Most people know that a VPN can encrypt your internet connection and allow you to ‘virtually’ locate your computer in 100’s of locations around the world. But that’s just the beginning of what a VPN is capable of.
The purpose of this article is to show you how powerful VPN technology really is, and the amazing things you can do once you have a quality VPN subscription.
Excited? You should be.
Here’s what you’ll be able to do with your new VPN subscription…
One of the top reasons people buy a VPN subscription is to get easy access to global content and streaming portals. But that’s just beginning. Here are the many ways a VPN will expand your global content library.
Access your favorite streaming sites while traveling
You pay for a Netflix, Hbo, or Pandora subscription. Shouldn’t you still be able to use those services while your on vacation in Europe? Fortunately, the right VPN can make sure you never see this message again:
But keep in mind, not all VPNs work with Netflix. In fact, Netflix blocks most VPN services, but a small group of VPNs developed workaround technology and still work flawlessly.
Watch Netflix or Youtube on an Airplane
If you’ve ever paid for in-flight internet access using a service like GoGo wireless, you may have angrily discovered that your favorite streaming sites are blocked. Their rationale?
They don’t want one customer hogging all the bandwidth by streaming HD video.
But equality-be-damned, we want us some in-flight youtube videos. And you shall have them.
Again, here’s your VPN to the rescue. By activating your stealth-capable VPN protocol (to get through GoGo’s VPN-blocking firewall), you can access all your favorite streaming sites and services.
Unlock global content
There are dozens of streaming sites around the world that are restricted to specific countries or geographic regions.
- HBOGO / HBO Max
- Showtime Anywhere
- BBC iPlayer
- NFL/MLB/NBA/NHL streaming sites
Simply by changing your IP address to the service’s host country (by using a VPN), you can instantly gain access to their massive content library. For example, Netflix has a different library of shows and movies in every country.
And BBC iPlayer is only available from inside the UK. Never fear expats, a VPN is the simple solution.
And if your streaming service tries to identify and block VPN connections, just choose one of these providers with built-in SmartDNS and cloaking:
Note: Circumventing geo-restriction is currently a legal gray area. Depending on where you live, it may or may not be legal. For example, Australia has stated they do not recognize geo-restriction as valid until content producers offer equal access to content for Australians. Other countries like Canada take a harsher view.
Protect your data & identity from thieves
Using a VPN can massively improve your online security. Most people aren’t even aware of the security risk of open wifi networks. With a VPN, you don’t have to worry.
Free wifi networks (like you’ll find at coffee shops, airports, malls…) are convenient, but they’re also incredibly insecure. Not only can anyone connected to the network monitor the web traffic to/from any other connected device, but many of these wifi routers still use the default admin login/password, making it incredibly easy for a hacker to get root access to the router, spread malware to connected devices, or steal data.
When connected to the VPN, all your internet activity is encrypted with 256-bit military-strength encryption, so even if a hacker snoops on your traffic, they won’t be able to read it or recover your login/passwords. Even better, most major VPN companies also have dedicated apps for iOS and Android devices, so you can protect your smartphone as well. See our top recommended Android VPNs.
Also read: How to make your computer more secure
Protect your Privacy online
These days, almost everything you do online is tracked. Your internet provider (ISP) tracks your web history and file downloads. Advertisers track your browsing patterns and search history with cookies (and supercookies). Websites record your IP address and demographic data every time you visit.
Sometimes a person just wants a little privacy. A VPN is the best tool for the job.
Here are some examples:
Most companies don’t like when negative information or opinions are shared about them. Some have even gone so far as to sue commenters on websites for sharing potentially damaging information about a company.
Honest reviewers on Yelp and Google Maps have been unmasked and even sued for truthfully sharing a negative experience with a company.
By using a VPN, you can hide your real IP address when visiting or commenting on websites.
This will allow you to share the truth anonymously without fear of being tracked down or sued by an angry corporation or individual.
Keep your web browsing & search history private
Did you know that most ISPs around the world monitor and record your web-browsing history? This usually includes a full list of sites you visit, and may even include records of all files you’ve downloaded, videos watched, pictures viewed, etc.
This is a massive invasion of privacy.
With a VPN, you can encrypt your internet traffic, and use your VPNs private DNS servers to prevent your ISP from snooping on your web history. And you if combine a VPN with a non-logging search engine like DuckDuckGo, you can keep data giants like Google from tracking your search history.
Routing traffic through the remote VPN server has another benefit. It’ll strip the ‘SuperCookies’ embedded in you traffic by your ISP, allowing their advertising partners to track you across the web. In fact, using a VPN is just about the only way to prevent Supercookies. They can’t be deleted or blocked at the browser level.
Prevent Throttling / Speed up your Internet
The secret is out, internet providers worldwide are throttling their subscribers’ web traffic, resulting in slower-than-advertised speeds. This is most noticeable when using high-bandwidth protocols such as:
- streaming HD video from Youtube, Hulu, or Netflix.
- Playing FPS or realtime strategy games
- BitTorrent / P2P
- Kodi streaming addons
Do you have a 50+ Mbps connection but your Youtube videos keep re-buffering? Can’t consistently stream Netflix in 1080p?
Blame your ISP. They’re throttling your traffic and not delivering the speeds you’ve paid for.
By using a VPN, you can make it IMPOSSIBLE for your ISP to throttle specific websites
Your ISP can only throttle specific sites if they are able to inspect and separate your traffic into throttle and don’t throttle categories. If you use a VPN with strong encryption, your ISP can’t read your traffic or separate it into high and low-speed tunnels. As a result, they must legally route all traffic at your advertised connection speed.
Meaning no more buffering youtube videos. Brilliant right?
Learn More: How to defeat ISP throttling
Defeat Censorship and site blocking
Some countries (Iran, China, UAE…) are determined to control what information their citizens can and cannot access online. This includes blocking popular sites and social networks like youtube, twitter, and facebook.
Other countries attempt to block access to file-sharing sites. This is happening in many European countries, especially the UK.
If you use a VPN, your country and/or internet provider will be unable to restrict access to websites or services
In order to block websites, your ISP has to be able to intercept your DNS queries (website lookups). The strong encryption and private DNS servers used by a VPN make this impossible, allowing you to easily and quickly unblock any site that your country is restricting.
This also works to defeat smaller firewalls like school or work firewalls, allowing you to play games or browse facebook at work (do so at your own risk!).
Use a Stealth VPN to prevent detection
What if your country or firewall blocks VPN services? There’s a simple solution, the Stealth VPN Protocol.
Stealth-capable VPNs can disguise their VPN traffic as regular SSL web traffic, making it virtually impossible to detect or block, even by massive national firewalls like the great firewall of China.
There are several VPN providers with incredibly powerful stealth capabilities, including VyprVPN, VPN.ac, IPVanish, and now Private Internet Access (thanks to ShadowSOCKS)
A VPN can save you money
Having a VPN with 10,000+ unique IP addresses has its perks. Being able to virtually reside in 50+ countries and switch IP’s in seconds can save you money. Here are some of our favorite tricks.
Save money on plane tickets and travel
I was thrilled when I discovered this little secret:
Did you know that airline and hotel prices are different depending on your geographic location when you search?
By using a VPN to book travel from a different ‘virtual’ location, you can potentially save $100’s. (Just make sure to clear your browser cookies each time you change locations, or use ‘private’ mode).
Get more from ‘free’ services & websites
You’ve probably been on a website before that lets you view ‘X’ number of articles per day or month before you have to pay. Some online tools give you a limited number of ‘free’ searches daily.
But guess what, they track each individual user by their IP address. If you switch IP’s (using a VPN) and open the tool or website in a new private browsing window, they’ll treat you like a brand new visitor. This is incredibly useful for people in the online marketing space, using tools like OpenSiteExplorer.
Finally get those limited edition sneakers
Companies like Nike are famous for limited shoe releases that sell out in seconds. And it’s a lottery system. But a well-known secret in the sneakerhead community is that a small number of people get a disproportionate number of sneakers (and resell them at astronomical prices). That’s because they’re using a proxy or VPN to register multiple accounts, multiplying their odds of winning.
Disclaimer: This is almost certainly against Nike’s terms of service, and we don’t recommend you do this. But it is going on, and so far there’s been little effort to crack down.
Download/Share files anonymously
P2P filesharing networks are becoming increasingly scrutinized. For example, torrent downloads are frequently monitored, logged, or outright blocked by ISPs and other less-trustworthy corporations.
Many of the most popular file-sharing websites are blocked in certain countries, and often blocked on office or school networks.
By using a non-logging VPN, you can download torrents unrestricted, without worrying about your real IP address being logged into a database somewhere.
And if you want even faster speeds for your torrents (while keeping an anonymous IP address) you can opt for a zero-log SOCKS5 proxy instead. These setup works great with all major desktop torrent clients, and can even be configured on Android devices using either tTorrent or Flud.
Conclusion (and even more VPN uses)
So…clearly a VPN is one of the most useful tools in your cyber-arsenal. It can stream, unblock, hide, speed-up, save you $, and more.
Here are even more uses we’ve discovered:
- Spoof your location with PokemonGo and catch ’em all!
- Get multiple accounts on the same website or forum
- Stream anonymously with Kodi
- Advertise in multiple cities with Craigslist
What about you? Do you have any tips on cool uses for VPNs or VPN technology? What do you use your VPN for most often. Please share in the comments below!
July 20, 2020:
- Added images
- Added section on SuperCookies
- Improved Netflix & streaming section
- Added Private Internet Access’s ShadowSOCKS protocol