Is a VPN worth getting in 2021?
Are you looking for the advantages and disadvantages of using a VPN? Not sure how this technology can help you protect your devices online? Are you afraid that VPNs will make your internet experience worse? Virtual private networks are an essential tool for improving your online security and defending yourself from many internet threats. In this article, therefore, I’ll explain the pros and cons of VPNs, to shed some light and help you decide if it’s worth it.
To date, the internet is full of threats, annoyances and blocks. Between phishing attempts and malware infections, invasive advertisements and inaccessible sites, using a tool to defend yourself and be able to enjoy online to the fullest has become necessary. In this sense, VPNs are an excellent technology, which easily allow you to protect your devices, your home network and therefore also your whole family from the dangers of the Internet. Like anything, however, despite all the advantages that virtual private networks can offer, they are not without disadvantages. So let’s see together what are the pros and cons of VPNs, to understand how much it may be worth implementing in our digital daily life.
VPN: pros and cons
Advantages of VPNs
- Protect your data
When we browse the web, our data travels from server to server, being transferred and communicated continuously. These also include very personal information, such as passwords and login credentials, private messages, credit cards, and more. If your data is not encrypted, it can be intercepted and observed by third parties, such as your internet operator, government agencies and cybercriminals. It is easy to guess that they should end up in the hands of the wrong people, there could be serious damage. The risk of this happening is exponentially higher if you use public Wi-Fi networks, such as airport hotspots, bars and so on.
- Protect your online privacy
When you are online, whatever you do leaves a trace. These tracks say a lot about your online habits. There are many agents interested in collecting your data, from your internet provider to eCommerce. Internet managers are the ones who can most easily access your online activities and, if required, can pass them on to third parties. These include interested government entities or even commercial activities for marketing and advertising profiling.
Using a VPN greatly mitigates this problem. In fact, since your traffic will be fully encrypted, no one will be able to see what you do online and you will be free to enjoy your privacy.
You can change IP address and bypass regional blocks
Another essential feature when it comes to the benefits of VPNs is the ability to change IP address, even bypassing geo-blocks. In fact, some sites and online services are not available to users who connect from certain parts of the world (or more than anything else who do not connect from the countries where the site is available). Websites can take advantage of different methods to not make themselves available to everyone (if you want to learn more I suggest you read my article on how to access blocked sites ). In some cases it may be the site blocking IP addresses from a particular country, while in others it may be your ISP (Internet Service Provider) that is blocking you from accessing an online service.
VPNs pass all your traffic through a remote server, even changing your resulting IP address. Just choose a server in another country and anyone who tries to see your IP will think you are connecting from there. This feature is very useful both if you want to link to sites not available in your country, or if you are on vacation abroad and want to access the same content that you would have at home.
Bypass firewalls, blacklists and profiling
A closely related to the above to consider in these pros and cons of VPNs is the ability to bypass firewalls and IP profiling. A classic way of blocking access to certain sites is through firewalls. Usually this is the system implemented in the offices to prevent the connection to Facebook, YouTube and other online services. Using a VPN you can easily bypass this kind of block, because the office firewall will not see which sites you are trying to connect to, the requests will all go through the VPN server you are connected to, via encrypted communications.
Changing IP can also help you avoid price discrimination, an increasingly widespread phenomenon online. In fact, eCommerce and other online services can raise their prices depending on how many times you’ve seen a product and the area you’re connecting from. By changing your IP address with a VPN you will not have this problem and you will always be able to access the basic prices, without incorrect surcharges.
Finally, with VPNs you can also bypass IP blacklists and IP bans. As such, they are great for online gaming, especially if you have been unfairly banned.
Defend yourself in hostile environments
Using the internet freely, without limits, should be the norm all over the world, but in reality it is a luxury that we take for granted too many times. In fact, in some countries, not only is internet use severely restricted, but it can have very serious legal repercussions. Just take a look at the countries where it is not possible to subscribe to a VPN to understand the type of regime that may be in place.
VPNs are essential tools for online activists, journalists and in general, to obtain freedom of expression that is not always granted “in the clear”.
Avoid bandwidth throttling
Some internet operators limit their users’ bandwidth during peak hours, especially for activities such as torrent downloads, streaming and gaming. This is a phenomenon known as Bandwidth Throttling and is much more common than you might think. However, if you connect to a VPN, your ISP will not be able to see what you are doing online, and so you can continue to download torrents, stream videos or play online without loss of performance. Getting around the limits imposed by your internet provider is definitely one of the best advantages of VPNs!
Disadvantages of VPNs
Now that you’ve seen what the main pros of VPNs are, it’s time to move on to the cons that, despite being fewer, exist, and it’s only fair that you know what they are.
The encryption process and redirection of all traffic via remote servers can slow down your connection. That said, the best premium VPNs tend to have fast protocols and fairly powerful infrastructure, minimizing connection slowdowns to the maximum.
Some VPNs are not safe
Free VPNs are often insecure and tend to do more damage than anything else. Given the nature of VPNs and the associated costs, if such a service is offered for free, it means that the company has other methods of monetization, which are not always transparent. In fact, some free VPNs collect user data to resell it to third parties, or to profile and bombard you with targeted advertisements.
What price would you put on your security? The best VPNs now have reduced costs, for a few Euros a month they can offer you greater online security and privacy, not even counting the fact that you can connect from other countries, accessing content otherwise not available and in some cases they can even save you a lot. bypassing price discrimination!
VPNs do not protect against voluntary data collection
VPNs can’t protect you from services you voluntarily offer your data to, like Google, Facebook, and others. In these cases, in fact, we ourselves, by adhering to the terms and conditions of the various platforms, provide all the data they need, also accepting the consequences that may entail. In reality this is not really a cons of VPNs, but a warning to be careful when using online services. A greater awareness of how social and other platforms work on the internet is the best way to stay safe online.
Some common disadvantages of VPN services
A VPN connection can affect your internet usage in a number of ways. Here are some of the most common:
- Slower internet connection
- Specific blocks of VPN services (for example by Netflix)
- Illegal use of VPNs
- Uncertainty about the reliability of the VPN encryption
- Recording of browsing information and potential resale to third parties
- Connection interruptions
- An unjustified feeling of impunity online
Free VPNs: Sometimes it’s worse to have them than not to have them
Some sites don’t allow the use of VPNs
Unfortunately, not all online sites and platforms appreciate using VPNs. In fact, some sites may require you to pass a Captcha to make sure you are a human being, since the connection via a VPN server can be mistaken for a bot. Others may simply deny you access. Fortunately it is not a very widespread problem and above all it is not insurmountable. If you find that one of the sites you visit often doesn’t allow the use of VPNs, you can easily add it to the Client Whitelist. This way, your VPN app will know that when you want to go to the site, the related traffic doesn’t have to go through the encrypted server and you can connect to it without any problems.
Why use a VPN on your mobile
Browse securely on public networks
Something crucial when it comes to using VPN services on mobile is that we can surf the public Wi-Fi networks securely. It is very common that we are in a shopping mall, train station, airport or any travel location and want to connect to a network. However, we don’t really know if it’s safe, who’s behind it, etc.
To improve security and avoid problems, something very important that we can take into consideration is the use of VPN services. They help us encrypt connections and thus avoid problems that affect us.
Errors in public Wi-Fi
Teleworking and remote access to computers
We can also use a VPN to be able to access other computers remotely . This is something that is very present today due to the increase in teleworking.
This is not to be understood only as having to log in from a computer and be able to work. Today, we have more and more tools available on mobile devices that are used to perform actions under the same conditions.
Certainly geo-blocking is also very present. Do we travel abroad a lot? Do we want to keep watching our favorite series? In this case we will have to use a VPN on the mobile.
When we are abroad, we may not be able to access multimedia content from our country. We can avoid this if we use a VPN service on mobile. What we do is pretend that we are really somewhere else and thus avoid geo-blocking.
It would also work in the opposite case, when we want to access content that is only available in a particular country. We can choose a server from that country.
- Problems conectar a VPN
Hide traffic from the operator
Another major privacy issue is being able to hide traffic from the operator .
- We can browse more privately, without having to leave a trace that can be used.
Skip the IP block
On the other hand, sometimes our IP may be blocked . This can happen for several reasons, but one of the most common is that we access limited content after a certain amount of time has elapsed. For example, there are web pages that offer us free articles for each IP but only for a time.
With a VPN, what we really do is hide our real IP and browse with another alternative. This can help us avoid IP blocking.
In short, these are some uses we can give to a VPN on mobile. Worth? In the end, it will be up to each user to choose whether or not to improve their day while browsing the Internet.
Is it worth using a VPN?
After looking at the pros and cons of VPNs, it’s clear that the advantages outweigh the disadvantages, which are mostly minor drawbacks, which can be easily bypassed. The one thing you should be really careful about is the VPN provider you plan to subscribe to.
Mobile VPN Uses – Is VPN Worth it ?
Making use of VPN services is something that is increasingly present among Internet users. We have at our disposal a wide range of possibilities, with free and paid options. As we know there are for desktop computers and also for mobile devices. The uses we can give it are very varied, as we will see. Now, do we need a mobile VPN? We will see how our connectivity can improve with these types of tools.
Is it worth buying a VPN?
In short, if you value your privacy, yes. There are some free VPNs out there, but when you’re not paying for a service, the provider has to compensate somehow. In most cases, this is done by selling your private data, which means that free VPNs don’t typically offer no-logs policies. Paid VPNs are more private and secure by design, simply because they can afford it; and to remain competitive, they must offer the best services in the industry.
What a VPN can’t do ?
There are some things even the best VPN can’t handle. If your goal is complete privacy, you should look into additional services, separate from a VPN, to manage this. Plus, if you decide to post revealing information online, there’s nothing a VPN or any other service can do for you.
Why you don’t need VPN at home
When you log onto the internet from the comfort of your home, you are typically doing so through your private, secured Wi-Fi. Your private Wi-Fi network should be password protected, which keeps outsiders from seeing your internet activity. You get this type of protection without having to take that extra step of first logging into a VPN service before accessing the web.
This only works, though, if your home Wi-Fi is protected by a complex and unique password.
It is worth noting that most Wi-Fi routers come with default passwords, and those passwords can often be easily found online, so it is best to change your default password to something unique and complex.
Does any Threats at Home ?
For the majority of the time, we can be assured that our home networks are safe. It’s very unlikely that someone broke in, replaced your router, and then waited for the good stuff to roll in. For one thing, that’s just too much work. But for another, attackers need more than one successful hit to make a hack worthwhile. They’ll want to gather as much information from as many people as possible.
Is using a VPN legal in the UK ?
Using a VPN service isn’t illegal in the UK if it is used within UK law.
You can own a VPN subscription and make use of it to add extra security to your own browsing while at home, or outside the house.
But VPNs can be used to get around ‘geo-restrictions which prevent the video watching from outside of certain countries.
Using a VPN to get around such geo-restrictions is illegal and so it is important to take note.
Around the world, VPN services are banned altogether including North Korea and Iraq.
Meanwhile only government-approved services are allowed in countries like Russia, China and Turkey.
Having your home network setup with a VPN is the best way to protect online security and privacy. Not only will a VPN allow you to connect to the web from anywhere in the world, it will also allow you to bypass a large number of restrictions.