Encrypt your traffic! When you turn on a VPN, all traffic that goes to and from your computer, tablet or phone is encrypted until it travels to and exits the VPN server. Whoever provides your internet connection – be it your ISP, your employer, school or even the café offering free WiFi – can’t see what you are doing online when you’re using a VPN. The traffic is safe from prying eyes and none of it can be traced back to you.
Your IP address can reveal a lot about you – and in the worst case, identify you. All services and web pages that you connect to see and log your IP address. Are you comfortable with that?
VPN saves the day again. When using the internet through a VPN, your actual IP address is hidden from the sites and services you connect to. They see only that the traffic is coming from the VPN’s address, which is shared with thousands of other anonymous people – rendering you anonymous, too.
Public Wi-Fi is inherently insecure. Anyone who can connect to the network can potentially snoop on your traffic – unless it is encrypted with a VPN. Even worse, the one who set up the network can easily see your traffic. Sometimes they even sneak in a mention of surveillance in terms and conditions of a WiFi hotspot.
If you don’t encrypt your traffic, anyone can potentially see the websites you visit, your personal communications, who you are communicating with, and the files you send.
When connecting to a public WiFi you can never be sure the WiFi is what it claims to be. Anyone can name their WiFi anything they want. If a malicious hacker is setting up a rogue hotspot and names it Free Café WiFi, you might believe that it’s a legitimate provider. If the hacker lures you to connect to the rogue WiFi, they can do all sorts of evil tricks. They can inject malware into your downloads or spoof login pages to capture your passwords. At worst, they could spoof a bank login page and fool you into giving your credentials.
All of this can be prevented by using a VPN, which will make sure you have an encrypted tunnel to the VPN server, so you know you are not being monitored and all your traffic on the public WiFi is unreadable.
Whoever provides your connection might be slowing down, or throttling your traffic to certain sites. This is to discourage their use and help people adopt services that benefit the ones that provide your connection – or it might just be a cost cutting measure to save bandwidth.
There's a way around throttling. If you turn on a VPN, you hide where you are connecting, so specific websites cannot be throttled anymore.
Some services on the web behave differently depending on your location, showing you different content, different prices or blocking you out of content entirely. When you use a VPN, you can choose where you appear to come from.
If you don’t use a VPN, your real location can be determined by your IP address, often with surprising accuracy. Every website you connect can potentially do this, even without your permission. The way out is to turn on your VPN. Then the website can only see that your traffic comes from the VPN’s address and location – which you can choose from several options. This is how you can appear to come out of Finland, USA, UK, Switzerland or wherever you feel like.
Some networks censor content. There are many reasons why – all of them come down to the fact that somebody wants to prevent you from seeing material you would want to see. One of the more innocent approaches might be your workplace blocking social media sites in its network. The other extreme is suppressing the availability of information that the government deems a threat for its existence.
When you connect to a VPN, the network you are connected to sees only that your traffic flows to a VPN server, yet they don’t have any idea what the traffic is and where it is eventually going after it goes through a VPN, so you can access what you want to.
These are six good reasons to use a VPN, more than enough for you to get one. Pick one you can trust and one that is easy to use. We recommend our F-Secure FREEDOME VPN. You can try it 5 days for free, no credit card or even an email address needed.