An IP address is your computer's unique address on the web. All your online activities can also be linked back to your IP address. This includes things like searches, website visits, social media activity, and a lot more.
Instead, using a VPN masks your real IP address. This anonymizes your activities and helps prevents ISPs, search engines, websites, marketers, and hackers from tracking your movements on the web.
Usually, VPN services offer different gateway servers around the globe, allowing you to spoof your IP address and location. This is handy if you want to:
- access geo-restricted content (such as Netflix movies),
- government blacklisted websites,
- VOIP services.
As an interesting side effect, you can also use IP spoofing to try to get lower prices on airline tickets, hotels, and other products. Just log onto various VPN servers in different countries and see how the prices change, depending on the location
While convenient, public Wi-Fi hotspots come with serious security risks. For starters, hackers can use public Wi-Fi connections to steal your private information and distribute malware. They can steal your logins and passwords, and eavesdrop on private communications.
Accessing the internet through a VPN helps keeps your sensitive information private and safe. Using a combination of data encapsulation and encryption, a VPN creates a hidden tunnel over unsecured networks and public Wi-Fi hotspots. This helps keep your data safe when using hotspots in airports, hotels, cafes, and other locations.
Despite deleting your browsing history and cookies, your web activities are an open book to anyone who cares to take a peek. This includes search engines, your ISP (internet service provider), and nosy marketers. That's because everything you do online can be linked back to your IP address.
While you can use your browser's private or "incognito" mode (which disables browsing history, cookies, and the web cache), websites and ISPs can still "ID" you through your browser type, operating system, and plug-ins. Using this information, they can create a profile that links right back to your IP address. Instead, you can use a VPN to hide your IP address and keep your browsing history to yourself.
Our online buying habits reveal a lot about our personal lives. In some cases, you may want to keep your purchases private. A VPN acts as a tunnel between your computer and the websites you buy from. This prevents e-commerce websites from tracking your IP address and linking it to your buying activities. This protects your privacy and prevents targeted advertising by companies who want to follow and up-sell to you.
Today, more and more people are using their mobile phone to access the internet. However, you should keep in mind that whenever you browse on your mobile phone, you're essentially broadcasting your IP address, location, and activities for anyone to see. Like VPNs for home or office use, a mobile VPN app provides data encryption and privacy. This helps keep your mobile activities anonymous, no matter where you're connected.
Many companies allow employees to access the internet during work hours. But do you really want your boss to see how many hours you spend on Facebook or catching up on the news? While we have no opinion about employees surfing on the job, using a VPN at work over your company's network can help keep your browsing activities private (even when you have nothing to hide).