What Are VPNs Used For?

The reasons why people decide to use a VPN are very varied. This wide
variety of issues accounts for why using a VPN has become popular with so many different

Some people use a VPN because they are worried about protecting their personal
information when they browse the internet; others want to make it look as though their
computer is located in a different place. Finally, some individuals require access to
private or company files that are only available over a VPN. Some of these tasks can be
accomplished using VPN services that are available to the general public; others require a
particular VPN that is set up and run by a specific company. However, all of these examples
rely on the same fundamental services and technologies. This article will explore some of
the reasons why people use VPNs, how they work in practice and why VPN use has grown
exponentially over the last couple of years.


Changing the Location of Your Computer

As streaming media and other types of online content have grown in
popularity over recent years, the issues caused by geo-location barriers have become more
and more apparent. In short, most companies that operate streaming services are only allowed
to make their content available in a limited number of countries for licensing or other
reasons. Sometimes, this is because the owner of the content has chosen to license it to
someone else in another country (or not make it available at all). In practice, this means
that using streaming services, particularly if you are trying to watch a show with someone
who is physically located in another country, can be challenging.

A VPN can allow you to solve these problems by making it appear that your
computer is located in a different country than the one where you really are. This is
accomplished by encrypting all of your website requests and sending them to a server that is
physically located in the country where you wish to be seen as being situated. The websites
that you are browsing will then believe that the server you are using is actually your
computer and will use the server’s location when deciding which content they are going to
show you.

Many of the major VPN companies operate servers in countries all over the
world. This is particularly useful if you are interested in being able to keep up with
shows, movies, and other types of content from other regions. Before you decide which VPN
service is right for you, take a look at the list of server locations that the company
offers. Most operators will have this type of information on their website. If a country
that you are interested in doesn’t have a server available, then remember to check back
regularly, as most of the big VPN operators periodically add new locations. There are a few
countries, such as China and Saudi Arabia, where VPN providers can’t operate servers due to
local laws. However, in the vast majority of cases, VPN companies are working on adding
server capacity as quickly as they can.

From time to time, major entertainment portals such as the BBC
iPlayer take steps to block known VPN servers from accessing their content. VPN companies
are aware of this and regularly change their IP addresses and add new servers to help their
users avoid these types of restrictions. If you do run into problems when you are trying to
access content from another country using your VPN, it is generally a good idea to get in
touch with the company’s customer support team to make sure that they know about the issue.
This will encourage them to add new servers or help their customers to find other ways to
get around these content blocks. After all, their business model relies on helping their
subscribers to get access to this type of content.


Protecting Your Personal Data

Another primary reason that people decide to use a VPN is to
protect their personal information when they are using the internet. This type of approach
is essential when using a public Wi-Fi network, such as in a coffee shop, at a hotel, or on
an airplane. These types of networks are effectively honeypots for nefarious individuals who
steal the data of other network users. Using a VPN makes it much more difficult for them to
do this, as all of the information that is sent from your computer to the wider internet via
the VPN network will be protected using military-grade encryption.

This means that you can be much more confident that any data
you send is safe. For this reason, many businesses demand that their employees who are using
company equipment when on the road always use a VPN if they are uploading work-related
documents over a public Wi-Fi network. This type of protection is also available to members
of the general public if they decide to use a VPN service to secure their internet

If this type of security is critical to you, then make sure that you
select a VPN company that has a ‘no logs’ policy. A ‘no logs’ approach means that the
company does not keep records of the websites that users visit and the activities that they
perform there. Without a ‘no logs’ policy, the security effectiveness of the VPN will be
significantly reduced as the risk simply moves from the point at which you are connecting to
the internet to the VPN server itself. A list of the websites you visit, and activities that
you undertake while you are connected to the internet, is always at risk of being hacked or
intercepted by users who you would prefer not to have access to the information. A ‘no logs’
policy that is regularly audited by an external provider is a good way of making sure that
your personal information does not fall victim to fraudulent activity.


Accessing Company Servers

Businesses can also use VPNs to allow employees to access company files
when they are not actually located in their office. This type of activity was the original
use case for VPNs but has become a little less common in recent years as more and more
companies have started to use cloud storage. However, some companies that handle
particularly sensitive information do not trust cloud storage providers to fully protect all
of the data that they hold. In some cases, they will still prefer to host this type of
information locally and ask their employees to access it using a VPN.

All of these points and more are reasons why companies and individuals decide to
use a VPN when they are connected to the internet. A VPN offers a level of flexibility and
security that makes browsing the internet a much more rewarding and secure experience. Now
that the prices charged by VPN companies have started to fall significantly, taking
advantage of these benefits is much easier than it has ever been. Setting up a VPN on your
personal computer, tablet, or phone is now simply a matter of signing up for an account and
a few minutes of work, so there is little reason not to do so.