If you want to encrypt your internet connection and keep it safe and away from spying, tracking or worse hacking! There’s a great tool you can utilize known as a VPN or Virtual Private Network. In this article, we’ll be talking about the top 5 reasons why you need a VPN. And for this, I will be using the NordVPN service.
NordVPN is an excellent service because basically, it is more user-friendly than most other VPNs, it has a simple elegance. It also has some pretty unique features. I have never come across another VPN that offers specialist features like anti-DoS servers, double VPN servers, and supports peer-to-peer servers and torrenting software and sites.
A VPN has many benefits, the first benefit you will get from using a VPN is privacy. This is because when you are connecting via a VPN, they hide your real IP address from websites as they see only the IP address of the VPN server you're connected to. And because there are hundreds of thousands of people using the server at the same time as you, you become effectively anonymous.
if you want to switch IPs, it is as easy as selecting a new server and you will instantly get a new IP address. It doesn’t matter if it’s from another country; it keeps showing a different IP every time you pick a server location. In the image below, you can see that we can select any of the available server locations from Nord VPN, and whichever one we select is our IP address.
This is the way it works; anytime you try to connect, your connection is encrypted and sent to the Nord VPN servers, and then another connection is made at the other end to a website you searched for. We often describe this as a tunnel and metaphorically you can think of this as a tunnel with two secured ends.
Regarding privacy, this means it will also be impossible for search engines and other websites to continue to track your online behavior. If you are on a school, college or work network any systems admins won’t be aware of your searches and cannot spy on you to see what you’re doing.
This brings up another valuable point I want to make, which is that you should ensure the VPN service you are using does not keep logs. Because if they keep logs, third parties could show up one day and get all your browsing information and data through those logs. This could be the government, big corporations, or worse. NordVPN does not keep logs, and that for me is a game changer.
Secondly, another common situation where you need a VPN is when you are connecting to any open public Wi-Fi hotspot.
If you are not aware, open, or free Wi-Fi hotspots don’t have a password for connections, and they don’t encrypt the data being sent between your device and the hotspot. So, unless you’re visiting websites that useHTTPS, you are broadcasting everything you’re doing for anyone to see, hear or record. There is even a thing called ‘Malicious Hot spotting’ where people set up fake hotspots with similar names to the venue.
Like I said earlier, when you connect through a VPN, it encrypts everything before it even leaves your computer. So, it doesn’t matter at all if you’re using an open Wi-Fi hotspot because the connection is secure and any hacker trying to access your phone would just be sent to the NordVPN server your connected to.
Nord VPN has a great app you can use on iOS and Android phones along with the Windows and Mac iOS programs. And it’s all the exact same process as using Nord VPN on your laptop or desktop.
You just select a server, connect to it, and your data is secure whether you’re on Wi-Fi or cellular roaming. To confirm your phone is connected to a VPN, you will see a VPN icon at the top on iOS, and on Android, you’ll notice a small key icon at the top. I’m sure some of you out there will find it useful just to use it on your phone, especially if you don’t carry a laptop around with you.
The third scenario for using a VPN is something I’m sure many of us can relate to; a VPN will allow you to bypass web filters that have been put in place at your place of work, school, or university. Those filters are a nightmare, especially when you have a good reason to look something up and the sites blocked for some bizarre reason! All you must do is just connect to another Nord VPN server and you’ll instantly have full access to YouTube, Facebook, or whatever site you’re after.
If you lived in China where censorship was extremely strict a VPN would enable you to bypass the countrywide internet censorship. This might be the only way for some people in countries of strict censorship to access the internet uncensored and unfiltered. Speaking of filters, an interesting feature of Nord VPN is called Cybersec, which helps to filter out malicious and dangerous sites you might come across by accident while searching terms. Even though it is an optional feature, I think it’s worth it and to just leave it on to be on to be safe, not sorry.
The fourth reason for using a VPN is it allows you to bypass location-based media restrictions, opening up so many streaming options.
For instance, how many times have you wanted to watch a YouTube video, and it says:
“Video isn't available in my country/region. Some YouTube videos may not be available in your country/region because: Video owners have made their content available only to certain countries/regions (usually because of licensing rights) YouTube may block specific content to comply with local laws.”
For me, while I research stuff from all over the world, I would see these blocks all the time and the same goes for Netflix, which has movies and shows that are only available to stream in certain countries.
Now I really don’t think Netflix and YouTube would like it if they were to know I actually bypassed restrictions. But it is pretty easy to do. All you need to do is select a VPN server in a country where the website will allow you to view the content and as you can see on the Nord VPN software, you can either click on a country and it automatically selects a server for you, or you scroll through a list of countries and select an individual server from the tons of options. There are thousands to choose from. When you’re connected to a country’s server, you’ll have an IP from that country, and it will appear to anyone as if you’re there at that server's location. It’s very convenient and easy to use, nothing to over complicated considering all the options and features.
A fifth reason why you’d want to subscribe to a VPN is due to throttling by your Internet Service Provider (ISP). Not all of them do this, but there are lots of ISPs that will limit your connection speed based on the programs or services you’re using at the time. One thing you can do is Google the name of your Internet Service Provider with throttling, and you might discover your ISP is throttling you.
Using your VPN, it encrypts all your data via the same encryption tunnel we spoke of, so your ISP does not understand what you are doing at any time so they cannot throttle anything. Another irritating thing about ISPs is they block certain sites and don’t allow peer 2 peer like torrents, again NordVPN is one of those that allow it. NordVPn even have specialty services that connect you to peer 2 peer using special optimizations. There are anti-dos servers which are resistant to denial of service attacks and are great for a smooth and uninterrupted connection. Then we have the double VPN servers which are interesting themselves. They actually encrypt your connection twice through multiple server nodes. This is an almost impenetrable level of encryption for your data.
There is another unique server known as the Onion over VPN, which can access the so-called onion router network or Tor without needing to download the Tor browser. If you’re not familiar with Tor, unfortunately it’s outside the scope of this article, but it offers a very secure way of connecting to the internet but requires a significant amount of time to set it up correctly and this makes it easy.
So, obviously, there are tons of uses for a VPN that you might not have known about before. And these were just five big uses that are handy to know. Like I said earlier, it’s easy to use, even if you’ve never used a VPN before, but it also has features for advanced users. For instance, if you wish to connect through the open VPN protocol or others, you can do that. You can even pay with Bitcoins now. Then there’s the Automatic Kill-Switch option will end the connection if the coverage of the VPN drops. This prevents Kill-Switch protects your real IP from becoming accidentally exposed if the VPN coverage dropped for any reason.