VPN’s or Virtual Private Networks… you’ve heard about them. You might have even seen ads for them on television. If you’re a member of the “work from home” crowd, you probably use one to connect to your work network.
VPN: Do you really need one?
The short answer for most people… yes. The reason starts with understanding what a VPN can do before you decide to install one and possibly pay for one.
Why VPNs are worth understanding; the 5 primary functions of a VPN
- VPNs add a layer of enhanced security by scrambling your internet traffic to prevent your personal data from falling into the hands of hackers, advertisers, or other third parties.
- VPNs prevent Internet service providers from monitoring your online activity.
- VPNs offer a way around geo-fencing blocks. That’s the technology that can tell where you are located geographically when not protected by a VPN.
- Some websites, especially streaming providers like Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, etc only offer certain programming in certain countries based on licensing agreements. In case you are wondering how to unblock Netflix in your location, VPN is the answer. In other words, you can watch programming and streaming services anywhere on the internet away from home with a VPN that connects back to your home region. Many people use VPN to watch TV shows and movies that are not available in their country.
- They can help increase your connection speeds, especially if your Internet provider decides to throttle down your speed at times when it’s busy online. Interesting fact: some countries, such as China, Russia, Iran, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Turkey, Iraq, Turkmenistan, Belarus, and North Korea forbid their usage altogether.
Isn’t using a “private” or incognito browser enough to keep private?
If you switch your Google Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Edge browsers to private or incognito all this means is that it will not save your browsing behavior locally, nor will it appear in your browser history. This however does not protect you from your internet service providers and other malicious characters who may be monitoring your behavior.
Narrowing down a few best VPNs from dozens of choices
Now that you know what a VPN can do for you. There are literally hundreds of them available on the market that can help you to complete tasks such as having the ability to either watch BBC outside the UK or HBO outside of the US, along with widening your selection of shows available on Netflix. All VPNs have many beneficial uses. Here I am going to focus on the top performers that make the most sense.
What are the best VPN providers?
When it comes to VPNs, check out our Best VPNs for 2022 article. Our top pick is ExpressVPN because it has a strong set of features that mitigate the privacy and security issues that come with browsing online. Not only will ExpressVPN not log your IP address, but it will not store browsing history, metadata, traffic destination, or DNS queries.
- adds a layer of enhanced security
- prevents Internet service providers from monitoring your online activity.
- offers a way around geo-fencing blocks
- can help increase your connection speeds
If hiding your IP address and browsing more privately & securely is a priority for you, then ExpressVPN will be a great investment for you.