Avast Academy Privacy VPN What Are the Benefits of a VPN?

What Are the Benefits of a VPN?

It may sound like an unnecessary high-tech tool, but using a VPN is more common than you might think. VPNs do more than just protect your privacy — they have many benefits, from helping you unlock your favorite streaming content to making sure you get the best deals online. Learn the advantages of a VPN and start using a reliable one right now to reap the benefits.

Written by Elle Poole Sidell
Published on October 28, 2022

How important is a VPN?

A VPN (virtual private network) is crucial if you need a secure, private internet connection to encrypt your data and personal information. VPNs mask your real IP address, location, and online activities, which are important pieces of information to hide when you want to access block content or find the best online deals.

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    Beyond data encryption, there are many other privacy benefits to setting up a VPN. Read on to learn more about why a VPN should be a staple in your security toolkit.

    The benefits of a VPN

    There are many reasons you need a VPN — hiding your internet activity, accessing content freely, and protecting your data from snoops and cybercriminals are just a few of the benefits.

    Here are the main advantages of using a VPN:

    Getting around content blocks and avoiding censorship

    Among the top VPN advantages is their ability to help you unblock websites and get around geo-blocked content that might be restricted based on your location. When traveling, you might find some streaming content that you regularly access at home suddenly unavailable when you’re abroad. Using a VPN can help you get access to all your favorite shows and movies.

    Some countries also limit or ban social media platforms and specific websites to prevent their citizens from accessing information freely on the internet. Journalists and activists that operate in heavily-censored countries, at least ones where VPNs are legal, rely on VPNs to keep their communications confidential, access the information they need, and avoid government surveillance.

    A VPN hides your IP address and uses the address of a different VPN server in another location to connect to the internet. Then, when you’re online, it looks like you’re visiting from wherever the server is located instead of where you actually are. That’s why VPNs are so beneficial for watching TV online, accessing geo-blocked content, or using a streaming service.

    Shopping and banking safely online

    Because VPNs encrypt your internet connection, they’re vital for protecting your personal or financial information when shopping online. Most of us enter payment details or even access our bank accounts without thinking twice. But if you’re on an unprotected connection, you might unwittingly leave your credit card number, bank account details, passwords, or other personal data exposed to someone looking to steal your identity.

    Hackers have a lot of tricks up their sleeves to get information off websites, and even banks can't guarantee complete protection against online scams. That's why you should avoid shopping or banking on unprotected networks and always secure your own connection using a VPN.

    Seeing consistent pricing

    Online price discrimination (sometimes called dynamic pricing) happens when a website uses automated algorithms to dynamically increase prices. These price adjustments can be based on market forces or information gathered about you, such as your location, browsing history, language preferences, cookies, or even your income.

    Have you ever looked at flights one day and then come back later to find the tickets more expensive? That's because the airline website showed you a price for first-time visitors. When you come back, the website recognizes you and offers you a different, often inflated price for the flight you wanted to book. Airlines are notorious for charging higher prices based on a customer’s country and how much a particular market can pay.

    Private browsing and clearing your browser cookies can help you avoid increased flight rates based on previous visits, but they won’t help you avoid higher prices based on your location. Since VPNs hide your IP address and make it nearly impossible to track your previous behavior, they can help you avoid higher prices and outsmart many forms of price discrimination.

    Establishing a secure connection

    Encrypting your internet connection with military-grade security is one of the biggest advantages of using a VPN. There are plenty of free public Wi-Fi connections and unsecured sites (like http pages) floating around the web. Connecting with a VPN ensures your connection is protected, even if you don’t have time to vet the network.

    When you're at home, consider leaving your VPN on all the time. While it's unlikely that someone will try to break into your home network, VPNs offer an extra layer of privacy to stop your ISP from seeing what you're doing. There are also ways to improve your VPN speed so you’ll barely notice you're using one.

    Ensuring anonymity

    If you're looking to shield your identity as you move around the web, using a VPN can give you anonymous browsing. Operating in VPN mode keeps your online activity and identity hidden, helping you avoid being tracked and hit with targeted advertising.

    Similar to proxy servers or Tor, VPNs mask your IP address and location to shield where you physically are. However, unlike proxies and Tor, VPNs encrypt your data, hiding your browsing history and offering airtight online anonymity.

    Preventing ISP tracking and protecting your data

    Your internet service provider (ISP) collects a lot of information about your online activity. ISPs might slow data on your phone if you exceed your monthly limit or throttle your connection speed if you're doing something that consumes a lot of bandwidth, like gaming or streaming.

    But ISPs can also share your data with advertisers, data brokers, or government agencies — and they don't need your knowledge or consent to do it. One major pro of using a VPN is that it prevents your ISP from keeping tabs on what you do online, so they can't share or sell your data. VPNS also block other types of web tracking, and they help you avoid data caps that slow down your internet speed.

    Best uses for a VPN

    Still not convinced why you should get a VPN? It’s time to move on from general benefits and get specific.

    Here are our favorite ways to use a VPN:

    Streaming movies

    While a VPN's critical importance centers on privacy, it offers a lot of entertainment value too. Regardless of your preferred streaming service, they all have different licensing deals for each country they operate in. One content library will likely look a lot different when you travel to another country and access your subscription there.

    By helping you change your digital location, a VPN can make it look like you're somewhere else, which gives you a much wider range of movies and TV shows to watch.

    Connecting to a VPN can help you unblock content from other parts of the world.Using a VPN can help you access blocked content when you travel.

    Finding the best flight deals

    If you are still unsure how useful VPNs are, try booking your next vacation with one. VPNs are great for outsmarting price discrimination and other dynamic pricing tactics from airlines, hotels, and even car rental services. A VPN will give you better deals and cheaper rates.

    To hide your IP address and prevent tracking by airlines, check that your VPN is working and activate it before you start your search. We recommend checking flights from several VPN server locations, and experimenting with booking sites to find the best prices. Often, if you configure your VPN server locally, you’ll see lower prices than you otherwise might as an international customer.

    Just don't forget to delete your cookies when you switch to a new VPN server. Otherwise, websites will know you've been there before.

    Shopping for flights using a VPN can save you hundreds of dollars.Using a VPN to shop for flights or hotels can save you a lot of money.

    Protecting your smart home

    Your smart home gadgets may be convenient, but they also offer cybercriminals a lot of easy access points to your home network. Internet of Things (IoT) devices like your smart fridge or coffee maker rarely come with strong built-in security, and many have none at all.

    Connecting your VPN directly to your home Wi-Fi router helps keep your smart home safe by keeping intruders out. All devices that connect to your router will automatically use the VPN connection, so you don't have to install a VPN separately on each one.

    But VPNs alone aren't capable of preventing router hacks if you haven't changed your default security settings or have forgotten to update your firmware — but this is just one of the very few limitations of using a VPN for smart home security.

    Connect a VPN to your Wi-Fi router to add a layer of security to your smart home devices.Connecting your Wi-Fi router to a VPN will help protect all your IoT devices from hacking.

    Get ironclad online privacy with Avast SecureLine VPN

    With so many benefits of using a VPN, there’s no reason not to add one to your cybersecurity toolkit. VPNs give you more freedom online, help you avoid targeted advertising, and can even save you money — all while protecting your online privacy.

    Avast SecureLine VPN offers bank-grade encryption and tons of servers around the world, giving you ironclad protection against hackers, scammers, and network threats with just a single click. Get Avast SecureLine VPN to access the content you love, find the best online deals, and experience true online privacy — no matter where you are.

    Access content freely and stay private online with Avast SecureLine VPN


    Access content freely and stay private online with Avast SecureLine VPN

    Elle Poole Sidell