So, you’ve been getting bombarded with articles telling you how VPNs are the new Facebook—and how you’d be lost without them?
Here’s the thing, though; even though the sudden hype may seem a little too in your face, the articles are valid to a certain extent.
VPNs are handy, affordable, and valuable cybersecurity tools with various other benefits. When news websites are filled with news of companies and organizations getting hacked, cybercrime, and people being attacked online, VPNs are a security tool that offers a simple and quick solution to a big problem.
Most VPN providers even offer different applications for different devices, like VPN Chrome extension, VPN iPhone and Android apps and even variants for PS4 and other gaming consoles.
How VPNs work
To understand why everyone keeps recommending VPNs, let’s try to understand how VPNs work.
VPNs simply work by indirectly connecting a user to the internet through a remote server. This process temporarily changes the IP address of user’s device, replacing it with the IP address of the VPN server.
This process makes the user anonymous online and safe from unsolicited interceptions from hackers, spies, and other cybercriminals.
Cybercrime aside, these nifty little applications also ensure that your browsing activities are safe from getting tracked by other app products, websites, and advertising companies—returning you control over your privacy.
Having said that, VPNs aren’t a one-size-fits all deal—and contrary to what the web keeps suggesting these days, there are situations where a VPN might not be the best answer.
In this blog, we’re going to get real about when you should and shouldn’t use a VPN. Ready to make your life easier? Let’s dive in.
When you should use a VPN
You’re concerned about online privacy
VPNs are small tools that are especially great for individual and small-scale use. If you’re a person who doesn’t like the idea that they could get hacked or fall into a cybercrime any minute when they are online, a VPN could be an excellent next step to securing your online parameters.
While using the app, your original IP address will be hidden, which means that you will be anonymous online and safe and secure.
You want to boost your internet speed
You’ve probably heard that using a VPN will decrease your internet speed. You have, haven’t you?
It’s a prevalent assumption regarding VPN usage and is also true to a certain extent. However, a hidden feature of VPNs, especially streaming VPNs (these are geared towards making sure that your speed isn’t affected), is that they let you bypass ISP throttling, letting you enjoy high speeds any time of the month.
Some even come with a split tunneling feature. This feature lets you use the internet with and without the encrypted tunnel simultaneously, hence increasing your speed. So, if ISP throttling is your issue, opt for a streaming VPN.
You want to access blocked websites and content
This is a no-brainer. VPNs are the best and simplest tools to access blocked websites and content. Since these let you change your IP address temporarily, this means that you can easily unblock websites and content libraries from other countries without a lot of effort.
So, if you want to access websites or shows and movies that you want to watch that aren’t available in your country, a VPN might be a good tool to invest in.
When you shouldn’t use a VPN
You’re using a free VPN
If you have a subscription to a free VPN—stop, throw away your credentials and never use the app again.
Free VPNs do more damage than good. Most of them are selling your information to third-party apps and companies as payment for the service they are providing you—which is contrary to the purpose of a cybersecurity tool.
So, if you can only use free VPNs, don’t.
VPNs are illegal in your country
Even though there aren’t many countries where VPNs are illegal, some have laws regarding VPN usage.
Before subscribing to one, make sure you go through your company laws regarding the tool, and if it has been declared illegal, we don’t recommend going ahead with it.
You’re already using a robust security system
Even though VPNs are great security tools, situations may demand a more solid approach. Some heavier, more rock-solid alternatives to VPNs are SD-WAN or Software-Defined WAN and SASE or Secure Access Service Edge.
If you or your company needs a solution like these, or are already using one of these, you don’t need to use a VPN as these tools offer a higher level of security already.