Why do I need a VPN? Here are 5 good reasons

A VPN is a powerful but straightforward tool that lets you experience the whole internet, anytime you want, from wherever you are.
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A VPN is a clever bit of software that does two main things: It masks your IP address, and it encrypts your connection to keep it private.

In other words: When you use a VPN, it looks like you’re connecting to the internet from somewhere else, and no one can see your online activity.

It doesn’t matter if it’s iPhone or Android, Mac or PC: You can use a VPN on anything that connects to the internet, either by installing software on the device or using a VPN router. It’s that simple.

For a more technical explanation of what’s going on, ExpressVPN has a comprehensive guide here.

But this blog is all about busting the nerd jargon and focusing on what a VPN actually does for you. Things like this:

1. Get stuff cheaper with a VPN

A VPN lets you shop around to get the best deal. Rather than being limited to your local market, you get access to the global market.

Did you know the same product or service can cost two entirely different prices in two different places?

For example, a flight might cost 400 USD if you buy it in the U.S., but only 100 USD if you buy it in Germany. It makes sense to buy it online from Germany then, right? With a VPN, you can! Boom.

2. Access more online content

Have you ever seen those messages on YouTube that say, “The uploader has not made this content available in your country”? Or YouTube might be censored by your country entirely. If you use a VPN, you’ll be able to view YouTube from any country you want with just with a few mouse clicks.

It’s not limited to YouTube, though. Many online media providers cater their content to different locations, and some governments block popular social media sites like Facebook and chat apps like WhatsApp. What’s available in one place won’t always be there in another. When you use a VPN, you get more content!

3. Watch all the sports from everywhere

Broadcasters often show sports tournaments and games with an eye on the local market. In our globalized world, we might find ourselves in places that don’t show the games we want to see.

Want to watch Manchester United in Bangkok? No Problem. Looking for the Super Bowl anywhere other than the U.S.? Easy. There is pretty much no sports event you can’t watch with a VPN.

Read more: 7 best streaming services for sports and live games

4. Better gaming when you connect with a VPN

These days, gamers are everyone, and we can all play anyone, anytime—it’s pretty amazing. Just so long as we have a robust enough internet connection, that is. And therein lies the problem. ISPs can throttle connections if bandwidth usage is considered too high, leaving a nasty lag or a spotty connection.

But we are human and magnificent. And we created VPN software that offers fast, uninterrupted gameplay. Anywhere.

Read more: Top 6 video games that will change how you view privacy

5. Keep your connection private

This a big one. An unsecured Wi-Fi connection, such as ones in cafes and airports, is vulnerable to third-party interception. That means someone could be reading what you type or seeing what sites you’re browsing. A trustworthy VPN will secure and encrypt your traffic, shielding it from third parties.

Many sites also harvest your data and log your online activity. This collected data is then used to target ads at you, or worse, sold to the highest bidder. A VPN gives you an IP address shared among many users, making it harder for trackers to distinguish you from numerous other individuals.

Do I need a VPN at home? Yes!

Websites track your location from your IP address, so if you change your IP address, you can appear to be in places you are not.

But it’s not just a benefit at home: A VPN can be especially useful when traveling, helping you to use your favorite apps even in places they’re blocked and stay in touch with friends back home.

A VPN lets you experience the full internet while keeping your online activity private.

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Johnny 5 is the founding editor of the blog and writes about pressing technology issues. From important cat privacy stories to governments and corporations that overstep their boundaries, Johnny covers it all.