Virtual Private Networks have been around for quite some time now, but it is only in recent years that they have begun to gain prominence. There are many reasons why this has happened, and one of the most important ones is because people are becoming more aware of their importance.
However, with so much information out there on VPNs, it can be really difficult to know which ones are worth your time or not. That’s why in this article we will take a look at the most popular VPN myths that might just change your mind about what these networks actually do.
10 Popular VPN Myths
VPNs are illegal
This is probably the biggest myth out there when it comes to VPNs. The truth is that while some activities carried out through these networks are illegal, by using them for this purpose does not actually make you an offender. For example, if you want to access some blocked content while living in a country where censorship is prevalent then it will be illegal to use a VPN for this purpose.
However, using the same VPN in your own country will not make you break any laws; so it really isn’t something that should keep you from getting one if you want it.
Only paranoid people use a VPN
There are many reasons why one would want to use a VPN, but being ‘paranoid’ is not one of them. Whether you are worried about hackers or government surveillance, there are real threats out there that can put your information at risk.
And while using a VPN will not completely ensure that this won’t happen to you, it sure does help. For example, hiding your web traffic away from prying eyes makes it much harder for anyone to track what you are doing or who you are communicating with.
One great thing about using a VPN is that even if somebody manages to get access to your information while the network is on, they still won’t be able to see where you are sending it. So even if you are being watched, your privacy will not be violated.
A VPN will make you totally anonymous online
No way! If anyone wants to find out who you are (especially if they want to get hold of any of your personal information), they will be able to track you down. Period!
A VPN is the same thing as a proxy server
Don’t be fooled by this one; although both of them can be used in order to provide additional security and privacy, that’s pretty much where the similarity ends.
A Proxy server just forwards requests from its interface, while leaving all the user data behind unencrypted, so anyone who manages to get hold of it will have an easy time spying on you.
On the other hand, with a VPN in place, it would be very difficult for any third parties to gather any useful information about what you are doing online.
Using a VPN will slow down your connection speed
There are many VPN providers out there who will claim that their services will not affect the internet speeds of subscribers, even by a tiny fraction. This is because once encryption has been enabled, all of the data packets it carries will be routed to the nearest server before being sent to its final destination.
However, if you want to make sure that you can continue accessing high-bandwidth streaming sites – for instance – then you might just have to deal with some mild lags and slowdowns here and there.
A VPN is a great tool for accessing site content from other regions.
Yes and no! A number of online businesses have tried using geoblocking as a way of controlling the content that users may access, and many of them have been quite successful at doing so.
However, as long as you have a VPN in place, you can easily go around these types of restrictions by spoofing your IP address to another country. This will allow you to access any site content from all over the world.
Anyone can use a VPN?
No way! In order to enjoy all the advantages that a Virtual Private Network has to offer, it is necessary for subscribers to install specific software on all of their devices – not just one.
While this might seem like an inconvenience at first glance, if you really think about it then it’s pretty much the price that everyone needs to pay for better security and privacy protection.
Installing a VPN will enable you to stay anonymous online
Once more, this is both yes and no at the same time! In order for a VPN client to function correctly, it has to be installed on a device – so you can’t really expect 100% anonymity from an app that isn’t even running on your computer. However, with all the data being sent through highly encrypted tunnels, it would take an incredibly sophisticated attack in order to determine what websites you have been visiting or what files you might have been downloading.
To put this into better perspective, there are many reports of hackers who came across stolen goods (such as credit card details) after gaining access to someone’s computer and were only able to find small bits of unencrypted data.
A good free VPN app will protect my privacy
You’d better be careful here! Free VPNs are becoming more and more popular these days, mostly because they usually go hand in hand with various data collection schemes.
Some individuals might even try to use this data for malicious purposes, so if you really want to protect your privacy then it is best to stick with the ones that require a small fee on an annual basis.