Curious about VPNs? In this guide, we’ll explain in simple terms why VPNs are perfectly safe, legal, and 100% worth using in 2020…
VPNs (Virtual Private Network) have become increasingly popular over the past several years. Previously used by businesses for secure, remote access, VPNs are now popular with consumers.
And the reason? Simple: VPNs make your internet connection, whether on WiFi at home or on mobile data when you’re out and about, more secure by anonymizing and encrypting your connection which, in turn, ensures all your data and personal details are protected – even on public WiFi networks like those found in airports and coffee shops.
#1 – Are VPNs Safe To Use?
VPNs are 100% safe to use. In fact, if you care about your privacy and ensuring your data is protected, it is recommended that you use a VPN, especially on public WiFi networks. The only caveat you need to consider is the type of VPN you use; free VPNs are NOT advisable as they often share your data with third parties (like advertisers) in order to make money and that goes against the entire point of using a VPN.
For this reason, you should ONLY ever use reputable, top-rated VPN services. Reputable VPNs, like ExpressVPN or NordVPN, are not free. But the fees for running them are minuscule; you’re talking about a few dollars a month for complete, unlimited coverage. If you only take away one thing from this post, make it this – DO NOT USE FREE VPNs.
Curious about who the top VPNs are? We have a dedicated post all about this which details our #1 top-rated VPN providers. We vetted and tested them all over the course of the past 18 months. Prices vary between providers, but the main differentiator between is speed – some VPNs are faster than others. And right now, the quickest VPN is ExpressVPN.
#2 – Are VPNs Legal?
VPNs are perfectly legal to use in the US, UK, and nearly every other country around the globe. All a VPN does is encrypt and hide your internet IP, so that ISPs, the government, and hackers cannot access your data or see what you’re doing while you’re online. This is the #1 reason why people use VPNs – privacy.
No one wants to be spied on, and using a VPN ensures that no one – including the government and your internet service provider – can see what you’re doing while you’re connected to the web via a VPN.
However, this does not mean you can go and do illegal things online while using a VPN. If you’re downloading illegal content or pirated material from torrent sites, what you’re doing is still against law, even if a VPN will make it harder for the authorities to find out.
As with most things in life, a VPN can be abused and used for doing nefarious things online. And because VPNs use military-grade encryption, it is nigh-on impossible for the authorities to do anything about it this type of usage which is why VPNs are popular with P2P and torrent fans.
You can also use VPNs to access content outside your regional location as well. A good example is Netflix. If you’re in the UK, you can, with a good VPN like ExpressVPN, access US Netflix. This also works for things like Disney+ (which is great if you don’t want to wait to watch new episodes of The Mandalorian).
However, Netflix now blocks many VPNs. And if you’re caught using a VPN to access Disney+, you can have your account terminated. Therefore, proceed with caution. Again, this type of behavior is NOT illegal but it does go against the T&Cs of Netflix and Disney+, for instance, so please ensure that you’re aware of this before doing anything.
#3 – Is It Worth Using A VPN?
Yes, it is 100% worth using a VPN. A VPN will make your internet connection more secure, it will protect you from hackers, and it will block the government and ISPs from spying on what you’re doing online.
Other benefits of using a VPN include:
- Get Around Throttling – Public WiFi networks, like the ones you access at your college or in the airport, often throttle upload and download speeds and this leads to poor speed performance. With a VPN, you can circumvent this throttling and get a faster internet connection which means you can work faster and download content quicker.
- Access Public WiFi Safely – On the subject of public WiFi networks, they’re basically very unsafe from a data perspective. Hackers use public WiFi networks to intercept your connection and access your data. This is a common occurrence all around the world. With a VPN, you can safely use public WiFi networks and not have to worry about this because all your data and IP is encrypted by the VPN.
- Access The Entire Web – Ever since GDPR happened in the UK, plenty of sites overseas have started blocking European traffic, which sucks. With a VPN, you can set your location to the USA and access ALL the content you want because the site you’re trying to access thinks you’re in the USA, even if you’re not. This also applies to VOD services like Netflix, HULU, and Disney+.
- Protection For Snooping – Both the government and your internet service provider, as well as your mobile network, are very interested in what you do online. They keep logs, they monitor what you do, and they like to limit and block what you can and cannot do online. If you want to search the web unhindered by this type of thing, a VPN is just what you need. With a VPN installed on your phone or PC, no one – including the government and your ISP – will be able to see what you’re doing. It’ll also unblock ALL sites like PirateBay too.
- Torrenting & P2P – If you use torrents or P2P networks to download and share content online and you’re not using a VPN, you are putting yourself at risk in a major way. P2P and torrent sites are packed full of dodgy characters that are looking for easy ways to access your data. Accessing a torrent site with a VPN is like having unprotected sex with a complete stranger; you can do it, sure, but there might be some pretty serious consequences further down the line. Moral of the story? If you use torrenting sites, make sure you use a VPN.
What VPN do I recommend right now? I use ExpressVPN; it’s fast, simple to use, and it is 100% no-logs which means the company that operates the VPN does not store any data about you or your activities while you’re accessing the web via its network. Not all VPNs are no-logs, either, so make sure whichever one you go for is – this is very important!