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Seven Reasons You Need A VPN (Virtual Private Network)

Updated on February 7, 2013

What is a VPN?

A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, is a secure internet access point on a remote server that you connect to before connecting to the internet. It offers encrypted data transmission and anonymity to keep your internet activities and identity safe and anonymous. Most internet users aren't even familiar with the features of VPN's or perhaps think they are just for hackers and other undesirables, but the truth of the matter is that nearly everyone would benefit from the added security of a VPN.

Here's the best news: VPN service is not only easy to use (basically one click access once it's set up) but it's also extremely affordable. Most VPN services are priced between $5-$15 dollars per month, which is just a fraction of the price of your wireless phone bill.

Why You Should Have A VPN

#1: To Protect Your Identity - You may not realize this until it's too late, but one of your most valuable assets is your identity, and most people do very little to protect it. Any time you connect to a public wifi hotspot, anyone (and I do mean ANYONE) could be stealing your data, pulling credit card numbers, passwords, and even your Social Security Number straight from your computer. Because your connection to a VPN is secure and encrypted, all your data is safe from web-based attacks, even if you choose to use an unsecured access point like a public hotspot.

#2: To Protect Your Privacy
You may not see direct evidence of it, but many websites that we use and trust are selling our private data or using them for profit. If you've ever received spam or real junk mail that is addressed to you but you can't figure out where it came from, the answer more often than not is the internet. By keeping your data secure and your personal information private, you limit the amount of information these mass-mailing companies can use to target you.

#3: Have a Secure Connection Anywhere
With a VPN, you'll never have to worry again whether your internet connection is safe. Since all data transmission is encrypted, you can have peace of mind, even when sharing the airport wifi with 5,000 other people.

#4: Bypass Throttling

Thanks to the cable monopolies that exist in most parts of the country, we are forced to pay outrageous prices for internet access. Monthly fees upwards of $60 when factoring in equipment rental is not unusual in New York City. In return we received advertised download speeds of 5, 10, or 50 Mb/s, but most users only see a fraction of those speeds. The reason? You are being throttled. Throttling is the practice by which your internet provider limits the amount of bandwidth you can use for certain types of software or internet services. Naturally the software they choose to throttle are the ones that require more bandwidth like netflix streaming, youtube, gaming, and file sharing. By using a VPN, you can bypass throttling by your ISP because they will have no idea what services or software you are using (thanks to the encrypted connection) and thus will not be able to reduce your bandwidth.

#5: Avoid ISP Monitoring
Your internet provider may be watching you more closely than you think. Many ISP's keep logs on the internet usage of all their customers and save them for 2 years or more. With a VPN, your ISP won't have the slightest idea what you're doing online, other than connecting to a VPN. Your usage log will be the same every day, just a record of you connecting to the same server (your vpn) over and over. You'll never have to worry about what your ISP is going to do with your usage logs.

#6: Safely use p2p networks
If you file sharing networks or other p2p protocols like bittorrent, you are not nearly as anonymous as you may think. Any connection you make via a peer-2-peer network includes providing your IP address to the other party in order to make the connection. Your IP address might as well be a map of your house if you aren't securing your connection via other means. You never know who is on the other end of that connection, or what they may want to do with your IP address or location. If you are like the 100 million other Americans that share files with bittorrent, your security is even more important. With a VPN, the IP address the rest of the world sees when you access the internet is not your true IP address, it is the IP of your VPN server, and could easily be in another state, or even another country. The VPN acts as a secure buffer, making it impossible for anyone on the other end of your connection to monitor your activity and trace it back to you

Some VPN services take it one step farther, and keep no logs of your connection to their server, making it impossible to connect your true IP to your internet activities while connected to the VPN, even in the face of a lawsuit. The Best VPN Guide has ratings of some of the best anonymous VPN providers, who offer the absolute maximum in privacy and security.

#7: Bypass Location Restrictions
Have you ever been on vacation in another country and found you couldn't use your netflix instant subscription or another internet service that is available to U.S. customers only? Or perhaps there is a service that IS NOT available in the U.S. like online poker or buying a streaming NFL subscription. Since many of the best VPN services have services in multiple countries, you can bypass country restrictions by connecting to a server in a country that you want to appear to be from. Netflix can only see where your VPN server is located, not where you actually are at the moment.

These are just a few of the many reasons you should consider signing up for a VPN. It is just about the most affordable way to improve your internet security. Protect your identity and protect your privacy; it's hard to think of a better way to spend 10 bucks a month!

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