1. Avoid bandwidth throttling
Can you think of anything more annoying than constant buffering when watching funny Youtube videos or streaming your favorite TV series? Unfortunately, bandwidth throttling can happen to anyone trying to access streaming services, file sharing platforms, and online gaming websites. If there’s anyone to blame, it’s your ISP.
Bandwidth throttling happens when your ISP attempts to reduce bandwidth congestion and regulate network traffic, and it has a direct impact on how fast you can stream and download content online.
A VPN helps you avoid bandwidth throttling and slow connection speeds.
VPN encrypts your Internet traffic so that your ISP can no longer see it. And if they can’t see it, they can’t control it, right? So now that the secret is out, the solution is as easy as this: open your VPN app, pick a server, and enjoy the Internet without your ISP slowing you down.
2. Access your favorite websites when abroad
Let’s keep this straight – a VPN helps you access websites and services that may be blocked outside your country or region. But why are they blocked in the first place?
Actually, there may be several reasons why you have trouble accessing the same streaming sites you are used to visiting at home, or can’t log in to your Facebook account when traveling abroad. It mostly depends on where in the world you are right now.
You’d be surprised how many countries are known for heavy censorship and restrictions. So if you happen to be in any of them, chances are you won’t be able to access popular social media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, etc., online streaming services and many other websites that are normally available in your country.
If that’s not the case, the content you are trying to access may be blocked due to copyright agreements that are issued on country-by-country basis. To put it simply, you may not be able to use the service you are paying for while on vacation or a business trip abroad.
A VPN helps you securely bypass content restrictions and censorship by allowing to virtually change your location. If, for example, you are exploring the world but don’t want to miss that TV episode everyone is talking about, simply pick a server that is located in your home country. This way, you will get the services and content available there.
3. Save money on flight tickets, hotels, and car rentals
Did you know that a VPN can help you to book a cheaper vacation? This is only a matter of leveraging currencies and points of sale to your advantage.
You may know that clearing your browser cookies or, better still, browsing in an incognito mode can help you avoid flight rates increasing based on your searches. However, this method is often not enough, because prices may vary in different countries.
Thus, the trick of saving some money is to make it appear as if you are browsing from a country where the prices are lower. Since your IP address quite precisely reveals your geographical location, what you need to do is hide it. This can be easily done with a VPN. When you connect to a VPN server, your IP is replaced with the IP address of the preferred location.
So, for example, if the tickets to your desired destination cost less when booked via a French website rather than in the U.K, simply pick a server that is located in France. That’s it – the website will think you are browsing from France, while you will be comfortably planning your vacation at home in the U.K.
4. Download and upload files securely
P2P (Peer-to-Peer) file sharing has a number of legitimate reasons, such as distributing open-source software, public domain videos, or simply sharing large sets of data across the network. However, many ISPs are not that excited about their customers engaging in P2P activities, which results in much slower connection speeds, bandwidth limits, or even restricted access to file-sharing websites.
But your ISP may not be the only bad guy here. The thing is that all the users participating in the same network can see each other’s IP addresses. This could impose a serious security threat, opening a door to cybercriminals. You sure don’t want that.
So the good news here is that with a VPN turned on, you can use P2P without your ISP slowing you down and stay safe at the same time. With a VPN, your IP stays hidden and all your Internet traffic is encrypted so that no one can see or intercept it.
5. Don’t worry about public Wi-Fi security
How many times have you heard and ignored the warning: “Think twice before using public Wi-Fi?” Well, you know what? With a VPN protecting your Internet traffic, you can confidently connect to any public Wi-Fi hotspot provided at a hotel, train, airport or your favorite coffee shop.
It’s true that public Wi-Fi networks are often poorly secured, or they don’t offer any protection at all. So basically even a junior hacker could intercept an unencrypted Wi-Fi connection by using a simple and well known “Evil Wi-Fi Twin Hotspot” technique. The risk is even greater if you partake in risky behaviors, such as shopping online, checking your work inbox, making financial transactions, etc.
So to stay on the safe side, you’ll need a reliable VPN. Its encrypted connections will ensure your data remains safe, and even if a hacker manages to intercept it, they won’t be able to use it for nefarious purposes.
6. Avoid price discrimination when shopping online
So you get off the plane and go directly to the closest Starbucks to grab that long-awaited cup of coffee. At the counter, you discover you are charged five dollars, while the guy in front of you has just paid four for the same coffee, only because he’s local. Sounds unfair? Even though it does, online this happens all the time.
Many online stores display different prices for the same items based on the location a user is browsing from. So, for example, the price for the same handbag could be lower for a German IP address than for a Swedish IP.
But how do they even know this information? Again – it’s your IP address. It reveals the country where you are located, giving the freedom for businesses to decide what search results to show you and what prices to offer.
So if you are about to buy those amazing shoes online or order that sci-fi book, don’t just yet. First, clear your browser cookies. This will make websites forget you have visited them before. Then launch your VPN app and choose a country you want to make it look like you are browsing from. Try switching between different locations to see if the prices there are different.
7. Keep your conversations secure and private
It doesn’t matter whether you call your mom or organize a teleconference with your business partners – the fact that someone may be secretly listening to your private conversations doesn’t sound right.
Even though VoIP services are getting more secure and more difficult to break in, unfortunately, no one can say they are bulletproof. In fact, most of them are quite easy to eavesdrop.
What’s more, services like Skype are often blocked in highly-censored countries, so combining VoIP with a VPN is a must, especially if you are traveling or temporarily residing abroad.
Not only does a VPN help you bypass these blocks and call your friends and family from anywhere in the world, it also secures your Internet traffic with strong encryption, preventing snoopers from monitoring it.
First things first: what is a VPN?
VPN stands for a virtual private network and refers to software that is used to encrypt users’ Internet traffic and mask their online identity by hiding their IP address. Therefore, the main purpose of this technology is to help you stay secure and private when browsing the Internet.
How does it work?
Typically, when you connect to the Internet, your Internet Service Provider (ISP) receives the request and redirects you to the website you intend to visit. As your Internet traffic passes through your ISPs, they can see everything you do online. What’s more, they can track users’ behavior and sell their personal details to advertisers and other third parties.
Here’s when a VPN comes into play. It redirects your Internet traffic through a remote VPN server, this way hiding your IP address and encrypting all of the information that is sent or received. With a VPN on, all the data you send and receive travels via an encrypted tunnel, so that nobody can steal your private information or spy on your online activities.
Here’s what happens when you enable a VPN
As you already know, a VPN ensures that nobody, not even your ISP, can see where you go or what you do on the Internet. The only thing visible to them is the fact that you are using a VPN service. Here’s what also happens due to this setup:
Your ISP can’t see what you do on the Internet, meaning that they are not able to identify what websites you visit or log your info. What’s more, they can no longer throttle the connection speeds (which they often do) or sell your private info to the highest bidder.
Your device is assigned an IP address of the remote VPN server, keeping advertisers and other snoopers away from monitoring your online activities. Furthermore, if you connect to a server that is located in a country other than yours, you appear to be browsing the Internet from there. This helps you to bypass Internet censorship and provides with secure access to media content and streaming services.
Your Internet traffic is encrypted, so you can stay safe and private even on unsecured public Wi-Fi networks. Even if a malicious user somehow manages to take over your data, they will not be able to decipher it.
How secure is a VPN?
Using a VPN is by far the most reliable way to protect your privacy and secure your online activities. A VPN hides your IP address and encrypts all the traffic you send and receive, meaning that:
Snoopers trying to spy on you will only be able to trace it back to the VPN server;
Even if someone manages to intercept your data, they cannot decipher it.
However, remember that safety directly depends on the company that provides the VPN service. For example, NordVPN has a strict no-logs policy and uses two security protocols: OpenVPN with 2048-bit SSL encryption and the 3072-bit IKEv2/IPsec that is currently the most secure protocol available. Additional security features, such as DNS leak protection and double data encryption, are also available. What’s more, the NordVPN service is based in Panama, which has no data retention laws, meaning that none of your data is recorded, stored or passed to anyone.
Why should you use a VPN?
It is true that there’s no privacy online as we are watched and tracked everywhere we go on the Internet. What websites we visit, what pop-ups we click on, what clothes we buy and what we search for – all this information is collected by our ISPs, advertisers, governments and other third parties.
Unfortunately, no magic tool can make you completely anonymous when browsing the web, but getting a VPN is the best you can do to stay private and safe in the digital world. On top of that, VPNs have a couple of additional benefits and are also used for streaming, P2P or bypassing censorship. Usually, Internet users turn to VPN services for these main reasons:
General privacy and security. Nobody likes to be watched over their shoulder, right? With your IP address hidden and communications encrypted, you can be sure your data stays safe from the prying eyes.
Protect themselves from cybercrime. Hackers are getting creative these days, and it’s really easy to fall into their traps. VPN services are by far the most reliable method to secure your communications and avoid becoming a victim.
Safely access websites and services. VPN helps you securely bypass content restrictions and censorship by allowing you to connect to hundreds of remote servers in different worldwide locations. This is especially helpful if you are going for a vacation abroad or live in a highly-restricted country. When your IP gets hidden, it’s no longer possible to tell which country you are browsing from.
Bypass ISP throttling, which has a direct impact on how fast you can access or download content online.
When you use a VPN, your ISP doesn’t have the freedom to control your connection speed or restrict your access to certain websites or services.While the main purpose of VPN services is to protect your data from snoopers, hackers and malicious online threats, it’s completely up to you how you choose to use your VPN service.
Getting started with a VPN
Although more and more Internet users join the VPN trend, many people still think that using a VPN service is some kind of rocket science. While it’s true that some digital security tools can be a little confusing and “geeky,” many decent VPN service providers design their apps to be intuitive and easy-to-use.
For example, NordVPN offers a safe, fast and fuss-free VPN service for major operating systems: Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS. In fact, downloading, setting up and starting using NordVPN is as easy as using any other app. The process is quick and simple, so you will be ready to secure your browsing in a few minutes.
How to choose a VPN service?
With all that has been already said, you want to look for a VPN service that is reliable, secure and easy-to-use. Besides, when choosing a VPN, it is extremely important to take into consideration:
Whether or not the chosen VPN provider keeps logs of your activities;
What external support or tracking tools it employs;
Which country the service based in and what requirements it has for collecting users’ data;
How much the service costs and what payment options it offers;
Whether the VPN service offers extra security tools, such as DNS leak protection, Kill Switch or Double VPN.
If you are still not sure which VPN provider is the best for protecting your privacy, take your time to browse the web. There are plenty of VPN comparison websites providing objective and in-depth reviews to help you choose. Also, don’t be afraid to try different providers – some of them offer free trial period so that you can have the freedom to take their service for a test drive and quit if you are not satisfied.
Protect your privacy with NordVPN
Once you have the NordVPN app on your device, it doesn’t get any easier than this: pick any server, and your traffic immediately gets protected. Here are some tips on how to make use of some NordVPN benefits and get the best VPN experience:
The easiest way to protect your privacy is to click the Quick Connect button. Once you do this, a special algorithm will connect you to the best server available at the moment.
If there is a specific destination you wish to connect, find it on the map and simply tap/click on the VPN pin.
All apps also include a detailed server list, so you can choose the closest or the least loaded server. NordVPN currently has more than 2700 servers in 56 different countries, so there’s a lot to choose from. Note that the less crowded and closer to you a server is, the faster VPN connection you will get.
There is also a number of specific servers, optimized for different needs: P2P, Double VPN, Onion Over VPN, Dedicated IP and Anti-DDoS servers.
Turn on the CyberSec feature to avoid annoying ads and malicious websites.
Try proxy extensions for Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox – both are lightweight and fast so that you can jump between locations in no time.