Disclaimer: If you sign up for a VPN service through any links on this website you will receive a discount and I will receive a small commission that helps to pay for the site. All opinions are my own.
Most people don’t realize that the majority of data transmitted over the Internet is completely insecure and can be viewed easily by interested parties. Whether it’s thieves, governments or companies, without taking some extra precautions, your personal data is mostly unprotected. This leaves us open to spying, identity theft, bank fraud and a host of other unpleasant scenarios. Unfortunately, for us travelers, security risks dramatically increase while traveling. Yes, this can be worrisome but fortunately there are a few steps we can take to protect ourselves.
One of the best ways to protect ourselves is with a VPN. A VPN or Virtual Private Network offers a way to encrypt data sent between users and the rest of the Internet. Encryption basically means scrambling data to make it impossible to decode by anyone who isn’t intended to receive it.
Benefits of Using a VPN
Securing personal information to avoid data theft such as payment information
Ability to access government or ISP (Internet Service Provider) blocked websites
Evade Internet throttling (when third-parties slow down your Internet speed)
Access location based content while traveling such as Netflix, Hulu, news sites, etc
Unfortunately, not all VPNs are created equal and even though a lot of them advertise complete Internet security and privacy, most cannot guarantee it. A major pitfall of a VPN service can lie in where it is based. For example, if a VPN service keeps Internet usage logs on a server that are subject to search and seizure by an interested party, such as your own country’s government, then it isn’t possible to maintain online anonymity. Therefore, it is best to procure a VPN that only temporarily stores your information (if ever) and not in a location that is subject to search and seizure.
Also, it is good to never trust any free VPN services, which can easily sell your data to third parties which could use it to steal your identity or for advertising purposes.
Research has taught me that finding a good VPN business review is like searching for a needle in a haystack. With a lot of digging, I found ThatOnePrivacySite which helped me sort through all of the garbage to find one VPN that is solid.
Even if you don’t have anything to hide, just being able to avoid being spied on is something that can offer peace of mind.
NOTE: It’s important to remember that if you are required to login, then that website has identified you and can then track your every move on their site. For example, if you’re logged in on Google, then you are no longer anonymous because they have logs of all your behavior.
Another method to maximize your security online would be to use search engines that don’t track usage, such as using DuckDuckGo.
If you want to increase your anonymity while browsing the web only, another great alternative to a VPN is using TOR browser, which is free. This is ran by a peer to peer network which continuously changes their user’s IP address, making it very difficult to identify users.
Even with increasing your security through the options I’ve mentioned, there are instances where you can be identified, so be careful. That being said, VPNs such as my recommendation give us many benefits that are enough for most users. In my opinion, using a VPN is a MUST in today’s digital age. Protect yourself!