VPNs have become very popular tools in recent years. Around 277 million people downloaded a VPN service in 2020. That number is likely to continue to grow as more people spend time online in the aftermath of the pandemic and a greater share of people become concerned about online privacy.
A VPN can be a very useful tool if you are trying to protect your privacy, spoof your location or use services that are not available in your region. However, it is important to know how to use it most effectively.
Here are some guidelines that you need to keep in mind when using a VPN.
Try to stay away from the free VPN services
It is easy to see the appeal of using something that is available for free. Unfortunately, as the old saying goes, you are going to get what you pay for. This underscores the importance of doing research on a site like VPNSurfers.
Free VPN services tend to be notoriously insecure. Hackers have targeted free VPN services and successfully collected data on their users. There was recently a massive VPN data leak that affected 20 million people that used free services.
If you are serious about your privacy and getting the other benefits of a VPN, then you should use a premium service. It is absolutely worth the investment.
Rotate IP addresses when necessary
There are going to be times when you want to shield your identity. However, there are also going to be instances when you need to protect your privacy in more subtle ways as well.
One situation might be if you are trying to create different accounts on a site like Reddit. You might want to have a main account to talk about the majority of your posts. However, you might also want to use a separate throwaway account to talk about more sensitive things, such as relationship issues or challenges with substance abuse.
You might already be using a VPN with your main account. If you are concerned about your privacy, then you don’t want to be associated with the second account that you were creating. You shouldn’t log out of your main account and create a new one from the same IP. Instead, you should use your VPN to request a new IP address before creating the new account, so that there is not a clear link between the two.
Don’t expect a VPN to protect against malware
You need to appreciate the benefits of using a VPN, without expecting benefits that it doesn’t actually provide. In order for you to do this, you need to fully understand what a VPN is and what it does.
A VPN is not going to protect your computer against malware. It simply provides a secure connection to other websites by encrypting data and anonymizing your location. It does not change the function of your browser or computer in any way.
Your computer can still be vulnerable to malware. You are going to need to use the most recent malware protection software available.
Don’t unwittingly give information away to third parties
A VPN can protect your identity from a technological standpoint. Unfortunately, it doesn’t give any protection at all to privacy risks caused by information that you willfully share.
You need to be very careful about the type of information that you share with third parties. This includes both obvious information and cookies that you share while you are logged in on accounts that can identify you, such as you are Gmail and other Google accounts.