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Tech tips

5 reasons you need a VPN (even if you’re not very tech-savvy)

Presented by ExpressVPN

Presented by ExpressVPN

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When you’re surfing the web, you’ll come across a few confusing acronyms. Take VPN, for example: If you don’t know what it means, you might shrug and scroll past it. Just like that, you could miss out on the best internet privacy tool you’ll ever find.

A VPN is a solid line of defense that protects your private information from third parties that want to profit from your digital movements. When we say “third parties,” we’re not just talking about cybercriminals. Businesses also want to make money off your data. That’s especially true for internet service providers, which track every site you visit.

That’s right: Whether you use Xfinity, Verizon, AT&T, Cox or another provider, you can bet the company providing your internet access is keeping a close eye on your web activity. But with a VPN, you can take back privacy and stop your ISP from spying on you. There’s no reason everyone shouldn’t use a VPN.

1. Privacy from your internet service provider

Large companies that provide internet service see every click you make as a way to make money. Many ISPs save your browsing history on their systems and store anonymous logs to sell to marketing companies.

Others even try to upcharge you, turning privacy into a premium feature. That means you’d have to pay an extra monthly fee to ward off prying eyes.

Plus, it’s good to remember that the data your ISP collects on you doesn’t always stay with them alone. In fact, their storage of your browsing history is accessible to government agencies like police departments. That brings us to the next benefit of a VPN.

2. Privacy from the government

Should the government hit your ISP with a subpoena, they’re legally required to spill the beans. By “beans,” we mean your search history — so if you looked up something strange out of context, now Uncle Sam can snicker at your most embarrassing secrets.

And who wants government agents ogling your browsing habits? Not only is it invasive, but it’s also flat-out embarrassing. Who hasn’t searched something that would sound bizarre out of context?

With a VPN, though, you can bypass your ISP’s attention. You’re hiding your actual IP address and location by connecting to a VPN server. Instead, an encrypted tunnel completely reroutes your network’s traffic. Nifty, huh?

3. Gives you a way to access public Wi-Fi securely

Usually, we recommend steering clear of public Wi-Fi because it’s just not secure. Of course, sometimes you’re out in a storm and any port will do. So you connect to Wi-Fi out of desperation.

We get it, but remember to be careful about what you do when browsing on a public network. Only bank on a trusted network and be cautious about any link you click. Otherwise, someone could keep track of your activity.

That’s where a VPN comes in. Since it created an encrypted connection through a secure server, you can browse the internet without worrying about anybody watching your activity. Nosy third parties can’t analyze your browsing history since you’ve put your privacy first.

When you’re on public Wi-Fi, any nosy interloper can digitally look over your shoulder. | Photo © Auremar | Dreamstime

Here’s another privacy threat you may not have known about. If you’re browsing on an unlucky day, you could stumble upon Heartbleed, an incredibly damaging bug that lets hackers steal your personal information. In many ways, it’s worse than a virus since you can’t install an antivirus program to protect yourself.

It started when a programmer made a mistake a few years ago while working on a popular critical security program. The error left open a door that hackers can now use to walk through. Thanks to Heartbleed, they can snatch the unprotected private data on your phone.

4. Privacy from apps and services

Some of your favorite smartphone apps are getting rich off of tracking you. Take Google, for example: In 2019, it made more than $160 billion from advertising revenue alone. It sent users targeted advertisements based on their web history.

In other words, if you weren’t using a VPN at the time, you may have made one of the biggest tech companies in the world a little bit richer. By taking a gander at your browsing habits, Google was able to make literal billions.

Just as a VPN can hide your activity from Big Tech and nosy hackers, it can also help protect your private information from intrusive apps and services.

5. Access any content you want, like streaming options only available in other countries

Here’s a fun trick! While the other tips were all about self-protection, here’s something that can infuse some fun in your life.

If you use any streaming services, you’ve probably noticed that some titles will disappear over time. This is thanks to copyright laws between big companies. With a VPN, you can unlock content you usually can’t access.

When you switch your IP address through a VPN, you’re essentially tricking Netflix, HBO Max or whatever else you use into thinking you’re somewhere else. Tap or click here for a step-by-step guide to streaming movies not available in the U.S. (or wherever else you are in the world).

ExpressVPN makes a world of difference — since it lets you browse from anywhere in the world

To make things even better, our sponsor ExpressVPN’s servers have fast and throttle-free access to Netflix streaming. This opens up a whole new world of exciting content to stream. You can enjoy TV shows and movies from anywhere in the world. It’s a great way to broaden your horizons!

ExpressVPN works with any device that connects to the internet. That means you can watch from a laptop, desktop, smartphone, tablet or streaming media console (that includes your Apple TV or the Fire TV Stick).

Ready to get started? Use this link to save money and get three months of ExpressVPN for free!

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