A VPN can be relied upon to stay anonymous online, maintain your privacy, access blocked content, or hide your activity. Here are the most common reasons for using a VPN:
1Hide your online activity from your government or ISP.
Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) can see all of the websites you visit and will almost certainly be recording that information.
In some countries, ISPs are required to collect and store user data for long periods of time and the government is able to access, store, and search that information.
This is the case in the US, UK, Australia, and much of Europe — just to name a few.
Because VPNs encrypt the internet traffic from your device to the VPN server, your ISP or any other third party won’t be able to spy on your online activity.
2Hide your IP address from the websites you visit.
One of the most common reasons for using a VPN is to mask your true IP address.
Your IP address is a unique numerical address assigned by your ISP. Everything you do online is linked to your IP address, so it can be used to match you to your online activities. Most websites record the IP address of their visitors.
Advertisers can also use your IP address to serve you targeted adverts based on your identity and browsing history.
When you connect to a VPN server, you will take on the IP address of that VPN server. Any websites you visit will see the IP address of the VPN server rather than your own.
You’ll be able to bypass IP address blocks and browse websites without your activity being traced back to you as an individual.
3Unlock websites and bypass geo-restrictions.
Certain services — like Netflix or Disney+ — alter their libraries depending on the country you’re visiting from.
Your IP address links you to your physical location. Using a VPN to change your visible IP address is the only reliable way to bypass these geographical restrictions and unlock the ‘hidden’ content.
VPNs can also help you evade censorship by encrypting your traffic and masking your true IP address. If you want to view content that is locked to another country or censored in your region, you can use a VPN to bypass these restrictions.
Using a VPN can help citizens bypass website blocks to access global media and communicate freely. In countries that limit freedom of speech and freedom of the press, a VPN can help individuals speak out against the government safely and privately.
4Protect your data on public WiFi networks.
Exploiting public WiFi networks to gather data is simple and incredibly cheap. Criminals can take advantage of open and unencrypted networks to steal important data like your bank details, credit cards, photos, and other personal information.
When you use the public WiFi connection in a café, hotel, or airport you are putting your sensitive data at risk.
Hackers are increasingly targeting hotels and shopping malls in pursuit of high-value targets.
You can protect your device by using a VPN, which will encrypt your internet traffic and make it much, much harder for hackers to intercept and steal your data.
5Stop ISP throttling and torrent safely.
Your ISP almost certainly monitors your online activity. If you live in a country without strong Net Neutrality laws, your ISP can even deliberately slow down your connection when you carry out bandwidth-heavy activities like downloading a large file or torrenting. This is called bandwidth throttling.
VPN encryption can help to prevent ISP throttling, meaning that you can enjoy the best speeds for downloading, torrenting, gaming, and streaming — all the while unlocking content from all over the world.
Torrenting without a VPN is also pretty risky. Not only is your IP address visible to peers, your ISP can also see that you are accessing torrenting sites and apps, too.