VPNs explained: what a VPN is and why you should use one

Private Internet Access VPN phone and laptop

A Virtual Private Network, or VPN as they’re more commonly known, offers security, protects your privacy, and comes with a range of other benefits while browsing the internet.

What exactly is a VPN, though? How do they work and why should you use a premium service across your devices? Aside from keeping your sensitive data protected online, a VPN like the US-based Private Internet Access has plenty of use cases beyond what you might expect.

What is a VPN?

A VPN is a cybersecurity tool that encrypts your internet connection via access to secure networks across locations all over the world. It redirects your traffic from your internet service provider (ISP) to another server before navigating to your chosen website. By doing this, it masks your IP address, meaning ISPs, network admins, and government bodies can’t track your activity. Hackers also have a harder time penetrating devices connected to VPNs than those left unprotected.

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VPNs come in all sorts of flavours, with plenty of different options available. Generally speaking, paid services are the best option, as they have more features and strong reputations to boot, like not logging your data. Private Internet Access impressed us in the past thanks to its affordability, good security features, and access to Australian-based servers. The best VPN services also work across various devices, like desktop computers, mobile devices, and your router for full home internet coverage.

Why you should use a VPN

Increased security

Using a VPN adds an extra layer of security to your online activities, wherever you are. Considering how many everyday services require online access – such as internet banking and government-issued credentials – securing your data is vital.

VPNs encrypt your internet connection, which includes any data shared while using the internet. With your IP address and location hidden from external entities, it increases your protection against advertisers, third-party trackers, and criminals seeking sensitive information. Some VPNs also include ad-blocking features, stopping companies from harvesting any further information than you’re willing to share.

Anytime you need to use public Wi-Fi, a VPN ensures no one can snoop on what you’re doing. This means extra peace of mind when entering payment details or login credentials. Anything you do is encrypted, increasing your online security while decreasing the chance of others getting their hands on your precious data.

Greater online privacy

Similar to increasing your security, a VPN can help further protect your identity online. The best providers give you access to secure servers located in different countries. Additionally, you get a new IP address when using one to make it look like you’re visiting from another location. Combined with data encryption features, this means advertisers and third-party trackers can’t accurately build a profile based on your behaviour or where you’re based.

Your overall browsing experience becomes more private, too. As long as everything you’re doing is above board, it’s totally fine to prevent the likes of network admins and ISPs from lurking on your online presence. Whether it be for general internet browsing, streaming content, or entering sensitive information, your data is your business.

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Subscribe to Private Internet Access for just $2.68/month with four months included for free

Any VPN worth using values your privacy. When considering which service to use, check that they’re transparent about how they operate and don’t keep logs of your data. For example, Private Internet Access commits to regular external audits to verify its processes and 100% No Logs Policy. With over 10 years in the industry, more than 15 million global customers, and 100% open-source apps, they come highly recommended.

If a VPN provider keeps logs or isn’t transparent about what happens with your data, don’t trust them. Instead of focusing on a good product offering, it’s likely they’re selling your data.

Access your content from anywhere in the world

One of the most popular VPN uses is the ability to access content regardless of geographical limitations. All too often we find out about an upcoming movie or TV series and get excited about it, only to find out it’s not available on any local streaming services. Such frustrations are eliminated with a VPN, giving you access to regional content libraries from anywhere servers are in the world.

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If something is on Netflix in the US but not in Australia, all you need to do is connect to a US-based server to enjoy what you’d previously miss out on. Private Internet Access even includes optimised servers for various streaming platforms in overseas countries. You can enjoy the overseas libraries of Netflix, Disney+, Prime Video, Hulu, HBO Max, and plenty more with the best streaming experience possible.

Plus, you can watch videos online normally geo-blocked to visitors from other countries. This is particularly helpful if you’re a fan of US sports or want to watch content as soon as it premieres, regardless of time zones. Private Internet Access has servers in all 50 US states, meaning you can tune into your team’s local state broadcast or watch a show the second it airs.

Exclusive Private Internet Access offer for GadgetGuy readers

If you’re keen to take advantage of all the benefits a VPN provides, we’ve got a great deal for you thanks to Private Internet Access. Using our referral link, you can get two years of Private Internet Access for AU$2.68 per month with four months included for free. That’s a total of AU$75.14 over two years, saving a massive 83% off the regular price.

A VPN is a must for any privacy-conscious internet user, and using one enhances your online experience in many ways.

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