Are VPNs worth it?
- A Virtual Private Network, or VPN, is defined by TechTerms as 'a service that provides secure, anonymous internet access. It 'tunnels' your internet connection from your ISP through one or more VPN servers, which hides your actual IP address and location.'
- A security.org VPN consumer usage study from 2020 found that 49% of US adult internet users 'claim to use some type of free or paid VPN, either at work or for personal use.'
- Research from vpnMentor.com reveals that 80% of US citizens are concerned about being spied on by their government.
- The number one reason people use VPNs, according to research conducted by thebestvpn.com, is for 'access to better entertainment content.'
VPNs are an invaluable resource for anyone wanting to access everything the internet has to offer without worrying about their safety and privacy. VPNs can be extraordinary security measures in various ways and are definitely worth the money and time to set up.
If online privacy is very important to a user, then a VPN is crucial, as it conceals a user’s IP address to make their actions on the internet untraceable.
And they aren’t only beneficial for tech-savvy people. VPNs can be helpful for something as simple as protecting a computer on a public network or as significant as protecting users against location hackers.
VPNs can also be excellent tools for bypassing geographical restrictions while traveling in another country or accessing locked content for a particular region. The VPN accomplishes this by making it look like the user is browsing from an unrestricted location. This specific feature can also save a user considerable amounts of money if used cleverly. VPN location spoofing can be used to access deals through services--such as online streaming--only offered in certain regions.
VPNs can also help reduce targeted ads that a user sees. Anti-tracking software can be used in conjunction with a VPN to ensure that the websites someone visits don’t track virtual movements and try to sell products and services to them later.
If someone has been on the internet in the last decade, they have probably considered using a VPN to protect their privacy while browsing the web. However, unless one engages in more illicit behavior online, a VPN won't net any real benefits.
Most people 'will experience 10-20% slower speeds while using a VPN,' according to VPN.com. These slower speeds may affect the time it takes to connect to the VPN server, in addition to causing other delays. But slow-loading webpages and buffering videos may not be the only downside of using a VPN; the utility of the service has also diminished as their use has gained popularity in recent years. Many sites have begun blacklisting VPN IP addresses associated with commonly used servers (such as NordVPN), which may prevent the bulk of one's browsing altogether.
Additionally, most websites now employ some form of encryption, which makes the use of a VPN redundant for the average internet user. Even if you are conducting yourself in a manner online that requires a higher level of privacy, the commercialization of the VPN industry has called the trustworthiness of these services into question. As recently as 2020, several VPN providers experienced a breach that exposed the private data of more than 20 million users. Just two years prior, three large VPN providers suffered a data leak that exposed users' email addresses, payment credentials, and additional sensitive information.
If you are already employing safe-surfing practices, consider whether your internet habits warrant using a private remote server. For the average user, VPNs just aren’t worth the additional cost or risk.