With millions of people now working from home because of Covid-19 a VPN (virtual private network) has never been more important. It masks your IP address and encrypts your data keeping you safe from hackers and ensuring connections between remote workers and their employers are locked down and secure.
And you may also be aware that a VPN allows you to browse the internet anonymously, a much needed requirement in this age of privacy invasion and surveillance.
But did you know this is only the beginning of what BullGuard VPN can do? It offers a lot more… which may surprise you. Read on.
Streaming and unblocking content
One of the top reasons many people use a VPN is to get easy access to global content and streaming portals. You pay subscription fees for services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, and others and perhaps a license fee to the BBC.
So when you're traveling why can't you access what you are paying for? You may be able to access a local version, depending on what country you're in, but don't be surprised to discover it doesn't host your favorite content. Or access may simply be blocked.
However, with a VPN you can use a server in the streaming service’s host country and as a result, instantly gain access to all of your favorite content.
Protecting your identity and personal info
Using a VPN can hugely improve your online security. Many people aren’t aware of the security risk of open Wi-Fi networks such as those found at coffee shops, airports, malls, hotels and so on.
Many of these Wi-Fi routers use the default admin login/password, making it incredibly easy for a hacker to get access to the router, spread malware to connected devices and steal data.
By using a VPN all your internet activity is encrypted with military-grade encryption, so even if a hacker snoops on your traffic, they won’t be able to read it or recover your login/passwords.
Anonymous commenting and publishing
Have you ever had a bad experience with a service or company but have failed to get any redress because your complaints are ignored or brushed away? When you’re in the right it can be deeply frustrating. You can go online, vent your frustrations and warn others.
However, by doing so you can open yourself up to litigation if the company thinks you are sharing potentially damaging information. It does happen. But with a VPN you can hide your real IP address when visiting or commenting on websites. This can be incredibly useful – as long as you do so anonymously.
Prevent throttling and speed up your internet access
Internet service providers the world over throttle their customers’ web traffic, resulting in slower-than-advertised speeds. This is especially true when you’re doing or using high-bandwidth activities or services.
Your ISP can inspect and separate internet traffic into throttle and don’t throttle categories. If you use a VPN with strong encryption, your ISP can’t read your traffic or separate it into high and low-speed tunnels. As a result, it must legally route all traffic at your advertised connection speed.
Defeat censorship and site blocking
Some countries are determined to control what information their citizens can and cannot access online while other countries attempt to block access to file-sharing sites.
In order to block websites, your ISP has to intercept your DNS queries (website lookups). The strong encryption and private DNS servers used by BullGuard VPN make this impossible, allowing you to easily and quickly unblock any site that your country is restricting.
This also works to defeat smaller firewalls like school or work firewalls so you can play games or browse your social media… though we’re not advocating this, merely informing.
Save money on travel
Did you know that airline and hotel prices are different depending on your geographic location when you search? By using a VPN to book travel from a different ‘virtual’ location, you can make some tidy savings.
For instance, you're visiting France so you connect to the VPN server in France and odds are you'll get a better price on a hotel than if booking from the US. The same applies to airline tickets. However, make sure your clear your browser of cookies before you change the VPN location.
Get more from ‘free’ services and websites
You've probably been on a website before that lets you view a limited number of articles per day or month before you have to pay. These sites track each user by their IP address. If you switch IPs, using a VPN, and open the website in a new private browsing window, they'll treat you like a brand new visitor.
Download and share files anonymously
In the beginning, many people thought the internet would help drive democracy and citizen privacy. Unfortunately, the opposite has happened. P2P file-sharing networks, for instance, offered lots of free content but these sites are under scrutiny with torrent downloads often monitored and even blocked.
In fact, many of the most popular file-sharing websites are blocked in certain countries. With a VPN, you can download torrents unrestricted, without worrying about your real IP address being logged into a database somewhere.
Get multiple accounts
Another often overlooked feature of a VPN is the ability to get multiple accounts on a website or web service. You simply choose a VPN server in a different location each time you open an account. We won’t ask why you would want to do this but we’re sure it’s for legitimate reasons… perhaps you’re chasing a dream job, or bidding online for a must-have something, and won’t take no for an answer?
Beat back ISP tracking
ISPs often track their subscribers’ online movements. These actions are governed by privacy strictures to ensure individual customers are anonymous, but that said they can monitor and record individual movements if law enforcement steps in with a court order.
ISPs claim their tracking is benign but this is a question of perspective. ISPs will sell the data they collect to third parties which can include surfing history and location or app data on mobile devices. This data is used for advertising purposes such as targeting advertising. However, it's also an invasion of privacy. A VPN installed on all your devices will provide a good defense against these intrusions.
A VPN is one of the most useful cybersecurity tools you could have. It can hide, protect, stream, unblock, speed-up internet access, save you money and a lot more. Check BullGuard VPN