By now, we all should be using a VPN. Browsing the internet without access to a virtual private network means that your personal information can be easily accessed by everyone from online criminals to government organizations. In an age where privacy is highly valuable, this should be a concerning state of affairs for all of us.
Fortunately, there is a wide range of VPN services available that can be easily accessed via a simple internet download. However, you may not know that your VPN has a wide range of uses outside of simply protecting your browsing history. Continue reading to discover 8 unique uses for your VPN.
1. Use public Wi-Fi networks without fear
Public Wi-Fi networks can be a blessing should we find ourselves in a public setting with no access to cellular data. Unfortunately, they are also a haven for cybercriminals due to their lax security protocols.
Public Wi-Fi networks are completely unsecured and unencrypted. This means that anyone can monitor the network and access your data — including banking passwords, social media logins, and messages you send and receive.
If you have a VPN pre-installed onto your phone, you can access these networks without fear of losing your personal information.
2. Bypass internet settings
If you access the internet via a work or university network, you might find that some websites are blocked. This can be particularly annoying if you need to access a certain site for research or work-related purposes.
Using a VPN means you can bypass these settings without having to contact your IT manager to request permission. Be sure to check that using a VPN is allowed in your work or educational setting before doing so.
3. Hide internet traffic
There is nothing more important than our privacy. Unfortunately, we give some of this privacy up when we choose to access the world wide web.
It doesn’t have to be this way. By using a VPN, you can hide your online activities from your internet service provider. This means that your personal information stays private and you are less likely to be bombarded with targeted ads.
4. Circumvent geolocation restrictions
How does a VPN work? By connecting you to a server located in a different country. This not only makes it appear as if you are in that location, but can actually enable you to access content outside your own geographic location.
A good example of this is Netflix. Australian Netflix and American Netflix are actually completely different platforms, with different streaming offerings. If you are located in Australia but want to watch a show that is only available on American Netflix, you can log onto a VPN with a server in the U.S.
Be sure to check that using a VPN is legal both in your own country and the country where your server is located.
5. Avoid bandwidth throttling
Bandwidth throttling is a practice undertaken by Internet Service Providers to deliberately slow down a person’s internet service. This is typically used in situations where a lot of people are trying to use the internet at the same time, and the Internet Service Provider cannot cope.
When you connect to a VPN, your Internet Service Provider cannot track your online activities. That means that they don’t know how much data you are using and cannot slow your connection down.
6. Remote access
Thanks to the coronavirus, more of us than ever are spending time working from home. This can make some tasks difficult, particularly if you realize that important information is on a server at work.
A VPN can provide remote access to these servers, protecting your data from those who have no business viewing it but making it easily accessible to you.
7. Avoid targeted advertising
There are times when we might find targeted advertising useful. There are other times when it seems downright intrusive.
By using a VPN, Google and other online search engines cannot track your data. This prevents them from obtaining personal information — such as your favorite clothing brands — that can be used by third parties for targeted advertising purposes.
8. Cheaper flights
Not many of us are flying at the moment. But hopefully, soon we will be taking to the skies — with the cheapest flights possible.
It’s a well-known fact that airlines monitor your internet traffic to check what you are searching, and when and where you are thinking of flying. They then increase the prices on flights that you might be interested in.
This can be circumvented by connecting to the internet via a VPN, blocking airlines from having any knowledge of your plans.
There you have it! 8 unique uses for your VPN. Just be sure to pick your VPN provider carefully. Not all are created equally — least of all free VPNs, which should definitely be avoided at all costs. Opt for a reputable brand that will take your internet security seriously.
Bridget is a writer and editor, currently living in Melbourne. She is a copywriter for Newpath Web and loves working with words of all shapes and sizes. When not playing around with punctuation and grammar, she enjoys traveling and curating her Spotify playlists.