How times have changed. Just before the millennium (and even a bit later), many people were still using dial-up internet. Remember how long it took to download a song? Or a movie?
Now your internet service is seemingly all-knowing and ubiquitous. The rise of the Wi-Fi network has opened a Pandora’s box. And users want ever more from the online experience.
For some people, that means being able to stream videos from anywhere in the world, despite any geo-blocking restrictions. Others demand top-notch security and privacy, especially if they’re stuck using public networks.
Although the world is immersed in tech, such services are not automatically provided to all internet users. Which isn’t to say they aren’t readily available. You just need to know where to look.
If how to obtain privacy, security, and access despite geo-restrictions is the question, a virtual private network (VPN) is the answer.
In this post, we’ll investigate what you can do with VPNs and how they can improve your online experience.
How Does A VPN Work?
Instead of routing your device’s internet connection through your internet service provider, a VPN routes that connection through a private server.
This means that when your data is transmitted to the internet, it will come from the VPN—not from your computer.
Your VPN is an intermediary between your computer and the rest of the internet, an intermediary that hides your IP address and shields your identity. Because VPNs use encryption, any data that another party might intercept is unreadable unless and until it reaches its intended target. The VPN creates a private tunnel between your device and the internet. This tunnel hides your data.
Streaming Blocked Content
By routing your information through a host country, a VPN can help you access geo-blocked content. This means that if you’re from Canada, you can pretend to be from the US.
If you’re unhappy with the limitations imposed by many Canadian streaming services, the flexibility that VPNs provide is a boon. Any Canadian who has accessed or tried to access the American version of Netflix knows what we’re talking about.
Similarly, if you use a British IP address, you’ll suddenly have access to otherwise blocked content in Merrie Olde England, including BBC iPlayer.
How about when you’re travelling?
On the airplane, you’re normally stuck with what’s available on the flight. The airlines don’t want you to use more than a certain amount of bandwidth, so they make it impossible to access your favourite streaming services like YouTube or Crave . . . unless you use a VPN.
Various products enable you to sidestep these restrictions while you’re in the air. Then, after you reach your destination, you can still access the domestic streaming services that you enjoyed back home but which happen to banned in the place to which you’ve travelled.
There is one potential obstacle: many of these sites get wise to these methods and block your VPN-provided IP address from accessing the content.
Not to worry. All you have to do is choose one of the following providers:
Each of these has built-in SmartDNS and cloaking.
Protect Your Privacy Online
Who is interested in your private information?
- Your ISP tracks your web history and file downloads.
- Every time you visit a website, the site records your IP address and demographic data.
This just scratches the surface. There are also cybercriminals who lurk ominously online these days. And who knows what other nefarious agents are out there in the digital ether?
Suppose you leave a negative review online about a product or service. A VPN provides a shield of protection. By keeping your IP address private, you’ll avoid the kind of lawsuits that some people have had to contend with after leaving public feedback.
This means that you can be 100% honest about your experience without fearing legal repercussions.
Why does your ISP have access to your browsing and download history? ISPs don’t require this data. There’s no justification for such invasions of your privacy.
VPNs encrypt your internet traffic and use a private DNS server to prevent your ISP from viewing your web history. And if you combine a VPN with a non-logging search engine, the Googles of the world can’t track your search history either.
Routing traffic through a remote VPN also neutralizes any ISP-embedded supercookies, the chunks of code that ISP’s advertising partners use to track you across the web. Indeed, VPNs are one of the few methods available of preventing such supercookies.
Save Money On Flights, Hotels, And Rental
When you are conducting an online search, prices for airline tickets and hotel stays often vary depending on your apparent country of origin.
Why should you pay a higher price than someone in a particular country just because you happen to live in another country?
VPNs give you the opportunity to “reside” in 50 different countries. So by using a VPN, you can figure out which apparent country of residence you need to use in order to obtain the best price, potentially saving you hundreds of dollars.
Pro tip: When you change locations, clear your browser cookies or switch to private mode.
Download And Share Files Anonymously
P2P filesharing networks are coming under increasing scrutiny.
As savvy internet users try to stay one step ahead of content providers with techniques like torrent downloads, content providers react. It’s not surprising that accessing paid content for free tends to ruffle some feathers.
Torrent downloads are now monitored, logged, and even blocked by ISPs and other corporate entities. Many countries have started to block popular filesharing websites. Offices and schools are also imposing restrictions on their networks.
Using a non-logging VPN allows you to download torrents uninhibitedly and with peace of mind. You don’t need to worry that your real IP address is being recorded in some anonymous database.
Stay Safe When Using Public Wi-fi
Wi-Fi hotspots like the ones at Starbucks or McDonald’s are stomping grounds for black-hat hackers.
You have little security to begin with at websites that use only the HTTP protocol—i.e., sites that lack encryption. If you’re at a public hotspot to boot, the situation is even worse. In this case, using a website that starts with “HTTP” instead of “HTTPS” removes the last safeguard preventing hackers from seeing your precious data.
Unless you’re using a VPN. VPN connections use 256-bit, military-strength encryption to cloak your internet activity. Any lurking hacker trying to access your traffic can’t read it and can’t recover your passwords and other sensitive data.
The top VPN companies provide apps for iOS and Android devices. These apps are particularly useful if you’re using your cellphone in public hotspots.
Best All-Around VPNs for Canadians
Looking for a VPNs to use in Canada? Whether you’re working remotely or you simply want to keep your information safe from prying eyes, a VPN can help maximize your security and anonymity online. Getting the best VPN possible is one of the best first steps to staying protected online. The easy-to-use software remains the strongest defense against cybercriminals who want to expose your online information for their own financial gain.
We’ve tested more than 40 services to help you pick the best VPN protection.
The World Wide Web is a vast and magical place.
What began as bleeps, blurps, and slower-than-molasses loading times has turned into the primary source of content around the globe. The internet also dominates commerce. And it’s where everyone socializes—whether through media platforms, video games, or chat.
So why not equip yourself with the tools you need to fully exploit the internet’s far-reaching capabilities while also mitigating security risks?
Many people don’t bother, letting themselves be stopped by geo-blocks and other barriers. But those who want the most value from their digital devices strive for more.
It’s through a VPN that you can reap these incredible benefits. It’s through a VPN that you can hurdle geo-blocks so that you can enjoy new and exciting content that is otherwise beyond your reach.
With the right VPN, you can download torrents at a lightning pace. And you can enjoy your online activities without worrying about nosy onlookers and cybercriminals.
If you haven’t yet given VPNs a try, it may be time to take the plunge. Get secure and private access to the internet with NordVPN.