Hackernoon logoWhy Using a VPN is the Best Way to Protect Your Personal Data When Surfing the Web by@illusionfact

Why Using a VPN is the Best Way to Protect Your Personal Data When Surfing the Web

Kamlesh Kumar Hacker Noon profile picture

@illusionfactKamlesh Kumar

Kamlesh Kumar is Digital Marketing and PR Expert. He helped Many Companies to get Rank in Google.

The internet is an amazing place. It’s grown from a military network into a vast virtual universe populated by trillions of web pages. There are currently around 1.5 billion websites, but that figure is increasing daily. As the world’s population increases, so does this vast resource we call the internet.

We use the internet to play, shop, work, and more. From posting status updates on Facebook and Twitter to buying a new pair of designer sneakers, each time we go online we leave a trail of virtual breadcrumbs in our wake.

Everyone, from big brands to government agencies and criminals can track our online activities if we let them. You might not care whether anyone tracks your internet shopping activities or the YouTube videos you watch, but you should.

Data is valuable, and if you’re not careful, it can be used against you.

The Importance of Protecting Our Personal Data Online

Companies value data. Some harvest our data so they can target us with bespoke ads. Others harvest data to sell it on for a profit. Every click you make has a residual value to someone.

Whether this data is used to show you ads of products you might want to buy because you looked at something similar yesterday or to hack into your online bank account, don’t underestimate the power of personal data.

Unfortunately, way too many of us don’t protect our data in the same way as we would a wallet full of cash and credit cards.

We blithely log into public Wi-Fi hot spots to check our bank balance or shop online. Or we surf dodgy sites and download suspect software applications.

If you don’t protect your personal data when using the internet, you leave yourself wide open to abuse of all kinds, financial or otherwise.

The Benefits of Using a VPN

VPNs keep your personal information hidden behind a wall. Your IP address is masked, so you can visit any site, and nobody will know it’s you.

Using a VPN makes it much harder for criminals to intercept sensitive information when you go online, which means you can use a public Wi-Fi network without worrying your data is being stolen by the guy with a laptop sitting at an adjacent table.

Using a VPN also allows you to access geo-restricted content. This is handy if you live in Europe and you can no longer access US websites because of GDPR restrictions. It’s also useful if you live in a country where online content is heavily censored, i.e. China.

Are you a Netflix fan? Do you ever wonder what content is available in different countries? VPNs are great if you have a yearning to watch a Netflix show that’s unavailable in your country because of local licensing restrictions. With a VPN, you can change your location to that
of the country where you want to stream Netflix and voila! All your favourite shows are now available.

Lastly, using a VPN lets you access the cheapest travel since travel websites often alter their prices according to your geographic location.

How do VPNs Work

There are two parts to a VPN: one is the client application you download on to your device and the other is the VPN server. A VPN sets up an encrypted communications channel between your device and the VPN server, so your personal data is protected when it passes into the wider internet.

When you surf the internet without using a VPN, your IP address gives away your location and it means your activities can be logged by any site you visit.

Using a VPN masks your true identity. Each time you visit a site, the site will log the IP address of the VPN’s server rather than yours. Data passed between you and the website, and vice versa, is encrypted.  As far as any websites are concerned, the user is the VPN server, not you.

Proxies also provide extra anonymity, but unlike a VPN, a proxy only secures your browser or torrent client whereas a VPN creates a secure connection between your firewall and the other site.

Some people prefer using proxies because the connection is faster, but if you want full encryption and a secure connection, you are better off using a VPN.

Free Versus Paid VPNs

There are plenty of free VPNs out there. At first glance, a free VPN seems like a smart choice. After all, why pay for a service when you can use it for free?

Unfortunately, however, free VPNs are often set up to harvest user data to sell on to other companies. Free VPNs don’t work as well either and if your intention is to binge-watch Netflix, forget it. Netflix has very sophisticated systems in place to detect when customers are using proxies to bypass regional restrictions: free VPNs can’t overcome this whereas paid VPNs have vast networks of servers that can stay one step ahead of Netflix.

Choosing a VPN

There are a number of paid-for VPNs to choose from, many of them offering free trials to users. Before you sign up for any VPN, read reviews and check out how easy it is to use the desktop client. Sites like this one are useful for comparing the best VPN services available right now.

Go for a well-known VPN service that is trustworthy and has good customer reviews. Take advantage of a free trial to make sure you are happy with how it works. VPNs do have a tendency to slow internet connections down, so if your intention is to protect your gaming rig
when playing MMORPGs like World of Warcraft, make sure it’s doable via a VPN. In addition, test out your VPN with streaming services like Netflix – it’s
normal to have to switch servers fairly frequently, as Netflix blocks them, but if the VPN doesn’t work from day one, it won’t be much use for streaming the latest Netflix series.

Using a VPN is sensible, no matter what you do online. If you value your privacy and don’t want your personal data being auctioned off to the highest bidder, download a VPN client today and start protecting your connection to the online world.

Kamlesh Kumar Hacker Noon profile picture
by Kamlesh Kumar @illusionfact. Kamlesh Kumar is Digital Marketing and PR Expert. He helped Many Companies to get Rank in Google. Read my stories


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