A virtual private network, or a VPN for short, is like your trusty sherpa as you navigate the digital world. You’ve probably heard plugs for VPNs many of your favorite YouTube channels, during podcasts you listen to, and through many other creators and influencers. Today, we’re going to dig a little deeper to help you answer the commonly-asked question: Is a VPN necessary? Or is it just another case of magic beans, hype, and not something you really even need?
VPNs are often marketed as a way to help preserve your privacy online and to protect you from trackers, hackers, and more, but not everybody is all that concerned about their privacy. Some folks have the mindset, “I don’t have anything to hide, so who cares…” You can’t go through life anxiously taking every single precaution against every single possible outcome, but a VPN is affordable, easy and quick to use, and carries with it many benefits that go beyond simply trying to retain your privacy or mask your online activities. So, even if you’re not doing anything wrong, and even if you have nothing to hide, here are some reasons that a VPN is still necessary.
1. You Can Get a VPN for Free
Question: Can you get a VPN for free?
Yes, you can get started with a VPN for free to try it out.
Generally speaking, a paid VPN is so affordable with so many benefits that we’ll go on to discuss in this article, that it’s well worth the low fee, especially if you do a longer-term deal like 2-3 years – you can often save a small fortune. But if you’re still on the fence about needing a VPN, even after you’ve read the rest of this article, you can always start off with a VPN trial: 7 days is plenty of time to try it out and make sure that it’s worth it for you.
You’ll generally want to avoid VPNs that are free for life, because this type of service is costly to run, so if someone is offering it for free, that should raise red flags about how they’re earning money, what they’re doing with all of your data, etc.
But a free trial is a great way to get started and test the waters, and many legitimate VPN brands offer trials to new customers, so you can give it a try and make sure it meets your needs beyond the obvious stuff like privacy and protecting your data.
2. It Works With Your Phone
Question: Do I Need a VPN on my phone?
Yes, you need a VPN on your phone.
You might be asking, “Why do I need a VPN on my phone?” That’s a valid question. The fact of the matter is that you probably need a VPN on your phone even more than you need one on your home computer.
As we continue to do more and more on our phones, including banking and the majority of our communications, protecting this data and internet traffic from prying eyes is crucial.
Protecting your home internet traffic is also important, but with your phone, you’re out and about, coming across large groups of people, using different networks and constantly pinging different WiFi connections. All it takes is one person in a crowd who is sniffing around to intercept wireless traffic and your private messages, your account log ins, your emails, and even your banking details could be blowing in the wireless wind for anyone whose looking to snatch them up.
3. It’s Great For Streaming
Question: Do you need a VPN for streaming?
No, you don’t need a VPN for streaming in most cases, but it can greatly enhance your streaming experience nonetheless.
If you want to stream TV shows and movies, a huge selling point for virtual private networks (VPN) is the fact that they can make it look like you’re in a different country, which gives you access to a lot more programming to choose from.
Netflix, for instance, has different licensing deals in different countries so in some regions, their library will be a lot bigger or will have different programming that’s not available everywhere else. By using a VPN, you’re able to hop from region to region and enjoy all of the region-locked programming.
Also, if you’re using streaming sites that are chocked full of ads and trackers and are on the shadier side (like many sites for streaming live sports and events), it’s like being in a seedy neighborhood – it’s just a good idea to use a VPN to protect yourself.
You can use Netflix and streaming sites without a VPN, but in the case of legit streaming platforms like Netflix, Hulu, etc – you can get access to a lot more. On sketchier streaming sites, it’s more a matter of privacy and protecting your computer/device. In either case, while you don’t need a VPN for streaming, it’s still a really good idea to have.
4. It Protects Multiple Devices
Question: Is a VPN Necessary for Firestick?
A VPN is not necessary for Firestick, but it’s still a good idea to have.
Much like the previous question, while you don’t need a VPN for Firestick, it still helps protect this aspect of your network traffic and data.
Many homes have a variety of different devices connected, and things like Firesticks and other smart home units are often on all the time, connected to your WiFi, and routing your internet connect through them.
Smart home devices are notoriously poor in terms of protection, they don’t always get updates fast enough when new exploits are discovered, and they’re often the weakest point in a home’s security, especially if you’re just using them out of the box without going over the privacy settings.
By routing your Firestick traffic through A VPN, you’re giving yourself an added layer of security. This applies to many other devices that give you the option to use a VPN or a proxy with them. It’s a good idea!
Beyond that, if you have Netflix and other streaming platforms on your Firestick, you’ll also be able to get around those perky region locks that prevent you from getting the most out of your device.
5. It Helps You Dodge ISP Throttling
Question: Can a VPN help against throttling?
Yes, a VPN can help you get the most out of your internet connection and guard against throttling by masking your online traffic.
Some internet service providers will intentionally slow down your access to the internet during peak hours, or after you’ve used a certain amount of bandwidth, or just for certain activities such as streaming.
If your ISP throttles your connection and you’re trying to play online games, or watch videos at a higher-than-potato quality, or do anything other than basic email and browser, it’s a huge pain! You pay for a high speed internet connection, so throttling is just madness, but thankfully a VPN can help you put a stop to that.
So, In Your Opinion, Is a VPN Necessary?
When it’s all said and done, a VPN is necessary for some people but might not be for everyone.
If you really don’t use your computer for anything else other than sending an email here and there, you can still benefit from the core privacy benefits of a VPN but you won’t be too worried about things like ISP throttling, getting around region-locks, or protecting your banking info.
But in reality, most people are using their computers, phones, and other devices for just about everything – and a VPN that can protect all of them is worth it for the security alone, before even taking into consideration that it makes your internet connection better and more useful.
Think of an alarm system for your home. You have to program it, punch in your code, it’s inconvenient and the only benefit is the added protection. With a VPN, however, it just runs in the background, it also offers protection, but it carries with it a number of useful benefits, too.