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Do I need a VPN at home?

When the internet was first being pieced together, there wasn’t much thought given to security or privacy. If anything, the focus was on openness, not defense.

How does a VPN work?

Simply put, a Virtual Private Network ( VPN ) creates a virtual encrypted tunnel between you and a remote server operated by a VPN service. All your internet traffic is routed through this tunnel and your computer appears to have the IP address of the VPN server, masking your identity and location.

Do I really need a VPN at home?

There are lots of good reasons why a home VPN might be a valuable addition to your online security, but what’s most important is whether you will use it. If you find yourself too frustrated with reduced internet speeds, or juggling streaming devices, don’t use a VPN at home. An unused security feature isn’t useful to anyone.

Understanding the value of a VPN:

Consider a public Wi-Fi network, perhaps at a coffee shop or airport. Normally, you might connect without a second thought. But do you know who might be watching the traffic on that network? Can you even be sure the Wi-Fi network is legit, or might it operated by a thief who’s after your personal data? Think about the passwords, banking data, credit card numbers, and just plain private information that you transmit every time you go online.

What a VPN won’t do:

There are multiple ways your behavior can be tracked online even with a VPN, things like cookies allow web services ( Amazon, Google, Facebook ) to track your internet usage even after you’ve left their sites.

A VPN can only go so far to render your online activities anonymous. If you really want to completely browse the internet anonymously, you’ll want to use Tor. Unlike a VPN, Tor bounces your traffic through several server nodes, making it much harder to trace. It’s also managed by a non-profit organization and distributed for free.

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