12 Things You Can Do With a VPN
You’ve probably read about how a VPN works. You can use it to encrypt your data and mask your IP so that no one can trace your location.
But it doesn’t stop there. There’s a lot more that you can do with this kind of software and if you know what to do with a VPN you’ll make the most of your purchase.
There are lots of practical uses for virtual private network software. If you’ve bought a VPN subscription and are only using to protect your devices and data you’re not making the best use of it.
Learning things you can do with a VPN can transform how you do things online, from shopping to booking travel tickets.
Without further ado let’s jump right into the different things you can do with VPN software.
Protect Your Privacy
This is the most important and primary use of a VPN. When you install it on any device you can go online anonymously and you don’t have to worry about anyone tracking your activity.
Each time you go online a couple of things happen: you are assigned an IP address on the VPN server so that anyone trying to track you down will see the location of the server rather than your actual location.
Also, your data is encrypted and sent through a special “tunnel”. If anyone tries to see what sites you’re visiting or what kind of material you’re downloading, all they’ll see is a string of gibberish that’s impossible to decode.
The best VPNs use top-level AES-256 encryption, the same kind used by the military and law enforcement. In other words, this kind of encryption is tough to break.
You can install a VPN for privacy on PC, laptop, tablet or mobile.
Streaming content has become the norm, and while there’s more choice than we’ve ever had before, most streaming channels have restrictions.
You might want to watch a show on Netflix only to find that it isn’t available in your country. Or you may want to watch a show on BBC iPlayer and find that it's restricted to the UK.
This is called geo-blocking, and you can easily go around it by installing a VPN on your computer or smart TV.
If you get the right VPN it will have lots of servers in different locations and you can connect to different streaming services through these servers. Imagine being able to stream not just Netflix, but also services like BBC iPlayer, Hulu, HBO, HBO Max, ESPN and many more.
It’s important to mention that some VPNs are better for streaming content than others. If your primary interest is to stream content, look for VPN that can get around as many streaming sites as possible.
That said, some VPNs have many servers but haven’t managed to bypass streaming restrictions. Your best bet is to check reviews for best VPNs for streaming.
If you want a service that’s strictly for streaming content we recommend Unlocator. It’s not the best for data encryption but it will stream all the content you want from more than 200 streaming services from different parts of the world.
Access Restricted Sites
Not everyone lives in a free country. In some places certain websites are restricted because the government doesn’t find them suitable. In China and Russia, for example, Facebook is banned.
It’s not just social media sites that are restricted in certain regions. New media sites are often axed in countries where governments want to control what their citizens know. Some sites are banned in some places because their content is considered violent or overtly sexual.
If you leave in one of these places and would like to overcome geoblocks you can use a VPN. It hides your IP address and also encrypts your data and no one can see what sites you’re visiting. Authorities are not able to track you down so you are free to visit whatever sites you want.
Avoid Data Trackers
Data is where the money is. Companies that deal in data, like Google and Amazon, rule the world. It’s no surprise that collecting and selling data has become big business.
Many ISPs make money from subscriptions as well as selling client data. They can see what sites you visit every time you go online. They collect user data and sell in to third parties and that’s how you end up with pop-up ads and offers that you didn’t ask for.
A simple way to get around this is to install a VPN. It keeps all your traffic encrypted, which means no one can see what sites you visit. Your personal data is safe and will never end up in the hands of marketing companies.
Save Money on Shopping & Travel
One of the fun things to do with a VPN is to shop smart. Did you know that prices of items can change depending on where you are in the world? People in low-income countries tend to be offered lower prices than those in higher-income ones.
If, for example, you want to book an airline ticket from Sweden, you may pay more than if you were booking it from somewhere in South America or Asia.
There is no exact formula used to determine what prices are charged in which regions. Companies set prices based on what they feel is most profitable at that particular time.
Become a smarter shopper by having a VPN that only costs a few dollars. Use it to check prices for travel and different items through different servers and then buy from the cheapest one.
You also don’t have to worry about sellers inflating prices because of your interest in an item. Often, if you check on an item multiple times the seller will inflate the price to nudge you to buy.
Once you have a VPN installed vendors cannot see your location or how many times you've checked on an item, so they'll not inflate prices.
Avoid Bandwidth Throttling by Your ISP
Ever wondered why your internet speeds slow down at certain times of the day, or when you try to download large files?
It’s most likely because your ISP throttles your bandwidth. Your ISP can track your activity. They can see what sites you visit and when you visit them, and how much data you download and upload.
If they don’t like what they see they can throttle your bandwidth. That means that they slow down your speeds.
ISPs can throttle bandwidth for any reason they see fit. It could be because you reach a certain data threshold, are streaming content, torrenting or even visiting certain sites they consider unpalatable.
A good VPN will keep you anonymous so your IP cannot see what you’re doing and throttle your bandwidth.
Surf Safely on Public Wi-Fi
How many times do you go onto a public Wi-Fi network without any precautions? Think about when you go out for coffee or a bite to eat, to the movies, visiting friends, visiting an office etc.
Each time you go on a public Wi-Fi network without a VPN you are exposed. Not only are you laying out your personal information for hackers to collect, they can also see what sites you visit and what you do when you get to those sites.
Some hackers specialize in collecting data this way. If you have been using public Wi-Fi with no security software it’s only a matter of time before you become a victim.
Install Multiple Devices With a Router
Some VPNs, like Surfshark, allow you to connect multiple devices at once. However, most limit you to fewer than 10, which doesn’t work if you have a big family or small business.
You can overcome this limitation by installing a router. Once you install a VPN on the router you can connect as many devices as you like. Think your PCs, laptops, tablets, smart TVs, gaming consoles and anything else that you use to go online.
Not all routers are designed to accommodate VPNs so you should check before you buy. Some come with VPNs already pre-installed, but they cost more.
It has become clear in recent months that online chats aren’t private anymore. There are many incidents of chats, online meetings and online lessons getting hijacked by hackers, and they can do anything they like once they are in your chat.
One way to eliminate this problem for good is to install a VPN on whatever chat device you use. Make sure that you connect through a VPN every time you want to chat. It helps if the person you are chatting with takes similar precautions; that way, everyone is safe.
Get Free Services
Many websites offer free services but limit your access after you get to a certain limit. Ever wondered how they track down how many times you’ve had access? They use your ISP. If you want to enjoy free services from websites indefinitely you can install a VPN.
Improve Your Gameplay
If you love gaming you must consider installing a VPN right away. Not only will it keep you safe from fellow gamers who may think of swatting you, it will help you eliminate the risk of DDoS attacks, access games immediately they are released and more.
Torrent to Your Heart’s Content
Torrenting is a great way to download and share files. Unfortunately, it’s restricted. You can torrent movies and TV shows, books and music, all which are covered by copyright laws.
Torrenting without a VPN carries a big risk. If authorities find you, they will charge you with a copyright crime, attracting hefty fines and even jail time.
You can torrent without worrying if you invest in a good VPN. The best VPNs allow torrenting, although many restrict it. It’s best to read reviews to find out whether a VPN can be used for torrenting.
Many will not explicitly talk about torrenting in their marketing material because it may appear like they are encouraging users to break the law.
Some VPNs have some servers set aside for this particular activity, making things relatively slow (they are crowded).
Our top picks for torrenting include IPVanish, ExpressVPN and CyberGhost. You can read more about them here.
Best VPNs For Everyday Use 2020
There are so many things to do with a VPN. Not only does it keep you safe each time you go online, but you can also use it to take advantage of free deals, shop for lower prices, watch shows that would be otherwise unavailable, binge on sports, join forums with multiple accounts from the same device and more.
There are many VPNs in the market, so you may be wondering which one would serve your needs best.
The most important things to consider are speed, number of servers, whether or not you can use the VPN for streaming and torrenting and security. The best VPNs use military-grade encryption, and they don’t have IP and DNS leaks. They also don’t keep user logs.