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With the current happenings in cyberspace, a lot more people are paying attention to cyber security. Netizens are increasingly looking for ways to secure their internet connections while carrying out their online activities.
There are various strategies most folks employ. However, one constant suggestion that comes up is VPN use.
VPNs have been lauded as a wonderful solution to various internet challenges. However, some people are still skeptical about the lauded efficacy of VPNs.
The skepticism is not misplaced. There are several security solutions suggested online. Unfortunately, not all of them work.
Hence, you are not wrong if you are inquiring whether VPNs are worth the hype.
In this article, we take a close look at VPNs. We will be informing you of all you need to know while also answering the all-important question: is using a VPN worth it?
What Is a VPN?
A VPN (Virtual Private Network) is software designed primarily to enhance users’ privacy. It does this by rerouting your traffic using its servers and further encrypting your network, shielding you from attacks.
To understand how a VPN works, you need to be conversant with how users access the internet. Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) routes your traffic through its servers when you use the internet. It then sends the result of your query back to you.
However, during this process, your data will be visible to anyone interested in accessing your traffic.
A VPN, on the other hand, routes your traffic through its servers. It serves as an intermediary between your ISP servers and you. While rerouting your traffic, two things occur.
The first is that your IP address and location change to reflect the location where the VPN server you are connected to is presently located. Similarly, the VPN service encrypts your network.
Imagine encryption to be like a lock. It is only those who have the encryption keys that can unlock and unravel your network. This keeps you safe from all manner of third-party interference.
Besides that, a VPN serves other wonderful purposes. First, they allow you to access content currently restricted in your location. Second, a VPN offers you a secure channel to transmit files from one location to the other. Finally, a VPN can allow you to manipulate things on the internet.
Hence, you can take advantage of fairer pricing in other locations and prevent your ISP from throttling your internet speed. We will discuss the full benefits of a VPN subsequently.
Benefits of a VPN
In this section, we will itemize some of the benefits you get from using a VPN. You will then come to a conclusion whether a VPN is worth all of the hype or not. Here goes:
The primary job of a VPN is to provide you with stellar security. Hence, a VPN encrypts your internet network. This makes it impossible for anyone online to hack into your service. Thus, even when you use public networks such as your library’s WiFi, you will still be safe. The connection’s admin will not be aware of what you are doing online. Similarly, no one else on the network will be able to target you unfairly.
Geo-restrictions prevent internet users from accessing content outside of specified locations. This is utilized effectively by streaming platforms. For instance, Hulu and ESPN are blocked outside of the United States. Hence, even if you have a current subscription, the sites will be inaccessible to you as long as you are not in the United States.
However, with a VPN, you can switch out your location. You can make it appear as though you are in any location. That way, you will access whatever content you want with no hassles whatsoever.
Bypassing ISP Throttling
Your ISP (Internet Service Provider) could deliberately throttle (that is, lower) your internet speed. This is often when they are trying to discourage you from carrying out data-intensive activities.
For instance, if you are gaming or streaming content online, your ISP could throttle your internet speed.
However, when a VPN encrypts your connection, your ISP becomes momentarily blind. They will be unaware of your online activities and will hence have no reason to target you unfairly.
Taking Advantage of Differential Pricing
Some online vendors and businesses factor in location when setting prices for their goods and services. Hence, the price of a good or service could vary based on location. Thus, it could be cheaper in some places and expensive in others.
A VPN helps you by making you appear to be physically located in whatever location you want. Hence, you can switch your location to where the service or good is cheaper and have the best option available.
How To Decide on the Best VPNs to Use
There are several VPN providers available. How do you sift through the chaff to find the ones that are the real deals? Here are a few factors to bear in mind:
Number of Servers
The number of VPN servers a VPN provider has is very important. This is because you connect to a VPN’s server to change your location and also encrypt your network. Therefore, the ideal provider should have servers in multiple locations.
The beauty of surfing online or streaming content online is speed. You will be frustrated if your network lags. More so, slow speeds could open you to security breaches. Hence, consider the VPN provider’s speed. You can carry out an online speed test to figure this out.
Most people use VPNs to stay safe on the internet. That most likely will be your situation, too. Consider the security features your selected provider has and whether it meets the industry standards. Available features should include the AES 256-bit encryption standard, kill switch, etc.
Some consider this to be the most important factor to consider. Simply put, only go for VPN services you can afford. You may check out price comparisons of different providers to help you make a decision.
Best VPNs to Use
Now that we have answered your question regarding the worth of VPNs, you may be wondering which is the best in the industry.
Find below two formidable VPN considerations for you.
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There are so many things to love about this VPN service. It makes VPN use a breeze and also provides quality services to anyone looking to use a VPN. It is an oldie, same as ExpressVPN, and has come to be loved by fans over the years. Find, below, a few of its wonderful features.
NordVPN has about 5200 servers in 59 countries. This is one of the highest in the VPN industry. You can scarcely find a location where NordVPN does not have a server available. Some of these servers are dubbed specialty servers. They include P2P servers, streaming servers, Double VPN servers, and so on.
This provider also takes security very seriously. It uses the AES 256-bit encryption pattern to secure its servers. It has a kill switch and even allows for split tunneling. NordVPN has its headquarters in Panama. This is important because this region has impeccable privacy rules. In addition, it allows NordVPN to stand by its no-log policy.
You can download and install this VPN regardless of the device you own. In addition, NordVPN allows you to connect 6 devices to one account. You find competitive subscription plans on the service; they are all supported by a 30-day money-back policy.
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ExpressVPN is not called the king of VPNs for nothing. This provider has been around for quite a while now. However, its features hit the mark across the board. You can rest assured that ExpressVPN will come through regardless of the needs you have. We have no qualms recommending this service.
Firstly, it has about 3000 servers in 120 global locations. Getting to the 3000 server mark is an enviable feat. With this wide spread, you can be confident that this VPN will have an available server in your location of choice.
Another benefit of the large server spread is excellent speed. Users hardly complain of lags when they use ExpressVPN. The speed is fast enough to allow you to stream video content on HD and 4k comfortably. This provider is one of the few that can even get around the Great Firewall of China.
On the security front, ExpressVPN also shines. It uses the military-grade AES 256-bit encryption model to secure users’ traffic. It also has a kill switch, allows for split tunneling, and supports impenetrable security protocols. No one will have access to your data except you allow them to.
ExpressVPN has compatible apps for a variety of devices. You can connect 5 devices simultaneously using one account. This provider also has a reliable 30-day money-back guarantee window.
Read more: NordVPN vs ExpressVPN Comparison.
At this point, you should be able to answer whether a VPN is worth it or not. We certainly believe that it does.
Some of the benefits you get using a VPN are unavailable anywhere else.
Even when they are, you cannot get them to the same degree as you would with a VPN. Of course, VPNs have their drawbacks. However, those are negligible.