There is a lot of talk out there about VPNs. Should you get one? What are the benefits? I’ve heard they slow down your connections? I’ve heard they are the best protection you can get. Trust me, I’ve heard them all. There’s a lot of noise. Some of it is good noise. And some of it not. We want to set the record straight and talk about the pros and cons of using a VPN.
A VPN, or virtual private network, is a service that creates a secure, encrypted connection between your computer and the VPN provider’s servers. This can be useful for many purposes, from safeguarding your internet traffic from prying eyes to accessing region-locked content. However, not all VPNs are created equal, and it’s important to understand the pros and cons of using one before deciding whether or not to invest in one. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at the pros and cons of using a VPN so that you can make an informed decision about whether or not it’s right for you.
What Are The Cons Of Using A VPN?
Before we hit on the good things about VPNs, we want to briefly dive into some of the cons. Some of the negative banter you’ll most likely hear are half-truths. And they’re partially true because VPNs are a dime a dozen. There are so many of them out there. There are free ones, paid ones, good ones, and bad ones. Basing a single experience on a single VPN service just doesn’t do the idea of getting a VPN justice. But generally speaking, let’s discuss some of the cons you might experience when dealing with VPNs.
VPNs Can Slow Down Your Connection Speed
This is true, BUT…it depends on the type of VPN you get. Most of the paid versions (and some of the free) can handle 1 Gbps speed or higher. Most people that experience a slowed connection probably have opted in for a free version.
They’re Difficult To Setup
This was definitely true in the infant stages of VPNs because most people using them were the techy-type and knew their way around this kind of technology. Of course, someone who is an average user of computers and the internet would struggle with new technology. But as more VPNs hit the market, we’re beginning to see companies get really good at customer experience, so the setup and configuration aren’t nearly as bad as it was only a handful of years ago.
VPNs Can Drain Your Battery
This applies mostly to your smartphone devices (and tablets for that matter). A big reason why this is the case is that apps that run continuously on your phone in the background naturally will have the most impact on your device’s battery. Just going off what my iPhone says, my VPN uses about 15-20% of my battery on average. It’s about the 3rd highest app in battery usage as well. And that’s been pretty consistent. But again…apps like Facebook, YouTube, NBA2k Mobile, and even your messaging apps will drain your battery, soooo.
VPN Connections Can Just Poof
This will happen from time to time and I’ve experienced it with a couple of free versions. This is why a kill switch option is a really nice feature to pay attention to. Hotspot Shield has a kill switch and is free. Most of the paid versions have this added benefit as well. Without getting into the complexities of kill switches, the idea behind the kill switch is really simple. Basically, if the VPN connection drops, you can activate a “Kill Switch”, which blocks your device’s access to the internet. It’s nice because this can prevent you from having that device send data outside your secure VPN. It’s a nice feature that most VPNs should have in case the VPN server drops. At any given moment, your secure connection to a VPN server can be interrupted, which in effect can reveal information that was private. Information like your IP address, your location, and some other personal data. You’re going to want a VPN that has an “Always On” option in their settings for a kill switch.
They Give People A False Sense Of Super Security
They are not full-proof protection from cyberattacks, personal data protection, and viruses on the web. Quite honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever come across something that is completely bulletproof from the dangers on the web. But the notion is such that some believe they get a VPN and they’re completely protected from anything nefarious on the web. That’s just not true.
What Are The Pros Of Using A VPN?
There are seriously so many awesome benefits you get out of using a VPN. Benefits range from increased security, encrypted personal data, hacker protection, escaping data caps on your internet, and so many more. But we wanted to highlight some of the best Pros as to why you should get a VPN.
VPNs Are Affordable Security
This is one of the major perks of using a VPN. Compared to other security measures, VPNs can be significantly more affordable than other security measures. There are a handful of free VPNs out there that make security virtually free. Hotspot Shield and ProtonVPN are a couple of free VPNs you should check out. Even the paid versions are relatively cheap. ExpressVPN’s paid service right now is under $7 a month and Norton VPN is $40 for the whole year with up to 5 devices for protection.
A VPN Protects Your Data
This is such an incredible benefit. VPNs will help protect the data that you send and receive on your devices. Again…it’s not bulletproof (nothing is), but with the encryptions VPN services offer, it definitely makes it harder for hackers. They don’t necessarily work the same way as fully comprehensive anti-virus software, but they will protect you if you have healthy digital hygiene (stay away from phishing websites, don’t download compromised files, etc).
Access Content From Virtually Anywhere
This will depend on how many servers your VPN service offers, but generally speaking if you opt-in for a paid VPN, you’ll be able to access blocked content from anywhere in the world. I remember one time on a long vacation to another country we literally had Netflix blocked the whole time. You could argue that we shouldn’t have been watching Netflix on vacation, but nonetheless…a VPN will allow you to access any streaming service from any country. Furthermore, it’s not just streaming services. You can bypass almost any geoblock. Geoblocking is tech that will restrict your access to the internet and websites based on your geolocation.
Should You Get A VPN?
If you’re someone that regularly uses the internet, buys anything online, or does any kind of banking online, VPNs are a great way to increase your security and privacy. They work by creating an encrypted tunnel between your device and the VPN server, so that no one can see your traffic or track your activities. They’re not perfect protection, but they’re pretty good.