In an ever-growing digital world where Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) are becoming increasingly more popular, you’d think it’d be relatively straightforward to find providers with all the benefits you’re looking for.
However, while the vast majority of premium VPNs come equipped with top-end security features, reliable access to geo-restricted websites, and quick connection speeds, it’s important to note that not all VPNs are created equally.
There are a number of significant drawbacks to look out for, ranging from sudden drops in connection to the storage of detailed activity logs. Keeping these cons in mind is essential if you’re looking to invest in a high quality and reliable VPN service.
This guide will take an in-depth look at five of the main pros and cons of using VPNs, including recommendations for some of the best-suited providers. We’ll also look to answer some of the frequently asked questions concerning VPNs.
The Pros Of Using VPNs
1). Access To Geo-Restricted Content
Whether you’re travelling the world and wanting to gain access to a particular site from your home country, or you’re at home trying to log onto a streaming server from another country, using a VPN is one of the most effective ways of accessing geo-restricted content.
Since a VPN works by keeping your activity anonymous, you can change your IP address and make it look like you’re in a completely different country. This opens up a whole host of new opportunities.
So, if for example, you’re travelling in a censorship-heavy country and you desperately need access to some geo-blocked websites, a VPN is the perfect work-around. Alternatively, you can use a VPN for something as simple as accessing a different country’s Netflix catalog.
All you need to do is make sure you choose a VPN provider that offers servers in the location you need. Furthermore, if it’s streaming that you’re primarily going to be using a VPN for, select a top-end provider with high speeds such as ExpressVPN or NordVPN.
2). Excellent Security
In today’s digital age, most people share personal information over the internet at some point or another. Whether it’s online banking, or having a private chat with a family member, important information like passwords and messages are constantly being transferred between a range of different sites and servers.
Fortunately, a high-quality VPN provider encrypts all of your data and online activity, keeping your personal information secret and protecting you from hackers and peeping government officials.
Cybercriminals will often try and break through a VPN’s security measures, but as long as you choose a trusted VPN service that offers AES-256 encryption, you should be completely safe.
3). Affordable And Easy To Use
The vast majority of premium VPN services cost no more than $10-12 a month. What’s more, if you invest in a long-term plan with a provider, this monthly rate significantly drops.
Considering the fact that they keep your connection completely anonymous and secure, as well as unblock any website you want to access, VPNs are excellent value for money.
Furthermore, in comparison to other types of security plans on the market, VPNs are significantly cheaper. They’re also extremely straightforward to set up, and can be up and running within minutes due to the fact that there’s no hardware to install.
If that isn’t enough to convince you, most top-end VPN providers offer either a free trial or a money-back guarantee, with some even offering both. This is ideal if you want to test a VPN service out before buying or you only need one for a short period of time.
Just keep in mind that once you experience the benefits of a premium VPN, there’s every chance that you’ll feel the benefits are well worth paying for.
4). No Bandwidth Limits
Internet Service Providers (ISPs) can often limit your internet speed. This is also known as “bandwidth throttling”.
There are a number of reasons why an ISP may suddenly throttle your internet speed. The most common include during peak hours, using too many high-bandwidth applications such as streaming live sport, and having reached a data cap.
However, by using a VPN service, all your traffic is filtered through a server which ensures total anonymity. This means the VPN hides your activity from your ISP, allowing you to browse the internet and stream as you please without any kind of interference.
5). Lower Support Costs
For those working in big businesses and departments, VPNs can be used to significantly reduce the costs and burden on an IT team. For example, with a cloud-based VPN service, a department can quickly and easily install it across all corporate computers, protecting them from malware and cyberattacks.
What’s more, the VPN provider will even deal with the maintenance and support aspect of the service, all while ensuring security standards are high throughout the organization.
The Cons Of Using VPNs
1). Slower Connection Speeds
The biggest drawback of using a VPN is the reduced internet connection speed. While it’s great that your connection is secure, this often comes at the price of slower speeds, whether you’re waiting for a video to finish buffering or a website to fully load.
This reduction in speed is somewhat understandable considering that VPN servers have to encrypt all your traffic and activity at an incredibly quick rate.
For the most part, connection speeds aren’t usually that much slower. So, there’s every chance that you may not even notice a difference. However, just to be safe, it’s a good idea to invest in a VPN provider that offers high connection speeds without compromising any of its security features.
2). Sudden Drops In Connection
This drawback shouldn’t be too much of a problem if you select a reliable, top-end VPN service. Nevertheless, it’s worth noting that connection drops can happen from time to time, and the moment your encrypted connection drops, your true IP address is revealed, meaning you’re no longer anonymous.
Fortunately, most premium providers offer a kill switch feature, which instantly disconnects you from the internet if the server suddenly drops. This protects your personal information and ensures that no data is leaked.
So, if you’re looking into using a VPN because your anonymity is particularly valuable to you, make sure to select a provider that offers a kill switch such as VyprVPN, NordVPN or CyberGhost.
3). Activity Logs
Depending on your geographical location, it could well be a legal requirement for certain VPN services to keep a record of all your internet activity. Moreover, there are a number of VPN providers that keep detailed logs of your activity with the aim of selling the data to third parties.
VPN providers based in Australia, France, the US, and other regions that face stringent censorship regulations are often required to keep comprehensive records of internet activity.
Also, government agencies all over the world access and track VPN logs on a regular basis to monitor any potential suspicious activity or traffic from specific organizations.
4). Advancements In Anti-VPN Software
A number of major streaming services such as Netflix are continuously trying to combat the ever-increasing presence of VPN connections with their own VPN blockers. So, don’t be surprised if one of your chosen servers suddenly becomes blocked.
While many VPNs, especially the free ones, don’t stand a chance against advanced anti-VPN software, premium providers such as ExpressVPN have proved for a number of years that they have the capacity to break through the even toughest VPN blockers.
With a range of servers, protocols, and thorough encryption, it’s essential that your VPN is configured properly. If not, there’s every chance that you could suffer IP and DNS leaks which expose your personal information to hackers.
If you’re finding configuration a little overwhelming, it may be a good idea to start with a provider that’s user-friendly such as TunnelBear or CyberGhost. Opting for one of these services will ensure that your first VPN experience is a stress-free, enjoyable one.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Using A VPN Illegal?
It’s safe and legal to use a VPN in the US, however anything that’s illegal when not using a VPN remains illegal when using one. For example, if you use a VPN to download copyright material, this is still illegal.
Are Free VPNs Any Good For Streaming Netflix?
As mentioned previously, Netflix works effortlessly to block all VPNs. Therefore, keeping VPN servers working with the streaming service is a time-consuming and expensive task.
For this reason, choosing a free VPN isn’t recommended. Free VPNs tend to show ads, store your personal data, and even install malware. This is why investing in a reputable and paid VPN such as ExpressVPN or NordVPN to stream your favorite shows on Netflix is a much better option.
Even if you find a suitable free VPN to stream Netflix, it’s more than likely that you’ll have to deal with slow download speeds that’ll ultimately put a dampener on the overall viewing experience.
Can VPNs Be Hacked?
Yes, some VPNs can be hacked, however it’s difficult to do so – especially with premium providers which offer top-end security features. The likelihood of being hacked without a VPN is far greater than the chances of being hacked with one.
Can Police Track VPN?
The simple answer is no, police aren’t able to track live, encrypted VPN traffic. However, it’s worth keeping in mind that if police get a court order, they can go to your internet service provider and request access to your connection or usage logs. Due to the fact that your internet service provider is aware that you’re using a VPN, they can direct the police.
Should You Use A VPN When Streaming Live Sports?
For any sports enthusiasts, investing in a premium and reliable VPN service is a no-brainer. Not only is it an affordable way to stream any sports event around the world, it’s also safe in the sense that the software protects user privacy and keeps your devices secure.
Should You Use A VPN While Streaming On Twitch?
The quick answer to this question is no. Streaming sites such as Twitch don’t share important personal information like the user’s IP address or saved passwords. Therefore, you can safely plan streams on the Twitch platform using a VPN with no concerns at all.
Can I Use A VPN To Watch Amazon Prime?
Yes, VPNs allow you to stream and watch Amazon Prime from outside the US. What’s more, all of the top-end VPN services also provide unlimited bandwidth so there’s no limit on how much you’re able to watch.
Can You Register A Netflix Account Abroad?
Yes, it’s pretty straightforward to register a Netflix account via a VPN server, and this can be done anywhere in the world. Just keep in mind that if you want to access the same Netflix account, you’ll have to do so with your chosen VPN.
How Do I Set Up A VPN On Chromebook?
If you’re looking to set up a VPN on your Chromebook, you’ll need to gain access to the Google Play Store. This can be done by either downloading the Chrome extension or the Android app.
What’s more, there’s also the option to manually configure your VPN with a service such as OpenVPN. Just be mindful that this may be a little tricker as you’ll be required to configure all the settings yourself.
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