How To Decide Whether You Need A VPN

UPDATED Jul. 2024

To the average computer user, it must feel like everyone has been talking about nothing but VPNs these last few years. Some voices are saying that it is the most important thing to employ if using the Internet in any capacity. Others are claiming it is nothing but paranoia and something that only shady characters use.

Since you are currently enjoying a website that features reviews of the best VPN providers available, you are probably starting to consider going for such a service yourself. If you are a complete noob (there is no shame in that), you are probably asking yourself that most crucial of questions – whether you actually need a VPN.

So, let’s answer that.

The first thing we need to consider when answering this question is what exactly a top VPN can do for you. We could go on for days on end describing how VPNs work and what can be accomplished with such a service. For the purposes of this article, it is only important to remember that a VPN makes your Internet connection 100 percent private and anonymous while also “faking” the place from where you are supposedly accessing the Web.

Now that we have covered this, the easiest way to answer whether you need a VPN would be to introduce some hypothetical (and not so hypothetical) situations where a secure VPN will be a welcome ally. You might, for example, be absolutely and utterly disgusted by the mere theoretical (and practical, actually) fact that someone out there can monitor and track every single thing you do when you go online. This can be Google, your government or even someone less ominous than that. The feeling is not a great one and if you cannot ignore it, a VPN can be a great way to stop being so “visible” to everyone.
vpn at work
Maybe you spend a lot of time using the Internet in public places, having to use notoriously unsafe public Wi-Fi hotspots. In such a situation, a secure VPN is an exquisite added layer of security, preventing your devices from being hacked and your data from being stolen. Of course, in order for a VPN to be able to protect you from this, you would need to choose a provider whose VPN offers this, but the good news is that the majority of the best ones do anyway. There is also the very real possibility that you work for a company whose employee Internet usage policy is particularly restrictive, i.e. you cannot access a single entertaining website. You may think this is not such a huge problem. It is. Once you find out how annoying this is, it will be too late. You are stuck with your Excel sheets and whatnot without a safety vent. With a VPN, this is no longer a problem. Sure, you might need to look over your shoulder from time to time, but at least you won’t feel like you are stuck in 1984.

Another situation in which a VPN will be your best ally is if you are traveling abroad. Namely, not all online content is available everywhere. Different countries have their own versions of Netflix and other online content “repositories.” Some websites cannot be accessed from certain countries. Try catching a baseball game anywhere else in the world and you will understand what we’re talking about.

vpn skype callA VPN solves all of these problems. You simply choose an option that makes you look like you are accessing the web from the U.S. and all your problems are solved. It will be the same as if you were browsing the Web from the comfort of your own home. This is even handier if you travel to countries with even more restrictive laws where Skype or Facebook are restricted.

Of course, we must also mention the somewhat gray area of downloading online content. You would be surprised at how little it takes for you to end up on some watchlist that is closely monitored by one or more of the innumerable authorities and legal entities. Such organizations often resort to overkill in order to catch people who illegally download their content. With a VPN, you don’t have to worry about a thing despite having a piece of torrenting software on your computer. It is better to be safe than sorry.

Another situation in which you will need a VPN is when you want to be absolutely certain that you have done everything in your power to secure your devices and especially your online presence. This is particularly useful for businesses, companies, and professionals who want to be as protected as humanly possible against data breaches and someone intercepting the data they upload or download. If you can recognize yourself in any of these situations and if they sound too familiar, it might be time to invest in one of the top VPNs.