Five Reasons Why You Should Use a VPN
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) Protects Your Identity and Activities Online
Imagine you are driving down the road, with a large bumper sticker advertising your home address in large bold red letters. When you surf online without a VPN, you may as well be doing the same thing
I'm not doing anything wrong, why do I need a VPN? While this may be true, when you visit websites online, your IP address is visible and constantly being broadcast and is easy for anyone to see.
Just like in real life you could make a wrong turn online and end up in a very bad neighborhood, broadcasting your IP address to the people you would most want to protect yourself from.
How a VPN Really Works
Here are five reasons why having a VPN may be a great idea.
If you download files and especially if you use BitTorrent you are at risk of your IP being recorded and receiving a letter from your broadband provider or worse if you download the wrong file. Some companies will send out extortion letters demanding a lump sum payment because your IP was recorded sharing a copyrighted file. If you don't pay up, they threaten to file a lawsuit. Other companies will place files out on the net. This is known as a honey pot, which they then go after unsuspecting downloaders. A VPN is the only way to encrypt your online activities and keep your IP address and online activities safe from prying eyes. When you are using a virtual private network, your communications and activities online are encrypted. Not even your Internet Service Provider (ISP) can see what you are doing.
Living abroad and want to watch TV shows from your favorite channels inside the USA? Many Roku channels will not work unless your Router DNS servers are set to a USA IP address. Maybe you want to watch a sports match in England or watch the BBC. Unfortunately, you can't access any of this content from your computer or media streamer because your IP address is detected as being in the USA and they have blocked your IP address. A good VPN will with IP addresses in many countries will easily let you get around these geographical blocking schemes. This gives you access to watch much more content from countries all over the world. This even works with Netflix customers. In Canada and Europe Netflix customers see a different library of content than Netflix customers in the USA. Change your Router DNS settings and you can easily watch more content with Netflix and with Roku using a VPN as well.
Want to watch your favorite local basketball, football, baseball or hockey team. If you tune into the game with your favorite streaming channel, many times you will be greeted by a Local Blackout Restriction message on your television screen. If you had a VPN, you would just change your Router's DNS settings to one outside the USA and you could then watch any game eliminating annoying blackouts.
If you stream content online from apps like Showbox, or other online streaming sites having your IP address encrypted and protected from Hackers is a great idea. Many of these apps host their video content in Russia or China. Even recent headlines have warned that major companies, banks and our own military has been getting hacked from this corner of the globe. A VPN will protect your identity and keep you safer.
A VPN also offers a secure private connection between yourself and your Employer or School. Instead of information being broadcast in the clear that could give their competition a leg up, many companies choose a VPN to encrypt their online communications between their company servers and their employees. This encrypts all communications keeping it safe from online eavesdroppers.
Disadvantages of a VPN
A VPN can be a little complicated to set up. It will require a some extra upfront tweaking to set it up. Most good VPN providers offer easy to follow instructions and videos. This usually consists of changing some network settings on your computer. If you want to protect your entire home network, the best way is to make a few DNS settings to your router then every device on your network is protected and encrypted. Once it's setup you are done and it's easy to turn a VPN off and back on again if you should ever need to.
An extra monthly cost associated with a VPN is another disadvantage for some. Think of a VPN as added insurance, you would not want to drive around without car insurance. A VPN provides the same peace of mind for all your online activities. Luckily unlike car insurance a VPN is no that expensive. Many providers offer significant discounts if you pay for a year in advance. It's important to choose a VPN provider that is well known and will be around before you submit payment for an entire year.
Faster internet connection needed. Since a VPN encrypts and routes all your internet traffic through a 3rd party it can slow down you internet connection. If you have a fast broadband connection and choose a fast VPN provider you will most likely never notice it. Those that are on slower DSL connections may notice a slight slowdown. A VPN can easily be turned off when every mili-second counts such as during online FPS games. Just remember to turn your VPN back on when you are done.
What about all those Free VPN Sites?
One only has to search Google to see a long list of sites offering FREE VPNs. As with most things in life that are Free, these Free VPN sites also have many limitations. The biggest drawbacks are slow connection speeds, plus they bombard you with obtrusive ads and have monthly data caps. They also need to be set for each network device independently so you can't secure your entire network through your router. This offers no protection for your media streaming devices.
Even if you could configure your Router the slow connection speed would make media streaming almost impossible. It will also not disable Geo-Blocking from media streaming devices. While free is good and still better than nothing, the many limitations often have users scrambling to find a low cost premium VPN provider.
Choose a Reliable VPN Provider
Choosing a reliable VPN provider that offers a wide range of IP addresses in many different countries is important. It is also important that your VPN provider offers fast enough speeds for online streaming.
We like HideMyAss as they have been around for a long time. You won't need to worry about paying a year in advance to take advantage of a rather significant savings only to have them shut down a month later. They also offer more IP address in more countries with fast speeds that are necessary for streaming.
Learn more about HideMyAss VPN and be sure to read their excellent guide on how to set up a VPN with your router to protect everything on your home network. Plus take advantage of their special discount by clicking here or the image below.