Do I Need A VPN At Home? Yes, And Here’s 5 Reasons Why
According to a report by Security.org, two in three internet-going Americans have used a VPN at some point. That’s a total of 142 million VPN users in the U.S.
Most people use VPNs to connect to public Wi-Fi in coffee shops, malls, and hotels. However, your internet usage doesn’t end in public spaces. You need internet access at home to make online payments, stream movies, and browse your social media platforms. All of your internet activities at home are also susceptible to data breaches and hacks. This is why you need a VPN to protect your home network.
Without a VPN at home, everything you do online can be monitored by your internet service provider and other third parties like hackers. They can also sell your sensitive information to third parties like advertisers, authorities, and government agencies. In this article, we’ll look at several reasons why you should consider a VPN at home, and show you how to choose the best one that suits your needs.
5 Reasons You Need a VPN at Home
If keeping your online data private at home is your priority, then you need a VPN. Simple activities like shopping for your household or browsing your social networks can put your data at risk. With a VPN, you can protect yourself online and keep your data safe. Let’s look at five important reasons why you need a VPN at home.
A VPN Will Protect Your Personal Data
Everyone has a right to privacy, both in the real world and online. However, with the rising rates of data breaches and cybercrimes, it has become increasingly difficult to keep your personal information away from the prying eyes on the internet. According to a 2020 report by Verizon, about 58% of data breaches recorded in that year involved personal data. To protect your online information, you need to establish a secure connection to the internet at all times.
A VPN encrypts sensitive personal information that you fill into websites and applications, including your passwords, financial information, and bio-data. With this, no one is able to make sense of your online information if they manage to access it. Hackers typically try to get hold of this data so they can impersonate you and gain access to your accounts. When you use a VPN, you can reduce this risk to a minimum.
A VPN At Home Will Allow You to Browse Anonymously
One of the benefits of using a VPN is it masks your IP address, making it difficult for anyone to track your activities. A VPN assigns a virtual IP address for all your online activities while your actual address remains hidden. In addition, all the traffic from your device takes a detour through the VPN server.
It Can Protect You From Hackers
A 2019 report by Varonis names cyber-attacks as one of the top five risks to global stability. These days, protecting your online information from hackers is not an option; it is a necessity. With a virtual private network, you can block hackers from accessing sensitive and personal information.
Recall that a VPN hides your actual IP address, making it impossible for anyone to track your online activities. It also encrypts your data which means even if the hackers manage to get hold of it, they cannot decipher your information.
A VPN at Home Will Allow You to Access Blocked Websites
With a good VPN, you can bypass any restrictions or censorship that affect internet access in your location. Some sites and services do not allow users from certain countries to access some or all of what they have to offer.
A good VPN can mask your activities, letting you slip through the firewalls. For example, using a VPN connection gives you access to a vast content library on streaming services and platforms like Netflix, Hulu, and other geo-blocked services.
It Will Stop Your ISP From Selling Your Data
Usually, your internet service provider tracks all of your online activities, including your browsing history, how much time you spend on a website, plus your personal information. Some ISPs sell this information to third parties for marketing purposes. If you do not want your service provider to sell your information, you should use a VPN service. A VPN puts you in total control of your online privacy.
How Does a VPN Work At Home?
Whether you’re using a VPN at home or elsewhere, it encrypts your entire internet connection, making it impossible for prying eyes to track your activities.
VPNs create a secure encrypted tunnel between your device and the internet, and all traffic from your device goes through this channel. As the traffic passes through the tunnel, your browsing data is encrypted, sent to a secure VPN server, and decrypted before passing it to its original destination.
When your VPN is on, your IP address stays hidden, which means your service provider won’t be able to monitor you. A VPN hides your IP address by letting the network redirect it through a specially configured remote server run by a VPN host. This means that if you surf online with a VPN, the VPN server becomes the source of your data.
Despite its benefits, a VPN also has several limitations that can affect your overall online experience. For example, some VPNs can compromise your data and sell your personal information to the highest bidder. In this section, we will go over the limitations of a VPN.
Advertisers Can Still Gather Your Data
Using a VPN doesn’t mean that all of your online information wouldn’t be tracked. In other words, even the most effective VPN cannot guarantee 100% anonymity online, and advertisers can still gather your data.
For example, advertisers can use website cookies to collect your information, including your name, email address, and geographical location. They can also rely on browser fingerprinting to connect unique information about your preferences. Third-party companies can study your browsing behavior and use this to display targeted ads on your apps and websites.
How can you help your VPN maximize your anonymity online? First, you can pair it up with a private browser like Brave, Gener8, or Mozilla Firefox, that blocks ads and trackers. You should also consider using an anonymous search engine like DuckDuckGo, and think carefully about your behavioral patterns online.
You Might Experience Performance Issues
Prolonged use of a virtual private network can affect your network performance. Since your VPN is routing your traffic through its servers, you will experience some delay in network performance.
In some cases, the VPN might take a longer time to connect with your ISP, resulting in slow page loading time for your websites. Network performance issues are more common with free VPNs, and this is why it is best to invest in a paid alternative.
A VPN Can Make Your Connection Slower
VPNs can noticeably slow down your internet speed and connection. This happens because your internet connection takes a longer path.
Without a VPN, your device exchanges information with the ISP directly. However, when you turn on a VPN, the connection takes a longer route—your device sends the encrypted data to the VPN server, the server decrypts your message, and then passes it on to the ISP.
If you subscribe to a good VPN, you wouldn’t have to worry about a lot of speed loss—in fact, you would experience a less than 0.5% change in internet speed. However, poor-quality VPNs can slow download speeds and increase latency to an unusable degree. This can be very frustrating, especially if you’re streaming a movie or completing an online assessment.
A VPN Won’t Protect You From Phishing Attacks
While a VPN works to keep you safe online, it doesn’t make you untouchable. This means you need to take extra care to protect your device from phishing attacks. Many hackers use phishing to deceive unsuspecting users into clicking fraudulent messages and stealing their sensitive information.
In addition, a VPN may not protect your device from viruses, spyware, ransomware, and other types of malware. In most cases, you need to pair your VPN with an effective antivirus application to protect your device from malware attacks.
However, you should know that a good VPN can prevent malicious code injection during a man-in-the-middle attack. Some effective VPN services also have ad blockers, anti-malware software, and other tools that prevent DDoS attacks.
VPNs Increase Data Consumption
A higher level of data consumption is something you should prepare for when you get a VPN. This means that whenever you use your VPN while connected to cellular data and not Wi-Fi, you will use up data faster.
A VPN can increase your data consumption by anywhere between 4% and 20%, depending on your VPN protocol. This occurs because data encryption increases the bandwidth used to transmit and receive information on the internet.
It Isn’t Always Possible to Bypass Restrictions
No matter how great your VPN is, it might get blocked from time to time. If a firewall becomes familiar with your VPN’s IP address, it could set up specific restrictions to prevent your access to the internet. Many online services discourage the use of VPNs, or even prohibit them outright.
Do I Also Need a VPN On My Phone?
These days, more people access the internet via their mobile phones compared to any other internet-enabled device. According to a 2021 study by Smart Insights, 80% of social media browsing is done on mobile devices. As of July 2021, 56.75% of all web traffic came through mobile phones.
If you spend most of your browsing time on your phone, it makes sense to keep your data private via a VPN. Cybercriminals are more likely to target cell phones on public networks. Many people activate the Wi-Fi auto-connect feature on their smartphones. This means your cell phone can automatically connect to public Wi-Fi networks when you walk into a coffee shop or mall, putting your information at a greater risk.
Using a VPN on your phone will help you access the internet safely, without compromising your information. Many VPN providers have mobile applications that you can download and install on your phone conveniently.
How to Choose the Best VPN for Home Use
With so many VPNs available on the market, it might be challenging to make the right choice. Ultimately, your choice comes down to your specific needs.
For example, if you want a VPN for your home, you should go for a router-based virtual private network that allows multiple simultaneous connections. On the other hand, if you’d be moving from one place to the other, you should choose a VPN that offers excellent security and has servers situated all over the world. Let’s go over a few tips for choosing a good VPN service for your home.
Ensure Your Home Devices Are Compatible With the VPN
Before paying for a VPN service, you need to ensure that it can work on your device. In general, most VPNs support the leading platforms of Windows, Mac, Android, Linux, and iOS. On their websites and application information, most VPN services provide information about their compatibility with different devices.
Something else to look out for is the number of connections you can have on the VPN. Some VPNs allow unlimited devices, while others only let you connect up to three. For your household, it’s best to choose a virtual private network that supports unlimited connections.
Select a VPN That Is Easy to Use and Offers Customer Support
The last thing you need is to spend hours trying to set up a VPN on your internet-enabled device. This is why you should go for a virtual private network with a user-friendly interface. It is easy for you to configure the network on your device and start browsing safely with a user-friendly platform.
If you run into any issues when setting up or using the VPN, there should be a support team at hand to help you resolve these issues. It’s best to choose a VPN service that offers live chats because emails and tickets can take hours, if not days, to answer.
Ensure Your Home Location Is Covered
You should also be aware of the VPN’s coverage, or the distribution of its servers across different locations. This is extremely important if you plan to travel often or live or work in a remote area.
Do your research and choose a quality VPN that can bypass geo-blocking and similar restrictions.
Check Out Their Payment Plans
You’ll want to choose a VPN that gives you the best value for your money, especially when it comes to your budget. Most VPN providers have free plans with limited internet protection features. They also have several pricing tiers depending on a VPN’s features, bandwidth, and subscription length.
It’s always better to subscribe to a payment plan as opposed to using a free VPN. Many times, free VPNs do not offer maximum online protection and privacy. They might also compromise your data and sell your information to third parties. If the price is an issue, consider using one that offers excellent discounts and coupons.
Ease of payment is another important factor that should determine the VPN you choose. To keep your information anonymous, some VPN service providers allow you to pay via gift cards so you wouldn’t input your credit card information. Some others support payment via cryptocurrency like Bitcoin and Ethereum.
Go for a VPN With a Money-back Guarantee
Most VPNs offer free trials for their services for a limited period. Others support a money-back guarantee within a specific amount of time, so you are not obligated to stay with one until your contract is up. As long as you can prove the VPN’s shortcomings, you can cancel your subscription and get a refund for your fee.
Since most of our interactions happen online, you should take extra care to protect your online activities rather than leave them to chance. Browsing the internet without protection from an effective VPN leaves your personal information at the mercy of hackers, government control, and data breaches. Whether you’re browsing the internet in a public place or at home, you should protect your information with a VPN.
However, don’t make the mistake of settling for any VPN—you should take time to make a well-informed choice. Use the information in this article to guide you on choosing the best VPN for your needs. If you don’t have time to search through the hundreds of available VPNs, you can read through our article on the best VPNs in 2021.
Ready to establish a safe and secure connection for your online activities? Sign up for a VPN today.