This is a question that many people have when it comes to VPN services. After all, having a high level of protection on always sounds like the best choice. However, the truth is that it all comes down to what you are doing. In this article, we will discuss when it is important to have your VPN and when you can disable it. Let’s start by reminding you that a VPN is an effective way to protect your informtion from online surveillance and cybercrime. Using a VPN keeps your traffic secure because once you connect to a server, your information is encrypted. This prevents other parties from seeing what you are up to, it also helps you to overcome geographical blocks and censorship. The popularity of VPNs has increased significantly over the last few years, particularly in places where the internet is heavily restricted, such as China.
VPNs are not only convenient for people who live under oppressive regimes, anyone can benefit from the high security and unblocking technology that a VPN offers. No matter where you live, there are threats that could compromise the privacy and security of your information. That being said, it is worth questioning if you really need to have a VPN switched on at all times. The answer is not a simple yes or no, because you need to consider different factors. It is important to think about why you want to use a VPN (what is the purpose) and what are your specific needs. To help you to decide if you want to use a VPN always or only in certain cases, we offer a list of the different cases in which you may consider using a VPN service.
Do you want to use a VPN to bypass geo-blocks?
If that is the case, we recommend that you leave the VPN switched on, so that you can stream or access content that is subject to geographical restrictions. When you disconnect from your VPN, your real IP address is revealed, which could prevent you from accessing the content. This is because as soon as your real IP address is exposed, the website you are accessed will most likely block you. On the other hand, if your bandwidth is limited and you are streaming a TV show or movie, it is possible to continue watching once your VPN is disconnected, using your ISP’s bandwidth instead. In this case, you need to wait until the video is loaded partially before you can disable the VPN and make sure that your browser has passed the streaming service’s IP location checks. Keep in mind that this may may not work with all streaming services. When it comes to choosing a VPN to defeat blocks, we recommend Surfshark, a fast and efficient service that has powerful unblocking and stealth technologies.
Is online privacy your main concern?
If you are worried about online privacy, a VPN is a great choice and it is advisable to keep the VPN switched on. This will protect you from data leaks and cyberattacks. When you use a VPN, your entire data is encrypted and the information goes through your network, which prevents hackers, ISPs and other parties from seeing your personal data. If your main concern is security, you need to ensure that you have a VPN service with the highest possible level of encryption. It should also have an automatic kill switch that disables your connection, in case the VPN drops or stops working. A VPN with 256-AES bit encryption and a strict no logs policy is the perfect recipe to keep your information safe. A good example of a VPN that you can consider for privacy is NordVPN as it doesn’t keep any logs. We also recommend ExpressVPN, which has a good track record protecting its customers’ data.
Is speed your main concern?
A VPN could affect the speed of your connection due to the encryption used, but in some cases, it could also make your connection faster. If your ISP is throttling your connection, or you are dealing with a congested network, you can connect to a VPN in a server nearby and enjoy better speeds. However, as previously mentioned, the encryption, as well as the fact that your data has to travel to the remote server, as well as the time needed to encrypt and decrypt it, can slow down your connection. If you don’t need a high level of security, you can switch off your VPN for a while. There are also good VPN services that have managed to provide fast speeds, without compromising your data. One of them is ExpressVPN.
Do you want to save money?
If you want to save money, a VPN can also be useful. You can save money on online purchases and for this purpose, it is advisable to leave the VPN on. Using a VPN for online shopping is particularly good when you need to book flights and hotel rooms. This is because the prices can change significantly, depending on your location. In addition, a VPN protects you from tracking practices. It keeps your information protected from booking websites that track your search history to spam you with offers. One of the best solutions to bypass blocks and save money when you are making online purchases is CyberGhost, a provider that doesn’t keep logs and that is fast and reliable.
Does you ISP limit your bandwidth?
Your ISP may place bandwidth limits to avoid network congestion, but also to force you to upgrade to a more expensive plan. If you keep your VPN switched on, you can improve the speeds of your connection. This technology allows you to bypass ISP throttling as it establishes a direct communication with the remote server of your choice. You can enjoy the highest speeds if you set up a connection that is near your physical location. This is why it is advisable to go for VPN that has servers in your country, whenever possible.
Are you using public WiFi?
Public WiFi may be practical, but it also leaves the door open to cyber criminals. When you connect to the internet using the public WiFi in a cafe, hotel or anywhere else, you should keep your VPN service on. This will help you to ensure that your information is protected with the best possible standards of security. NordVPN uses strong protection, including advanced features like double VPN encryption. Surfshark is another good solution as it has multip hop security and ExpressVPN protects you with high encryption and its mobile apps are excellent.
Do you want to transfer money?
Transferring money can be slightly more complicated. This is because services like PayPal may detect that you are using this technology and they could lock your account for security reasons. In that case, you will need to send a copy of your documents and follow other steps. The same goes for online banking so if you are using a VPN for financial transactions, you need to consider the possible issues. That being said, protecting your banking details is crucial, particularly when you are using public WiFi and thankfully, there are ways to overcome the issues and keep your information safe. You can simply connect to a VPN server in your physical location, to avoid noticeable location changes. If you connect from a different country, it is likely that your bank or online transaction system will place restrictions for security purposes. You can also opt for a dedicated IP, which prevents websites and services from finding out that you are using a VPN.
VPNs are effective solutions for privacy protection and they also allow you to get around blocks. You can get great deals while shopping online, keep your financial and personal information protected and more. However, in some cases, it may be better to keep the VPN off. It all depends on what you want the VPN for and what your needs are. For instance, if security is your main concern, you should keep the VPN on, but if you just use it for general browsing or bypassing blocks, it may be a good idea to unblock it from time to time. There are many services available, but our recommended options include ExpressVPN, NordVPN, Surfshark, Private Internet Access and CyberGhost.