How Effective Are VPNs?

How Effective Are VPNs?

Since long privacy has been every individual’s right. To be able to dwell in your solitude is a privilege highly sought after by people all around the world. It is a much-needed aspect of our lives without which the society could deviate to a point of no return. Hence, the choice of what to keep to yourself and what to allow the world to know is left to each individual’s discretion. The importance of privacy is even more evident in the digital world we live in now.

We are constantly interacting over the internet as we go about our daily routines. It could be a bill payment, tax return, or just a few groceries, everything we do over the internet pushes us a step further into the territory of a cybercriminal. In this intricate worldwide web we’ve created for ourselves it is of utmost importance to keep our homes and ourselves safe. Just like we wouldn’t want anyone spying on us in the real world, people spying on others in the virtual world isn’t appreciated either.

However, it does happen. Cybercrime has been on the rise in the past few years, therefore, making the use of safety measures is crucial. The first thing you can do is sign up with a reliable internet service provider that provides you a secure network from their end as well as free anti-virus along with the connection to keep your home network safe. An example of such a provider is Spectrum. Along with being the second-largest cable provider in the country all Spectrum packages include free anti-virus software to keep you safe.

Another such measure to stay protected is the use of a Virtual Private Network (VPN). Let’s discuss this in more detail.

Using a VPN

The main reason behind the need for online privacy is that we do not want anyone intruding on our personal space and extract personal data to use it against us or for their gain. It is not only hackers that use people’s data to steal but also our Internet Service Providers (ISPs) can collect usage data to be sold to different companies for advertising purposes. A VPN can be the solution to both these problems.

Another benefit could be the avoidance of bandwidth throttling. This usually happens at peak hours when your ISP intentionally slows down the speed of your internet connection to encourage people to drop off the network, hence regulating network congestion. While using a VPN your ISP would be unable to do this to your network, therefore you end up having throttle free internet all day long.

How a VPN Works

When you’re working over the internet without a VPN all the information you put in is directly sent to your ISP and from there it goes to the intended server and back again through the same route. This means everything from your banking details to your Google searches is saved with your ISP. It doesn’t matter if you want it saved with them or not.

However, when you use a VPN this same information is rerouted through an encrypted tunnel created by the VPN to and from the remote server. While you’re still using your ISP to access the world wide web you are not disclosing any information that can be accumulated with them without your consent. So essentially a VPN lets you connect to the internet without disclosing any data to unwanted intruders or your ISP. Also, since it masks your IP address and your ISP is unable to see you, you can live your life without suffering at the hands of bandwidth throttling.

Selecting a VPN

When selecting a VPN you need to ensure that the one you pick out fulfills your requirements and isn’t the first one from the list you found online. Do your research and think about what you expect out of the VPN and then make the choice. It is supposed to protect your privacy and a hasty decision could lead you into killing the very purpose by signing up for an unreliable VPN software. Always read through the terms and conditions to make sure if your VPN provider would collect your information or not and what could be done with it. Yes, those agreements are long but it is worth spending a few minutes skimming through for the sake of your data protection.

The most important factor is the VPN provider’s trustworthiness. You want to go with a provider that has a no-log policy. Otherwise, you’re just taking your information from one party and handing it to another to sell at will. While a VPN shields you from unwanted intruders as well as your ISP it also means that it tracks all your activity, thus making the no-log policy crucial. In which case, even if there is a legal requirement for the VPN provider to disclose the information it cannot do so.

This is not a foolproof solution for finding a trustworthy VPN provider though. Especially if you’re looking to use a free version. Many companies do not disclose all their policies in the agreements and sometimes even misrepresent them. Therefore, it is advisable to go for a paid version as they’re already making money out of subscriptions and do not need to resort to other ways of income. Hence there’s less motivation to sell your data to companies.


There is no way to make yourself 100 percent secure from all the threats out there in the virtual world. You can only try to make it as hard as possible for your usage data and personal information to be accessed by unwanted parties. A VPN helps you achieve this by encrypting all your online data making you a difficult target. Keep the above-mentioned insights in mind while looking for a VPN software so that your VPN serves the purpose it is installed for. I repeat, it won’t give you 100 percent immunity to cyber crimes but it will help make it harder.