Have you ever wondered whether or not it makes sense to get your own virtual private network, also called a VPN? They offer plenty of benefits to people who use them but they also can have their own set of drawbacks. Amid all the hype and advertising, those disadvantages are seldom mentioned. You've certainly heard of the pros, which are briefly mentioned below, but what about the cons? Here are the good, bad and neutral factors to think about before you jump onto the bandwagon:

VPNs Can Be Very Helpful

Millions of people have them in order to thwart hackers and other assorted online evil-doers. When the bad guys can't see your real IP, you're less susceptible to problems related to hack attacks. There are other types of online security programs that do the same thing as VPNs but they cost a lot more. For most individuals, they are available for just a few dollars per month.

It's Possible to Save Money and Snag Big Discounts

A masked IP address actually has dozens of advantages, depending on what you do online. If you want to book a vacation package, rent a car or buy airplane tickets, a VPN might be able to save you money. Merchants often list special discounts for buyers that their software does not recognize. There are also many discounts for customers based in certain countries. This way, you can literally appear to be from wherever you want to be from. This was one of the earliest uses when the technology become commonplace, and affordable for individuals, more than a decade ago.

VPNs Are Not Always a Good Idea

So, what's the downside to using a VPN? There are at least three reasons you might want to avoid using one:

For business owners who need to reveal their identity in the course of offering services as attorneys, purchasing raw supplies from vendors, or selling a life insurance policy to a client, for example, they serve no real purpose. In those types of situations, you want to clearly reveal who you are, where your company is located and how you can be contacted. The general advantages of VPNs, enhanced privacy, has no place in the world of commercial transactions, at least not for sellers. 
Whether you're in business or not, understand that it has the potential to significantly slow down your connection speed. If you stream anything, the lag and buffering that usually comes with can wreak havoc with your usually quick connection.
Many companies, Netflix to name just one, use something called anti-VPN software. You'll not only suffer really slow connections times if you get through, but likely won't get through at all. When you shop for one, try to find one that offers the power to bust through most of the blockers. Expect to pay a bit more for this super power.
Some VPNs suffer privacy "leaks." This happens when the connection suddenly drops and exposes your true IP to whatever site you're connected to at the time.