Benefits of Using a VPN from Home
Salma Khalaf

What is a VPN and why would you need one?

A VPN (short for a virtual private network) encrypts data as you navigate from one place to the other across the internet.[1] When using a VPN, your smart device connects to another computer, called a server. “Your device will then use that server’s information to browse the internet rather than its true network information.”[2] In other words, a VPN keeps your online activity, downloaded files, search history, and location secure and private. This way, whatever you do using the internet won’t be exposed to other people. Another benefit of using a VPN is protecting yourself and your data from hackers, cybercriminals, scammers … VPNs are also great for getting anonymous and unrestricted access to the internet.

If you’re wondering if it’s safe or not to use a VPN, this depends on various factors, like your location, online activity, reliance on unprotected Wi-Fi connections, and need for security. One of the many benefits of a VPN is connecting safely to public Wi-Fi networks, whether you’re on a bus, in a cafe, or anywhere else. VPNs will also allow you to stream content and websites that are blocked in certain regions. For instance, you might pay for a streaming service only to realize that some features are restricted in your region. You can avoid this problem by having a VPN that gives you access to content you want from anywhere in the world.

VPNs block ISP tracking. This is one of the many great benefits of using a VPN. ISPs (internet service providers) “track ​​your online activity and can share this data with advertisers, governmental bodies, and other third parties without your knowledge or consent.”[3] For example, countries like the US utilize ISPs to sell your browsing data to data brokers and advertisers. Furthermore, VPNs prevent price discrimination, so VPNs help you check different prices for the same product, and you can choose the cheapest. Your online shopping experience is affected by your region, some vendors charge higher prices depending on your location. Having a VPN would ensure that you see different offers and prices, hence you’d avoid being ripped off. For online banking, VPNs make it more secure as well. Most banks have started requiring a two-factor authentication method to make online banking safer. However, not all banks have moved to a two-factor authentication method so this would make your banking information more exposed on unprotected networks. Thus, having a VPN would make online banking safer.

VPNs are a great way to continue using apps that might be banned in your home country. For instance, TikTok was about to get banned in the US. Other famous social media apps, like Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, are banned in other countries. Having a VPN would allow you to choose which country you’re accessing the internet from, and you would access apps and content as if you were actually in that country. As mentioned earlier, one of the main benefits of using a VPN is remaining anonymous while browsing, this would enhance your online privacy. In the current era of COVID, VPNs help you have a safer and private remote work environment. You can safely share files and data online with your colleagues and supervisor(s) without risking the company’s privacy. A popular VPN platform comes from a company called PrivacySharks. You can learn about the history of PrivacySharks here.