cloud computing

Melissa is a mother of 2, lives in Utah, and writes for a multitude of sites. She is currently the EIC of HarcourtHealth.com and writes about health, wellness, and business topics.

If you spend a lot of time online, you must often encounter talks about VPN services and their implications for modern society. Ignoring these conversations at this point is hard. And, if you’re still not familiar what a VPN is and why you might need one, it’s a good idea to sit down and familiarize yourself with the most common use cases for these services. Chances are, you’ll find out that it’s what you need to solve some issue you’ve been having! So, what is a VPN? Let’s find out!

How It Works

A VPN reroutes your connection through another point, which can be located anywhere in the world. This means that, when you’re opening a website or connecting to an online service, they will only see the IP address of the VPN exit point, and never your original one. This has various applications – some of which require more advanced technical knowledge – and many companies provide it as a free or paid service with multiple exit points to pick from.

Setting up a VPN for your home use is really simple and straightforward these days. There are a number of services out there aimed at people with little to no technical knowledge, making this an easy and hassle-free process.

Concealing Your Origin

The most common reason to use a VPN is to conceal your place of origin, which can be useful for various online services that might treat you differently based on it. It’s also a good idea to anonymize your online presence if you’re posting any sensitive or potentially incriminating information, although you should keep in mind that a VPN is still not going to save you from the authorities if you catch their interest. It’s just something that will keep annoying snoopers at bay, but it does that quite effectively.

Circumventing Annoying Restrictions

People who travel a lot and like to watch Netflix are familiar with the annoying restrictions the service imposes on its users in these cases. You may also sometimes find yourself unable to stream anything from the country you’re currently in. To this end, it can be useful to have a VPN with exit points that match your preferred streaming locations. This will allow you to enjoy your full library of Netflix content on the go, no matter where in the world you are at the moment!

And while this can potentially get your account suspended, in reality, this only happens if you go out of your way to do something that compromises the integrity of the service you’re using. As long as you’re fair and reasonable, you shouldn’t face any issues from your corresponding service providers.

Working Comfortably

Many companies will prevent their employees from connecting to their networks from external sites for security reasons. And while that’s a great security practice which makes a lot of sense, it can also be annoying if you need to get some urgent work done and don’t want to travel all the way to the office. A VPN is a common solution in these cases, as it allows the company to monitor and control the traffic over their network as much as they need to. It also reassures them that their data is not leaking out.

Managing Social Media Accounts

If you’ve ever had to run multiple social media accounts at the same time, you’ve probably realized that it can be a huge hassle when you keep triggering each platform’s security measures. Also, when you have to keep verifying your identity to log back into your accounts. This is a common problem that many people in this position face. Fortunately, its solution is as simple as using a VPN or a set of VPNs, and spreading out your connections to that you don’t trigger any alerts in the network.

Keep in mind that some social media platforms have strict rules about using a VPN to connect to them though. Therefore, check to verify that you’re allowed to do that before moving forward. But in most cases, as long as your reason for using a VPN is not malicious, it shouldn’t raise any eyebrows.

Not everyone needs a VPN, but many people can benefit from integrating one into their daily browsing habits. Many of them don’t even realize it, so if you’re still not sure what a VPN is and how it works, you should take the time to educate yourself as soon as possible.