Last Updated on April 9, 2019 by Husain Parvez
Do I need a VPN? Why? Why not? And what is a VPN anyway? Chances are that you’ve asked yourself those questions at least once at some point; especially if you’re reading this article. VPN services are especially popular for those who are using streaming programs like Kodi.
The answers may be a bit more complicated than you may think. But, we’re planning on simplifying them as much as we can for you. So, let’s find out!
What is a VPN?
First of all, before realizing if you need a VPN or not, you must understand what a VPN is.
VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. You can install one as a program/app on your computer, phone, or whatever it is that you’re using to browse the internet.
These programs/services are used to disguise your IP address; aka your identity. Your IP address can reveal your location, browsing habits, and even your name. That largely depends on who gets a hold of it and it’s a bit more complicated than that. But, you get the basics.
A VPN service is ultimately, well, a service. And services need to get paid. So, do keep that in mind. The price differs from provider to provider.
There are some providers who will give you a free trial and there are also those who will give you their services for free. However, we’d recommend against the latter. If a service is free, then you may be the product. And nobody likes having his data sold to 3rd parties.
How does it work?
How does it work? Well, normally, upon browsing a website, your computer communicates directly with the website’s server and all the data/information goes back and forth unencrypted. This is how that order looks like without a VPN:
- Your PC
- ISP (Internet Service Provider)
- Why The Lucky Stiff
In that way, your ISP can see what you’re looking at and the websites that you’re browsing can see your IP address. That poses some serious privacy issues.
A VPN encrypts everything before sending it to your ISP, then sends it through one of their servers in another country, and only then does your request reach the website. Here’s how that looks like:
- Your PC
- VPN encrypts all information
- VPN server
- Why The Lucky Stiff
That’s the basic stuff on how a VPN works. It basically hides your identity and your online activities from any 3rd parties. That includes your ISP and even the government.
Also, websites will no longer receive your IP address which comes in handy in certain situations. Mostly for privacy, though.
So, Do I Need a VPN or Not?
The answer is: it depends. By all means. If you want that extra bit of security and privacy no matter who you are and what you do, go ahead. As long as your VPN provider is trustworthy, there is no downside to using a VPN.
If you already understand what a VPN is and how it works, then you should be able to make your own decision. For those of you who are still confused, we’ll use these categories and you can determine where you fall:
- People who absolutely need a VPN
- Those who may need a VPN
- People who don’t need one at all
People who Absolutely Need a VPN
If you’re streaming any type of content that may be considered illegal in your country, then you absolutely need a VPN. Don’t even think about it. It’s not worth the risk.
What would you prefer? Paying a few bucks per month and not having to worry about a thing? Or pay nothing upfront but risking paying hundreds or even thousands of dollars down the line? It’s just not worth the risk.
Admittedly, getting caught while streaming illegal content is extremely rare. However, even if you only get caught once, the damage may be huge. So, in our opinion, if you’re streaming anything that your country may consider illegal, do absolutely use a VPN.
Apart from that, there are also those of you who are Geo-blocked; aka people who can’t access certain websites because of their country. China is infamous for preventing its people from accessing the major part of Google’s services like YouTube and Gmail.
So, if you need to access a specific website or service and your country or that service is preventing you from using it because you’re living in the said country, then you can definitely use a VPN to get around that.
Just do keep in mind that you need to select a different country than yours in the VPN program. Also one that has access to the website that you want to browse.
For an example, if you’re living in China and you want to access a website that is Geo-blocked, then don’t select China as your proffered country while using the VPN. Go with a European country, the USA, or any other region that has access to that website.
Last, but not least, there are also privacy freaks. And we mean that in a good way. If you’re really concerned about your privacy, then do definitely install a VPN as it both encrypts your data and hides your identity.
Overall, you really need a VPN if:
- You’re engaging in anything that may be considered illegal in your country
- Can’t access websites because of Geo restrictions
- Really worry about your privacy
Those Who May Need a VPN And Those Who Don’t
You may be one of those people who never engage in anything that may be illegal and you may have no reason to hide your internet activity. However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t any people online who want to spy on you, steal your data, and use it against you.
For the sake of privacy, you may still want to use a VPN. It’s not an absolute requirement like it is with people who are streaming illegal content and stuff. But, it’s kinda recommended.
The only ones who don’t need a VPN are those who are always offline. Obviously, if you never connect to the Internet, then you won’t have anything to hide and nobody will be able to steal anything from you.
That, and there are also those who only connect to play some online games on Steam, watch YouTube, then go to sleep. If you’re that kind of person, you’re probably fine without a VPN.
However, the truth is that for most of us, the Internet is a big part of our lives. Communicating, looking for solutions to problems, learning things, entertaining ourselves, there is just so much to do on the Internet that it’d be a shame to not use it.
As a final note from us, do NOT confuse privacy with software security. An Antivirus and a VPN are two different things. So, do keep that in mind.
Hopefully that helped you decide if you need a VPN or not. If you still haven’t made up your mind, leave a comment down below and maybe we’ll be able to help you.
Feel like we forgot to mention something important? Maybe we got something wrong? Then please let us and everyone else know about it in the comments section down below!
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