In the last few years, VPN providers have become a very popular topic to talk about in the digital world. People are aware that governments and social platforms are probably, if not surely, monitoring them and invading their privacy on the Internet. People put their privacy at risk knowingly, but they know that using the Internet and its service can make their lives easier in so many ways. Nevertheless, the solution to the problem and the way to protect their privacy is by using a VPN or a Virtual Private Network. But, you have to know that the VPN is only software, and there’s no app that could 100% guarantee that your privacy will be protected. That is why it is extremely important that you get introduced to the various advantages and disadvantages of VPN usage.
Before we into the pros and cons of commercial VPNs, you must remember this. The easiest and best way to have online anonymity would be to use a VPN brand that is known as reliable because you surely want to improve your safety and security on the Internet. Now, we’ll dive into details about what benefits do VPNs get you, and what would be the major drawbacks of using a Virtual Private Network.
1. What is a VPN?
A Virtual Private Network or a VPN connects your device (laptop, computer) to an online server, and it also allows you to browse the web thanks to the Internet connection of that online server. In most cases, that online server is located in another region or country, which means that it would seem like you’re residing in that region or country, and you would get full access to many things that were previously unavailable to you before you used a VPN.
With a Virtual Private Network, you can get full access to geo-restricted content. You can protect your privacy, have online anonymity, and so on.
2. The pros of using a VPN
Now, we will present the various individual benefits that VPNs can provide to their users.
a.) Your online identity is hidden
The moment you subscribe to a VPN provider, your IP address is going to be hidden, and your traffic will be encrypted. That means that no one will be able to track your online activities, and you can surf the web safely. Cyber-criminals will not be in a position where they could use your IP address so they could get some personal information about you. Also, third parties and government agencies would not be able to monitor your activities on the Internet.
Apart from helping you in protecting your privacy and online anonymity, advertisers are another thing that you shouldn't be worried about it if you use a VPN. Certain Internet Service Providers in the United States can sell your personal info and other details to advertisers, and that way, they're invading your privacy. But, if you don't live in the United States, you don't have to worry much. Although, you can't be totally sure that advertisers and your ISP are not doing something suspicious without your knowledge.
Also, if you don't use a VPN, even search engines like Google and Yahoo can sell your personal info to third parties. Be wise and subscribe to a VPN.
b.) A VPN can unblock geo-restricted content
Geo-restricted content is when certain content providers allow what particular regions or countries can enjoy in their content. Content such as movies, Tv series, or certain websites. So, if you want to watch a Netflix show that isn't available in your region, or you want to do live streaming from a different region, but you're just getting error notifications, a Virtual Private Network can be of great aid to you. What VPN does, is that by unblocking geo-restricted content, it give you the chance to live stream or watch your favorite Netflix show from anywhere in the world.
Also, if you want to get past censorship, a VPN will also help you with that. By signing up with a VPN, you're changing your true physical location and IP address. That means that it would appear like you're in a different country, and you'll be able to browse the Internet freely, without any restrictions whatsoever. If you're into streaming, then we strongly recommend that you have super-fast connections speeds so you can get past the anti-VPN software that a lot of streaming platforms use. By using a VPN, you can get access to Netflix, as we mentioned earlier, and you could also access Hulu, Amazon, BBC iPlayer, and many others.
c.) VPNs offer multi-platform compatibility
Some other types of online services are quite capable of offering what a VPN does, but there aren’t many services that can say that they offer hardware compatibility and Internet services like a certain VPN happens to offer. When you start using a VPN provider, this is one of the major benefits that will certainly convince you to buy a subscription plan of a certain VPN brand.
Basically, everything works fine with a VPN, because from the view of a software client, your network is working like it normally does. You can use your VPN with basically every operating system. You can use it on Windows, Mac, iOS, Linux, etc. When it comes to what hardware you can use with a VPN, you can choose a laptop, PC, tablet, or smartphone. You can even use it on gaming consoles like Xbox One and PS4.
d.) You can make your online connections more secure
Today, you can use Wi-fi basically everywhere, and it comes in pretty handy if you're short on mobile data. Free Wi-fi or the Wi-fi that you used in public, like coffee shops, diners, and restaurants can be quite unreliable, and your personal data is definitely at risk if you use it. Hackers can steal your personal info like your financial details ( bank account or credit card details), and they can also find out the passwords of many accounts that you’re using.
But, with the help of a Virtual Private Network, you shouldn’t raise concerns regarding this matter. The reason is that your online activities are encrypted, so no one can track or monitor what you do online. VPNs are also highly recommended when you need to access your work files from a remote location. So, if you ever want to check your work files if you’re sitting in a diner while using a public Wi-fi connection, it would best if you use a VPN, so cyber-criminals couldn’t get ahold of your work files and endanger your privacy.
e.) By using a VPN, you can defeat censorship
Some governments with repressive regimes strictly supervise the flow of information. In these countries, even using popular social media platforms like Facebook or Instagram is close to impossible, but a VPN can help you. A Virtual Private Network is going to get past those restrictions and unblock them. In the meantime, you will be protected by cutting-edge encryption protocols.
With the help of a VPN, you can bypass the Great Firewall of China.
f.) You can save a lot of money
When you change your IP address with the help of a VPN, you'll soon realize that having full access to various content isn't the only perk of using a VPN. A lot of e-commerce websites offer different prices to people from different regions. An example will be if the prices of a certain product are very high in the United States, in Thailand, the price of that same product would probably be lower and more budget-friendly. Remember that if you're looking for a hotel room the next time you'll be travelling outside of the country.
Choose a VPN that has servers in many locations, so you can find the right prices for you.
g.) A VPN can successfully stop bandwidth throttling
Bandwidth throttling happens when your internet Service Provider puts a limitation on your bandwidth usage. By doing this, your connection speeds will be much slower than they used to be. Some ISPs do this on a daily basis, while some may throttle your connection once or twice a month. They do this because the network gets overcrowded, and they want to be sure that there's enough bandwidth for their every user.
On the other hand, some Internet Service Providers use this bandwidth throttling so they could convince you that you choose a more expensive subscription plan. Thanks to your VPN, your traffic is completely encrypted, so there’s no chance that your Internet provider monitors your online activities. They won’t have a clue as to how much bandwidth you are using, and they won't be able to proceed with bandwidth throttling.
3. The cons of using a VPN
Now, let's see what the drawbacks of using a VPN are.
a.) You’re not 100% safe
A big disadvantage when you use a Virtual Private Network is that you are secure, but not 100% safe on the Internet. It’s true that VPN is a very efficient tool when it comes to protecting your online activities and eliminating any potential Internet threats, but there can always be a hacker that could invade your privacy by stealing your personal information and data, so he can use it for criminal purposes.
For instance, a VPN can’t really protect you if you have any accounts which have a weak password, and that includes the password for your VPN account as well, so it would be best if you make a strong password so this doesn’t happen. Websites that might contain malware or suspicious software also must be avoided at all costs. Install an antivirus so you can be sure that you don’t get any viruses on the device that you’re currently using.
If you want to use a VPN, you must be smart when it comes to your security on the Internet. For example, make virus scans when you open any e-mail attachments.
b.) A VPN might slow your connection speeds
Your Internet connection might slow down while you're using a VPN because of many factors. Some of those factors would be the strength of encryption protocol that you're using, the distance between you and the VPN server, and so on. But, sometimes, you won't even notice that your connection slowed down. If you have strong bandwidth, there’s a chance that it won’t even slow down.
In most cases, your connection speeds will slow down a couple of Mbps if you’re using a VPN service.
c.) High-quality VPNs could be quite expensive
We do not recommend using free VPNs, because they are not reliable at all, so you should definitely choose a VPN where you have to pay for a subscription. If your budget is not that big, but you want to enjoy the services of a top-notch quality VPN, you might face a problem. The reason is that quality VPNs have pretty high prices. The price range is usually from $10-$12 per month.
However, there are VPNs that offer some reasonable prices, and you will get good service by choosing one of them. Also, when you’re choosing a pricing plan for a VPN service, select the plan that will allow you to use the VPN for a long time, a year, or a couple of years. By doing that, you’ll save a lot of money.
d.) Some VPNs keep logs
There are VPN services that have to keep logs because they are bound to the law. This means that they could keep information such as your IP address, connection logs, your Internet traffic, and so on. Then, they would have to hand over that information to the government or the authorities if they ask them to do so. Before you use a VPN, check out the reviews about that VPN, and it if keeps logs.
A VPN offers you the chance to access content and service from any country in the world, and it ensures that you remain anonymous and safe from any cyber-criminals. Nevertheless, some VPN services could give you a rough time while using them, so be careful. Reading this article, you can see what advantages and disadvantages a VPN offers. Then, you will decide whether you will use it or not.
However, we wholeheartedly recommend that you use a VPN. Go and subscribe to a VPN provider.