Top 5 Reasons to use a VPN

Martin Brinkmann
Jan 6, 2016

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) extends a private network allowing users to connect to remote data centers, network resources, and to encrypt their communication.

A simple way of thinking about VPNs is as a node sitting between your computer and another resource, the Internet for example. If you want additional details, check out the main Wikipedia article on the topic.

Traffic between your computer and the VPN is encrypted which is good for privacy and security, but more about that later.

This guide looks at the top five reasons for using a VPN. There are more and you could probably divide some into multiple points, but for the sake of simplicity, we have decided to pick the five core ones.

Top 5 Reasons to use a VPN


The list is slightly different for business uses. Probably the top reason for businesses to use VPNs is to connect to company networks while traveling.

The following list concentrates on private use cases but many of those apply to business use as well.

1. Privacy

Your own IP address is not leaked to the Internet, only the VPN's IP is. Websites, services and others communicate only with the VPN IP address and not the one you are actually using.

It needs to be noted though that your IP may leak through other means, WebRTC for instance if enabled in the application you are using and if checked by services you are connecting to.

The IP address alone may reveal important information about you, for instance your geographical region, language, Internet provider that is being used and it also provides others with options to get your name and address, for instance by requesting the ISP to hand the data over in court.

2. Security

A VPN encrypts traffic between your device and the VPN Provider. This is especially useful when you are using wireless networks to connect to the Internet to prevent eavesdropping.

Since traffic is encrypted, other users connecting from the same local network and even your ISP won't be able to tap into the traffic to find out what you are doing on the Internet.

3. Geo-restrictions

While the Internet is global, services provided on the Internet are not necessarily available to all users connected to it.

This is especially apparent for streaming services such as Netflix or Hulu which are only available to users connecting from specified geographical regions of the world.

For instance, you may not access Hulu from Germany or Japan directly as you will receive a notification that Hulu is not available to you.

That's even the case if you are a resident of a country where a service is offered but abroad currently.

Streaming services are but one of the applications on the Internet that are often restricted geographically.

The same may be true for shopping sites and other Internet services. Some companies provide regional stores that users can access, but there may be no way to switch stores to take advantage of special offers in the store.

Another example are virtual game sales. Games may be a lot cheaper in certain countries even though they are offered by the same company. Steam is a good example for this as the price of games may differ widely between different regional stores.

How a VPN helps: Most VPN providers offer different exit nodes located in countries all around the world. Since you can pick one from a list of available nodes, you appear to be coming from a country supported by the service.

For Hulu, you would pick a VPN node in the United States to gain access to the service.

4. Throttling, shaping and censorship

Another interesting use for VPNs is to bypass ISP throttling or traffic shaping, and censorship. Internet Service Providers may throttle certain types of traffic, for instance P2P traffic, automatically for all users connect to their networks.

Censorship on the other hand means the blocking of Internet resources by the state, something that seems to have become common even in countries that supposedly value "free speech".

If you take the UK for instance, you may have heard about the "adult filter" that is either already active for Internet users or to be enabled in the future. While you can request unfiltered Internet directly by contacting the ISP, it can be quite embarrassing to do so considering that the filter is called the "porn filter" commonly.

How a VPN helps:Filters set up on the ISP level don't apply if you are connecting to a VPN. While the ISP could block the VPN from being accessed, this is usually not the case which means that you can access blocked sites. In addition, traffic throttling and shaping does not work either because of this.

5. P2P / File Downloads

VPNs that support P2P or file downloads have seen a rise in popularity in recent time. Many advertise the fact that they have a strict no-logging policy and don't throttle or block P2P traffic on their networks.

You are probably wondering why these providers are not swarmed with court orders, and the main reason why this is not happening is that laws are different. It is not illegal to download using P2P in some countries, and if VPN providers place servers in those countries and allow P2P use, there is little that can be done about it from a legal perspective.

While anonymity is without doubt the core reason for using a VPN when downloading files via P2P on the Internet, it also helps bypass ISP throttling of these activities (for instance for legitimate reasons).

Now Read: VPN Deals on Ghacks Deals

Top 5 Reasons to use a VPN
Article Name
Top 5 Reasons to use a VPN
The guide lists the five top reasons to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN): privacy, security, geo-restrictions, censorship and P2P.
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  1. ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    Doesn’t Windows 8 know that www. or http:// are passe ?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on August 4, 2012 at 7:57 pm

      Well it is a bit difficulty to distinguish between domains and files for instance.

    2. Leonidas Burton said on September 4, 2023 at 4:51 am

      I know a service made by google that is similar to Google bookmarks.

  2. VioletMoon said on August 16, 2023 at 5:26 pm

    @Ashwin–Thankful you delighted my comment; who knows how many “gamers” would have disagreed!

  3. Karl said on August 17, 2023 at 10:36 pm


    The comments section under this very article (3 comments) is identical to the comments section found under the following article:

    Not sure what the issue is, but have seen this issue under some other articles recently but did not report it back then.

  4. Anonymous said on August 25, 2023 at 11:44 am

    Omg a badge!!!
    Some tangible reward lmao.

    It sucks that redditors are going to love the fuck out of it too.

  5. Scroogled said on August 25, 2023 at 10:57 pm

    With the cloud, there is no such thing as unlimited storage or privacy. Stop relying on these tech scums. Purchase your own hardware and develop your own solutions.

    1. lollmaoeven said on August 27, 2023 at 6:24 am

      This is a certified reddit cringe moment. Hilarious how the article’s author tries to dress it up like it’s anything more than a png for doing the reddit corporation’s moderation work for free (or for bribes from companies and political groups)

  6. El Duderino said on August 25, 2023 at 11:14 pm

    Almost al unlmited services have a real limit.

    And this comment is written on the dropbox article from August 25, 2023.

  7. John G. said on August 26, 2023 at 1:29 am

    First comment > @ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    For the God’s sake, fix the comments soon please! :[

  8. Kalmly said on August 26, 2023 at 4:42 pm

    Yes. Please. Fix the comments.

  9. Kim Schmidt said on September 3, 2023 at 3:42 pm

    With Google Chrome, it’s only been 1,500 for some time now.

    Anyone who wants to force me in such a way into buying something that I can get elsewhere for free will certainly never see a single dime from my side. I don’t even know how stupid their marketing department is to impose these limits on users instead of offering a valuable product to the paying faction. But they don’t. Even if you pay, you get something that is also available for free elsewhere.

    The algorithm has also become less and less savvy in terms of e.g. English/German translations. It used to be that the bot could sort of sense what you were trying to say and put it into different colloquialisms, which was even fun because it was like, “I know what you’re trying to say here, how about…” Now it’s in parts too stupid to translate the simplest sentences correctly, and the suggestions it makes are at times as moronic as those made by Google Translations.

    If this is a deep-learning AI that learns from users’ translations and the phrases they choose most often – which, by the way, is a valuable, moneys worthwhile contribution of every free user to this project: They invest their time and texts, thereby providing the necessary data for the AI to do the thing as nicely as they brag about it in the first place – alas, the more unprofessional users discovered the translator, the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, the greater the aggregate of linguistically illiterate users has become, and the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, as it now learns the drivel of every Tom, Dick and Harry out there, which is why I now get their Mickey Mouse language as suggestions: the inane language of people who can barely spell the alphabet, it seems.

    And as a thank you for our time and effort in helping them and their AI learn, they’ve lowered the limit from what was once 5,000 to now 1,500…? A big “fuck off” from here for that! Not a brass farthing from me for this attitude and behaviour, not in a hundred years.

  10. Anonymous said on September 28, 2023 at 8:19 am

    When will you put an end to the mess in the comments?

  11. RIP said on September 28, 2023 at 9:36 am

    Ghacks comments have been broken for too long. What article did you see this comment on? Reply below. If we get to 20 different articles we should all stop using the site in protest.

    I posted this on [] so please reply if you see it on a different article.

    1. RIP said on September 28, 2023 at 11:01 am

      Comment redirected me to [] which seems to be the ‘real’ article it is attached to

  12. RIP said on September 28, 2023 at 10:48 am

    Comment redirected me to [] which seems to be the ‘real’ article it is attached to

  13. Mystique said on September 28, 2023 at 12:13 pm

    Article Title: Reddit enforces user activity tracking on site to push advertising revenue
    Article URL:

    No surprises here. This is just the beginning really. I cannot see a valid reason as to why anyone would continue to use the platform anymore when there are enough alternatives fill that void.

  14. justputthispostanywhere said on September 29, 2023 at 3:59 am

    I’m not sure if there is a point in commenting given that comments seem to appear under random posts now, but I’ll try… this comment is for

    My temporary “solution”, if you can call it that, is to use a VPN (Mullvad in my case) to sign up for and access Reddit via a European connection. I’m doing that with pretty much everything now, at least until the rest of the world catches up with GDPR. I don’t think GDPR is a magical privacy solution but it’s at least a first step.

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