The short answer is — probably yes. Whether you need a VPN (Virtual Private Network) at home depends on your circumstances and what you want to achieve. If privacy & security online is something that you wish to have — turn that VPN on, even if you’re browsing from your living room.
Table of contents
Why do I need a VPN at home?
Protect your privacy online
You’ve probably heard this one before. It’s the first thing people mention when talking about VPN providers, and there’s a good reason for it. There are two basic ways how a good VPN service protects your privacy:
- By changing your IP (Internet Protocol) address;
- By encrypting (securing under code) your data.
Scammers, hackers, invasive ISPs (Internet Service Providers) — everyone wants a piece of your data. But once you’re connected to a trusted VPN service like Surfshark, you’re hiding everything a VPN can hide.
Pro tip: With Surfshark’s Camouflage mode, your ISP won’t know you’re using a VPN.
Enjoy entertainment privately
If you’re one of the more privacy-oriented people, you’ll want to stay safe and VPN-protected no matter what you do. This includes entertainment. With a VPN, you can steer clear of prying eyes when playing games or streaming your favorite movies.
Just make sure to look for a VPN that has fast servers and doesn’t limit your bandwidth. (Psst! Surfshark has 1GBit ports on a few of its servers and 10GBit on most of them. Oh, and unlimited bandwidth is also included *wink wink*.)
Disclaimer: We prohibit using Surfshark services for any unlawful purposes as it is against our Terms of Service. Please be sure to act in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations of streaming service providers.
Pro tip: Surfshark is compatible with most smart TVs, so you never have to stream on a small screen.
Secure your whole family online
Do I need a VPN at home for the whole family? We’d say most definitely. You’re not the only one in your household with an online presence. Therefore, it’s important to protect even those who don’t have an interest in online security and privacy.
With a good VPN, you can protect the rest of your family — by installing a VPN on your router or connecting your VPN to your home network with a single account.
And it’s not just about improving privacy on phones, tablets, and computers but also your internet-of-things devices. Having a VPN at home can decrease the chances of them getting hacked to spy on you — or to play unwelcome content.
Pro tip: The easiest way to protect every device is to set up a VPN connection on your router.
Defy invasive laws and practices
Wherever your home is, you probably already have a love-hate relationship with your ISP. Depending on the country, the law might mandate your ISP to keep six months of logs of your browsing data — or even allow them to sell that same data to marketers.
This would be much harder to accomplish if a VPN encrypted all your data. With a VPN, an ISP can only see gibberish code.
A VPN also allows you to overcome online censorship carried out by the state (and firewalls established by your work or school if you have a VPN on your phone).
The combination of factors that make a VPN work enables it to bypass many filters that keep you from reaching what you want. This allows you to maintain internet freedom.
Pro tip: For countries that restrict VPN access, Surfshark offers NoBorders mode.
Save money online
Most services like airlines, rentals, and online shops will charge different people different prices. Whether it’s because you’re trying to get a last-minute flight or visiting their website too much, price discrimination is real.
Fortunately, you can still hunt for bargains and save money with a VPN by regularly clearing your cookies & changing VPN servers!
Pro tip: The best discounts are easiest to find when you try several locations.
How does a VPN service protect you?
A VPN creates a secure connection to browse the internet while safely disguising your IP address. In doing so, your data stays encrypted (hidden under code) and unreadable on all networks, even the public ones.
VPN services like Surfshark have additional tools to keep your online journey safe at all times. These include real-time email notifications that will alert you to data breaches, the ability to search the web in complete privacy, or antivirus solutions to keep your devices safe from malware.
What does a VPN hide?
A VPN can hide most of the things you do online. These include (but are not limited to):
Your web activity
Everything you do online, including your browsing history, can be tracked by third parties. That’s everyone from your ISP to hackers.
Although we know hackers are a bigger evil, your ISP also uses your sensitive information. ISP can often sell this info to advertisers or even government agencies. However, a VPN connection encrypts and hides your data from third parties.
Your IP address
Your IP address is exposed every time you look something up. Imagine if each time you went to a coffee shop, you had to write down your home address and give it to the barista. That’s what happens whenever you visit a website. And, often, it’s just as compromising since there are many things someone can do with your IP.
No need to worry, though: a VPN service will hide your IP. Whenever you’re in a coffee shop, you write “Surfshark” as your home address. And there’s no way to track it back to your address.
Your networked devices
You probably have a lot of devices connected to your local network — your phone, laptop, TV, or even your smart fridge. And guess what? They can all be found and hacked into. Hackers can then use your information to blackmail you, steal sensitive data, or prevent you from using the web with your internet connection.
That’s where a VPN connection comes in. A VPN on your router will hide your devices behind an encrypted tunnel, protecting you from hackers.
Do I need a VPN on my phone?
Yes! A VPN on your phone is even more necessary than at home.
Your phone stays by your side no matter where you go and connects to various networks. It can be an innocent-looking coffee shop, convenient Wi-Fi on your train home, handy airport internet connection, or practical library Wi-Fi, you name it.
One thing that they share is the uncertainty of who hides inside these Wi-Fi networks.
If you frequently use public Wi-Fi or travel to countries with censorship, you need a VPN for your iOS, Android, or any other mobile device.
Do I need a VPN for my business?
Yes. Especially if your business, like many others these days, has employees working from home.
Although working from home is convenient, it requires a remote server. This can often leave the data and web traffic of your workspace exposed. That’s why you should consider protecting yourself with a VPN concentrator.
What happens when you don’t use a VPN?
You may still be on the fence and ponder, “should I use a VPN.” When you don’t turn that VPN on, you automatically put yourself in harm’s way. Our data grows more valuable every year, and so do the risks of losing it to malicious third parties.
There are several ways not using a VPN can put you in danger:
ISPs collect and sell your data
In some countries (like the US), your internet service provider can monitor and sell information about your online activities to data brokers. This can lead to unsavory practices like targeted advertising.
A simple fix is turning your VPN on. A VPN hides your traffic from your ISP by encrypting it. This ensures they don’t snoop, collect, and sell your data. If the worst happens, and your data falls into the data brokers’ hands, you can get it back.
Our convenient tool Incogni opts you out of data brokers’ databases on your behalf.
Your data gets exposed due to data breaches
Data breaches expose millions of people every year to possible cybercrimes, like phishing or identity theft. Leaks usually happen because many companies that collect and store your data don’t protect it.
What’s the best way to prevent exposure to data breaches? Don’t give them your data in the first place. This means don’t use your real details to open accounts and use a VPN where possible.
Note: if you use Google while logged in to your Google Account, no tool can prevent them from collecting your search information.
You may become a victim of different types of hacks
Any hack where a malicious third party can snoop on your internet traffic exposes your data and costs you dearly. Cookie theft, fake Wi-Fi hotspots, and Man-In-The-Middle (MITM) attacks can all happen if your traffic is unencrypted. A VPN ensures you avoid these attacks and lets you use any Wi-Fi with peace of mind.
Should I use a VPN? Pros and cons
Now that we’ve discussed the benefits of using (and the dangers of not using) a VPN, here’s a short list of pros and cons to confirm the age-old question “do I need a VPN” once and for all:
Increase the security and privacy of your digital life
Some loss of speed (depends on the provider)
Privatize your entertainment
Good VPNs cost money
Secure your whole family online
VPNs are illegal or restricted in some countries (like China)
Defy invasive laws and practices
Save money when shopping online
Avoid certain types of hack attacks
How to choose a VPN?
So let’s say you decided that a VPN is for you — how do you choose one? What should you consider? Here are a few things I’d look for in a VPN:
Number of servers
The more servers the provider offers, the more location options you have, & the less crowded they are. That's the two things I like in a VPN: options & speed.
Number of allowed connections
I'd recommend counting the devices you'd like to protect with a VPN & making sure your selected provider allows that number of connections at once. Or go for one with unlimited connections!
Operating system support
This one is self-explanatory. Before paying for a VPN, make sure it works on your devices. I go further and ensure it works on my family devices too.
Server infrastructure & speed
Besides the server count, I'd go for a VPN with at least 1GBit ports on its servers. I'd also make sure it supports the WireGuard® connection protocol, as it is the fastest one for me.
Price & refund options
It's not a secret that price plays a huge part while selecting a VPN. Besides the price, I'd go for a VPN with a money-back guarantee.
I always encourage you to check whom you're giving your data to and where it goes. Even better, opt for a VPN with a no-logs policy.
If you want to make the most of your apps, you must know how to use them. VPNs should be intuitive & easy to use.
To make a VPN adapt to my needs & not vice versa, I'd like it to be as customizable as possible.
Pay attention to all additional features that a VPN offers & make sure they cover all of your needs. It can be as simple as leak prevention or as advanced as an anonymous subscription.
How to get started with a VPN
Okay, so you found the one, and the hardest part done. Next, you need to set up your VPN which is pretty easy. All you have to do is:
- Get a VPN subscription (remember: with free VPNs aren’t safe since you pay with your data)
- Sign up;
- Download a VPN app and install it on the device of your choice;
- Log in;
- Connect to any server you like.
You’ll only need to do this once if you set up a VPN for your home network on a router. And it’s even easier if you buy a router with a VPN already installed.
The takeaway: is a VPN necessary?
Using a VPN at home will improve your privacy and security in many ways, even if they’re not obvious. After all, you don’t always see data thieves circling outside your window, so such benefits aren’t immediately clear.
So, when asking yourself, “should I get a VPN for home,” remember the hazards, and the benefits, weigh them up, and protect your online presence above all else. I would recommend trying Surfshark – with a 30-day money-back guarantee you have nothing to lose.
Is it worth having a VPN?
Yes, if you want to protect your privacy. With a VPN like Surfshark, you pay a few dollars a month to protect yourself. That’s one less coffee a month. Seems like a small price to pay for your safety online.
Is it OK not to have a VPN?
Well… yes. No one’s going to force you to use a VPN. If the only reason you use the internet is to look up pictures of clouds once in a while, you’re fine without it. Using a VPN is entirely your choice, but you’re exposing yourself to threats whenever you browse without it.
Do I need a VPN abroad?
Yes. A VPN abroad will protect you from malicious attempts to steal your data and personal information, including credit card details and passwords. You can secure your network and browse safely online using different Wi-Fi spots while exploring the country. You’ll also be able to access local online sites and services.
When shouldn’t you use a VPN?
You shouldn’t use a VPN if it’s free. Yes, yes, obviously, a paid VPN provider is going to tell you that, but it’s true. Nothing in life is free.
There are many things to consider when it comes to free VPNs vs. paid VPNs. For example, what you save in monetary value with a free VPN, you pay for with your sensitive data. Free VPNs can only keep up because they sell the information you give to third parties.