is using the IP address of a VPN server, and therefore hiding their own IP address, the user becomes anonymous on the internet. This is because the IP address is a unique code which allows people to identify us on the internet, and allows them to track our online behavior step-by-step. With the use of a new, “incognito” IP address, it is no longer possible for governments, hackers and the websites that we visit to link us to our real-life identity. The observed IP address (the address of the VPN server), after all, is not linked to us, because it’s not our “real”, static IP address.
2. Data traffic becomes encrypted
A VPN encrypts your data traffic. This prevents hackers and other malicious parties from getting a hold of our important data (or at least, from being able to decipher it). This also allows the user to safely connect to, otherwise insecure, public wifi hotspots.
3. Bypass geographic restrictions
With a VPN it is possible to connect to a server in a different country and to therefore allow all of your data traffic to pass through this other country. This often allows certain blocked websites, streaming services, VOIP-services and social media to become accessible. To do so it is necessary to connect to a VPN server in a country in which the content you wish to access is not restricted. But fortunately many modern VPN services have a great number of services in many different countries and regions.
4. Users are able to download safely and anonymously
Because the IP address is hidden and the connection is encrypted, it is no longer possible to know exactly what is being downloaded through the secure VPN-connection, and by whom. When you’re downloading sensitive and/or important files (say for work), nobody can intercept and view this information. Privacy and anonymity are guaranteed, or at the very least greatly improved.
5. Bypass Government censorship
In countries where the government controls and regulates the internet, most often not all websites are available. This is how totalitarian regimes make a habit of silencing media outlets skeptical of said regime by blocking them in the country. This type of censorship can be bypassed, like all other geographical restrictions, using a VPN. A VPN is therefore an important tool in the battle for press freedom.
6. Shopping online for less
Prices for shopping online can sometimes differ based on the country someone is shopping from. When visiting an online web shop from an internet connection within England e.g., products can sometimes be drastically more expensive than when shopping from another country, like say, India. A VPN connection allows the user to connect to VPN servers from around the world. This causes websites to register users as visitors from the country where the VPN server is located, thus allowing the user to profit from the best international rates.