Thanks to the widespread use of the internet, it’s possible to stay connected at all times. However, it also means that cybersecurity has become a pressing issue that requires robust solutions. That’s why virtual private networks (VPNs) have become popular for protecting personal information online.
The VPN market is expected to reach $77.1 billion by 2027, indicating the widespread use of VPNs. This growth stems from the need for secure internet connections and the increasing number of cyberattacks. More and more people want to protect their personal information online, especially since over 29.5 million records have already been breached.
It’s understandable why VPN usage has become widespread today. In the US, a poll found that 39 percent of internet US users utilize a VPN. Interestingly, most only do so for personal reasons.
The reason? It could be because they don’t see the value of using one.
What is a VPN?
A VPN is a secure network connection established when using public networks, like Wi-Fi hotspots or coffee shops. VPNs hide the user’s IP address. It encrypts their internet traffic to keep their online activities private. Hackers or malicious entities will fail to intercept sensitive information, such as account numbers and passwords.
Now you may need clarification about VPNs and proxy servers. VPNs differ from proxy servers because they encrypt data traffic and hide IP addresses, whereas proxy servers do not.
Proxy servers only act as an intermediary between a user and a website. It makes it appear that the user’s IP address differs from their actual location.
Why VPN Is Worth It
You may wonder if subscribing to a VPN service is worth your while. Consider these reasons.
Protection of personal information
VPNs can help keep personal information secure by encrypting internet traffic and hiding the user’s IP address. As you may well know, hackers employ various techniques to intercept sensitive information submitted on websites. They would engage in phishing or man-in-the-middle attacks to access data.
This concealment of network information serves as a protective measure for VPN users. Remember that nefarious individuals would likely use one’s IP address to access personal data.
In this case, they will obtain the VPN server’s data instead. Implementing a VPN ensures that the user’s location and other sensitive information remain safeguarded and out of reach from unwanted parties.
Secure internet connection
An application or website can track users’ online activity, gathering and analyzing data to tailor ads to their preferences. Without a VPN, users may have pop-up ads that can interrupt their browsing experience. Using a VPN allows users to avoid tracking.
Accessing geo-restricted content
Some websites and services restrict access to users from certain countries. When this happens, they can limit or block access to some or all of their offerings. This is particularly common among streaming services that target specific locations. VPN use allows users to bypass these restrictions and access content from anywhere.
Remote workers also find VPNs worthwhile. A survey found that 52 percent of remote workers always use a VPN.
Avoiding ISP throttling
Internet Service Provider (ISP) throttling is a deliberate reduction in internet speed to control Wi-Fi network performance. This activity is often done when engaging in certain internet activities or visiting specific websites. A digital VPN service can encrypt mobile traffic from devices, making it impossible for others to monitor the websites visited.
Access to network scalability
While a private network can help a business start, expanding it can be a significant obstacle. However, businesses can offer simultaneous access to many employees and remote workers by using a VPN server. They can run essential applications in a cloud environment and give employees access through the secure tunnel of the VPN.
Drawbacks of Using a VPN
Although VPNs offer significant benefits, they also have some disadvantages.
Slower internet connection
As VPNs are virtual connections operating within a physical network, internet speeds may be slower. This slowdown is because establishing and maintaining a VPN requires some bandwidth.
Added cost of using a VPN
As with anything else, the quality of VPN services often corresponds with the price paid. Premium VPNs charge higher fees because they offer additional features like encryption.
However, installing software and firewalls also incurs hefty costs. VPN use can be an alternative approach while eliminating the need for expensive licensing fees or monthly charges. While a VPN may not proactively scan for viruses or hinder intruders from connecting to your PC, it accomplishes its purpose by rendering you invisible online.
Consequently, you do not have to block outside individuals attempting to access your network. They would perceive your system as somewhere else.
Limited accessibility in certain countries
While most countries allow VPN use, some governments desire to exert complete control over their citizens’ internet activities.
It’s also important to note that some countries or sites will install VPN blockers. For example, some websites may have their content inaccessible to prevent hackers from accessing their data. They will install these blockers to detect which users may be engaged in illicit activities.
Know When To Use a VPN
VPNs are an essential tool that can help keep you safe and secure while browsing the internet. However, it can’t be denied that it also has some disadvantages. Those engaged in streaming may find it burdensome to have a slow connection. It may not be a wise investment if the VPN provider has limited server location and service.
Still, it’s critical to point out that using a VPN is most plausible in activities requiring a higher level of security, such as online banking or shopping.
Ultimately, deciding whether to use a VPN depends on your needs and circumstances. While browsing the internet has become a daily habit for most, it’s still mandatory to be wary of online activities.
Is a VPN worth it? Yes, if you can make the most out of its benefits. Overcome the drawbacks by choosing a premium VPN service allowing you to stay safe and secure while browsing the internet.