VPNs are only for privacy, right? Wrong, read on to discover 15 cool uses for your VPN you never knew existed.
The Added Value Of A VPN
VPNs, virtual private network, have long been used to ensure Internet privacy. They provide a level of privacy for computers and Internet users you just can’t get anywhere else. The way it works is like this: the software creates a digital tunnel through which your connection to the Internet is routed, preventing prying eyes from seeing it. To do this your connection is routed through remote servers, masking your IP address, often with the addition of encryption and other security features that makes it virtually impossible for hostile or unwanted third parties from identifying you, your network and your computer. The most common use is in business where remote users can access a private network without fear of compromise. If you are not using a network remotely you may be asking the question, Why use a VPN? Believe it or not, the benefits of a VPN go far beyond mere privacy. There are dozens of situations where you may want, or need, to use one that you had no idea existed. Read on to find out what they are.
A Few Cool Uses For A VPN:
1. Watch YouTube and Other Streaming Sites Without Your ISP Slowing You Down.
Streaming sites like YouTube and Netflix are the top users of internet bandwidth in operation today. It was reported in 2015 that Netflix was using as much as 37% of all Internet traffic and that number has only gone up in the last year. They use so much in fact that many ISPs will throttle the connection speed in order to cut back on usage, in effect reducing your connection speed. The issue with throttling and connection is so compelling that Netflix even has an ISP Speed Index you can use to check the performance of ISP connections around the world. If you want to watch YouTube and other streaming sites without annoying outages, buffering or other impediments a good VPN is the way to go. French Internet users have reported that their ISPs will slow down connection speeds when streaming from YouTube, a problem that they fixed by using Le VPN. Read more to find out how to bypass traffic shaping or throttling with a VPN.
2. Play Games Without Your ISP Slowing You Down.
Netflix is not the only website getting throttled by ISPs. Online streaming video games are another target, especially if you are not on an unlimited data plan. Adding to the problem is the use of BitTorrent by game makers to send out updates and fixes for bugs. If you are not familiar with BitTorrent it is a peer-to-peer file sharing service for transferring large amounts of data across the internet. BitTorrent is a notoriously band-width heavy user and, to put it in perspective, estimated to account for more than half of all bandwidth dedicated to file sharing. It is also well known as a method for downloading copyrighted material and as such is often targeted for throttling or outright blockage by ISP’s. Using a VPN for online gaming will prevent your ISP from targeting your connection and slowing your experience.
3. Watch Free Streaming TV in Other Countries.
One of the many ways that Netflix has changed the way we watch TV is that in order to remain relevant nearly all TV channels around the world offer streaming TV free on their websites. This means that you can watch original programming from ABC, Discovery Channel and the BBC on your computer and most of the time it is absolutely free. The only restriction in most cases is that viewers must be located in the country of origin. To get around this all you need is a VPN. VPNs reroute your IP address so it appears you are located in a different country, say the UK if you want to watch BBC or the US if you want to watch Discovery or History Channel. A great VPN provider, like Le VPN, will have servers in multiple locations around the world enabling users to pick at will where their IP address is located. Le VPN has servers in over 114 countries making it a top choice for streaming free TV.
4. Avoid Eavesdropping.
It is all too easy for third party Internet users to eavesdrop on your connection. It’s not as easy to do if you are on a private network such as home or office but it is very easy if you are working on a public connection such as those found in airports and Internet cafes. The biggest problem with them is that the connections are not encrypted, and often do not even require a password which makes them prime locations for malicious people who want to compromise your privacy. If you don’t believe it is possible to eavesdrop across the Internet all you have to do is look to the hundreds of apps out there intended for legitimate purposes such as monitoring your kids’ activities, checking up on your employees or tracking your spouse. Now imagine what a hacker can do. To avoid this problem use, you guessed it, a VPN. A virtual private network will not only route your connection through a private network, it can also encrypt your data and hide your computer or cellphone from the public.
5. Shop Online While Abroad.
One of the many perks of traveling abroad is shopping. You get access to stores and products, and prices, you might not get while at home. Aside from the attraction of shopping while abroad there is a significant chance that you will want to make a purchase from a retailer that is not located in your country. According to data from InternetRetailer.com, 24% of Internet shoppers have made a purchase from a company located outside of their home country. The issue that can arise from this situation is the potential for hassle. Using a credit or bank card issued in one country while shopping in another can very easily raise red flags which will at minimum make your online shopping experience a pain and at worst prevent you from making a purchase at all. Think about it like this, the merchant may be trying to protect you from fraud or a possibly stolen credit card. In order to protect you and themselves they may require you to provide proof of ownership. This may entail sending a picture of the card in question along with your ID, a process that could take days if not weeks to complete. Using a VPN for safe online shopping with a host located in your home country can help prevent these red flags and make your online shopping experience much more pleasant.
6. Unlock International Libraries of Geo-Restricted Content.
Unlocking Geo-restricted content is a great reason why you should use a VPN. Websites like Netflix and Hulu are full of content that is often restricted due to copyright laws or censorship, and have different content libraries for different countries. They, the content provider, may be available in your country but that does not mean that all the content on that site will be available to you. Other reasons for Geo-blocking are due to licensing agreements and the practice of price discrimination, when the price of content is different for one viewer or provider than it is for another. This problem can be overcome by using a VPN with a server in the country of origin, effectively making you appear to be located there too. Of course, some content providers are actively blocking VPN’s so that viewers can not evade the restrictions, Le VPN is one service that is able to overcome this problem.
7. Safely Connect To Any WiFi.
WiFi connections, no matter how secure you think they are, have vulnerabilities. At the very least it is possible to be kicked off the network. At worst there is the possibility of hacking or eavesdropping. Hacking can be a big problem for any Internet user regardless of where or how you access the internet. Hackers are (for the purposes of this article) malicious individuals who attempt to gain access to your computer or device by exploiting weakness in security. A hacker can be an individual, an organization or the government of a nation-state but in any case is an unwanted threat to your privacy and security. You can safely connect to any WiFi by using a VPN.
8. Avoid Detection When Researching The Competition.
There are times when anonymity is crucial to your success. Take for example internet research. Anytime you visit a website a log is kept of your visit. The web master can then use Google Analytics and other tools to follow the digital trail you leave and discover who you are and your interest in their site. If you are researching a competitor, or any other website you would like to not know of your visit, you can use a VPN. The website will still log your visit, but you will be logged as a random user with an IP address other than your own. It is possible they will be able to back track the visit to the VPN, but that is where the trail will stop.
9. Protect Your VOIP Communication.
One of the more unique uses for VPN is protecting your VOIP. Services like Skype and other Voice-Over-Internet-Provider protocols are becoming more and more difficult to break but they are by no means immune to censors, hackers and Geo-restrictions. All it takes to break into one of these connections is a mid-level understanding of Internet protocols and a search across the web for instructions on how to do it. The risks of interception increase if your call originates from a country in which the internet is heavily monitored or blocked. Needless to say this makes keeping private calls private a bit of a challenge but it can be done, by using a VPN.
10. Avoid “The List”.
Agencies around the world, ranging from the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) to the NSA, the GCHQ (The UK’s Government Communications Headquarters) and many, many others are constantly monitoring the Internet looking for illegally shared and downloaded information. Not all data downloads and file shares are illegal but this doesn’t stop them from putting you on their watch list if they can identify you. Most of the Torrent services will provide some level of security but the problem is that they are most often not effective at preventing ID leaks. If you want to legally download and share files without winding up on one of these lists a VPN is the only way to go.
11. Unblock Social Media.
Social media is one of the most heavily censored and blocked uses of the internet. The most recent country to block social media like Facebook and Twitter is Algeria. They block for a supposed good reason, high school students are using social media to post test questions and answers, but it doesn’t discriminate, all use is blocked. Other countries like China, Iran, North Korea and Syria have permanent social media blocks in place to prevent the free flow of information. Using a VPN can get around these blocks and is useful in any country where social media websites are not allowed.
12. Save Money On Skype And VOIP Calls.
VOIP is a very popular method of making long distance calls for a number of reasons. The services are easy to use, are often much cheaper than typical long distance calling and can be made anywhere an Internet connection is available. This does not mean they are cheap though and depending where you are and where you are calling these charges can be quite expensive. You can get around this by using a VPN. Simply choose a VPN server located in the country you are calling and get instant access to cheaper local VOIP calls.
13. Save Money Booking Airline Tickets And Car Rentals.
14. Hide Your Real Location, Make Yourself “Virtually” At Home.
While rare, there may be times you are away from home when it is beneficial to hide your real location. Maybe you are traveling and don’t want others to know where you have gone such as a co-worker, employer or even potential thieves. This is especially useful when on holiday and posting pictures of your vacation. Thieves often target people on vacation as potential victims. You can avoid this hassle by using a VPN and by using the best practices to protect your location data. All you have to do is choose a server located in your home country, or near wherever it is you want people to think you are located.
15. Access UseNet To Share Files.
UseNet has been around for a long time. It started as a way for Internet users to meet and chat but in recent years has been overshadowed by forums and social media. This does not mean it is without use. UseNet is a great way to share files and has many advantages over Bit Torrent. The problem is that many ISP’s have targeted UseNet for blocking as it is seen as a way to illegally share files, though not all files shared this way are illegal. To safely access UseNet and avoid blocking all you have to do is use a good VPN.
So, Where Do I Get My VPN?
I am sure by now it is obvious the benefits of using a VPN. There are dozens of sources for VPN services but like everything in life, not all are the same. You may be tempted to use a free one but let me assure you, that would be a mistake as they are most likely going to capture your data and provide it to third parties in return for compensation, negating any benefits you will gain from using it. This does not mean you will have to spend an exorbitant amount of money to get a truly great service. Le VPN is available for as little as $4.95 a month and comes with all the features you need to keep your internet use safe and private.
They have plans based on the three main types of VPN protocols including PPTP, (the most basic service good for safely accessing the internet), L2TP (a more advanced protocol which includes enhanced security features) and OpenVPN (the most advanced protocol).
Features include top secret level encryption, masking IP addresses, unlimited speed and data transfers, the ability to connect two devices at once and a high speed SmartDNS system perfect for watching your favorite shows across your Internet connection. In case you are wondering if it can be used on your mobile device, Mac or PC rest assured that it can. If you think a VPN for your Internet connection is a good idea, and believe me when I say it is, Le VPN is your one stop shop for all your privacy needs. Don’t wait for a breach of your privacy, get Le VPN now.