A VPN isn't some kind of magic privacy & security bullet. We see people constantly talking about how they are trying to hide their info from big-tech and stop the profiling using their meta-data, etc. And big VPN providers pray on these misconceptions and sell people using fear. VPN's aren't going to be some kind of magic privacy bullet that will digitally erase your footprints online!
So what does a VPN help with?
A VPN is a TRANSPORT security tool. Think of it like the hammer or screw driver in your tool box. Tools have a SPECIFIC purpose and use. You don't drive a nail with a screw driver do you? The specific and recommended uses of a VPN include:
- Blocked Content. Getting access to restricted content & circumventing blocks. VPN's are great at getting access to that new season of show X that can only be seen in country Y. VPN's are also good at getting through various firewalls to give the user access to information they might have otherwise not been able to access. Of course, they aren't perfect, and can also be blocked, but there are ways around that.
- Additional Privacy. Want to have some additional privacy? Think of it like this: If you want to hide your access to something embarrassing online (that website you don't want people to know you look at) - then a VPN will help you hide that from your internet provider, and the website your accessing and potentially other companies (like big-tech) - but this has to be LAYERED - remember cookies? Meta data has to be blocked too! A VPN only masks your IP and location - but other data leaks too from your browser, OS, etc.
- Additional Security. Connecting to sketchy free and open WIFI? A VPN is great at providing you security in transporting your information from a totally untrusted source like open WIFI to your trusted VPN server. Connect to that WIFI, start your secure VPN tunnel, and do your thing.
You don't need a VPN 24/7. In fact, it will degrade your overall internet experience. But we would recommend you use a VPN: WHEN YOU NEED IT, WHERE YOU NEED IT, HOW YOU NEED IT. Specifically in these three contexts.
Common B.S. sold by VPN Companies, that should be big red-flags:
- "Our VPN will speed up your internet" <--- This is the biggest one - the truth is that a VPN will always slow your internet slightly, because it adds additional overhead.
- "Our VPN will hide all your info & make you totally private" <--- No, it will only encrypt the transport of your internet traffic between you and your VPN server. Common sense still applies.
- "Our VPN will make you totally secure against bad guys" <--- Again, no it will not, it will not protect you if you download malware directly to your computer. Common sense still applies.
Hopefully this helps everyone a little - we have to help each other cut through the F.U.D. (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt) that the market has puked on our community, and stick together to help one-another.