The internet can be an amazing tool that helps you get through daily life, accomplishing tasks and keeping businesses organized and afloat. However, online threats, such as identity thieves and hackers, can make using the internet dangerous and risky.
In order to keep you safe, there is something known as a VPN – a verified private network. When learning about VPNs, there are bound to be some questions along the way, especially if you’re not familiar with internet technology or networking.
For your online safety, it’s pertinent to know what information is real or not when considering VPNs and to understand what they can do to enhance your online experience and protect sensitive personal information.
4 Myths You May Have Heard About VPNs
Before taking a look at some of the questions people have asked over the years about VPNs, let’s explore 4 common myths that can keep you from enjoying the benefits of having your own VPN.
1. VPNs Are Illegal
One common misconception that people have is thinking that VPNs are illegal, so using one will land you in hot water eventually. This is actually not true, however, some shady characters may use VPNs to participate in illegal activities. Having a VPN doesn’t automatically make you a criminal, as they were originally developed to help businesses keep data secure during transfers.
2. VPNs Make You Completely Anonymous
Another myth about VPNs is that they give you complete and total anonymity – this is simply untrue. In fact, no VPN provides full anonymity. This means there is no guarantee that your activities online will not be able to be traced back to you.
3. VPNs Don’t Collect Information
When looking into VPNs, you will likely see them advertised as ‘zero logs’, which means they do not record your online activity. The truth is, though, that all services log information – what you should really be looking into is what information they log and how long the information is kept. You can get a better idea of your provider’s log policies by reading their Terms of Service.
4. Free VPNs Work as Well as Paid VPNs
There are staggering differences between free VPNs and paid ones, making paid ones the most ideal option in just about every scenario. Free VPN services may offset their costs by participating in shady business practices like selling user information or allowing advertisements. You may also only receive a limited free version of the VPN, providing very little security.
Also Read: Best VPN For Android
Frequently Asked Questions regarding VPNs
Can my internet provider see my VPN?
Your internet service provider, or ISP, will not able to see what you are doing while you are using a VPN. They can, though, see that you are using a VPN due to the fact that your data will be encrypted, keeping your browsing data private.
Should I leave my VPN on all the time?
It’s not necessary to leave your VPN running all the time – in some cases, it can be beneficial to turn off your VPN. If you’re primary concern is security, then you may consider leaving your VPN on whenever you are connected to the internet.
Does a VPN use data?
A VPN both sends and receives data, relying on your existing internet connection. Because of this, any data used will be counted towards restrictions or caps in place by your ISP. Data usage will also increase when using a VPN due to the encryption of data, so expect to see up to a 15% increase in usage.
Can my IP address be traced if I use a VPN?
Your IP address is hidden while using a VPN, keeping it from being seen by others and blocking your actual location. If you are using a reputable service provider, such as NordVPN, you will not get traced unless the service provider gives access to your log information. Your ISP and government officials will not be able to see your IP address or activity unless it is leaked.
Does Google still know my location with a VPN?
VPNs give you a new Geolocation, which can be used to access websites that are blocked in other countries. Google, and other websites, will not know your location while using a VPN unless your service is not working effectively. A properly functioning VPN will hide your actual IP address and shield your location from being seen – even by Google.
Can police track you through a VPN?
It is still possible for the police to track you even while you are using a VPN to protect your IP address. Your information can be tracked if the authorities contact the service provider or some other authority to gain access to the data needed. Some VPNs also leak data and keep online activity logs, so don’t think that you can get away with doing whatever you like even though your IP address is not publicly visible.
How do I know my VPN is working?
A simple way to test whether or not your VPN is functioning as it should is to check your IP address using an IP address tool or simply by googling what your IP address is. If you see that your real IP address is being shown while connected to a VPN, then it is not working. If you see the server’s IP address and location then your VPN is working.
Does a VPN protect you from viruses?
How to pay for a VPN anonymously?
If you’d like to remain anonymous while paying for a VPN service then the use of altcoins, digitally generated debit cards, or gift cards is necessary. Altcoins include Bitcoin and other kinds of cryptocurrency, which may or may not be accepted by your VPN provider.
What are HIPAA-compliant VPNs?
In healthcare, protecting the sensitive information of clients and employees is mandatory, which makes having a VPN essential. HIPAA-compliant VPNs are networks that encrypt all of the data being transferred over a healthcare facility’s network, keeping information safe from online threats and unauthorized individuals.