A virtual private network is a useful tool for anyone using the Internet. People can get a lot of mileage out of it whether they're browsing their favorite websites, playing games, or streaming shows online. Here are a few ways that someone can use a VPN to improve their quality of online life.

Hide Your Identity

It's no secret that companies of all sorts buy and sell databases that contain personal information gathered without the consent of the individuals involved. They can develop a comprehensive online profile of people by aggregating this data. A VPN service stops these efforts by taking a user's internet traffic and taking it through their own servers before it reaches the public internet. Since the trackers don't know the person's original IP address, they have no way of associating that information to their profile.

Access Region-Locked Content

It's frustrating to see great shows, movies, and online videos hidden behind a region-locked message. Whether a person is traveling outside of their home country or simply wants to access media that's not available in their home, a VPN helps them get around this issue. The VPN service provider has servers throughout the world. All the user has to do is pick the server where that content would be available, and then route their traffic through it. It's possible to try out VPN service to see whether it fits the user's needs.

Avoid Government Internet Censorship

Some governments are against the idea of a free and open Internet. They censor various parts of the Internet, and control the online experience of people within that country. Since a VPN can make traffic appear as though it's from other countries, it can get around this block and make it possible to see these forbidden resources. China is the most prominent example of government overreach when it comes to Internet censorship, with the Great Firewall of China blocking countless subjects and websites.

Block Malware and Ads

Some VPN services have built-in malware and ad blocking so users can have a stress-free and safe online browsing experience. By automatically blocking these disruptive elements, a VPN user can view websites smoothly and without any issues. Malware is a major issue with using the Internet today, and can result in major personal and professional damage. Preemptively cleaning up the online browsing experience is one way to improve cybersecurity, especially as hackers attempt to find new methods for getting malicious software onto computers and spread throughout networks.

DDOS Protection

Distributed denial of service attacks target a person's IP address and floods their network with requests from compromised computers and devices. Since they leverage a variety of attack points for a DDOS, it's hard to arbitrarily filter out that traffic ahead of time. A VPN shields the user's IP address behind one or more servers, so they can't get targeted by that attack. The VPN service itself has measures in place to block DDOS attacks from causing an impact. In the worst case scenario, the individual's traffic gets moved to a different server.

Protect Your Internet Browsing Activity

VPNs use encryption to stop third-parties from seeing their users' browsing activity. Even if a hacker steals the information, the encryption means that they won't be able to understand this information. Many VPNs avoid keeping logs of what the users are doing as well, just in case they get compromised through law enforcement requests or a cyber attack. They're not able to provide information that they don't keep on file, so everything stays safe and secure.

Use Torrents Without a Hassle

Some Internet Service Providers look for certain types of internet traffic and throttle the speeds on it. High-bandwidth activity is typically the target, with torrenting and other P2P traffic getting singled out frequently. Since any P2P traffic through a VPN is encrypted, the ISP won't be able to apply torrent-specific rules to the speed that it allocates to that resource. Some companies try to get around this by treating VPN traffic differently, but the top VPNs are able to mask their presence so it simply appears as though it's normal traffic.

How to Get a VPN

VPN services are readily available, so getting access to one depends on the criteria that an individual is looking at. Some VPNs offer excellent all-around service, while others focus on specific areas. There are security-centric, speed-centric, and even torrent-centric options on the market. When evaluating VPN services, look for businesses that offer unlimited data and unlimited connections. If they don't have these two features, then the user could end up hitting a data cap for high-bandwidth activities such as torrenting, video chatting,, or gaming.

For people new to VPN services, looking for user-friendly services is a great idea. These straightforward options get them up and running quickly, without any confusion. For more advanced users, look for VPNs that offer advanced configuration options, such as choosing the type of VPN protocol to use during browsing.

The operating system or device that the user has matters as well. Major platforms have broad support, but for people looking for a Linux VPN or one that gets set up directly on their router, they have fewer options.

Both free and premium VPN services are available. Typically, free services have many restrictions in place, such as slower speeds, fewer servers to connect to, or limited connections. Premium VPN services are often worth the relatively low cost, as they make it possible to add VPN browsing as the primary way that someone goes online. The costs can vary significantly, but generally it's a low monthly fee whenever a user chooses to pay on an annual or longer basis. Some companies offer a free trial or money-back guarantees, which are useful ways to evaluate a VPN to determine whether it meets their needs.

VPNs are a must-have tool for the modern Internet. They come in handy for so many situations, whether a person wants to improve their online privacy, or they'd like to view videos from the other side of the world.

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