This is the age of the internet. Everything from our professional to our personal lives seems to revolve around the internet and internet access. The problem is that because the world is so interconnected, criminals and other bad actors routinely phish for unsuspecting people in an effort to gain access to their financial and personal information. Fortunately, there are ways to access the internet whereby we don’t leave an obvious trail. One such way is through the use of a virtual private network or VPN.
What Is a VPN and How Does It Work?
A virtual private network is a fancy way to describe internet encryption. Internet encryption allows you to access the internet without leaving a digital footprint. When you connect to a VPN service, it creates an encrypted or private “tunnel” within the internet. That tunnel secures the data traveling between your computer and others. And while most people think of using VPNs for public Wi-Fi, they’re also practical for home internet use.
Move Like a Ninja on the Web
Websites and apps can constantly track your online activity, analyzing the data they collect. A VPN can keep web browsers and others from accessing your connection. The result is that information you send and receive is anonymous and secure.
By hiding things like your IP address, your location, and your search history, a VPN can keep internet service providers, cable companies, websites, and others from tracking you.
Use Public Wi-Fi with Confidence
Although not ideal, there are times when we have to use public Wi-Fi. For others, your city or local government may make Wi-Fi available for free in your home. Regardless, most people find themselves using public Wi-Fi occasionally. The problem is that criminals have devised ways of stealing your data on public hotspots. Using a VPN means that you no longer have to worry about this. With a secure VPN connection over Wi-Fi, you can browse the internet with complete privacy.
Access Region-Blocked Entertainment
You might not be aware that certain over-the-top media service companies like Netflix provide programming that is region-specific. For example, if you’ve ever traveled overseas and attempted to use Netflix you might find that your favorite program from your home country is not available.
But VPNs make it possible to access geo-blocked content by changing your IP address. This causes the content provider to believe you’re browsing in another location or region that allows access. VPNs also have practical applications for streaming media devices like Amazon’s Fire TV Stick.
Keep Big Brother from Watching
Through various leaks and investigations, it’s been discovered that certain governments are not above surveilling their citizens. Today’s technology allows governments to track and collect your browsing history, messages, social posts, and other private data. They’ve even been known to share the information across borders. A VPN will make this difficult to do by encrypting your traffic and hiding your IP address.
Encrypt Your Data from Prying Eyes
As noted earlier, using a VPN is a good idea even if you’re browsing from your home. VPN encryption will conceal your internet traffic and keep you from leaving online footprints. This way, your internet service provider won’t be able to sell your browsing history to the highest bidder. Other advantages of using a VPN at home are:
- Conduct online banking securely
- Shop online with peace of mind
- Leave no record of your browsing history
Putting It All Together
Most of us use the internet for personal reasons, and many of us are required to use the internet professionally. Because internet use is such a big part of daily life, it’s important that we work to be as safe as possible while online. Using a virtual private network has benefits both when using public Wi-Fi and when using the internet from home. Advantages include increased security, increased entertainment and media options, and the lack of a digital footprint. So if you’re looking for the ultimate in privacy, you may want to consider a VPN.