If you care about your privacy online, you might have heard about a VPN, aka Virtual Private Network. However, if not, you might be wondering what one is. Don’t worry – we are going to explain everything about Virtual Private Networks including what one is, why you might want to take advantage of one, and the pros and cons of using a VPN. So, read on.
First, we would like to mention that not all Virtual Private Network providers offer the same benefits and features. There are free and paid-for services but the ones we are talking about here are subscription-based providers.
However, free services come with many downsides, so we are going to concentre on the paid only providers.
What is a VPN?
A Virtual Private Network is a service that you pay for by taking out a monthly or yearly paid plan. The provider offers apps to download to your devices, which you can use to connect to a server.
Good providers offer thousands of servers based around the world. You can choose any of the servers and connect to that server through the dashboard of the app.
When connected to a server, your IP address is masked as you take on the IP of the connected server and that country.
Along with this, there is a virtual tunnel between the internet and your device. Any information is encrypted before leaving your device and venturing out onto the World Wide Web.
Therefore, your personal details remain safe.
However, just as with anything else in life, there are pros and cons of using a VPN, but we definitely think that the advantages massively outweigh the disadvantages.
A Good VPN Offers Many Benefits and Features
There are many things to consider when choosing a Virtual Private Network. For instance, if you value your privacy you should make sure your provider deletes all logs. This is important, along with choosing a provider outside of the Five/Nine/Fourteen Eyes countries.
The last thing you want is your provider keeping logs of what you do and sharing them with third parties. Free providers often keep logs and some even sell your data on to others. This is one of the reasons we do not recommend you using a free provider and is one of the disadvantages of using a VPN offering a free service.
On the other hand, premium providers almost always offer a no-log policy.
You should also choose a Virtual Private Network Provider who has thousands of servers and servers should be fast.
For safety online, you need a provider that offers military-grade encryption along with Kill Switch and DNS leak protection.
The Pros and Cons of Using a VPN
So, should you use a Virtual Private Network, or is paying for one a waste of money? Let us take a look at the pros and cons of using a VPN.
- Additional security
- Overcoming censorship and geo-restrictions
- Downloading anonymously
- Using WiFi hotspots safely
- Browsing anonymously
- Saving money on flight tickets, hotels, games, etc
- Dropped connections
- Can be spotted by some websites
- Slowdowns in speed, which depends on the provider
The Pros of Using a VPN
First, let us take a deeper look into the many advantages of using a software like this.
1. Additional security measures
A Virtual Private Network offers additional security measures, providing an added boost to any malware and virus software you have.
Your personal information is encrypted via the virtual tunnel created when you connect to a server. This means it is unreadable even if anyone could get his/her hands on it.
2. Overcoming censorship and geo-restrictions
When you mask your IP address by connecting to a server, you can overcome any geo-restriction. For instance, if you take a vacation outside of the USA but want to access US Netflix, you can choose a server in the states.
Once connected to a server in America, you have an American IP address. In turn, this “fools” websites and apps into thinking you are located in the US. You can use a Virtual Private Network this way to overcome restrictions in any country and watch content from any country around the world regardless of your actual location.
Out of all the pros and cons of using a VPN, many people say this is one of the best advantages.
3. Downloading anonymously
Another advantage of using a VPN is to remain anonymous when downloading online. This applies to any downloads that you do not want your ISP to know about, including torrent downloading.
Without a Virtual Private Network in place, your ISP can see what you do online. This includes the websites you visit, where you go, emails, and what you download.
4. Using WiFi hotspots safely
One of the pros of using a Virtual Private Network is you can connect to WiFi hotspots safely and securely. Without a Virtual Private Network, you are at the risk of hackers infiltrating the hotspot and gaining access to your personal information.
5. Remaining anonymous
When using a Virtual Private Network, you can speak freely and openly on forums and social media without the fear of being targeted.
Some countries have strict censorship rules and laws about what can and cannot be said online. Often people mistake what you said online and this can result in lawsuits. With a Virtual Private Network to protect you, you remain anonymous.
PROS OF USING A VPN
Fight against any malware and virus software.
Encrypt your personal data.
Watch Netflix and other streaming content abroad.
Access all your favourite websites even in censored countries.
Overcome restrictions to watch every national channel wherever you are.
Protect your data from your ISP or any hacker.
The Cons of Using a VPN
Now out of the pros and cons of using a VPN, we will concentrate on the cons.
1. Connections can be dropped
The server connection may drop when using a Virtual Private Network. This is the connection made to the server through the app.
If it happens to you, you can expose your online presence. If you are streaming from another country, the stream will stop, your personal details are at risk, and more.
However, while we have listed this as a disadvantage of using a VPN, most of the best providers offer a Kill Switch. This means that if the server connection is lost your own IP address is not exposed as your internet connection is killed instantly until you connect to the server again.
2. Can be spotted by some websites
Some websites and streaming platforms, such as Netflix, use anti-VPN software to stop people from using a Virtual Private Network to connect using an alternative server.
This is definitely a disadvantage of using a VPN. However, many providers realize this and take steps to ensure the servers still work and you can still overcome geo-restrictions.
ExpressVPN, for instance, still manages to be invisible on most platforms.
3. Slowdown in speed
Many people worry about a slowdown in speed when using a Virtual Private Network. In order not to suffer from slowdowns, choose a provider that offers blazing fast servers, such as ExpressVPN.
Is your ISP throttling your internet connection? If so a Virtual Private Network can help to speed up your connection. In this case, it turns from a con into a pro.
Our Choice of the Top 3 VPN Providers
Now that we have looked at the pros and cons of using a VPN, we are going to recommend our choice of the top 3 providers.
1. ExpressVPN – Why we put the provider in the number one spot
We put ExpressVPN in the first place, as it is an all-round premium provider offering numerous features and benefits.
Thousands of optimized blazing-fast worldwide servers: To start with, you can choose from thousands of blazing-fast servers located in 94 countries worldwide. The optimized servers are reliable, with many servers located in the UK, USA, and Canada, making it one of the best VPN for Canada.
Unlimited bandwidth: ExpressVPN plans come with unlimited bandwidth, something that is essential if you want to stream HD video online.
Support for a wide range of devices: The provider offers support for a wide range of devices via apps. This makes installing a Virtual Private Network on virtually any device extremely easy. If there is no standalone app available, ExpressVPN supports router installation.
256-bit military-grade encryption: ExpressVPN offers best-in-class encryption. With this, you can be sure your personal information remains your own.
Unconditional 30-day money-back guarantee: ExpressVPN also offers an unconditional 30-day money-back guarantee with absolutely no quibbles. If you are not happy, you get your money back.
2. NordVPN – Why you might want to consider it
NordVPN comes in a close second, so let’s take a look at why you might want to consider taking out a plan with the provider.
Plans include many features: You do not have to worry about the pros and cons of using a VPN with NordVPN as it offers virtually everything you need to enjoy a better experience online. If you are considering using a Virtual Private Network, you might want to consider NordVPN due to the huge list of features on offer.
This includes Double VPN, CyberSec, and more.
Double VPN for double security: NordVPN allows users to connect to two servers. As you might guess, this means double the protection and security.
Built-in ad-blocking, malware protection, and more: Plans offered by NordVPN offer built-in ad protection, protection against malware, and protection against malicious websites. This suite of features goes towards ensuring no compromise of speed when using a Virtual Private Network.
Thousands of servers around the globe: Finding the perfect server is not difficult as NordVPN offers access to 5,700 of them located in 60 countries around the world. All servers are fast and the provider offers easy connection to special servers for streaming with their SmartPlay feature.
3. CyberGhost – A complete solution
CyberGhost claims to offer a complete solution, so let’s look at why you might want to choose the provider.
Browser session and VPN in one: With CyberGhost, you can launch a web browsing session and Virtual Private Network connection in only just one click.
100% customizable: CyberGhost can be customized 100% so that you take charge. This includes choosing specific servers and combining many features. Alternatively, you may choose to allow the provider to offer you the best server and connect with one click, ensuring the apps are easy to use for novices.
Easy 1-click streaming: Overcoming geo-restrictions when streaming online is easy as CyberGhost offers one-click streaming on many popular streaming services.
Easy torrenting: Torrenting is easy with CyberGhost. One-click is all that is required to launch the torrent client and secure it using your Virtual Private Network.
There are pros and cons to using a VPN. However, the advantages of using a Virtual Private Network do outweigh the disadvantages. Also, by choosing the best providers, you can almost get rid of all the CONS.
Just be careful not to choose cheap and bad quality VPN providers that will definitely make your life a real nightmare.
Without a Virtual Private Network in place, you are at risk of hackers gaining access to your personal information when browsing the internet. This applies even more so if you use WiFi hotspots.
A Virtual Private Network can help to overcome geo-restrictions and censorship, which in turn allows you to watch what you want, where you want.
Of course, you get security and peace of mind when using a VPN so that even your own ISP cannot spy on your activities online. This includes what you download, the websites you visit, and the emails you send.
You can check out our website, the-BestVPN.com to find out more about the pros and cons of using a VPN along with more information about the benefits of a Virtual Private Network.
Alison has joined the team in the early stage because she wanted to share with us the experience she had while using VPNs over the last few years. As she’s travelled a lot, she tested many VPNs and wanted to share this with you. Alison cares about staying anonymous and not leaving any footprints on the internet. Therefore, you won’t have the chance to see her face ;).