Virtual private networks are more popular than ever before, and for plenty of good reasons – by and large. They’re the only reliable way to maintain your privacy when browsing the internet in this day and age. Just because VPNs are enjoying new levels of popularity doesn’t mean they’re universally welcomed. Governments, for example, don’t like VPNs, because it takes away their power to track a user’s online activities.
Here’s an analysis of why a VPN is so vital for your privacy and experience, and how to go about choosing a free VPN that can give you an unrestricted experience regardless of where you go in the world.
Why you need a VPN
You can’t possibly hope to make the right choice when it comes to securing a good VPN if you don’t know why it’s so important in the first place. A virtual private network, or VPN, helps maintain your digital privacy while you browse the web by encrypting your data. Thus, anybody trying to snoop on your internet connection in order to learn more about you from your data will have their efforts thwarted.
The many benefits provided by VPNs are effectively guaranteeing their widespread adoption around the globe. Particularly in areas of the world riddled with authoritarian governance, VPNs are one of the only reliable means of accessing the internet without letting your digital guard down. They can be confusing to figure out if you’re not very tech-savvy, however, so it’s worthwhile to read up on common VPN error codes to determine what’s wrong in the event of a technical failure.
Now that you understand VPNs, why should you bother getting one? VPNs prevent other people from learning about your true identity, which means it’s hard for them to ascertain your geographic location whenever you use a VPN.
This way you can access websites that your government has made inaccessible. VPN also lets you access online streaming from wherever you are in the world.
This is bad for services like Netflix, because it and many other companies use geolocating services to determine your location (and thus your legitimacy as a customer) before allowing you access to their servers. If someone in Pakistan is trying to use an account with American credentials, for instance, it would be a sign of a potential account breach and enable Netflix to crack down on that illegitimate user.
Some VPNs get caught by Netflix, others can get by just fine flying under the radar with new IPs. It is thus essential to find the right VPN for Netflix to ensure you remain digitally secure while also enjoying access to your films.
You’ll want to constantly be asking yourself how you intend to go about getting around Netflix’s security, largely because the streaming giant is absolutely dead-set against anybody using a VPN on its platform. You may thus find yourself compelled to review updated guides on thwarting Netflix’s VPN policy now that 2020 is here, but know that you’ll constantly need to solicit new information as the company’s policy changes and VPN providers respond to those changes.
VPNs can be confusing for the average user given the dozens of services in the market. Not all VPNs are created equal, they vary both in the number of features and price. Users tend to gravitate towards free VPNs because they don’t cost anything.
Functionality is subject to change
It’s imperative to realize that nothing is ever set in stone now that we’re in a digital age. A product or service which works in January may fail come February, as newfound digital advancements could thwart a once-successful VPN service. This is to say that it’s important to realize that your VPN provider may not always work, as a service which is free may prove to become a lackluster means of access in the future.
Still, some free VPN services are running right now and they get the job done. Hotspot Shield is incredibly popular because it offers you fantastic access to Netflix servers on multiple devices regardless of where you find yourself situated around the globe.
Alternatively, Windscribe is one of the most popular VPN providers on the market for a wide variety of reasons. Using its free option will get you only 10GB of usable bandwidth. While you can stream a couple of movies in 720p, it’s not ideal for streaming 1080p or 4K movies online; it will get you by just fine for accessing blocked websites.
Usually VPN websites points out, however, and as we’ve covered, functionality is subject to change when it comes to VPNs. Similarly, any of the VPNs covered in our blog here may suddenly change, and so too may the configurations of any VPN provider change without forewarning, so you may have to do some research before accessing the streaming sites that you’ve come to know and love.
Don’t forget about these Free VPNs
If neither Hotspot Shield nor Windscribe prove to be what you’re looking for, there are still plenty of alternatives to consider. Free VPN providers like Tunnelbear can help meet your need to access geo-restricted or censored website with its 500MB data cap.
Here are some more free VPNs you can consider:
- Opera VPN
If you have a large household and intend to have many people streaming from many devices, you may want to buy cheap vpn service instead of free to ensure you’re getting a good service. Otherwise, you may find this entire exercise to be in vain, as only being able to use VPN in a limited capacity is simply unacceptable to many people in this day and age.
It’s worth investing in paid VPNs instead for a consistent and reliable experience.
You get what you pay for
It’s thus important to remember that when it comes to VPNs, you really get what you pay for. Cheap or free VPN providers may be able to allow you access to websites but they’re less likely to be reliable and consistent when you need them the most. Providers like Surfshark help you gain unrestricted access in a secure fashion.
Sometimes, spending money is worth it, but you’ll always need to consider your own personal situation. Having a lackluster VPN can enable ISPs and streaming companies like Netflix to determine your location and identity, which can subsequently lead them to take action against you if you’re found violating their policies. If you’re worried about such a thing occurring, investing in a reliable VPN provider with an established industry reputation is highly recommended.
You should also know that you’ll usually see an increase in latency when using any VPN service. This is to say that your internet connection may slow down. This happens because VPNs necessarily require decreased download and upload speeds in order to fulfill their core function – the ensuring of your privacy. If the movies or television shows you stream thus appear slightly delayed, that could be a result of your VPN increasing your overall latency.
Try not to get frustrated by this slowdown – it may not be pleasant, but it’s effectively required for your VPN service to work. If it’s particularly annoying, just remember that without a VPN, you’re rendering yourself vulnerable to the wide world of companies or other nefarious actors who seek out your personal information for one reason or another.
For those facing harsh geoblocks which prevent them from accessing Netflix due to their country of origin, spending some time reading up on overcoming geoblocks is essential towards streaming successfully. You could always wait until your desired content becomes available elsewhere, but your favorite shows or movies may be spoiled in the meantime, and that can tarnish your entire consumer experience.
Knowing how to use a VPN isn’t something everybody is familiar with, but it’s a simple process these days. Just download the free VPNs we have mentioned and get going, just be careful of your data limit.