If you want to make your Internet connection extra secure, a Virtual Private Network (VPN) is your best friend. However, there are many people who still don’t quite know how such a service works.
The Internet can be a very strange place. As easy as it is to surf the Internet, the technology behind it can also be confusing. If you don’t keep up with new developments, you quickly overlook a lot. So it makes sense that you may not know much about VPNs.
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6 VPN myths we debunk for you right away
A VPN can provide you with a secure and private connection over the Internet by creating a virtual tunnel between your device and a remote server. This way, your IP address is masked and your Internet traffic is encrypted.
It sounds like a clear story. Yet there are plenty of people who make false assumptions about using such a service. That’s why we take a look at some of the key myths about VPNs.
#1 VPNs are intended for illegal activities
A VPN can certainly be used to assist in illegal activities. For example, when downloading copyrighted material. But that is not the primary purpose.
A VPN is meant to enhance your online privacy. Something that, as far as we know, is legitimate and legal. By encrypting your Internet traffic, you are actually protecting yourself from cybercriminals or hackers.
#2 You are completely anonymous
It is much more challenging for websites, advertisers and ISPs to track online activities when you use a VPN. However, that doesn’t mean you are completely anonymous. No matter which VPN you use, the company behind the service may have access to your IP address and all the Web sites you visit.
That means they can track your online behavior. That’s why it’s important that you choose a reputable option that has strict policies in place to make sure they don’t track what you do online.
You can also use VPN on your smartphone. (Image: Unsplash/Privecstasy)
#3 A free VPN is just as good as a paid option
We get that you don’t feel like adding an extra monthly subscription on top of all the streaming services. Still, it’s best to do just that. Free VPNs typically don’t have the same commitment to privacy as paid services. And that may include sharing your user data with third parties.
If you decide to use a free version instead of a paid one, you also run the risk of little customer support. And you often have to deal with data limits, being bombarded with ads and not having access to features you might need.
#4 You get faster Internet
We can be brief about this. It’s a huge fable. When you use a VPN, your data goes through an encrypted tunnel, through third-party servers. That encryption takes time, and if VPN servers are far away from you, you may actually get slower Internet. However, the difference is often so small that you hardly notice it. Nothing to worry about.
#5 You can enjoy Netflix titles from abroad
By using a VPN server in a different country than where you live, you can “fake” your IP address. This allows you to access content or services restricted to your home region. For example, if you have a Netflix subscription in the Netherlands, you can use an American VPN to stream titles from America.
This tactic just doesn’t always work. Some websites and streaming services use VPN detection mechanisms. Those can recognize if you are using a VPN and block access.
#6 A VPN protects against malware and viruses
VPNs can encrypt your data and mask your IP address, but that doesn’t mean they can help you with everything. The service does offer indirect cyber security benefits. Think about securing your connection when using public Wi-Fi. But it is no substitute for an antivirus tool.