We are spending an increasing amount of time online, whether that be socializing, working, or shopping. This means that, unfortunately, cybercriminals are ready and waiting to take advantage.
Just think of the personal and financial impact of someone stealing your bank details, or finding your home address. If you ever feel uneasy when entering credit card details online, or when you're sending confidential emails - a VPN can help.
VPNs were once used almost uniquely by businesses to create a secure connection and protect sensitive data and information. But now, they are commonly installed for personal use to protect our online privacy at home.
They act as a preventative measure and protect your devices before cybercriminals have the chance to access your private information. VPNs are simple to install and can provide peace of mind as you browse, shop, and stream at home. If you're thinking of installing one for your home network, you've come to the right place.
What Is a VPN?
This is the ultimate guide after all, so it's best to start at the beginning. VPN stands for Virtual Private Network and allows you to connect your devices to other online servers across the world. Each of your devices will have an Internet Protocol (IP address), which is essentially your digital address.
A VPN changes your IP, giving your online activity anonymity and increased security. It creates a secure connection that masks your location and keeps your browsing private. As well as online security, there are many other benefits of installing a VPN that will help you get the most out of your devices. Read on to find out how a VPN can benefit you and your family at home.
Encrypt Your Data
When we use our laptops, cell phones, or tablets, we are continually receiving and sending data via an online server. When you connect to the internet using a VPN, your information is encrypted.
This means your data is broken down and scrambled, much like a secret code that only your device can understand. Encryption disguises the data and hides its true meaning. A VPN will allow you to send and receive data online, without risk of cybercriminals getting their hands on it, and using it to hack your home network and use your data for their criminal gain.
Working from Home
VPNs have been used by businesses for many years to protect their private information and keep their business transactions secure. Now, businesses of all sizes are benefiting from the security of a VPN.
If you run your business from home, a VPN is essential to keep your work safe and secure. It will protect the integrity of the information that is kept on your business' servers. A data breach can be harmful to both the legitimacy and reputation of a company. Installing a VPN is a quick and easy solution to any cybercrime induced anxiety.
VPNs are beneficial for remote workers, those that work from home, or if you travel for business often. As you can use a VPN to access a business server from anywhere in the world, meaning you can be more productive and keep yourself up to date.
Improve Your Gaming Experience
If you or someone you live with is a confessed gamer, a VPN can add so much more to your gaming experience. For starters, there's the improved speed that we've already mentioned. If you regularly experience lag, or games download slowly, it can be because your ISP is slowing your bandwidth.
Online gameplay can use a high amount of data, but a VPN will disguise the fact that you're playing a game, so your ISP won't be aware of what you're doing.
By connecting to other servers, you can access video games that are banned in your country. You can also download new games early, by connecting to a server in the country where it is first released before it is available worldwide.
VPNs are also great for protecting against a DDoS (distributed denial-of-service) attacks – a gamer’s worst nightmare. Your server can be forced offline by hackers, and your location and personal data can then be vulnerable to online attacks.
In some cases, this information has been used to track down homes; this is known as swatting. A VPN will change your IP address, so your real location is always hidden.
If you regularly download content or files from a torrent website, a VPN can increase the speed of your downloads. The rules regarding downloading files such as music, videos, and software, is indeed a gray area, and the legal side of things differs in each country.
A VPN will mask your actual location, and allow you to connect to servers all over the world. Torrenting without a VPN can expose your activity to your ISP and could land you in trouble. A VPN will reroute your internet traffic through an encrypted online server, so your location is private.
If you need a simple way to secure your downloads, we tested CyberGhost and in our opinion it provides a reliable VPN for torrenting and online protection. The VPN will protect your anonymity online and give you lightning-fast download speeds.
Faster Browsing Speeds
Waiting for a website to load can be very time consuming, as well as frustrating and counterproductive. You may think you're paying for a specific download speed from your ISP, but this isn't always the case. Your ISP can intentionally slow down your bandwidth speed when it senses apps or content are being used that require a high amount of data.
This is called 'Data Throttling.' A VPN will keep your internet speeds high at all times of the day by encrypting your internet traffic. This means your ISP cannot see the content you are accessing or how your data is being used, so you can't reduce the bandwidth—therefore reducing the frustration of sluggish internet connections.
Keep Your Browsing Private
If you log onto public Wi-Fi at restaurants or coffee shops, you could be exposing your data to scammers and hackers who use these servers to access your unsecured data. These hot spots often have little or no security, meaning your information is at risk.
You may think your home network is secure, but your internet service provider can spy on your browsing activity and can store or even sell this data to marketing or advertising companies. A VPN will hide your activity from your ISP, so it cannot collect your information.
If you are using your laptop or cell phone to read or send emails, browse online, or make purchases, cybercriminals can see everything you are doing. A VPN will make your online activities private, so you can browse with confidence, knowing your personal details are safe.
Stream Worldwide Content
Like restricted gaming content, have you ever wanted to watch a film or TV series, only to find it isn't available in your region?
A VPN will give you access to geo-blocked streaming services from around the world. Connect to a server in the country that has the content you want, and log in to watch your favorite shows and movies.
Streaming services like Netflix, Amazon, and BBC iPlayer can be made available to you when you have a VPN, so you don't have to miss out on any of the most popular shows. This is particularly useful if you're traveling or live in a country that bans certain TV shows or films.
While it's true a good quality VPN provider will charge for a subscription, it's usually only a few dollars a month. Installing a VPN can save you money in so many other ways. Not only can you access content from all over the world that you would have otherwise paid for, but you can also take advantage of the varying prices of products and services around the world.
Many websites will display different prices, depending on which country you are purchasing from. For example, purchasing a product in the UK could be cheaper than in the US.
You can also use a VPN to find the cheapest flights and hotel rooms when booking your next vacation. A VPN will allow you to research the varying costs of what you're looking for, so you can ensure you're getting the best price.
Access Blocked Websites
Installing a VPN can give you access to restricted content from all over the world. It provides you with the online freedom you need so that you can use the internet without limits. If you live in a country that enforces internet censorship, a VPN can help to bypass these restrictions and give you access to content that is not available in your country.
If you want your online privacy to remain genuinely private, a VPN is the best way to protect yourself at home.