Privacy invasions and personal data leaks have become one of the biggest problems of the decade as internet usage increases rapidly. Fortunately, there’s an easy and straightforward way to protect yourself and keep your data secure! A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, encrypts your personal data and masks your IP address, making it impossible to track your location and browsing history. You can scroll through countless websites and surf the web as much as you’d like with complete anonymity! However, like all other things, VPNs have their fair share of cons.
On one hand, VPNs protect your privacy. On the other hand, they can slow down your internet speed! So, how do you decide whether to use one or not? We’ve covered all the pros and cons of a VPN in this article, making it easy for you to make the right decision for yourself.
What is a VPN?
Before getting into the pros and cons of a VPN, let’s discuss what exactly VPN is!
For starters, a VPN stands for “Virtual Private Network” allows two machines to have an encrypted private connection. When you connect to one, your PC or other devices connect to another computer, and this other computer is called a server. Now, when browsing the internet, your device will use the server’s information rather than its true network information. So, any site that tracks user data will only see the VPN server’s information instead of your device’s private information!
To sum it up, a VPN gives you a personal private and secure internal tunnel. It encrypts the network connection to protect your data from interception, censorship, and eavesdropping!
So why exactly are VPNs necessary? Well, their most important function is security! It obscures your traffic data while spoofing your location, making it impossible for any site to track you.
Pros and Cons of a VPN
Now that you’re familiar with a VPN’s function let’s discuss its pros and cons!
Pros of a VPN
Here are all the benefits of using a VPN when surfing the internet.
1. Prevent Data Abuse
Using non-VPN-protected networks makes you vulnerable to data abuse, as your ISP, as well as skilled hackers, can easily access your private data. They can even obtain your browsing history and account passwords.
However, by connecting to a VPN, you can change your IP address and prevent sites from tracking you and getting your personal information.
Moreover, the VPN will encrypt your data and make it practically indecipherable. So, if third parties like hackers try to gain access to your information, they won’t be able to decipher it.
2. Protection When Using Public Wi-Fi Networks
While public Wi-fi may seem like a lifesaver, it can be extremely dangerous to your privacy and potentially cause a lot of trouble.
Public Wi-Fi networks make you vulnerable to man-in-the-middle attacks. This type of attack occurs when cybercriminals intercept private data and use it for their benefit. An example is criminals creating public malicious Wi-Fi hotspots that hijack your data. Once you connect to them, the attacker can intercept your traffic and track payment details and personal information.
Fortunately, you can avoid getting your data misused when using public Wi-Fi networks. Simply connect to a VPN, and it will encrypt your data, preventing attackers from understanding and exploiting it.
3. Preventing ISP Tracking
While you may consider skipping using a VPN at home, it is extremely important. Although the risk of malicious attacks and misuse of data is comparatively low with private networks, there is always a small chance that something unfortunate may happen. Your ISP can sell your information to marketing companies or to authorities under legal pressure.
Using a VPN will eliminate this problem completely and prevent your ISP from tracking your data.
4. Access Blocked Sites
Sometimes, you may want to visit certain websites that are blocked. Your IP address can send signals to websites and prevent them from granting you access. This website blocking often occurs due to website and governmental policies. For example, some US websites can not be accessed by those living abroad. This can be quite annoying, especially if you want to access a website for work or research purposes.
Thankfully, VPNs can successfully help you in accessing blocked sites.
Below are a few access issues you can resolve with a good VPN.
- Websites blocked due to work and school restrictions.
- Region-based website blocks
- Mass censorship by the government
5. Subsidized Shopping and Travelling
VPN’s have a geo-location-shifting feature that can help you save hundreds of dollars!
Unfortunately, a lot of price discrimination occurs in our society. Although they can be unfair, they are completely legal. For example, some brands may charge a higher price for the same product or service when purchasing from different countries. VPNs allow you to get around this location-based online price difference! By connecting to one, you can change your geo-location and buy the same product for a lesser price!
The same applies to travelling! Airline companies often hike up or decrease prices based on the location that the flights are booked from. For example, using an American IP address will often hike up the prices and end up paying a lot more than you would if you purchased the tickets from Europe!
As an example, let’s consider that you live in Europe and want to watch a show that is only available on US Netflix accounts. So, the only way you can enjoy the show is by using a VPN to change your server, tricking Netflix into believing that you live in the States!
You can also use VPNs to trick other similar platforms like Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney+.
So, if you are someone that travels often and loves to binge-watch shows, just invest in a good VPN that offers numerous server options and can unblock streaming sites.
Cons of a VPN
Like all good things, VPNs aren’t perfect too! They have their own set of cons which are discussed below.
1. Slower Connection Speed
VPN encryption protocols take time to proceed, reducing your internet speed. Additionally, connecting to servers that are far away from your current location can make data passage take more time. So, be prepared to sacrifice your streaming and surfing speed when using a VPN. The issue mainly arises when using free or poor-quality VPNs. However, by investing in a reputable VPN service, you can solve the issue and protect your data without compromising your connection speed.
2. Unstable Connections
It is quite normal for your device’s connection to the VPN to drop. The moment the connection drops, your defences also drop. So, your IP address and personal data can be exposed to malicious third parties!
Fortunately, reputable VPN services use a kill switch that prevents unstable connections. This switch automatically drops your internet connection when your VPN connection drops.
3. Unreliable Logging Policies
Most VPN services claim that they have a “no log” policy, ensuring that they do not save any of the user’s information. While some VPNs do follow this policy, some do not stay true to their word and may save your personal data, including your browsing history!
So, when selecting a VPN service for yourself, it is essential to read through its privacy policies and fact-check with its customer service.
4. VPNs May Not Provide 100% Protection
Although we wish VPNs were perfect, they really aren’t! They have certain limitations which make it impossible to provide 100 percent protection.
A VPN on its own is not a perfect magical shield, and it can not keep you safe from tracking cookies, insecure HTTP connections, and malware.
The limitations of a VPN depend on its quality of service. A poor-quality one offers loose protection. Unfortunately, most free ones are of this nature. On the other hand, reputable VPNs offer much better protection for only a few dollars a month! They are much more secure and offer amazing features that make them well worth your money.
Additionally, some countries completely or partially ban VPN use! In such countries, your VPN can’t offer 100 percent protection! The list of countries that legally limit VPN use includes,
- Saudi Arabia
- The United Arab Emirates
- North Korea
VPNs come with several benefits and cons. However, in our opinion, their benefits greatly outweigh their disadvantages. So, we recommend everyone to invest in a good and reputable VPN to protect their privacy online and get the ability to avoid geo-blocks! You can also use them to stream your favourite shows and save some money while travelling or shopping!
Frequently Asked Questions
Should I Invest In A VPN?
Paid VPNs come with better speeds, advanced features, excellent encryption, and around-the-clock support. They are able to bypass most of the cons of using VPNs like incomplete protection and dropped connections. They also have unlimited bandwidth and numerous servers, allowing you to change your geo-location to any country of your choice! On the other hand, free VPNs have low speeds and poor encryption. Their only benefit often is that they are free! They don’t protect your data perfectly, and you are still at risk of data breaches when using them. So, it is definitely worthwhile to invest in a VPN. Just make sure to do your research and find the best pick for your budget.
Is There A Downside To Using A VPN?
Unfortunately, VPNs come with a few cons, including reducing connection speeds and connection drops. They may have shady privacy policies allowing them to track your private information and offer poor protection. However, with a good VPN service, you can bypass most of these issues and enjoy using a VPN that is almost perfect!
What Are The Pros And Cons Of VPN On Router?
Using a VPN on your router has several benefits. You can simultaneously protect all the devices that are connected to it with a single subscription! You can even protect your Smart TV, gaming consoles, and activity trackers! VPN routers will encrypt all your traffic, regardless of where it comes from, allowing you to maintain complete anonymity online. Additionally, it is more time-saving as you won’t have to set up a vpn on each device individually. The cons of connecting your router to a VPN is the tricky set up, which can take quite some while to figure out. Moreover, not all routers support VPN connections, and you may have to buy a new router that is compatible with your VPN.
What Is The Best VPN Of 2023 For iPhone?
Surfshark is our top pick for VPNs for iPhones. This VPN service is priced at only $13 a month and boosts several spectacular privacy and security features. Its easy-to-use interface combined with its expansive global network and low price makes it the perfect fit for all your VPN needs. Some of our favourite Surfshark features include DNS leak protection, camouflage mode (allows you to hide the fact that you are using a VPN), multihop VPN connections, and NoBorders mode (which allows you to use the VPN in areas where they are restricted).
What Is The Best VPN Of 2023 For Andriod?
ExpressVPN has been the best VPN available in the market since 2009! This VPN platform comes out with excellent updates every year to maintain its position at the top. Priced at only $6.67/month, ExpressVPN features 256-bit encrypted, zero-knowledge, and private DNS. This safety feature exists on all its servers. With such spectacular protection, it is almost impossible for even the most skilled hackers to access your private information! Furthermore, the VPN service offers 3000 servers and supports up to five devices! So, for only $6.67 a month, you can protect five of your devices from malicious attacks.