Do You Trust Your VPN?
If you’re using a VPN for privacy or security, it’s essential that you use a trustworthy VPN. Any VPN provider can make big privacy claims on their websites, but you should verify that the VPN you choose has been audited or verified by an independent third-party. Many VPNs have started publishing “transparency reports”. The documents disclose how many DMCA complaints, malware flags, or law enforcement requests the VPN provider receives, statistics about usage and infrastructure, and other privacy-related information.
For a tool that can monitor all of your internet activity, the most important features are trust and transparency. A malicious VPN could potentially steal private information about your identity, your financial status, and other identifying data.
About VPN Affiliates
One of the reasons that VPNs are so widely promoted is that many of them offer extremely profitable affiliate programs. Other websites can promote VPNs and any time someone signs up and pays for that VPN, the website (or affiliate) gets a percentage of that sale. These programs often influence reviewers to only include positive aspects of the VPNs they review. Before you decide on a particular VPN, you should check multiple sources and verify that you aren’t only reading affiliate sites.
Using a VPN for Network Security
VPNs are useful for securing a public, non-secure WiFi network. If you’re in a coffee shop on their public network and you have no idea what level of security that network uses, a VPN can prevent other users on that network from monitoring your browsing activity. A VPN basically keeps your internet activity in an encrypted “tunnel” so that only you and the websites you visit can see what you’re doing.
VPNs for Accessing Geo-Specific Content
One of the more common uses for VPNs is accessing content that is restricted to certain locations. For example, if you want to watch Mexican Netflix, you have to have an IP address in Mexico. VPNs let you connect to server endpoints in tons of locations, so you can easily stream this content. You may notice that your connection is slightly slower because of the VPN connection, but most leading VPNs have developed decent download speeds.
Read More: The Fastest VPNs for 2019
How To Bypass Content Blocking with VPNs
When browsing at school or at work, you may run into some content blocking. One way to get around these blocks is with a VPN. The content filters that apply to your local IP address won’t apply to the VPN traffic. If you’re connected with a shared computer, you may be restricted from installing new software on the device. You typically have to install a VPN program on your computer before connecting to the network, so this could be a barrier to getting around any content filters that are in place.
Biggest Myths About VPNs
There are plenty of myths about VPNs floating around on the internet. Many of these myths get passed along by affiliate sites whose main goal is to sell VPNs to maximize their profits. There are a few of the common myths we’ve heard about VPNs.
VPNs Are Only for Paranoid Internet Users [False]
Virtual private networks can sound like a complex, high tech tool that only super tech-savvy or paranoid people use. The truth is that privacy is important for everyone, even someone wanting to keep their address confidential online. Obviously, everyone has different comfort levels when it comes to sharing information on the internet. VPNs can help prevent people from accessing your private information and keep websites from tracking your physical location.
VPNs Keep You 100% Private [False]
People often claim that with a VPN, you don’t need to be concerned with your privacy at all. Websites may claim that a certain VPN will keep you totally anonymous, but that simply isn’t possible. A VPN is only effective if combined with some common sense and other privacy-focused tools. If you’re logged in to any website or online account, that site can link your activity to your profile, regardless of if you’re connected to the web via VPN.
All VPNs Are Pretty Much The Same [False]
There are hundreds of VPNs available for purchase online. It can be difficult to weed through the marketing and features for each VPN. When it comes to privacy and security, no VPN is the same. One provider may collect no logs whatsoever, while the next may only collect logs of how much data you use, and then finally the last may collect information about every web request you make. When choosing a VPN, you should make sure that the one you choose fits your exact needs, because there are VPNs with nearly every feature set.
Read More: The Best VPNs for Privacy in 2019