When you are on free public Wi-Fi, it is an open invitation to cybercriminals, data brokers, and government agencies to snoop on your internet activities.
Better to have a VPN service running than to wonder why you are short thousands in your bank account.
But what about when you are at home?
You did set up a password for your personal Wi-Fi network.
Which makes your home internet safer, but is it enough to keep the hackers at bay?
You can still fall victim to your ISP’s intrusion or click on a malware-infested link.
What options do you have?
Let us check out the benefits of using a VPN, which would make it clear if you need one at home.
Do I Need a VPN at Home? -The Benefits of Installing a VPN at Home
Officially, VPNs were meant to be a tool for businesses.
The goal was to ensure that sensitive data does not get into the hands of online eavesdroppers.
It also blocks specific websites. Companies use this feature to redirect their employees’ attention to the work and raise productivity levels.
As such, using a VPN at home is not a necessity.
Assuming you do not have super essential data, you want to hide from cyber criminals. Or do you?
Whether you should use a VPN at home depends on the nature of your browsing and the data you want to hide.
There are plenty of benefits to it. Check them out to see if you want to avail any of them.
1. Access Restricted Content
Do you want to access Slovakia’s largest Netflix media library? Or play the unfiltered version of Call of Duty while living in Japan?
OTT platforms, gaming websites, and gambling sites often restrict their content to specific locations.
This may be due to copyright issues, governmental policies, or public sentiment.
VPNs allow you to change your IP address to any location you want, as long as the VPN service has a server in the location.
Ideally, you want to connect to specialized streaming servers.
These servers can handle large files, allowing you to stream The Last of Us in 4K.
As long as you are not using the VPN to commit some kind of crime, watching content from a restricted area is fine.
2. Increase Internet Speed
The opposite could happen too. A VPN is capable of increasing or decreasing your internet speed.
Generally, free VPNs do not have the right kind of server to speed up your internet.
When your network has to take the load of the VPN along with regular usage, the speed dwindles.
However, if you opt for a paid VPN service, it will come with P2P servers. Some have features such as split tunneling.
You can assign the apps you want your VPN to cover. You take the load off your internet connection this way.
In general, part of the reason VPN can increase your internet speed is because of its location spoofing.
If your ISP is throttling your speed because you game or stream content a lot, VPN can trick your connection into thinking you are logging in from outside the area.
As a result, your ISP’s attempt to limit your internet speed is rendered useless.
And so, your internet speed increases with a VPN.
3. Block Ads and Malware
How often have you opened an app or website and sighed at the 30 seconds ad you are forced to watch?
Perhaps, even more, annoying are the pop-up ads.
Sometimes, you click on an ad link and suddenly have apps you never planned on downloading on your phone.
Other times, your data is sold to others through the link you clicked without your knowledge.
VPNs block these ads, malware, suspicious links, and virus spreaders.
Data brokers and hackers’ attempts to collect your data are thwarted long before you are even aware.
4. Protects Your Data
The primary function of a VPN is to protect your data. The tool transfers your internet traffic through encrypted tunnels.
It makes it impossible for anyone else to read the data except for the intended.
As for your ISP, they know you are using a VPN but cannot see your browsing activities.
Now, you may not be worried about hackers or imagine they are interested in your bank account.
However, your ISP does have reasons to sell your data.
It helps them make deals with big ad companies, who can send you targeted ads.
This may not be a big issue for you. However, these small acts can lead to bigger data breaches.
The more your information is online, the bigger the chances of it getting into the hands of the wrong people.
If you wake up one day with a few zeroes missing from your bank account, you can trace it back to the time you clicked on a link you should not have without VPN protection.
Additionally, in the same way, VPNs can protect your data, they can also scour the internet for data breaches.
Any time your information is leaked online without your consent, you will get an alert. More so if your data is found on the dark web.
Some VPN services come with features that automatically ask the data broker to delete your personal information.
So, make full use of the VPN service you subscribe to.
Give their free trial a run first, and if you like it, subscribe to one of their one to two-year plans.
How to Choose the Best VPN For You?
VPN services are a dime a dozen on the internet.
How do you sort through the non-useful ones to find the best one for you?
Well, use the following requirements as a checklist.
Keep an eye out for VPNs with router support. If you are a smart home owner, you want to cover the entire home network instead of specific devices.
Alternatively, you can bind Atlas VPN to your PC and use it as a hotspot to offer VPN protection to every device which connects to your Wi-Fi.
Atlas VPN also offers device support for Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, etc.
Reviews and Ratings
It’s not unusual for VPN providers to pay for reviews and ratings. As such, the 4.5/5 rating may not represent real public opinion.
A good way to sort through the noise is to check the positive versus negative reviews.
Especially for the negative reviews, note what the poster dislikes about the VPN service.
If it is something you will have trouble with, it is time to check out another VPN service.
As for the positive reviews, keep an eye on the cons the poster mention, which will help you verify if they are honest.
Most VPN services will claim they do not keep activity logs. However, a declaration is not the same as proof.
How do we know they are true to their promise?
We have to check whether they have been independently audited. IT firms exist for this purpose.
For example, Surfshark invited Deolitte – one of the big four firms- to do its first no-logs policy audit and passed it with flying colors.
NordVPN went through the audit process thrice, with Deloitte as the auditor for the last exam, and got favorable results each time.
VPN providers maintaining the no-logs policy will have no issues with security verification.
Home Country of The VPN Provider
The country the VPN is registered to impacts the privacy law the service provider follows.
The VPN provider may have to collect and store your data despite promising otherwise.
It could be risky if the country does not have strong privacy protection laws either.
It gives the VPN service the go-ahead to do anything they want with your data.
Go for VPNs that originate from a country with user-friendly data laws.
For example, Surfshark is in the British Virgin Islands, which respects user privacy.
How to Install a VPN on your Phone?
How you set up a VPN on your phone depends on whether you are an iOS or android user.
While the regular setup involves connecting to a server inside the app if you bind it, the process is slightly different for both.
When you bind a VPN service to the device, you can only change the server and protocol from the settings section.
Any tweaks you make to the app do not compute.
Setup a VPN on Android
To configure a VPN on an android phone:
- Clear the cache or restart your phone.
- Go to Play Store.
- Download a VPN service compatible with the phone. We recommend NordVPN.
- Log in with your NordVPN credentials or sign up to enable one of the subscription plans.
- Hit Quick Connect/ Connect on the main page.
- The VPN service will find the best location and server for you.
- However, you can customize the server type from the Specialty server folder below.
- You can also click on any location on the map with a NordVPN server to connect to the area.
- Your phone might ask for permission to connect to the VPN. Hit Allow.
It is also possible to bind the VPN service to your android phone.
- Tap Settings.
- Go to Wireless & Networks.
- Hit More and then the Plus (+)icon under it.
- Add the VPN credentials. You can find it in the profile section of the VPN app.
- Tap the Save button to complete the process.
Setup a VPN on iOS
To setup VPN on iPhone:
- Go to App Store.
- Download a VPN service such as Surfshark.
- Login to enter your credentials. You must subscribe to a plan first.
- You could also use their 30-day free trial.
- Toggle on the Connect switch.
- Surfshark will select the best server for you.
- You can change the server, protocol, and location if you have a particular area in mind.
To bind a VPN to iOS:
- Open Settings.
- Scroll down to General.
- Tap VPN & Device Management.
- Select VPN.
- Next, tap Add VPN Configuration.
- Enter all the required details, such as server, description, type, Local ID, etc.
- You can even select a proxy to go with it.
- Tap Done and then toggle on the switch to connect.
Do I Need VPN on My iPhone?
Your iPhone may be more resistant to security threats, but it is still vulnerable to data eavesdroppers on the public network.
So, you may not secure your iPhone on the home network, but you should have a VPN on your phone when you connect to the internet at a cafe.
Should I Keep a VPN on All the Time?
If you frequently connect your devices to public Wi-Fi, you should always have a VPN running.
At least make it a point to turn it on before you click on a Wi-Fi network.
It will consume your battery, though. So, unless you are browsing while out, you can turn it off.
Do I Need a VPN at Home?
It is not about whether you need a VPN at home as much as what you can gain from it.
It keeps your ISP out of your business, and you can easily access geo-restricted content.
Whatever you do, do not go for free VPNs. They have higher chances of selling your data than protecting any of it.
In this post, we answered your question, “do I need a VPN at home.”
Using a VPN at home might not be absolute, but it has several benefits.
You can use a single subscription to cover multiple devices or your entire home network.
Any new device which connects to your home internet will automatically gain VPN protection.
Beyond security and speed, VPN can provide you with the joy of streaming content and gaming from anywhere in the world.
You can also compare flight prices anonymously and shop from the cheapest places.
Compare the benefits versus the cost, and you will have your answer.