We spend most of our daily lives connected to the internet. Almost everything we do, from banking, watching Netflix, browsing social media, and even turning the lights or heating on before we arrive home from work, can and is done online. Many people assume their internet activity is entirely private and not accessible by anyone but themselves. Those people think wrong and need a VPN in their lives.
A VPN, or Virtual Private Network to give the acronym its full name, is software that runs quietly in the background of your computer, tablet, or smartphone whenever you access the internet. The data your device sends down the internet goes through the VPN provider’s servers before reaching its intended target. There is more to it than that, but that is what a VPN does in layman’s terms. Why should you want to, and why do you need a VPN in your life if it is so simple? Keep reading to find out.
Gain Access To Blocked Websites
VPNs have many uses, but the most popular reason for their use among the general population is they give the ability to visit blocked websites. They do this by what is known as spoofing your location. For example, you access the internet from your home in New York and want to watch a British show on the popular BBC iPlayer but discover iPlayer is unavailable in the United States. However, you can direct your traffic through the VPN’s servers in the United Kingdom, and the BBC iPlayer website will think you are located on British shores, giving you full access. This location spoofing works for accessing things like Netflix accounts from other countries, accessing the top online sportsbook MyBookie, or even finding country-specific deals on the PlayStation or Xbox Store.
Hide Your Internet Usage From Your Internet Service Provider
Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) has the ability to see every single thing you access on the internet, and we mean everything in minute detail. Download an eBook from a website? Your ISP knows precisely what you have downloaded. Stream a movie from a torrent site; your ISP knows you have done it. Indeed, the writer of this article was once issued with a cease and desist order from his ISP after downloading several episodes of Game of Thrones. This would have been impossible to happen had I used a VPN.
Using a VPN when downloading or streaming files encrypts the data using 256-bit encryption technology. Instead of seeing the data, your ISP just sees a garbled mess that it has zero chance of understanding. The ISP will still know you have downloaded or streamed something and its size, but it is impossible to tell what that something is without your VPN’s encryption key. When we say impossible, we mean impossible. It would take a quantum computer longer than the universe has existed for it to crack 256-bit encryption!