We’ve all experienced a nosy stranger peering at our phone screen on the bus to work or school. Similarly, strangers can check out your browser window. It’s a common phenomenon that exposes people to all forms of cyberattacks online.
However, with a Virtual Private Network (VPN), your internet connection will be secured, protecting your data and online activity from intrusion. So why should you have your VPN activated? And are there any situations that might require you to turn it off?
Why Should You Leave Your VPN Turned On?
VPN users usually face a dilemma, i.e. whether they should leave their VPN on or off. Most people consider their online security and anonymity a priority, so they prefer to always have their VPN on. But they do have their drawbacks too, including potential time lags, depending on the service you’re using. If you’re undecided about leaving your VPN on, here are some bases to consider.
Browse the Internet Privately
Some people may need help understanding why VPNs are required to keep you off the grid since all devices come with incognito mode, which they believe has the same function. However, they don’t. Incognito mode only protects you from anyone who has access to your device.
For instance, if you share a laptop with your siblings, you don’t have to worry about them checking on what you’re doing when using incognito mode. However, you’re still visible to everyone on the internet.
VPNs take it up a notch by keeping you anonymous over the web, allowing you to browse the internet privately and more freely by encrypting data.
Protect Your Information from Hackers
A major benefit of using a VPN is that it protects you from the potential dangers lurking on the internet. Hackers have a variety of methods they employ to access the sensitive information you use online.
With this information, they can impersonate you and gain access to your bank accounts, credit cards, and more. VPNs protect you from these vulnerabilities because your online presence is encrypted when VPNs are in use.
To Save Money
Activities such as booking hotels and purchasing flight tickets differ dramatically in price based on your location.
Booking websites can access your search history. They use the information they find to decide what prices and offers to send your way. With a VPN, you can hide such information and get the best price every time.
You’ll also find this useful if you do a lot of online shopping. With a VPN, you can change your virtual location to regions where items are sold for lower prices (although shipping costs still apply!).
Bypass Geo-Restrictions on Content
Have you ever lost access to a service after moving to a new location? For example, a movie you could watch in America is nowhere to be found when you travel to Japan. This means that content has been blocked.
Geoblocking is a tool used by services to restrict access to content in specific geographic locations. With the aid of a VPN, you can bypass these.
Turning off your VPN will expose your actual location, and you will no longer have access to the content you were enjoying.
When Should You Turn Off Your VPN?
There is no doubt that VPNs are the great line of defense against cyberattacks and keep your private data anonymous. Despite its benefits, there are times when it is necessary to turn off your VPN…
To Increase Internet Speed
Earlier, we mentioned that a major benefit of using a VPN is that it encrypts your online presence; this process takes time. The amount of time a VPN uses to encrypt your data could negatively impact your online experience. You might find yourself waiting longer for pages to load.
Some VPNs are worse than others when it comes to slowing down your internet speed. Just go through the service specifications before using them.
To Prevent Fast Battery Drain
Your choice of VPN can put a dent in your battery’s capacity. Generally, VPNs use the same battery life as other applications on iOS and Android devices, but some take a bigger chunk than others.
Naturally, every mobile device is unique, and the exact battery usage depends on several variables. These include the level of the VPN encryption, mobile coverage, and whether or not the VPN runs in the background at all times.
To Save Money
Like most service providers, VPNs are available in free and paid versions. While the free versions provide the basic service of encrypting your online presence, there’s a catch. They are often filled with annoying ads and have data consumption limits. Some even take logs.
These ads use up data like other online activities. Turning off your VPN allows you to skip the distractions and go straight to what you’re looking for, reducing your internet usage and saving you money.
To Reduce Data Consumption
VPNs tend to use more data when encrypting. If you have limited data, it is best to turn off your VPN to enjoy your favorite internet activities, such as streaming music, downloading content, and surfing the web.
To Avoid Geo Location Illegality
Not everyone supports VPNs. A technique called VPN blocking was even created to hinder VPN use.
Some countries, such as Iraq, Turkey, Russia, and China, use VPN blockers to limit their citizens’ exposure to inappropriate content. There’s no rulebook for what form of content gets blocked, as it is dependent on the location.
In countries that ban the use of VPNs, there are heavy penalties for anyone caught using one. You may be fined as much as $5,000, and you won’t be able to rely on your VPN provider to help you out.
Should You Use a VPN?
A VPN is an important security tool that keeps you safe when connected to the web. They create an encrypted tunnel between your device and your service provider, and all your information is protected on its journey through that tunnel.
There are many advantages and drawbacks associated with staying connected via a VPN. Assess why you have to use a VPN and consider if the disadvantages may disproportionately affect you. Whether you leave your VPN on or off, it is most important that you browse safely.