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6 good reasons why you really should use a VPN

I can't connect to a VPN server
I can't connect to a VPN server

Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) are becoming increasingly popular in an age where your privacy online is being spied on, hacked, and sold. However, many people still consider VPNs to be overkill; if they have nothing to hide, why worry about privacy at all? It's a common argument, but it's beginning to sound like it came from someone looking to make money off of your personal information.

Let's take a look at the reasons why smart people choose to browse with a VPN, to help you decide whether or not it's time to invest.

For more information about VPNs, check out the following resources.

You travel a lot and use Wi-Fi hotspots

Free Wi-Fi is nice but...

Hotels, hostels, cafes, airports, and anywhere else you visit while traveling that has a Wi-Fi hotspot is a potential source of trouble. You have no idea who else is connected, and you have no idea who is potentially monitoring traffic. Not only that, but someone could be faking the connection point to get your PC or phone to hook up to their access point (known as an "evil twin") rather than the one at the friendly cafe down the street.

Using a VPN ensures that data leaving your PC and traveling to the VPN server is encrypted, so even if someone intercepts it, they won't be able to read it.

You like to watch media from other countries

The Best VPN Services for 2017

VPN providers generally have a broad selection of servers in a variety of countries. You can ideally connect to any of these servers (speeds will probably be slower if you're connecting to a server that's halfway around the world) to access geo-restricted content.

For example, if you're in Canada and would like to watch a video that is only available in the U.S., you can connect to a server located south of the border and enjoy it as if you were actually in the U.S.

Your government blocks certain internet content

Not everyone lives in a free country. The internet (and the information it delivers) is one of the most powerful tools our species has ever come up with, and oppressive governments recognize this.

Whether you're a journalist trying to access information or a civilian who wants the real story about why there are thousands of people amassing in a city's square, a VPN can get you past government restrictions that would otherwise leave you in the dark.

IP Vanish

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Search engines are keeping tabs on you

Your Bing and Google searches are being recorded and used for marketing purposes, among other things. These aren't the only search engines doing this — far from it — but if you don't like using an alternative that doesn't track your searches (Hi there, DuckDuckGo), your next step is to grab a VPN.

Marketing based on your searches is relatively harmless if you're the only one using a PC, but having ads pop up for embarrassing things on a PC used by multiple people is, well ... embarrassing. A VPN takes care of this problem by masking your IP address, which is what search engines use to keep track of who's looking for what.

You love VoIP

She must have a great webcam

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is a handy way to avoid costly long-distance bills normally accrued by using a more conventional phone. Unfortunately, some countries block the use of VoIP services, whether because of pressure from telecom companies or more general oppressive strong-arming.

Using a VPN to change your IP address to a location outside of a problematic country will solve the problem, plus you get extra protection from anyone who's interested in listening in on your calls. Most VoIP services already protect against this type of thing, but you can really never be too careful when dealing with the internet.

You disagree with FCC rules

FCC rules in the U.S. were recently changed so that your internet service provider (ISP) can sell your browsing history and other data for profit without your consent. Interested parties can determine a lot about someone solely based on their browsing patterns and history. Maybe you've been searching for medical advice that interferes with your insurance policy? You'd hate to have that information fall into the wrong hands.

Selling your data isn't exactly anything new, but why are ISPs charging you exorbitant amounts of money to use their services when they can turn around and sell personal information from an integral part of your life? Big companies are making more money while civilians have to suffer the loss of another chunk of privacy.

To put up a fight against the people who'd rather make money than protect your privacy, invest in a good VPN. The data traveling between your PC or phone and the VPN server is encrypted and anonymous, and any data coming out the other side is linked to the VPN's IP address rather than your own.

IP Vanish

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Choose a legitimate VPN

Keep your phone data private as well!

Have you decided it's time to finally use a VPN? Choosing one is an important process. Free options are generally best left alone unless you only want to try it out temporarily, and even some paid services don't offer the same level of protection and anonymity as others. To help you choose, we selected the best VPN providers available right now. To help with the cost of VPN services, we also have some great deals on our Windows Central Digital Offers page.

We test and review VPN services in the context of legal recreational uses. For example:

1. Accessing a service from another country (subject to the terms and conditions of that service).

2. Protecting your online security and strengthening your online privacy when abroad.

We do not support or condone the illegal or malicious use of VPN services. Consuming pirated content that is paid-for is neither endorsed nor approved by Future Publishing.

Cale Hunt
Senior Editor, Laptop Reviews

Cale Hunt is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. He focuses mainly on laptop reviews, news, and accessory coverage. He's been reviewing laptops and accessories full time since 2016, with hundreds of reviews published for Windows Central. He is an avid PC gamer and multi-platform user, and spends most of his time either tinkering with or writing about tech.

16 Comments
  • I used PIA over the past year and a half, it's a decent service.
  • I agree with the points mentioned here but if we are talking about a VPN per say, it's important that one should verify beforehand that it's an Anonymous VPN and doesn't keep log, otherwise there are a lot of VPN providers too that sell their user's data. In case of PIA, I have used it and it has a zero log policy and seems pretty decent, but as it's located in USA, I am hesitating a bit to recommend it here. 
  • But what are the VPN providers collecting? They all claim nothing.....
  • what is W10 collecting in full diagnostic mode? hMM... the same thing as those VPN providers :))
  • witch one works best with xbox? Have been using netflix at work, only few of HMA vpn locations wasn't been banned :D
  • Well what's one of the Digital Offers VPN services that will work both on my surface and windows phone? 
  • I have used IPVanish for the last couple of months it seems pretty good.
  • VPN is only how content is organized at the Internet;
    perhaps it would be a construct by make believe the value of something by the tool (function); and then it is also a Unicode thing by the title of programming;
    that would have a more standard way to read - besides whatever is the content about; so being forced by the language the madness of things everywhere;
    then what had being leaned the effort to make are lonely made in free the acknowledge by the value of this concept;
  • I have to connect to Wi-Fi before connecting my vpn, so doesn't that leave my device temporarily exposed in a public place?
  • Yes, it does....and solution to that is you install the vpn on your router.
  • I've been using VPN unlimited on Windows Phone and laptop.... Works good... If it doesn't connect in 5 second... Just cancel and connect again... Might have to enter password again... Usually connects quickly
  • I just got the lifetime for VPN unlimited to use on my android box with kodi.  Without VPN, box gets up to about 80 download 5 upload, with VPn it drops way down to less than 10 with the same 5 upload using a nearby server.     Anybody have recommendation on VPNs services that doesnt cause a reduction this big?  I was hoping to get around 20 download with the VPN
  • https://thatoneprivacysite.net/vpn-section/ Always check the VPN provider, the vast majority are way more devious than your ISP. Also, as a point of clarification, the FCC rules were not a change, it was a continuation of what came before.  Obama made a move to change the rules to prevent ISP data collection on users, but that change had not yet taken effect.  Trump cancelled that rule change.  I strongly supported the change that Obama made, however that does not make using the internet today any less private than it was last year.
  • I use and can highly recommend PIA VPN : https://www.privateinternetaccess.com/pages/buy-vpn/byronbaywebhosting It's cheap and very easy to set up and has apps for iOs and Android as well.
  • Which VPN is now good for non local Netflix streaming bypassing the company recent restriction?
  • Above all the other points, FCC rule was the most legit reason mentioned here to get a VPN. Nobody likes their online data to be snooped on and only the wisest choose a VPN, otherwise people think that incognito mode is sufficient for them which is so naive.