Initially, VPNs were only being used to provide secure connections to business networks over the internet. And while they are still helpful in that area, VPN use has evolved over the years, especially due to the advancement of the internet.
Today, millions of netizens use VPNs while at home or traveling for reasons such as restoring their internet freedom. Others use VPNs for more nefarious reasons, something which might lead you to ask are VPNs legal?
If you’d like to dive into the world of VPNs (which you should), here are the most popular use cases.
Common Uses of a VPN
Stay Private & Avoid Logging
Whenever you connect to the internet, your ISP can see what you are doing, and they usually collect and store this data to profile you. This means that they know the websites you access and in what order, what time you access them, and from where you access them. They then share this data with the government, and thanks to the repeal of net-neutrality rules, they can also sell this data to businesses and other third-parties.
Connecting a VPN encrypts user activities and directs traffic to a private server belonging to the VPN provider. It is through this server that users can then access the internet. This means that your ISP can’t see your activities due to the encryption, and all they can see is that you are connected to a VPN server.
Access Geo-Restricted Content on Streaming Services
Streaming is one of the most popular VPN use cases today, especially with the ever-growing use of geo-restrictions. These restrictions are used across almost all streaming services, including Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, HBO, and Spotify. Others such as BBC iPlayer and HBO Now can’t even be accessed except you are in the UK and US, respectively.
People often use VPNs to circumnavigate these restrictions since a VPN can change your virtual location. However, you will need to choose your VPN carefully as some are blocked by these services.
ISPs and governments usually enforce censorships due to various reasons. Schools and businesses also place similar restrictions on their networks to boost productivity. Fortunately, these restrictions can be easily overcome by changing the server you use to access the internet.
For government restrictions, you will need to connect to a server outside the restricted country. However, you may need a VPN with obfuscation functionalities as some countries block OpenVPN traffic.
Stay Safe on Public WiFi
Public WiFi hotspots are a haven for hackers as they can easily access your device and steal your data due to the unsecured nature of these hotspots. Even worse, other attackers can also set up fake hotspots that look similar to a business you trust to lure you into connecting.
For this reason, it’s recommended that you always use a VPN to secure your data and device whenever using public Wifi. The encryption provided helps you stay safe.
Download & Share Files Privately
Governments and copyright agencies have been cracking down on torrenting and streaming on platforms such as Kodi. This is because these platforms allow users to share and download copyrighted content illegally. However, although we do not support piracy, it’s not always easy to differentiate free and illegal content.
For this reason, it’s advisable to use a VPN whenever you want to torrent or stream content on free platforms. This will help you avoid a DMCA notice and the possibility of further charges.