A VPN, or virtual private network, is a service that creates a secure connection between your computer and the VPN server. This connection can be used to protect your online privacy and security, as well as access blocked content and websites. But did you know that a VPN can also be useful for other things? In this blog post, we will discuss six ways that a VPN can be useful beyond just preventing hackers from snooping on your internet traffic!
What Is A VPN?
A VPN, or virtual private network, is a service created by a piece of software that runs on your computer or mobile device. When you connect to the internet, your traffic passes through the VPN server before it reaches its destination. This then makes websites believe that your connection is where the VPN server is located, not where your physical computer or mobile device is located.
During this process, most VPN services also create a completely encrypted connection so that it is nearly impossible for hackers to snoop on your internet traffic. Some free VPN services may not offer strong encryption but leading commercial VPNs like Surfshark use some of the top encryption technology available as well as other layers of protection to keep your connection details private - even going as far as hiding the fact that you are using a VPN from your internet provider too!
Ways A VPN Can Be Helpful Beyond Just Protection From Hackers
In the past, a VPN was looked at as something just for protecting business data from hackers and later as a way for consumers to do the same. Today though, A VPN can be useful for many things beyond just preventing hackers from snooping on your traffic. Here are some of the ways that a VPN can be helpful:
Bypass censorship and access blocked content
If you live in a country like China where the government heavily censors the internet, a VPN can be used to bypass those restrictions and access blocked websites and content. Even within the United State and Europe there are many similar restrictions based on ISPs blocking content due to DMCA requests and similar legal actions.
While we never advocate that people participate in illegal activities, there are times when you are traveling and might want to access something that is legal back home but blocked in the country you are visiting. In cases like this, a VPN can be helpful.
Access websites that are not zoned for your location
Have you ever tried to watch a video on YouTube or Netflix only to be told that it’s not available in your country? That’s because of geo-restrictions, which are placed on certain videos based on your location. But if you connect to a VPN server in another country, you can get around these restrictions and watch the video!
This works even within the United States as well. For instance, when I use MyVegas Rewards or other deals apps, the best opportunities aren't available once you are on-site ... but they were before I left home. To get around this, I clear my cookies and open up my VPN so that I can appear to be back in San Diego to redeem my awards as intended!
Browse Anonymously Without Google Knowing What You Are Searching For
When you use Google, the company tracks everything you search for and keeps that data forever. This is how they show you targeted ads based on your interests. But if you connect to a VPN, your traffic is encrypted so that even Google can’t see what you are searching for. When combined with incognito mode, this gives you a higher level of privacy when browsing the internet.
Remember - a VPN only obfuscates your location data and not cookies or other login data, so don't assume you are 100% anonymous from tracking unless you cover your tracks completely.
Prevent Your ISP from Throttling Your Connection Speed For Certain Services
Your internet service provider (ISP) may throttle your connection speed if they think you are using too much data for streaming or if they want to force you into paying for a more expensive plan that includes unlimited high-speed data. But if you connect to a VPN, your ISP won’t be able to tell what kind of traffic you are consuming and so they will not be able to block certain ports or applications.
Check Airfare And Hotel Prices From Other States or Countries
When you browse for airfare, cruises, or hotels online, the websites will check your IP address to see what country or state you are in and then show you prices based on that. But if you connect to a VPN server in another country, the website will think you are coming from that location and show you the prices for people in that area. This can be helpful if you want to find cheaper airfare or hotel rates!
See How News Websites Report News For People From Different Places
Did you know that the same news story can be reported differently depending on what country you are in? If you want to see how news stories are reported in other countries, connect to a VPN server in that location and then visit a news website. You might be surprised at the difference!
Help Avoid Malicious Files - Popups, Viruses and Malware
We’ve all had the experience of clicking on a link only to be taken to a website that is filled with popups, viruses, and malware. But if you connect to a VPN, your traffic will be encrypted so that even if you do accidentally click on a malicious link, it’s much less likely that your device will be infected.
Beyond this though, many VPN services actually have created blocking lists so that domains and IP addresses known to serve pop-up ads, viruses, and other malware are simply blocked before they even get to your screen.
A VPN Can Be Helpful In Many Ways - Not Just For Protection From Hackers
As you can see, there are many ways that a VPN can be helpful beyond just preventing hackers from snooping on your traffic. If you need help finding a good VPN service, we recommend this one. It’s important to find a reputable company that will not keep logs of your data and that has servers in many different countries.