Over 4 billion people use the Internet. And you, as one of them, are a potential target to online threats. The point is, you can’t be entirely sure if you are being followed or not, whether your Internet Service Provider is storing some of your personal information, or how it is being used. If you’ve heard of the term Virtual Private Network (VPN), you probably know by now that it’s a solution to some, if not all, of your problems as an Internet user.

And not just in terms of privacy, but a VPN can also serve many other purposes. But, while providers tend to brag with their services, making it look as if VPNs are flawless, they do have their cons. Security, unblocking content, and the VPN’s price are some of the most important things when searching for a provider. So before deciding on using one, make sure you know what to expect.

Security & Privacy

A Virtual Private Network is one of the best ways to stay anonymous on the Internet. It’s also one of the main reasons why people use it in the first place. However, did you know to what extent you are protected with a VPN?

Pros

One of the best things about a VPN is its way of encrypting all of your traffic. This element keeps you completely anonymous on the Internet. Of course, presuming you are using a decent provider. A VPN works like a safe tunnel between you and the content you are trying to reach. It protects you from your Internet Service Provider, as well as surveillance of any kind. Using strong security protocols and encryptions is the best way of avoiding hacker attacks and identity thefts. It means that you are safe even if you connect to a public Wi-Fi network. Besides, it will keep you protected from strict government restrictions.

Cons

Each VPN provider has a set of security protocols and encryptions. Some of them offer more advanced features, others not so much. It’s up to you to decide on the matter. However, stronger protocols and encryptions lead to speed issues. It’s the main reason why a VPN is somewhat slower than your usual connection speed. So, unless you want to experience connection problems and buffering, make sure you choose some of the fastest providers on the market.

Moreover, if you don’t set up your network correctly you might face leaks. DNS and IP leaks are a common problem and they can compromise your anonymity.

On another note, every provider has their own Privacy Policy. There you can find exactly what your provider keeps after you start using a VPN. It can range from basic information, such as your username and connection logs, to as far as your usage logs. Some companies store much more information than they tell you.  Make sure you check this before deciding on using a certain provider.

Bypassing Geo-restrictions

The most common reason why people reach out to VPN providers is exactly this. Most content on the Internet is limited to a certain region. Some is blocked by governments or organizations. This makes them unreachable for users. But, a good VPN can bypass even the strongest firewalls, and that’s one of the best things about these networks.

Pros

With the help of a VPN, you can access restricted content around the world. Also, any type of governmental censorship can be avoided. Most people reach out to a VPN simply to access streaming websites such as Netflix, Hulu, or Spotify. Also, some websites have different content for different countries. This feature is great for gaming, torrenting, and streaming. The more servers a provider has, the better your chances of reaching the wanted content are. As a matter of fact, more servers also improve the chances of having a speedy connection.

Cons

VPN restrictions are growing with each passing day. Countries and companies are now enhancing their firewalls. VPN providers have long been a thorn in the eye for many of them, and they are doing everything in their hands to stop them. The reasons are many, nevertheless, this is a huge disadvantage. VPNs are returning the punch however, but only the best of the best providers can keep up this fight.

Pricing & Target Group

Depending on your needs, different VPN providers offer different prices. Some are compatible with businesses, others are more focused on individuals. You can also find VPN providers for free.

Pros

Using a VPN is actually much cheaper than using other forms of protecting yourself on the Internet. There is no hardware and the configuration is usually quite simple. This saves you an additional amount of time and money. Also, free providers aside, you often get to choose which price plan fits you the most and possibly get some form of a discount.

Depending on the provider, a VPN can also be a great investment for your business. It increases security and can meet the needs of the employees and the company overall.

Cons

Free services are not trustworthy and do not have the same level of security. Moreover, if you want to get the best performance, chances are the price will be higher than the industry standards. Some packages will limit the number of simultaneous connections, the number of server switches, or will even limit bandwidth. This can be a problem both for individuals and business users.

Bottom line

As expected, Virtual Private Networks have their fair share of negative sides. However, overall, they offer much for a fair price. The benefits of a VPN network are many, and using them will only improve your online experience. Once you know what might go wrong with these networks, make sure that you are making the right choice.

Keep in mind that each VPN service provider is different, and many are in the business solely for the money. This means that the market is full of scammers that only want to profit from you, without actually delivering a good service. Keep an eye on these things and make a smart choice. After all, it’s your privacy that’s at stake.