Aug 14, 2020, 9:47 am1.4k pts
Virtual private networks (VPNs) are an increasingly popular product, which is little surprise when considering the various benefits that they offer internet users. From helping protect against hacks and malware attacks to keeping all internet browsing completely anonymous, a VPN is an invaluable product for people that want to remain safe and secure online.
What is a VPN?
A virtual private network (VPN) is digital service that lets users access the internet through a private network that connects to their device. You connect to the VPN service, which then encrypts all your data before sending it through a secure tunnel to the VPN's private servers.
This helps to hide your IP address and all other browsing data, making you completely secure and anonymous from any device. These are especially important when browsing on public networks, where your security and data is at higher risk.
Why Use a VPN?
There are many reasons to use a VPN:
A VPN encrypts all your internet data to make it secure from malware and hacking attempts. Certain networks - such as a public Wi-Fi service - have very few security measures in place, so anyone using this is at greater risk of data theft. A VPN avoids all problems by offering the upmost protection when browsing the internet.
The importance of online privacy is becoming more apparent, with many people wanting to maintain complete privacy when using the internet.
This is one of the biggest motivators for VPN users, with 31% stating anonymous browsing as their main reason for using the service, while 18% said hiding activity from the government was their main motivation for using a VPN.
A VPN prevents individuals or even the government from monitoring your internet browsing by encrypting your IP address so nobody knows who is browsing or where they are browsing from, this can be useful if you wish to hide certain activity, or just keep it private for peace of mind. Many online casinos users that use sites like Gamblem.com/uk/ opt to hide their IP using a VPN for their own data privacy reasons . You can connect to servers around the world and browse with complete anonymity with a VPN.
Access to Restricted Content
Because a VPN connects you to private servers around the globe, you can use the service to get access to restricted content. For example, if you live in the UK and want to watch US Netflix or watch Hulu, then using a VPN that is connected to a US-based server lets you do so.
Your browsing is completely hidden, so the website simply believes you are browsing from the stated location rather than were you actually are based. It's a simple solution to watching and reading region-locked content across the world.
Funnily enough, most VPN users cite access to better entertainment as their biggest reasons for using the service - 50% said it was their main motivation behind using the product! 34% said that access to social media or news services was the main motivator behind using a VPN.
So, the fact that 25% of all internet users have used a VPN in the past shouldn't be too surprising - the fact more people aren't using such a product is possibly the biggest surprise!
VPNs are highly versatile too, with internet users that have a VPN using them mostly on laptops (17%) and tablets (15%), with phone use less prevalent (7%)
Will My Internet Be Faster When Connected to a VPN?
It was once accepted that a VPN could not improve your internet connection. As a private network you don't have access to any faster access, rather you simply remain secure and anonymous as you browse the internet. That was until recently!
What is Throttling?
Throttling has become a huge issue in many countries, which is when an internet service provider purposefully slows down a customer's internet speed.
This may seem highly unethical - which it is - but IPSs can now legally throttle in many countries (including the USA) causing slower internet speeds for countless people.
Many are now dealing with slow load times and endless buffering on websites such as Netflix and YouTube as a result of throttling. The reason this occurs is so that the customer is more inclined to buy a better internet package from their IPS. Coincidentally, these packages are always more expensive!
Can a VPN Prevent Throttling?
It depends on your location and the laws regarding throttling in your country. For most people, a VPN does not prevent throttling because there is no throttling taking place. Internet speeds are not restricted by an IPS, leaving customers to choose the best packages based purely on merit.
However, those that are on the receiving end of bandwidth throttling can use a VPN to overcome the problem. A VPN hides your location even from your ISP, encrypting all your data when it is sent to the VPN, meaning your ISP has no idea you're using one.
Because your browsing is being completely masked online and your location is based from any number of private servers around the world, there is no way for your internet service provider to access the data between your computer and the internet. They need this data to throttle, so by hiding it you ensure that throttling doesn't occur and your internet speeds are as they should be.
How Can I Tell if my Internet is Being Throttled?
You may already have a session that something isn't right with your internet speeds. For example, have websites taken longer to load? Videos longer to buffer? Are there sharp and sudden drops in internet speeds over recent weeks or months?
If any of these are occurring there is a good chance your internet is being throttled. Sometimes it is difficult to determine, so look for patterns such as certain websites taking a notable dip in speed.
However, if your internet has always been slow then a VPN will not make your internet faster. This means that simply connecting to a VPN does not mean quicker internet speeds - it's only going to make a difference when throttling occurs.
While this may be a drawback for some, remember that all the other benefits you get from using a VPN make it well worth the investment!