When to use a vpn

When To Use A VPN: The Ultimate Guide

Ultimately, the decision about whether you want to use a VPN or not depends entirely on you. In a world where the risk of cyber threats is so prevalent, using a VPN is an important step toward better security. You simply have to ensure you are using the right VPN provider!

Should I always use a VPN? Yes, here’s why

Should I always use a VPN? Yes, here’s why

You should use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) whenever you’re online. By doing so, you make sure that your data and privacy are protected . Without a VPN, your every action online may be monitored and taken advantage of. A VPN encrypts all of your data, effectively hiding any information about you from prying eyes.

Table of contents

8 reasons why you should always use a VPN

A VPN encrypts your traffic and makes you safe online . Keeping it on protects your information from data breaches & leaks, annoying ads, and cyberthreats. Le t’s dive deeper into the irrefutable arguments for keeping your VPN running 24/7.

1. Connect to public Wi-Fi securely

a Wi-Fi router protected by a glass dome, with viruses flying around

Using a public Wi-Fi network can be very risky. Hackers can connect to the same network and easily access your data and personal information. This risk increases even further if it’s an open network without a password.

To prevent others from accessing your email, photos, login information, or credit card details, use a VPN to protect yourself on public Wi-Fi and encrypt all your internet traffic.

2. Avoid ISP throttling and boost your internet speed

Some internet service providers (ISPs) limit your internet speed when you take up high-bandwidth activities, such as streaming videos, video calling, or downloading files. Fortunately, your ISP cannot see what you do online whenever you are connected to a VPN. As a result, they are far less likely to throttle your connection speed.

3. Bypass tracking and ads while browsing

Unprotected traffic is easy to track . Third parties collect data that is easily accessible and sell it to advertisers. Any traffic that is encrypted by a VPN is useless to advertisers, and you don’t get targeted ads as a result.

On top of that, Surfshark offers the CleanWeb feature, which has a built-in ad blocker. It comes pre-installed, so you can use it as soon as you download our VPN. It will add an extra layer of security to your connection, which gives you yet another good reason to always use a VPN.

4. Beat local firewalls by connecting to a remote server

Your school, dorm, or workplace may have their own ideas on what you should be able to access online. But with a VPN, you can trump their primitive censorship measures with ease. In fact, you won’t have to do anything extra – just have a VPN on.

5. Stay safe even without the S in the HTTP

HTTPS stands for H yper T ext T ransfer P rotocol S ecure, and it keeps you safe by encoding your data when visiting a site. Some websites don’t use the secure HTTPS extension. Even for those that do , HTTPS uses a TSL (Transport Layer Security ) encryption which is far easier to crack than a standard VPN encryption .

So don’t gamble with your safety and privacy; keep your online activity as secure as possible — keep that VPN running.

6. Crush censorship

The internet isn’t as free as we would like it to be. In fact, some governments around the world use censorship to block your access to news, entertainment, and even social media apps.

Having an active VPN helps you bypass censorship and hides the digital traces of doing so .

7. Surf the web privately

Privacy is one of the main reasons for using a VPN. Whenever you are online, your every move is being watched . It’s unsettling, but the sooner you realize it, the better.

A VPN encrypts all traffic as soon as it comes out of your device . So whenever there’s an attempt to snoop on you, your data is unintelligible and, therefore, useless to anyone. If you still wonder if your VPN should be on or off, think if you’d rather surf privately or constantly be followed.

8. Save money when online shopping

The prices you see when shopping online can differ drastically depending on your location. You are also likely to see an increase in price if you show continued interest in a certain product or service. This is most obvious with flight tickets and accommodation.

Save money with a VPN whenever you’re shopping online. Use a VPN to change your location and hide your activity. As a result, you will often get better deals when your VPN is on .

Disclaimer: We prohibit using Surfshark services for any unlawful purposes as it is against our Terms of Service. Please be sure to act in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations of other service providers.

When you may need to turn off your VPN

A VPN’s primary job is to keep you safe and private online . Nonetheless, it is possible that you will run into situations where it’s best to turn your VPN off. Here are some examples:

  • Banking : some banks may prohibit signing in from a foreign IP (Internet Protocol). As a result, you would have to switch the VPN off or use a split-tunneling feature;
  • At home : if your internet seems to be lagging and you need to get on that very important conference call, then turning off your VPN for a while might be a good idea;
  • Certain websites : some websites may not let you enter while having a VPN on, mainly done to limit unlawful or annoying behavior;
  • PayPal : according to their User Agreement , any use of a proxy or other anonymizing service is not allowed. This way, they try to mitigate online fraud like money laundering.

Pros and cons of always having a VPN on

Hide from prying eyes on the internet
The device may slow down if using old hardware
Browse the internet securely

Slower internet connection (unless you use the “fastest server” option, in which case it’s unnoticeable)

Avoid ISP throttling
Some sites require a specific location and may not allow connection through a VPN
Stay safe on public Wi-Fi
You may be logged out from websites that don’t recognize your location (i.e., banks)
Get the best deals for online shopping
Bypass local firewalls
Safely share and download files

How to keep a VPN on all the time

It’s easier than you’d expect. After installing a VPN, open the app and simply select a server to connect to. If you have a hard time choosing a server, you can simply click the “Fastest location” button on your Surfshark app. Once connected, a VPN will stay on until you turn it off manually.

Why cybersecurity should be your top priority

From losing your log-in info to g etting your identity completely stolen (along with all your money), cyberattacks prove to be a rising threat to everyone. According to a 2020 study conducted by the Pew Research Center , 35% of Americans had received notice that someone had compromised their person al information online.

As more life-altering info makes its way over to the internet, privacy should be treated as the top cyber priority. A barrier like a VPN works like your home’s front door — only when it’s closed will it keep strangers out and all your belongings safe.

Final takeaway — to keep or not to keep my VPN on at all times?

Yes, you should always keep your VPN on whenever you’re online . Adding an extra layer of protection won’t hurt, and the setup process is super simple .

If you seek privacy and security when connecting to the internet, be it on public Wi-Fi, at home, or at work, you can be sure that a VPN will keep this information safe and secure 24/7.

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Should I keep a VPN running at home?

Yes, you should keep a VPN running, especially when you’re working with sensitive data . If you feel like your privacy is breached with intrusive ads or you have reasons to believe your internet service provider is spying on you – then you HAVE to use a VPN.

Why shouldn’t I use a VPN?

  • A VPN might reduce your connection speed even if your internet service provider isn’t throttling your speed;
  • Using a VPN on mobile will increase your mobile data usage;
  • Using a VPN is considered an offense in some countries, and you can get fined or even be incarcerated for it.

Should I leave my VPN on all the time on my phone?

You should keep running a VPN on an iPhone or Android if you want enhanced security and privacy. However, if you’re on a limited data plan, remember that running a VPN will increase your mobile data usage.

When To Use A VPN: The Ultimate Guide

Learn how to use a VPN to secure your data

A Virtual Private Network is also commonly known as a VPN. It is a technology that allows users to create a secure and encrypted connection to another network over the internet. Individuals and organizations widely use VPNs to:

  • Enhance their online privacy,
  • Maximize network security,
  • To access resources that may be otherwise restricted based on geographic location,
  • To mask their IP for specific tasks and sites.

While many dangers lurk on the internet, only 27.9% of individuals in the US use a VPN at home.

This article will share when to use a VPN and when it’s better not to do it. We will also talk about its benefits, potential drawbacks, and whether you need a VPN at home.

When To Use A VPN

A Virtual Private Network routes your internet traffic through its servers. This way, it can help you:

  • Hide your IP address,
  • Encrypt your data,
  • Protect you from cyber threats, and
  • Offer better cybersecurity.

However, not every situation requires the use of a VPN. Here’s when it’s better to use a VPN.

When Using Public Wi-Fi

Public Wi-Fi networks are notoriously insecure. They are also a favored target for cybercriminals. When you connect to a public Wi-Fi network, your data may be intercepted, monitored, or stolen. A Virtual Private Network (VPN) can help you protect your data.

It does so by encrypting your data and hiding your IP address. This, in turn, makes it much harder for hackers to access your sensitive information. It also hides your location to an extent. This provides you with the privacy you may be looking for when online.

When Accessing Sensitive Information

If you’re accessing sensitive information online, you should use a VPN to protect your data. Information such as your bank account or health records is a prime example of sensitive information. A VPN encrypts your data and routes it through its secure servers.

This lets you minimize the risk of unauthorized access to your information. Make sure you are using a reliable and trusted VPN provider, though. This is because your data will get to the VPN server as is. Using an untrusted provider may result in data theft if you are not careful.

When Traveling To Other Countries

Some countries have strict internet censorship laws that limit access to certain websites and services.

In such countries, a VPN can help bypass these restrictions and access the necessary content. This may include a country-specific information site, a private server, or more.

When Downloading Files

If you frequently download files from the internet, a VPN can protect you. This is especially true for larger downloads or when downloading from insecure sites. A VPN protects you against malware and other cyber threats – but to an extent.

It encrypts your internet traffic and hides your IP address. This allows the virtual private network to keep you safe from cybercriminals who may be targeting people who download content from this website. However, even with a VPN, you should be careful about what you download and from where.

When Working Remotely

If you work remotely, a VPN can help you access your company’s network securely and privately.

At the same time, a VPN will help you protect your company’s data and ensure that your online activities are not being monitored.

Pros & Cons Of Using A VPN

VPNs can be a powerful tool for enhancing online privacy and security.

However, there are also some drawbacks to using a VPN. Here is a side-by-side comparison of the pros and cons you can expect.

Pros of using a VPN

  • Enhanced privacy: VPNs encrypt your internet traffic, making it much harder for anyone to monitor your online activities or track your IP address.
  • Improved Security: VPNs add an extra layer of security to your internet connection by masking your IP address and encrypting your data.
  • Access to Geo-Restricted Content: VPNs can help you bypass geo-restrictions on websites and streaming services, allowing you to access content that might otherwise be blocked in your region.
  • Remote Access: VPNs allow you to connect to your home or work network remotely, providing access to files, printers, and other resources as if you were physically in the network.
  • Anonymity: Some VPNs offer the ability to use anonymous IP addresses. This makes it more difficult for websites to track your activities or identify you online.

Cons of using a VPN

  • Limited Access to Streaming Services: Some streaming services, such as Netflix and Hulu, actively block users using a VPN to access their content.
  • Legal & Regulatory Issues: Some countries have laws and regulations that restrict or ban the use of VPNs.
  • Dangers of Using a Free VPN: Most free VPNs offer a low level of security and also pose a risk of data collection and selling to third parties.

Do I Really Need A VPN For Home?

VPNs can be a valuable tool for enhancing online privacy and security.

According to a survey conducted in 2022, 66% of individuals use VPNs at home to protect their personal data. Other reasons include:

Results on a survey about VPN use

  • Protecting their browsing habits
  • Limiting data collection
  • Accessing geo-restricted sites
  • Securing employers’ data
  • For large file downloads and more.

Here is an overview of the survey’s results.

Ultimately, the decision about whether you want to use a VPN or not depends entirely on you. In a world where the risk of cyber threats is so prevalent, using a VPN is an important step toward better security. You simply have to ensure you are using the right VPN provider!

Disclaimer: The author is completely responsible for the content of this article. The opinions expressed are their own and do not represent IEEE’s position nor that of the Computer Society nor its Leadership.