Do I need a VPN

So you’re here because you’re asking yourself: Do I need a VPN at home? The simple answer is yes. It’s 2022, and our lives have all but moved online. As a natural reaction to the lack of privacy (like the notoriously intrusive COVID-19 apps) in our current digital space, more and more people turn to VPNs. Now let’s go over all the pros and cons you need to consider.

Table of contents

    Why do I need a VPN at home?

    There are multiple reasons why you need a VPN (Virtual Private Network) at home. And it’s not just security. There are plenty of things to do with a VPN. Let us break them down in an easy-to-digest form:

    1. 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 that a good VPN service protects your privacy.

    The first is by changing your IP (Internet Protocol) address. The second is by encrypting your data. Scammers, hackers, invasive ISPs (Internet Service Providers) – everyone wants a piece of your data.

    You’re a star when you’re online, and your data is more valuable than first-row tickets to a Taylor Swift concert. 

    But once you’re connected to a trusted 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 at all. 

    1. Entertainment: Privately

    The quarantine made a lot of people stir crazy. Streaming services helped alleviate the pressure, which made many people spend more time online and stream content.

    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 from 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 most of its servers, 10GBit on some others, and unlimited bandwidth!)

    Disclaimer: Surfshark does not encourage using a VPN in any way that would potentially violate the law or Terms of Service of other service providers.

    Pro tip: Surfshark is compatible with most Smart TVs so you never have to stream on a small screen. 

    1. Secure your whole family online

    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 – either by installing a VPN on your router or just making use of unlimited devices supported under 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 on 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. 

    1. 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 a lot harder to accomplish if all of your data was encrypted – there’s not much to be discovered if the only thing an ISP can see is that you’re using a VPN. 

    A VPN also allows you to overcome online censorship carried out by the state (and since you can put a VPN on your phone thanks to Surfshark’s unlimited installs policy, firewalls established by your work or school).

    The combination of factors that make a VPN work also enable it to bypass a lot of the filters that such institutions use to keep you from reaching what you want to reach. This allows you to maintain internet freedom. 

    Pro tip: For countries that restrict VPN access, Surfshark offers NoBorders mode. 

    1. 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 you don’t visit their website enough, price discrimination is a real thing.

    Fortunately, you can still hunt for bargains and save money with a VPN by regularly clearing your cookies! 

    Pro tip: The best discounts are easiest to find when you try several locations. 

    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. This information can often be sold to advertisers or even government agencies. However, a VPN connection encrypts your data and hides it from these third parties. 

    Your IP address

    Your IP address is exposed every time you look something up. Imagine if every time you went to a coffee shop, you had to write down your home address and give it to the barista. That’s essentially what happens whenever you visit a website. And, often, it’s just as compromising since there are a lot of things someone can do with your IP.

    No need to worry, though: A VPN service will hide your IP no problem. Now, every time you’re in a coffee shop, you’re writing down “Surfshark” as your home address. And there’s no way to track it back to you. 

    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 own 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

    What happens when you don’t use a VPN?

    What happens when you don’t use a VPN?

    You put yourself in harm’s way online is what happens. 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 to data brokers about your online activities. This can lead to unsavory practices like targeted advertising. A VPN hides your traffic from your ISP by encrypting it. This ensures that they don’t snoop, collect, and sell your data. Incogni opts you out of data brokers automatically. If a data broker adds your personal data again in the future, it will be automatically removed.

    Your data gets exposed due to data breaches

    Data breaches expose millions of people every year to possible cybercrimes like phishing. Leaks usually happen because the incredible number of companies that collect and store your data don’t properly protect it.

    The best way to prevent yourself from being exposed to data breaches? Don’t give them your data in the first place. This means, where possible, not using your real details to open accounts and using a VPN when browsing the web.

    But note that if you use Google while logged in to your Google Account, there’s not a tool on the internet that can prevent them from collecting your search information.

    You may become a victim to different types of hacks

    Any type of hack where a malicious third party can snoop on your internet traffic can expose your data and cost you dearly. Cookie theft, fake Wi-Fi hotspots, and Man-in-the-Middle attacks can all happen if your traffic is unencrypted. Using a VPN ensures you avoid these attacks and allows you to use public Wi-Fi with peace of mind.

    VPN pros and cons

    Now that we’ve discussed the benefits of using (and dangers of not using) a VPN, here’s a short list to narrow down their pros and cons:

    VPN pros:
    VPN cons:
    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
    Defy invasive laws and practices
    Save money when shopping online
    Avoid certain types of hack attacks

    How to get started with a VPN

    Getting started with a VPN is pretty easy. All you have to do is:

    1. Find a VPN app you like (remember: free VPNs incur secret costs)
    2. Sign up
    3. Download a VPN app and install it on the device of your choice 
    4. Log in
    5. Connect to any server you like

    If you set up a VPN on a router like we had previously mentioned, you’ll only need to do this process once to secure your entire home – especially 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 give a VPN a try – after all, Surfshark offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.

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    FAQ

    Do I need a VPN on my phone?

    Actually, a VPN on your phone is probably even more necessary than at home:

    1. You need protection on public Wi-Fi.
    2. You may go on holidays or business trips to countries that engage in censorship, so you need a VPN to bypass that.
    3. You can shop for airline tickets or anything else online and find cheaper prices.

    So, when it comes to smartphones, they need VPNs probably more than homes do!

    Is it worth having a VPN?

    Yes, if you want to protect your privacy. With a VPN like Surfshark, you end up paying a few dollars a month to protect yourself. That’s one less coffee a month. OK, sure, if you’re like me, you won’t want to sacrifice your caffeine for anything. So let’s say that’s two bags of chips 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. But you’re reading this article on the internet,  that’s not really true, is it? Using a VPN is completely your choice, but whenever you browse without it, you’re exposing yourself to threats. 

    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 a lot of 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 manage to keep up because they sell the information you give to third parties. 

    Do I need a VPN for my business? 

    Yes, you need a VPN for your business. 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 to function. This can often leave the data and web traffic of your workspace exposed. That’s why you should consider protecting yourself with something like a VPN concentrator