Though VPNs have long been in the global market of cybersecurity tools, nowadays they’ve become increasingly popular.
With the rapid growth of cybercrime rates and government surveillance programs, a virtual private network has become an indispensable tool for all privacy-conscious and security-oriented individuals.
But, aside from strengthening your privacy and security, a VPN can do a lot more.
For example, it allows you to defeat online censorship, stream your favorite media without geo-restrictions and speed limits, stop ISP throttling, or even save on flight tickets.
That’s, of course, only a small part of what VPN services are capable of.
How A VPN works
To all those who are still not sure what a VPN is, we would like to give a quick overview of how the technology works.
Each time when you connect to the web, you send your Internet traffic through unprotected servers of your Internet Service Provider.
What this means is that your ISP is constantly keeping tabs on what you do online by analyzing your web traffic and collecting your Internet activity logs.
In some countries, ISPs also reserve the right to pass your personal information to the government authorities or sell it to third parties.
So, if you’ve ever questioned yourself why those pesky ads are chasing you all over the Internet, chances are your shopping logs were sold to marketers.
And while this itself already is a blatant violation of your privacy, let’s not forget the fact that your unencrypted Internet traffic is exposed to cyberattacks and can be easily intercepted by hackers.
Without proper protection, online thieves can effortlessly get their hands on your credit card details, account credentials, passwords, and other valuable information that you store with your device.
That is why more and more people throughout the world start using VPNs to secure their sensitive data.
A VPN hides your IP and sends your online traffic through a secure, encrypted tunnel, preventing anyone from spying on your Internet connection.
It protects you from hackers, snoopers, intrusive advertisers or anyone else who wants to capitalize on your confidential information.
A VPN can also be utilized for other purposes you might not know.
Here is our list of 10 interesting things to do with a VPN in 2020.
Things You Can Do With A VPN
Avoid ISP logging & monitoring
We’ve already mentioned that your ISP provider can analyze and collect your activity logs.
But apart from that, it can also track your IP address and as a result, gather even more information about your identity.
The years of net neutrality have come to an end, and currently, nothing holds your ISP from sharing your data with literally anyone... unless you browse the web on a VPN connection.
With a VPN, your IP address is first sent to secure servers of your VPN provider.
Those servers are scattered all across the globe, making it almost impossible for your ISP to determine your physical location or reveal your real identity.
In addition to that, a VPN ciphers all your online traffic, protecting your delicate data from being read or collected.
These days some of the highest levels of data encryption can be achieved with AES-256 technology, so you’d definitely want to stick with a VPN provider offering it.
Fight off hackers
Cybercriminals are lurking in all corners of the Internet, looking to take advantage of users with insecure Internet connections.
By tracking your IP address, hackers can gather a lot of information about your online habits and identify opportunities to initiate an attack.
Then, they’ll just need to exploit the vulnerabilities of your connection and extract all the sensitive data from your device.
However, let’s assume for a while that you use a VPN at all times.
In this case, it becomes much complicated or even impossible to hack you.
A VPN encodes all the data that you transmit so that no one could decipher your sensitive information.
It also masks your real IP address and identity, thereby keeping you under the hackers’ radar.
Bypass online restrictions
Seasoned travelers and people who reside in heavily-censored countries often use a VPN to bypass Internet censorship and geo-restrictions.
With the help of a VPN, getting to your favorite content is really easy.
To be able to access your favorite content, all you need is to connect to a VPN server located in your home country or a country that is free of specific restrictions.
A good VPN service provider will grant you access to a network of hundreds or even thousands of VPN servers scattered all around the world, so you’ll be able to surf the Internet freely from any corner of the globe.
Use public WiFi safely
People love to use public Wi-Fi, but often they are not aware of the fact that free Wi-Fi networks are very unsafe and all the traffic that goes through them can be easily picked up by thieves.
Now, you have to realize that public Wi-Fi is quite different from the WiFi that you have at your house.
For example, when you’re logging into your email or social media account at home, your router uses a built-in firewall to encrypt your sensitive data and keep it protected.
However, routers that share public Wi-Fi do not provide any encryption and can be exploited by anybody.
Therefore, it is always wise to encrypt your traffic with a VPN each time you connect to public WiFi.
The VPN-encrypted data simply doesn’t carry any value for hackers as it can’t be deciphered even if it was intercepted.
Save money while shopping online + buy cheaper tickets
When you’re shopping online, some websites adjust their pricing based on the region they are being accessed from.
Sometimes the difference between prices in different regions is so huge that in your country of residence the cost of the same product or service may be twice as high.
With a VPN, you can avoid overpaying by connecting to a VPN server in a low-income country.
By doing that, you’ll appear to be shopping from that specific country, and you will see a significant drop in prices for products, services, flight tickets, etc.
Therefore, using a VPN might be a great way to make online shopping fair and affordable.
Use streaming services comfortably
If you’ve ever experienced sudden speed drops while enjoying your favorite TV-series on Netflix or any other streaming channel, you know how disappointing it feels.
The reason why this happens is the following: your ISP cuts your connection speed (it's called traffic-shaping) to prevent excessive bandwidth usage that traffic-demanding services may cause.
Fortunately, you can change this by using a VPN.
A VPN allows you to avoid being throttled and watch your desired content without long buffering times.
On top of that, it lets you bypass geo-restrictions that some streaming platforms try to impose.
Download and upload files securely
While you have a VPN running no one can see your exact location.
This may be particularly helpful when you want to download and upload files securely.
No matter if you’re used to sharing files in a usual manner or by using a P2P network, a VPN will help you do this without leaving a trace.
As a result, you will be confident that your privacy is protected and there is no Big Brother watching your every step.
Keep your communication private
Social media accounts contain a lot of information about us, including intimate content of our private chats.
Unfortunately, these days cracking a social media account is not a big deal, which means the details of our private life can be passed to publicity.
One thing you can do to not let hackers take a peek at your chats is to use a VPN.
With it, you can use social media as much as you want without worrying that your private information may be open to masses.
Prevent VOIP eavesdropping
Sometimes cybercriminals are going so far that they even eavesdrop on your VOIP connection.
If you don’t know what VOIP is, here is the explanation: VOIP is a communication protocol that is used to transfer your voice over the Internet, and it’s utilized by all popular services like Skype or Discord.
While, of course, eavesdropping on your Skype call is not easy, it’s certainly not impossible, especially if you don’t take any protective measures.
With a VPN, you can minimize the risks of being eavesdropped and add some extra privacy to your calls.
Get rid of annoying ads
Currently, there is no better place for aggressive marketing than the Internet.
By tracking your IP address and injecting third party cookies into your browser, advertisers try to sell you as many products as possible, even if you have no plans to buy them.
To do that, they send you tons of completely irrelevant and annoying ads, some of which can’t even be skipped.
However, you still can outsmart those nosy advertisers by using a VPN.
By turning a VPN on, you can hide your IP address and make yourself completely untraceable, leaving no option for marketers to spam you with targeted ads.