What is a virtual private network used for?

We get a lot of questions from our readers about VPNs and wanted to clarify some important points in this article.

What a VPN can do for you

It can perform many different functions for many different types of users. Note, however, that this kind of application is different from a proxy. If you are new to VPN technology, you should start by reading this article.

Remote access

VPNs were essentially born out of an urgent need to access networks remotely and securely. Some of the early users were companies with multiple branches or off-site employees.

These benefits still exist today. Millions of people use a company-provided VPN to access internal networks and servers.

Online privacy and security

Users quickly realized that VPN technology also has tremendous privacy and security benefits.

Not all VPNs offer the same features. However, if you use one of the paid services from the market leaders, you should enjoy most of the following benefits.

  • Encryption of your information: almost all commercial VPN services encrypt your web traffic data. This means that your information is unreadable to hackers or malicious applications that spy on your network data.
  • Hidden IP address: To outsiders, your computer appears to have the IP address of VPN servers. Many companies collect large amounts of data based on IP addresses. So, removing your own address greatly increases your online anonymity.
  • Some do not record any of your browsing data. This means that if an entity is looking for information about you, they won’t find much. Be aware, however, that not all VPNs have logs and some have intentionally vague privacy policies.

The ability to bypass blocked sites

Websites are frequently blocked on certain networks. For example, you can’t log into Facebook at work. In extreme cases, some governments prevent access to specific sites.

A VPN will allow you to bypass all websites that are initially blocked. Indeed, you will manage to break the restrictions of a network. This then allows you to access the internet freely from the location of your VPN server.

What a VPN can’t do for you

VPNs are great, but they are far from a universal online security solution. In other words, they can’t do everything.

VPNs can’t block cookies

There are other ways for companies to track you on the web. One of the most common ways is by using cookies. A VPN can’t prevent them. This means that companies like Facebook, Amazon and Google will still be able to monitor you.

You are not completely anonymous using a VPN

VPNs don’t guarantee online anonymity for two specific reasons:

First, they can disconnect unexpectedly or suffer from DNS leaks. This could expose your data to spies, ISPs and governments without warning.

Second, while your ISP no longer has a copy of your browsing data, your VPN provider does now. As such, it is imperative that you choose a trusted partner that will not use your information for any undesirable purpose.

A VPN connection has no antivirus properties

You should always run one of the best antivirus suites to protect yourself from threats on the web. And be aware, some malware has the ability to disable your VPN without your permission, making it completely useless.

Do you need a VPN on all your devices?

The answer to that question is: it depends. It depends on your usage and needs. If among all the above arguments you find a use, then we recommend you to get a VPN.

In the case of smartphones, the situation is still quite tricky. Currently, many companies offer VPN applications for iPhone and Android. This is great, as these devices are often used to constantly connect to Wi-Fi. However, they don’t always work optimally with smartphones. Despite this, it takes a serious effort to intercept smartphone data. So, more fear than harm for now.