These are the Times that You Would Need to Use a VPN

VPN providers make a lot of promises. They have a tendency to describe their product as a silver bullet for all your privacy needs. To cut through the noise, we’ve put together the five most important things you should use a VPN for.

When Should You Use a VPN?

VPNs forward your traffic, making you appear as if you’re browsing from somewhere you’re not. They do this while creating an encrypted tunnel that hides your browsing habits from local network providers and your internet service provider.

This makes VPNs great for circumventing regional restrictions, as well as partially hiding your identity online though note we say “partially,” something we’ll get into more below.

This makes VPNs tools with a fairly specific use, they’re no panacea for all your online ills. That said, when used correctly, VPNs will allow you to do all manner of things that you couldn’t do otherwise, or at least not without getting into some measure of trouble.

Circumventing Censorship

Probably the most wholesome reason to use a VPN is the ability to avoid government censorship. The internet is restricted in several countries—including China, Iran, and Russia—and a VPN is the best tool to get around those restrictions. The reason for this is that most of these blocks work on the idea of shutting down access to a certain IP address. It’s no surprise that VPNs are illegal in some countries.

For example, when China banned Facebook from its borders, it made it so any Chinese server trying to access Facebook’s IP address would be blocked. To get around that block, you would need to first connect to a different server outside of China, one with an unblocked IP, and then from there go to We explain further in our guide on how to use the internet from China.

It’s a relatively simple solution to a complicated problem, and VPNs are without a doubt one of the most important tools for people in certain countries that want to have unrestricted access to media, or even just people that want to play games deemed “bad” by the authorities for whatever reason.

Dodging Surveillance

The same technology that lets you circumvent blocks put up by authoritarian governments is also very effective in avoiding surveillance, be it from governments or corporations. Whether you want to make sure that your ISP doesn’t see what you’re up to online or worry that the secret police are keeping tabs on you, a VPN can give you some measure of anonymity.

However, this is also where reality crashes the most into the promises made by VPN providers. Your IP address is only one of the many ways in which you can be tracked online. Browser fingerprinting is another effective method. If you’re signed in to a service like Facebook or Google in your browser, they can track you, too even with a VPN engaged.

Though VPNs definitely are part of any strategy aimed at staying anonymous online, they’re far from a one-stop solution. For one, you’ll need to get used to using incognito mode together with a VPN if you want to be harder to track while browsing.


Another form of surveillance VPNs will help you avoid is that of copyright watchdogs, which generally stand sentinel over torrenting sites like The Pirate Bay and threaten fines and lawsuits to anybody downloading copyrighted material via peer-to-peer connections. Though it’s not a worldwide obstacle, in most North American and European countries using Bittorrent can lead to some serious legal trouble.
Previous Post Next Post