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.

Johnny 5

Johnny 5 believes in privacy, freedom from snooping governments, and Batman.

An illustration of a large green question mark. Inside the question mark, there is a stream of letters and numbers to symbolize code (like they did in the Matrix).

A VPN is a clever bit of software that masks the IP address of any device you install it on.

In simple terms: When you use a VPN, it looks like you’re connecting to the internet from somewhere else.

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 fantastic and 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 in America, but only $100 in Germany. It makes sense to buy it 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”? If you use a VPN, you won’t have to see this anymore. 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. All online media providers cater their content to different locations. What’s available in one place won’t always be there in another. When you use a VPN, you get more content!

The internet might also come with government restrictions, such as the ability to access adult entertainment or gambling sites, social media, and even international news sources. But if you connect with a VPN, you can decide what you want to watch.

3. Watch all the sports from everywhere

Sports are brilliant, but, as with TV, Broadcasters show them with an eye on the local market. But in this world of transient living, 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 no sport you can’t watch with a VPN.

4. Better gaming when you connect with a VPN

These days, gamers are everyone, and we can all play anyone, anytime—it’s pretty damn 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.

5. Keep your connection private

This a big one. An unsecured connection means someone could be reading everything you say and watching everything you do.

Many search engines harvest your data and log all your online activity. This collected data is then used to target ads at you, or worse, sold to the highest bidder.

A trustworthy VPN will secure and encrypt your internet, locking it away from prying and malevolent eyes.

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 manipulate the system and 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.

In short, a VPN makes the internet better.

A VPN lets everyone experience the full internet. And while some people seem to want more walls, ExpressVPN is in the business of bringing them down.

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