Once said to be only within the purview of the I.T. geek, VPN subscriptions have risen dramatically over the last couple of years. The top reasons for using them are still entertainment, e.g., accessing geo-restricted versions of Netflix or Hulu, and security, i.e. protecting your device from dangers like public Wi-Fi.
Yet, there is a myriad of other reasons that people are snapping up VPNs, and they are certainly worth exploring. Below we have picked the areas that we feel are underrated, but that are prompting more and more internet users to consider VPNs.
Top 5 Underrated Uses for VPNs
China is now ranked as the fourth most popular tourist destination in the world after the United States, Spain and France. Of course, when you get there, you will have to deal with some insane censorship if you want to access your usual media diet. The famed Great Firewall is not infallible, and it’s possible to use your VPN to get around government censorship. Of course, if you in China, or somewhere with similar censorship, you should still exercise a lot of caution.
Okay, we are a being a bit loose with term “fair surveillance” here; but what we mean is the surveillance carried out by the US, UK government, and other members of the Five Eyes. Should you be concerned that the government knows you streamed 17 episodes of the Big Bang Theory when you were travelling from Brisbane to Sydney? Not really, but people value their privacy even if what they are doing is wholly innocuous. Indeed, the Cambridge Analytica and Facebook scandals taught us that even the most basic information can be a dangerous tool.
Online gaming and VPNs aren’t natural bedfellows. After all, the very nature of a VPN usually makes for slower connections. Yet, you can speed up your VPN connections and there are many ways to do that, or just choose a VPN that is specifically designed for gamers. There are very good reasons to use a VPN for gaming. There is the aforementioned issue of geo-restrictions, but the use of a VPN can also help protect you against DDoS (distributed denial of service) attacks. These have become increasingly used against competitive gamers and casual gamers alike.
In a globalized world, the practice of geo-pricing seems really unfair. It basically means that you pay a different price for the same product based on your location. Now, due to the difference in cost of living, you would expect to pay a different price in McDonald’s in Time Square NYC than you would in a McDonald’s somewhere in Paraguay. But is it really fair to pay a different price for the same flight if you book it in Italy or Australia? Using your VPN can spoof your location for these types of purchase, and there are tangible savings to be made.
The Fight for Net Neutrality
Nobody is really sure what’s going to happen with net neutrality, but the repeal of the FCC laws on network neutrality in the United States in June 2018 has sent shockwaves around the world. The basis of net neutrality is that your ISP (internet service provider) must treat everyone equally. Without it, there is a possibility that access can be slowed or restricted for certain sites and speeded up for others. In an era of Big Tech dominance, this is really dangerous. Obviously, with a VPN you can block ISPs from viewing your browsing history and prevent throttling. This really could be one of the biggest issues facing the internet if it isn’t sorted soon.