While we lock our houses and care for our belongings, we often forget about our online “baggage” that also needs to be safe.
What does it mean to browse safely using a VPN, and why is it dangerous to surf the web unprotected?
We’re here to help you understand what a VPN is, how to pick a good one, and why you should get it in the first place.
What is a VPN?
In simple words, a VPN is like a cloaking device that hides your information every time you go online.
When you browse the web, you connect to the internet using a VPN network rather than the internet Service Provider’s (ISP) one.
By encrypting and scrambling your data, a VPN hides your IP address, browsing history, and online activity.
If not protected, this information can be used by hackers to steal your confidential personal and financial data.
Here are some pros and cons of using a VPN.
You can send and receive sensitive information.
Your browsing habits will be hidden.
Targeted ads will be minimized.
Internet traffic is encrypted.
You’ll have to pay for a quality service.
You need to figure out how to use the VPN.
Now, let’s go in-depth about the reasons why you should get a quality VPN in 2022.
1. A VPN protects you on public Wi-Fi
Using free Wi-Fi in public places, you establish a network connection without having to sign in. It exposes the personal data you’re sending on the internet, from emails and passwords to credit card information.
An open Wi-Fi connection allows hackers to steal your data or place infected software or malware on your computer. Does that mean you have to stop using public Wi-Fi? Of course not.
You can still enjoy working from your favorite cafe. However, using a VPN will significantly decrease your chances of falling victim to a data breach or malware.
2. You’re also protected at home
Your information is not just exposed when you’re at the local internet cafe or at the airport. Using Wi-Fi at home may still disclose your sensitive data.
In fact, your internet Service Provider can access and collect your browsing habits, search terms you’ve used, and a list of the websites you’ve visited. Many ISPs are allowed to sell your data to advertisers, government agencies, large corporations, and other companies that can use it in whatever way they need.
Since a VPN encrypts your data, it makes it a lot harder for anyone to monitor the websites you access, files you download, and services you use.
3. Your favorite apps won’t spy on you
It’s not just your service provider and public Wi-Fi services that are a concern. Your social media apps also collect your information. Facebook, for instance, has been criticized for collecting your browsing history, location, and search history. WhatsApp shares your data with Facebook if you live outside of the European Union and the United Kingdom.
A VPN hides your computer’s IP address from apps and websites, so your location and browser history won’t be exposed. It’ll make it harder for third parties to collect your data and use it for harmful purposes.
The nonprofit organization Identity Theft Resource Center reported that the number of data compromises in 2021 has increased by more than 68 % compared to 2020. A good VPN will ensure your name isn’t added to the list.
4. A VPN helps you avoid price discrimination
Did you know your location may impact the price of your online purchases? This is called “price discrimination,” and it happens when the website “reads” your browsing location and sets a fare based on where you live.
Buying travel tickets is a good example. The price of flights, hotel rooms, and even rental cars change every time you browse from a different place, even within the same country! The price difference may get as high as 30%.
A VPN allows you to check on the price difference and find less expensive travel options. You can also activate it to find discounts that won’t be visible to you otherwise.
5. It’s adaptable and easy to use
Most service providers have established user-friendly interfaces so you can easily install and use a VPN, even if you’re not a “tech-savvy.” You can also install a VPN as an app or a plugin, making it compatible with most computers, phones, tablets, smart TVs, and consoles.
If you’re ready for a VPN, here are some recommendations to help you choose one:
Shop around for a reputable service with honest pricing.
Make sure the plan you choose allows the capacity for the number of devices you want to use.
Check that it is compatible with the devices you need.
Look for an easy installation process and good customer support.
It’s worth paying for a reputable service rather than opting for a free VPN. It will keep you safe when you connect to the public or home network, encrypt the sensitive files you send, and protect you from hackers, governments, and third-party organizations from collecting your information.