How to use a VPN

There are many use-cases for virtual private networks. For the most part, using a VPN is fairly simple regardless of the purpose. But here is a collection of ways in which people regularly benefit from VPN protection and how they use them.

It helps to know what the primary reasons you would want to use a VPN for. These can be loosely categorised into either security, anonymity, or increased internet freedom.

Increase your online security

Virtual Private Networks primarily provide additional security in two ways. Firstly, they apply advanced encryption to all your internet traffic. Secondly, they provide a bridge (or node) between your device or network, and the rest of the world. Combined, this protects you from anyone intercepting your traffic and logging your data.

Simply connecting to a VPN gateway, by choosing a server and clicking connect will greatly enhance your preventative internet security.

Retain your anonymity online

Creating a barrier between you and the rest of the world via a VPN gateway, also provides a degree of anonymity when using the internet. Specifically with regards to your IP address, which if regularly unmasked can provide an easy way to attribute your activity to you. 

For whatever reason, internet users might like to ensure that their activity is separate from anything that can be attributed to their identity. Simple connecting to a VPN gateway significantly increases your abilities to use the internet somewhat anonymously.

Expand your internet freedom

The internet experience can vary greatly, region by region. There are numerous situations in which users might like to appear to be browsing from a different region to where they currently reside. Whether it be for conducting internet research, or accessing different content streaming options, a VPN can allow you to choose your location. This significantly increases your online freedom.

Regional based restrictions or even government surveillance are often what drive users to VPN solutions. With encrypted traffic and a gateway barrier between you and the services you access, you can browse with greater freedom.

And it’s not only about changing your location. There are situations in which a user’s bandwidth can become “throttled”, such as an ISP restricting the allowance when you play your favourite game or stream your favourite show. By encrypting your traffic and connecting via a VPN gateway, you hide your activity from your ISP and continue more freely.

Other use-cases where VPN is important

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Use while travelling, to get the same experience as back home

Can’t access an important sporting event stream from holiday? Connect to a server from your country, and use the internet as if you were home.

Protect IP address when accessing a shortened link on social media

Malicious links provide a serious threat to users. To avoid exposing yourself to malware or IP loggers, it’s a good idea to use an un-shortening service (such as Unshorten.It!) to check a link destination. And connect to a VPN gateway before you click.

Reduce risk of industrial espionage and protect corporate data

An insecure corporate network is a huge risk to organisations of any size. Protect your network or devices from hackers with a VPN by heavily encrypting traffic and barricading your hardware via gateways. It only takes one employee with poor practices to expose your entire network to risk.

Use while researching taboo topics to avoid misconstrued attention

Do you have a need to research something that you don’t particularly want to be associated with? Mask your location and identity with a VPN before conducting any search engine research.

Use while researching to get localised search results by region

Do you have a particular need to see content as it appears for users from specific countries? Connect to a VPN in that country to see what they see! This can be especially useful for SEO and digital marketers who need to see how advertising appears to users in a certain region.

Protect your organisation from common cyber attacks.

Does everyone in your organisation understand all the risks and common mistakes that can lead to a cyber attack? Create a secure connection with a VPN  to avoid expensive and damaging issues.

Maintain privacy and security whilst trading.

Want to ensure your transactions remain secure and private? A VPN is the perfect solution. This is especially important for cryptocurrency trading. Your data is your money. Fortunes are lost every year to hackers who obtain your private keys and access to your wallets. 

Secure activity when using a public WiFi network.

You can reduce your chances of being hacked when using networks you don’t control by connecting to a VPN and encrypting your traffic.

Circumnavigate IP blocking during a penetration test or simulated cyber attack.

Firewall slammed shut? Change your IP!

Cloak online meetings and VOIP calls

Do you trust your online meeting software? Would you prefer to be able to have a conversation without worrying about security? Connect to a VPN before conducting your calls to at least keep your connection information private from providers. 

Protect your family

Does your partner understand how a phishing attack works? Does your teenage child know not to click on a masked link? If your family's privacy and security is important to you, protecting them with a good VPN is a great investment.