Basically, the internet was built in such a way that is innately insecure, and while using the internet as the vast resource and array of tools to help us in personal and business life, we are opening ourselves up to criminals with each click – criminals who will try almost anything to get our personal information, banking details and anything they can get their hands on to try and piece together a puzzle all about us, and the unlucky ones will have entire identities stolen and often much, much worse.
It is, however, crucially important to be aware of a VPN’s limitations and commonly-experienced problems, before deciding on your chosen provider, which we will discuss in this article along with some advantages.
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The Advantage of Using a VPN
Using a VPN is not only recommended, these days it has become somewhat of a necessity. But with so many VPN options available it can become incredibly confusing.
VPNs are powerful tools to help protect us while using any internet protocols, but what is so great about VPNs is that even if the information you’re sending over the internet is somehow able to be hacked, it’s impossible to decipher thanks to the levels of encryption that VPNs use.
So, what type of VPN should you choose?
The answer to this question is not as simple as a straightforward recommendation for a specific VPN provider or service…
Are you using it for personal reasons?
To block your geographical location so that you can access TV services in another country, perhaps?
Or do you have a company that has remote workers who need to access your organization’s software and systems from all over the world while ensuring each person is gaining access via secure connections?
These are a few of the questions to consider when choosing which of the many VPN options to choose.
If considering VPN options for a company, you will need to look for corporate VPN providers where the same company can control both endpoints of the VPN service. If this is the case unless a rare virus manages to get through the system, all data transmitted will be secure.
If you are a consumer sifting through one of the many VPN options, the consumer-focused VPN service is ideal for people who work remotely, in coffee shops, while on holiday, in airports, in doctors’ waiting rooms – literally anywhere you may need to use the WiFi on a connection that is open to the public to use. Look for a VPN service in which the usage is not restricted and Google their reviews… the right VPN service will ensure all your communications while online is protected to the highest possible standard.
Hint: usually a good quality, reputable VPN service is not free!
Common Problems Experienced When Using a VPN
But what about the problems that so many of us experience when using a VPN? They can be frustrating and sometimes we may give up on using them altogether. It’s certainly true, as we mentioned earlier, VPNs do also have their limitations…
Slowing your device down
It’s a possibility that, depending on the VPN provider you choose, your device’s speed could be reduced due to the encryption and decryption process which could affect CPU performance. This is not as common as it used to be however it is still a concern for some, usually dependent on where they live or the infrastructure they are using.
Depending on the number of users connected to a certain VPN, bandwidth could be significantly decreased if there are more users than there should be for the available maximum bandwidth. This very often happens with free VPN services.
Most people are under the impression that VPN connections are completely secure, but since VPNs use public networks, unfortunately, the data privacy and security are not 100% protected. Users must educate themselves on the latest viruses and hacking attempts to keep themselves up to date on the possible weaknesses in their connection. And this is yet another reason to ensure a cautious and thoroughly checked installation of a reputable VPN in order to provide adequate protection.
Unfortunately, random VPN disconnections are a common occurrence when using some VPNs which can happen for a variety of reasons. From WiFi routers automatically cutting the VPN connection after a short period of continuous use because of firewall activity to VPN service providers have their own issues with their servers, there is a range of reasons why some VPN users may experience regular disconnections.
Interference with WiFi
Connection to a VPN will often cause the WiFi connection to decrease its speed, but if you follow a few important steps before connecting, you have a good chance of avoiding this problem. Of the many VPN options, always choose a provider that does not implement any bandwidth limitations. Also, confirm that your antivirus software does not have any settings selected that might affect the VPN’s connection and required activity in order to maintain a connection. (You will also need to check that your firewall settings have also been adjusted to suit the specific VPN provider – if in doubt, contact your provider to advise.).
Unable to establish a connection
You may have experienced a VPN connection attempt that keeps being rejected and wondered why. There are too many reasons this could happen to list here, but, in a nutshell, it’s usually due to something that completely blocks the connection to the VPN service provider’s server. The step to take in this situation first and foremost is to confirm that your internet connection works correctly when disconnected from the VPN.
Even with the common problems that can be experienced when using one of the many VPN options, generally, it doesn’t matter if you’re on an iPad doing your banking, browsing social media or working on your laptop and logging into different sites for your company, a VPN remains one of the most effective ways to add a layer of protection to anything you do online.