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Why you should use a VPN? (benefits and limitations)

Posted on June 12th, 2018 by in Privacy & Security, Security.

 

Using a VPN is an easy way to protect your Internet connection from certain kinds of cyber attacks, staying anonymous while you browse, and unblocking censored content. By passing your Internet traffic through an encrypted tunnel, VPNs increase your security, privacy, and freedom online. In this article, we’ll explain how a virtual private network helps and why you should use one.

What does a VPN do?

A VPN establishes an encrypted tunnel between your device and the VPN server. When you browse the Internet using a VPN, all your traffic passes through this encrypted tunnel before reaching the public Internet. In this way, an attacker cannot see your browsing activity, as your true IP address and location are hidden. Learn more about how a VPN works.

Why use a VPN

Here are 5 reasons why you should be using a VPN:

1. Unblock censored content

If you live in or travel to a country with restricted Internet, a VPN can help you access blocked websites. For example, when ProtonMail was recently temporarily blocked in Turkey, ProtonVPN provided a way for users to bypass the government Internet censors.

2. Keep ISPs from spying on you

Without a VPN, your Internet service provider can see everything you do online. ISPs can exploit this capability to throttle certain websites or users or charge more for access to “premium” websites. ISPs also use this to slow down or block file sharing protocols like Bittorrent. Many governments also use ISPs to conduct mass surveillance on citizens. With a VPN, it becomes more difficult for ISPs to carry out censorship and surveillance.

3. Browse anonymously online

When you visit a website without a VPN, the website can see your IP address and your location. A VPN can help prevent websites from tracking you across the Internet because it masks your IP address and replaces it with the IP address of the VPN server you’re using. There are, however, other ways for websites to track users, which is why it’s also important to use a privacy-focused browser. For even more anonymity, you can use the Tor network. (ProtonVPN offers one-click access to Tor servers.)

4. Access blocked streaming video and other content

Some online content is only available in certain locations. By using a VPN server in a different country, you can browse the Internet as though you were in that country and gain access to streaming services. With ProtonVPN you can watch Netlfix US and more.

5. Browse securely on public WiFi

HTTPS secures the connection between your browser and a website, so the widespread adoption of HTTPS over the last few years means that using public WiFi hotpots is not as dangerous as it once was. If a website doesn’t use HTTPS, though, WiFi hackers and “evil twin” hotspots can monitor everything you do on that website.

A bigger danger for the modern public hotspot user is that “free” public hotspots are often commercial enterprises that monetize the service they offer by selling your browsing metadata (i.e which sites you visit, when, and for how long) to advertising and analytics companies. Using a VPN prevents this, as it prevents them seeing anything you do online.

Knowing the limitation of a VPN

As with any security product, it is extremely important to understand the limitations of a VPN to avoid any false sense of security.

Here are some limitations: 

A VPN may be helpless against more sweeping forms of censorship. For example, an ISP may slow down or shut off your entire Internet connection, and a website may block all traffic coming from known VPN servers. Governments can also block connections to VPN servers, locking users in to the local network. Due to the way the Internet is designed, it is not always possible for VPN services like ProtonVPN to circumvent these blocks.

There’s also the matter of using a trustworthy VPN provider. A VPN will never make you totally anonymous because the VPN provider will always know your IP address (at a minimum), and will always be able to view and store your Internet activity if it wants to. Many providers claim they do not store logs of your history, but this is only a promise; it’s technically impossible to create a completely private VPN service.

In fact, some VPN services are actually malicious, or have lied to their users about their no logs policy.

An alarming number of VPN services actually do more harm than good, according to an independent study released last year. Thirty-eight percent of the apps they reviewed contain malware or malvertising, and 18% don’t even encrypt users’ data.

That’s why VPN trust is essential. We’ve published a guide on how to determine whether a VPN provider is trustworthy. We are also the only VPN provider to have published our VPN threat model so that our users understand precisely what ProtonVPN can and can’t protect against.

To start using ProtonVPN, click the signup button below (it’s free). Or if you already have a free account, consider upgrading to take advantage of our advanced security features.

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As a community-supported project, we rely on support from paid users to keep the service running and provide free VPN to millions around the world. Thanks to your support, we are expanding our service and making a secure, private Internet a reality again.

Best Regards,
The ProtonVPN Team

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Proton was founded by scientists who met at CERN and had the idea that an internet where privacy is the default is essential to preserving freedom. Our team of developers, engineers, and designers from all over the world is working to provide you with secure ways to be in control of your online data.

Post Comment

7 comments

  1. egnon

    The free protonvpn on linuxmint 20 does not hide my ip.
    protonvpn connect..
    Connecting to JP-FREE # 1 via UDP …
    Connected!
    Then in firefox:——> https://whatismyipaddress.com/
    and I can see my real ip and location. What went wrong?

  2. Richie Koch

    Hi Egnon,
    Sorry to hear that you are having difficulties. Please try reaching out to our Support Team at https://protonvpn.com/support-form. They’ll help you find and resolve the issue.
    Cheers

  3. Hikaru

    Thank you Proton team for all your hard work!

    -Hikaru from Japan (or not, because I’m using your VPN and you can’t know where I’m really from HAHAHA)

  4. Hanu

    Dear Proton team,
    you are just the best!
    Hanu

  5. pjl

    One of the best technical descriptions I have ever read. The writer and editor did an excellent job, not only with the accuracy of the description, but also with good sentence structure and correct spelling. Excellent writing from the ProtonVPN Team.

  6. B. in Chicago

    When you have a teenager and a college student, as I do, and all their friends are over to the house and they are using your computer, and you have no idea what they are doing, or where they are going on the internet, or what they are saying, you MUST use ProtonVPN to protect yourself.

    Thanks to Proton for the free version. The interface of ProtonVPN is probably better than most VPNs that you have to pay for. Thank you!

  7. abc

    Excellent work, best article I have ever read about it.

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