That’s Mark Zuckerberg right there, anyone can see that. But if you are to squint your eyes a little and examine his laptop to the left, you would notice that the camera on his mac is masked with a tiny strip of tape.
If the Mark Zuckerberg, working from his desk inside Facebook HQ, doesn’t feel safe online, you probably shouldn’t either.
Here’s the gist of it: The internet is filled with snooping software looking for ways to encroach upon your privacy. One of the most effective and fairly popular ways to avoid that is by installing a VPN, or a virtual private network.
But did you know that VPNs could be used for much much more? Well, here’s a handy list of 5 creative uses of VPN.
1. Safe Browsing and Data Transfer on Public WiFi Networks
Free WiFi is what makes those tasty yet overpriced beverages and snacks at coffee shops worthwhile. But there’s an additional, hidden cost lurking there as well: public Wifi networks are rarely secure and a prime hunting ground for hackers. Your passwords, your credit card number, and almost any information you input on your device are at stake here.
A VPN generates an encrypted tunnel between your device and the server so that any malicious attempt to record your activity is thwarted. The same applies to public libraries, airports, even possibly your not too tech savvy friend’s house. This is reason enough for you to get a VPN installed right now.
Additionally, the encryption means that any data you send or receive will be safe from snooping eyes. This is important because even if you were working from home, using your own secure network, the other person with which you are communicating might be putting you at risk. We should also note that a good VPN will not hamper the speed of your internet connection, which brings us to our next point…
2. Break the Speed Limit: No More Bandwidth Throttling
Internet service providers will choke your internet speed once you’ve exceeded a certain data consumption limit. Fear not, VPNs can fix that.
Since data transferred using a VPN is encrypted, it becomes impossible for your provider to know exactly what you are doing. So with a VPN such as ExpressVPN installed, you can freely indulge on YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, and so on without worrying about that pesky buffering wheel ever again.
3. Access Any Content, Anywhere!
Speaking of Netflix, don’t you just hate it that different stores have different repertoires. Licensing and legal matters have made it so that shows that are found on Netflix in the US are not necessarily available on the Canadian Netflix for instance. This problem is particularly relevant to expats and frequent flyers. But that can be fixed as well with the power of VPNs.
Connecting to a VPN can mask your location. This means that you would be able to be anywhere you want, depending on which VPN server you choose to connect to. Connect to a German VPN server and you are you in Germany, well, virtually at least. You get the idea.
4. Access Discounts from Stores Far, Far Away
You know what else you can do by virtually traveling around the globe? Taking advantage of discounts in those remote locations.
Typically, e-commerce websites devise discounts specific to certain countries or regions, that could be based on public holidays, the popularity of certain items in certain places, and so on. So that same item you’re interested in can be offered at two different prices in two different locations.
Similar to what we talked about concerning online content above, changing your IP using a VPN will allow you to buy those shoes you’ve been dying to get for cheaper.
5. Find Cheaper Flights and Hotels
You know how else you can save money using a VPN? Flights and hotels. Whenever you search for a plane ticket or a hotel room online, travel websites will lodge a little something known as a cookie in your system. That way they can tell what you are looking for, where you are searching from and jack up the price if possible. If you are residing in a ‘well to do’ economy so to speak, they will assume that you have higher than average purchasing power and increase their prices accordingly.
You probably know by now that a VPN can help you here. Again, choosing your VPN server smartly will save you money, money that you would be better off spending on a fancy dinner in that exotic location you are heading to.
To recap, VPNs are not just for techies and people concerned about their privacy, they are for everyone. They are paramount for protection, but will also save you a buck or two from canny online businesses.
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