Some of the words and phrases that get thrown around in the tech sector aren’t easy to understand. Jargon is everywhere and there’s a lot of confusion and misconceptions surrounding virtual private networks (VPNs) particularly.
As soon as VPNs start mentioning AES-256 encryption, TLS or HTTPS server authentication and Multi-Protocol Label Switching, it’s easy to understand why your average person on the street might think VPNs are complex.
The truth is, VPNs do feature some pretty complex technology, but that doesn’t mean using them is complicated. After all, one of the biggest reasons VPNs are so popular is because they’re one of the most effective and simplest ways of browsing the internet anonymously and securely.
And doesn’t everyone want to be safe online? With that in mind, let’s take a look at six of the most common VPN myths.
The Myths About VPN
1. VPNs Are Only For Tech-Savvy People
With all of the security features on offer, you’d be forgiven for thinking only the most tech-savvy of internet users are able to use a VPN.
Thankfully, that’s not the case at all. VPNs are incredibly simple to use. All you need to do is open an account, pay for a subscription, download the relevant app for your device (Mac / Windows, etc.) run it, and then choose the location of the server you want to connect to.
Some VPNs even offer browser-based extensions too, so you can run these directly from your desktop browser as long as they’re compatible.
2. Free VPNs Are Just as Good as Paid VPNs
This is one of the most dangerous myths out there. There are lots of VPNs that offer their services for free, but there’s a long list of reasons why you should always approach such providers with caution.
Often, VPNs that are offering their services for free will make their money selling your information to third parties. If you do choose a free VPN, be prepared to receive a lot of unsolicited marketing emails, and don’t be surprised if your information eventually ends up in the hands of cybercriminals.
We’d always recommend choosing a paid-for VPN rather than one that offers its services for free.
3. VPNs Slow Down Your Connection
While you may experience slightly slower speeds if you’re running a VPN client on a device that’s already struggling with a bogged-down CPU, you shouldn’t expect any significant slow-down if you’re using a reputable VPN.
Ultimately, the speed of your VPN connection will depend on the location of the server you’ve chosen to connect to and the VPN protocol you’re using.
4. All VPNs Are The Same
There are lots of VPNs out there, and they all do different things. You usually get what you pay for, but some of the most reputable VPNs, such as NordVPN, ExpressVPN, and CyberGhost, still offer their services at an affordable monthly cost.
Most VPNs have their own unique number of private servers in a select number of countries. Many more have bespoke security features and larger VPNs are now making their own protocols to offer customers the fastest possible speeds.
The latest example is the NordLynx protocol, which NordVPN claims has the most ‘significant technological improvements ever introduced’ to its customers.
5. VPNs Protect Against Everything
Unfortunately, nothing is able to guarantee absolute anonymity. There are too many factors to consider that could potentially reveal your identity, even with the stringent security measures that most VPNs have in place.
While some VPNs do offer antivirus software and the ability to block ads, your VPN can’t protect you if you’ve unintentionally exposed yourself to malware.
A VPN is never a substitute for antivirus software and can’t protect you against online criminals if the reason they’ve got your information in the first place is because of your own mistakes.
6.VPNs Are Only For People Who Use the Internet Illegally
While the promise of hiding your internet tracks from your ISP might suggest that some people using VPNs are visiting less-than-reputable websites, the benefits of a VPN extend far beyond their methods of allowing people to avoid the watchful eye of the law.
They may be banned in certain countries but VPNs provide people living in countries such as China, Turkey, and Iraq a way of browsing the internet and avoiding government censorship.
VPNs are also a great way of keeping you more secure if you ever need to connect your devices to public Wi-Fi. They encrypt your information, making it less likely that you’ll fall victim to man-in-the-middle attacks.
These are just six of the most common myths surrounding VPNs and there are many more out there. Don’t fall foul of the rumor machine.
VPNs are easy to use and offer lots of benefits to users who are interested in doing everything they can to keep themselves safe online.