Why do I need a VPN?

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, or virtual private network, is an essential privacy tool for your computer, phone, tablet, or any device that connects to the internet. But you may be wondering why using a VPN is so important, and why you still need one even in 2022

From privacy and security to breaking through censorship, here are seven great reasons to use a VPN:

10 reasons to use a VPN

1. Hide your browsing history from your ISP

Although most internet service providers (ISPs) claim not to sell your data, they are often allowed to “share” details of your browsing history with third parties who sell them to data brokers, who in turn sell them to advertisers.

There are several ways to hide your browsing history from your ISP, but the simplest by far is to use a VPN. With a VPN, your ISP cannot see what websites you visit or what apps you use, so they have no useful information to share with third parties.

Watch: Video: What does your ISP know about you?

2. Change your virtual location

Using a VPN gives you a new IP address in another location. That means you can appear to be in a different country, from the perspective of the apps and websites you visit.

Want to view content the way it would appear in another country? Connecting to a new VPN server location should solve your problem.

3. Protect your privacy from Wi-Fi operators

A VPN also keeps your internet activity private from Wi-Fi network operators. If you’re worried about the manager of a school, office, or public Wi-Fi network having access to your browsing history, a VPN is the solution you’re looking for. 

4. Bypass throttling by your ISP

If you’ve ever noticed that your connection slows down while streaming, downloading, or gaming, you might be experiencing bandwidth throttling. This happens when ISPs attempt to relieve congestion by inspecting your traffic and intentionally slowing you down if they see you are engaged in one of these activities.

With a VPN, however, your ISP will not be able to inspect your traffic, so they will not be able to throttle your connection based on your activity.

If your connection is in fact being throttled, you will probably find that using a VPN will speed up your streaming, gaming, and other high-bandwidth activities.

5. Add an extra layer of security on public Wi-Fi

Although encryption is becoming more prevalent on the internet, there are always times when having an extra layer of protection comes in handy, for example: when traveling, using public Wi-Fi in busy areas, or logging into your bank account on an untrusted network.

A VPN wraps your traffic in an encrypted tunnel that protects you from man-in-the-middle attacks, packet sniffing, and other common Wi-Fi security risks.

6. Get a better gaming experience

Using a VPN lowers ping when you’re gaming online. Ping, or latency, refers to the time it takes for information—in this case, packets of data—to be sent from your machine to a server and its subsequent response time. Shorter connection routes between your device and gaming servers are preferable for lowering ping, and using a VPN can help to shorten this route by connecting to a VPN server closer to the gaming server.

Using a VPN can also help to prevent DDoS attacks—a common issue among gamers.

Read more: How to lower ping and improve speeds for online gaming

7. Defeat internet censorship

Whether for political, religious, or economic reasons, many countries use internet censorship to block access to certain apps and websites. It can be incredibly frustrating for citizens—or anyone traveling in that country—to lose access to email, social media, news sites, and other tools that once connected them to the outside world.

That’s why many travelers, expats, and citizens of countries with censorship have come to rely on VPNs to unblock websites like Google, Facebook, Twitter, and The New York Times. By changing your IP address, using a VPN allows you to browse the internet as if you were in a country where the internet is free and open. 

8. Avoid price discrimination to save money

Did you know using a VPN can help you find better deals while shopping? That’s because some online retailers change their prices based on your location (whether it’s which country or which part of the country you’re in).

When you use a VPN to change your IP address before searching for plane tickets, hotels, car rentals, or other gifts, you might be able to find cheaper prices than in your home country.

9. Keep your online activity private from governments

It’s no secret: countries surveil their own citizens. Using a VPN adds a layer of privacy, protecting your internet traffic from intruders, including governments. Even if you have nothing to hide, online privacy from government agencies should be considered a right. 

Read more: Nothing to hide? Speak for yourself.

10. Unblocking websites and apps at school or offices

Some school or office Wi-Fi networks restrict access to popular content, such as social media and streaming services. They do this to save bandwidth and reduce distractions.

When you use a VPN, you can bypass school and office Wi-Fi restrictions to access your favorite services and stay in touch with friends and family.

Why ExpressVPN is the VPN you need

Convinced you need a VPN but haven’t chosen a provider yet? Here’s why ExpressVPN is the best VPN for you:

How to get a VPN

Getting a VPN is fast and easy. Just follow these steps:

Step 1: Sign up for ExpressVPN

Visit the order page and choose the plan that’s right for you.

Step 2: Download your VPN app

ExpressVPN has apps for iOS, Android, Mac, Windows, and other devices.

Step 3: Connect to a VPN server location

Select a location in any one of 94 countries around the world.

FAQ: About using a VPN

Do I need a VPN at home?

Yes. While your home Wi-Fi is likely more secure than public, free Wi-Fi, plus you probably don’t have any restrictions on accessing services at home, having a VPN is beneficial in various ways. A VPN helps you stay private from your ISP, combat throttling to speed up your connection, break through censorship, and protect your home devices from intrusions.

Read more: 4 reasons you need a VPN at home

What are the limitations of a VPN?

There are various reasons a VPN might not work as expected, and a VPN is not meant to give you total anonymity and security online. Here are a few examples of a VPN’s limitations.

  • Some websites and apps don’t want to grant access to people using a VPN, and they generally do this by blocking IP addresses known to belong to VPNs. 
  • Not all devices are compatible with VPN apps. For example, you can’t download a VPN to your smart fridge. This is why ExpressVPN has created a VPN app for your router, which allows all devices connected to the router to receive the benefits of a VPN.
  • Even when you’re using a VPN, websites and apps can identify you and track your activity while you are logged in to those services. For example, if you use Google while logged in to your Gmail account, Google can track your search history.
  • When you’re using a VPN, your online traffic is protected with encryption. But your ISP is still able to see that you’re using a VPN, the duration of each connection, and the encrypted data (but they cannot decrypt it).

Read more: What does a VPN hide?

Is it safe to use VPNs?

Yes. There are no risk factors when using a reputable, high-quality VPN. VPNs are widely used around the world among individuals and companies to increase their online security and break through restrictions. 

Still not sure? If you don’t like ExpressVPN for any reason, you can get a full refund within the first 30 days of signing up.

What are the types of VPNs?

There are commercial VPNs, such as ExpressVPN, which anyone can subscribe to and start using as an app on their phone or computer. There are also VPNs for businesses, which are available to companies that want to give their employees secure remote access to a company network. It’s important to note that business VPNs are designed to protect the company’s network security, not the individual employee’s privacy.

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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.