VPNs – powerful tools that will help in bypassing censorship and attempts to regulate the internet. This is highly important, especially since we live in a time when internet security and your online privacy are increasingly becoming important to many, and it is always a good idea to know how to protect yourself.

However, it is not always the case when using a VPN makes sense. Sometimes you may want to install the latest and best Windows VPN providers or those of any other operating system, only to realize later on that you did not really need them. This makes it important to know when installing a VPN is a good thing, and when you do not really need it, but it is first important to know how VPNs work.

What is a VPN?

When looking at VPNs and understanding how they work, it important to know 3 things: the client, the server, and private networks (as well as encryption).

In very easy terms, a VPN, or virtual private network, will connect your device, like your tablet, smartphone, your desktop computer, or your laptop (the client) to another computer (the server) which is somewhere on the internet. The end aim is to allow you to browse the internet through the connection the server has, through encrypting the network (essentially making it private).

Therefore, if the server is in another country, it will appear as though you are in that country, which allows you to access a whole range of data and media that you normally couldn’t.

How do you choose a VPN?

The answer to your choice of a VPN will entirely depend on your requirements. You can either host one from the comfort of your home, use the one in your workplace, or create a server yourself. However, the reality is that many people are simply searching for something that can guard their activities only while they torrent or access content from elsewhere, or use it to assist them in watching some media that is restricted.

The good news is that there are a variety of VPNs you can use, but always make sure that you do your homework on them before narrowing down your choices. An instance is avoiding free VPNs (they are always a bad idea) and going for the ones that have free trials if you are undecided.

When does using a VPN make sense?

When you are purchasing items online

If you are not in the know, there is a classic technique that has been in active use for as long as the internet has existed; that of MitM, or Man in the Middle. They will usually occur when you use your device to connect to a public Wi-Fi network, such as in your local coffee shop or library, but it can also happen in your home Wi-Fi network if someone else compromised it without your knowledge.

What happens is that a hacker or snooper will impersonate every endpoint you are using, in order to change the communication between your device and the internet when you are making a transaction. Through this, they can eventually access your banking information, which they will use to redirect your money to their accounts, instead of having the money go to the intended recipient.

If you want to make any financial transactions online, it is very important to use a good VPN (not just any VPN, so you have to be careful), as the VPN will encrypt your data and avoid any preying eyes from seeing your details and impersonating your information. This also goes for purchasing cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin.

In order to prevent throttling

Throttling is a very common problem when you use ISPs to access the internet in most cases. Some of them are well-known culprits, and it regularly happens when you exceed specific data limits. You can prevent this through using a VPN to promote your privacy, as the ISP cannot track your internet use.

Bypassing geoblocking

Unless you live in a country that does not experience any restrictive laws, you are likely living in a place where you cannot access certain information, websites, or media. Through the use of a VPN though, you can use a server that is in another country and bypass said restrictions.

Restrictive laws do not just apply to people living in countries that have heavy censorship laws, though. For instance, you might want to watch a show that is only available in select countries or regions, or use streaming services like Spotify if your country does not have the service. A VPN will still help you in this case, as you can change the server you are using, choose one in the region you want, and you can now access content freely.

There is a word of caution you should keep in mind though, especially when it comes to certain services like Hulu or Netflix. If you are planning on using a VPN for them, be prepared to change the VPN service you are using on a frequent basis. This is because they have an entire list of VPNs and they can quickly track when these are in use, so you will still suffer geoblocking restrictions.

It is a way of helping you to save money
There are a host of websites, such as shopping ones, which will change their prices according to the location you are checking their site on. An instance would be if you are want to visit a hotel website to check their rates and you are logging in from California, and notice that the rates are higher than if you were logging from a state like Louisiana.

Using a VPN to change your location can always get you better and more affordable prices for a variety of amenities – such as hotel rooms, car rentals, and flights. If you are planning on traveling somewhere, the best deal is to secure a VPN, as it will also help you to access sites that might be blocked in a specific place.

Final thoughts

Using a VPN is important to ensuring online security, but it is also important to know the instances when it can be at its most effective.