What are the Pros and Cons of VPN: All you need to know!
With an endless slew of news headlines pertaining to data branches and the growing number of cybercrime victims, even the most security-conscious users are debating their choices.
A Virtual Private Network allows for the user’s data to travel back and forth in an encrypted, secure tunnel. This tunnel connects to a remote VPN server, through which the user’s IP address becomes masked. Since the tunnel is encrypted, the data that is transferred is wholly inaccessible to even the most experienced hackers of today.
Most casual users consider VPNs to be the full security package. However, not all VPN providers offer the same features and services at the same level of quality. Some VPNs have more stringent security measures than others, whereas some VPNs have a better user experience than true anonymity. This is why it becomes the job of a responsible user to weigh the pros and cons of using a VPN.
Pros of VPNs
Since the very basis of a VPN is regarded with encryption, safety is often guaranteed. Through the creation of an encrypted connection, your data is kept out of the hands of any unwanted third parties. This includes hackers, most obviously, but also your internet service provider and even the government.
When your data is unencrypted, it can be read, collected, sorted, and/or misused by anyone with any purpose. It could be used by advertisers for targeted marketing, or by hackers who may hold your sensitive data ransom for a price. The risk is vast, varied, and very high, which makes data security the top concern for any sensible user.
The chance of security breaches is at its highest when connected to an unsecured public Wi-Fi network. However, with a quality VPN service provider, your data can remain safe and secure.
The best VPN service providers, such as AstrillVPN, use powerful modes of encryption and multiple layers of security to guarantee the safety of the user’s data. Astrill even offers military-grade encryption at some of the most affordable rates on the market!
Protects online privacy
Protecting your online privacy is of the utmost importance because, without a VPN, any third party can take a peek at your connection and track your activities.
Many ISPs have been known to collect data and sell it to either government or marketing institutions for a variety of purposes. Whether the reason is malicious or for the greater good, it is still a violation of privacy.
Using a VPN allows users to have a stress-free experience online as they won’t have to worry about their privacy.
Hides your IP address
One of the marketing agencies’ main pieces of information is the user’s location. This goes in two ways: one, geo-restricted content, and two, geo-restricted price points. Since content personalization is such a big part of almost every media algorithm, marketing companies collect data related to a location to create personalized content.
This also applies to the opposite side of the spectrum, where certain contents or prices are simply unavailable because of the user’s IP addresses. This issue is easily fixed with a VPN since the program runs on the basis of connecting to a remote server. That remote server immediately masks your IP address and your actual location cannot be traced any longer.
With a VPN, you can easily change your IP address on any device, and stay anonymous over the web. No spying eyes or advertiser will be able to track your activity and your location.
Provides True Digital Freedom
Censorship is usually enacted by putting up firewalls and restrictions to a certain network. This means that even if a website or service is accessible to the public, it may not be accessible to those connected to a certain network. This is how public libraries, schools, and offices limit their user’s accessibility.
These limitations can be justified in some circumstances, but they can also be great problems when it comes to practicing digital freedom. With a VPN, bypassing any firewalls and restrictions becomes easy since the website or application will only be able to see the VPN server’s IP address. This unlocks the website for the user and allows you to truly have freedom of digital movement.
Bypass bandwidth throttling
Besides firewalls and network restrictions, ISPs also limit bandwidth usage per user. This means that the service provider can slow down or totally inhibit their user’s browsing speeds.
Since a VPN encrypts the user’s traffic wholly, the network service provider would not have any information about the user’s activity. This means that they can not control the user’s bandwidth, and you can enjoy unlimited traffic at unrestricted speeds.
Secure file sharing
When files are shared without a VPN, they are being shared on a network that is unencrypted. That means that your files are more than likely to get hacked into or collected without your knowledge or consent.
When using a VPN, all of your data and traffic, including downloads and uploads, are fully encrypted. This makes your file-sharing activities private and secure from any unwanted third parties who may otherwise exploit your data and breach your privacy.
Online shopping at cheaper rates
Did you know that some online shopping platforms track your purchases and browsing history to show you different prices? This is most evidently seen in the price jumps that occur when users from a low-income area switch their IP address to that of a high-income area.
This is when using a VPN can help you score a better deal online. By switching your location, you can effectively seek out lower prices. And since your data is encrypted and you are anonymous, the website trackers will have no clue of your previous browsing history, and they won’t be able to use your data to show you altered rates.
Improves Online gaming experience
Since VPNs can bypass bandwidth throttling and protect user privacy by changing IP addresses, they can also improve online gaming experiences. Since the world of online gaming has become so competitive, malicious opponents may resort to DDoS attacks to gain an unfair advantage in a challenge.
VPN providers can mask your IP address, so you remain safe from any foul play that may ruin your online game.
Unblocks geo-restricted streams
In the same way that online shopping platforms show different prices to different regions, online streaming services also show varied content to different regions. Without a VPN, you may not be able to access your favorite shows or movies due to geographical restrictions based on your location.
Since a VPN can allow you to connect to a server of your country of choice, you can easily bypass any geo-restrictions to enjoy online streaming without any barriers.
Cons of VPNs
Not all VPNs are made equal, and not all VPN users have the same priorities. As a responsible and security-conscious internet user, you must make an informed decision by weighing the pros and cons equally.
Decreased connection speed is one of the disadvantages of VPN. Some VPN providers can slow down internet speed because they have such a stringent procedure of encryption. This is a problem most commonly seen in free or cheap, low-quality service providers.
For premium VPN services, such as AstrillVPN, the reduction in speed is unnoticeable. Astrill has incredibly powerful hardware and fully integrated protocols that can even boost the user’s internet speeds when they’re connected to their VPN.
VPNs are banned in certain countries
Due to certain laws and regulations regarding digital privacy rights, VPNs are considered illegal or banned in some countries. If not banned, then they are heavily regulated and often given to consumers without some of the features that are the cornerstones of premium VPNs.
Even though this is a small-scale issue, as VPNs are allowed in the majority of countries, if you are someone who travels a lot, it is worth taking this into account.
This problem is most evident in non-premium VPN service providers. When it comes to online security, it’s important to realize that protecting your traffic from your phone is just as important as securing the traffic from your personal computer.
As the number of smart home devices grows per household, many VPN users are wondering when they will be able to protect the connection for their smart TVs or gaming consoles. Currently, the only workaround for this is a long and technical process of configuring the home router to connect to a VPN.
We have thoroughly discussed the VPN advantages and disadvantages. One thing that we can establish out of it all is that there are numerous benefits of using a VPN, whereas the disadvantages of using a VPN are actually negligible. We wouldn’t even call them disadvantages, because they are subjective to the VPN of your choice.
VPNs have become necessary for both individuals and businesses to protect themselves in the digital realm. With this surge in demand for VPNs, the basic training and information regarding its usage and benefits need to be shared with every user. A VPN provides so many advantages but a great number of users aren’t fully aware of it. If you are a new user then you can check out our “How to Choose a VPN” guide.
In addition, this lack of information is another reason why people think that VPNs have severe downsides, which isn’t true. VPN services enhance your online experience in a variety of ways, from content restriction bypassing to online data protection.
Author: Arsalan Rathore
Arsalan Rathore is a tech geek who loves to pen down his thoughts and views on cybersecurity, technology innovation, entertainment, and social issues. He likes sharing his thoughts about the emerging tech trends in the market and also loves discussing online privacy issues.