In a recent article published on this site, there was a detailed explanation of what a VPN is, how it works and some of the reasons why people are using them. It’s an expansive report of what you need to know about VPN, and if you aren’t that clued in about them, we would suggest you go back and read it before reading any further.
VPN use is on the rise worldwide, and usage is expected to rise as we move through the 2020s. Below we are going to tackle some of the overlooked advantages of a VPN, highlighting areas around the world where VPNs are being used for innovative purposes at that can be said, at times, to have a positive influence.
Censorship and Privacy – Breaking Down the Great Firewall
We tend to take for granted that we can access almost anything we want in Europe and North America, but it’s clear that many other countries do not have that luxury. Indeed, there is often a misconception that the world is ‘improving’ when it comes to freedoms.
The rise is real worldwide. As one commentator was quick to point out, there is an assumption that the world is getting more open, when, in fact, internet censorship is spreading rapidly. The benefits of VPN are certainly tangible in places like China and parts of the Middle East, but you should also have a think about how bodies like GCHQ and the NSA Prism Program are retaining your data. Some are comfortable with that, others most certainly or not.
Geo-Pricing – Flights, Hotels and Video Games
Consider this: The cost of living in Madrid compared to Washington DC, i.e. the capitals of two wealthy countries, is about 40% lower in the Spanish capital. That filters through in areas that you might not expect. The setting of prices for flights and hotels, for example, is not a level playing field.
The idea is to use your VPN to ‘trick’ the airlines and hotel sites to think that you are booking from a country with a lower cost of living, and you’d be surprised how much you can save. The savings for video games and updates might not be as stark, but penny-pinching players do like to use them for the same reason.
Entertainment – Beyond Netflix and Hulu
Some studies suggest that around 50% of people primarily use VPNs to access entertainment. But it is about a bit more than accessing something like Disney+ or Hulu when it hasn’t yet launched in your country. Gamers, for instance, often use VPNs as a means for accessing international content and cheaper content (see above).
Casino games can have licensed material too that doesn’t travel across borders. Branded slot games like Superman, Top Gun and Robocop, for instance. Those fun slots can be found at slotsheaven on the Canadian and UK versions of the site, but licensing from Warner Bros. could potentially be different elsewhere. It might not seem important when we compare it to the fights against censorship, but gamers simply want the best content available globally.
Security – Business and Personal
A modern business no longer involves an office suite and rows of computers all protected by the company’s anti-virus solutions. Work takes place in homes, coffee shops, trains, airports and everywhere else. The dangers of public Wi-Fi have become apparent in recent years, and the spike of attacks on businesses has coincided by the fact that employees are completing their tasks out of the office and on devices that might not be protected.
VPNs are seen as a means to protect devices from attacks made through public Wi-Fi, but there is also a spike in use with gamers who fear DDoS attacks through gaming platforms. As you might expect, questions arise about ping time and lag when using VPNs, but those are solvable issues, especially with a decent service, and that means players can prioritise their security.