Although VPNs are crucial to our digital wellbeing, is it necessary to keep them on all the time? It is this question that we will be attempting to answer today. While we acknowledge that a VPN (a virtual private network) can benefit your everyday internet use, we also accept that it tends to slow down the internet connection. Since the data has to travel a lot to reach a remote server before contacting the intended target, latency is involved. Additionally, some websites outright reject such connections as they practice VPN blocking. Hence, should a VPN be left on at all times? And if never, why? You’ll find that out with our detailed report on the subject.
Reasons a VPN should be left on at all times
We are already familiar with the numerous benefits of VPN use. Hence, we know some situations are too perfect for employing a VPN. We will list several scenarios when a VPN should be left on at all times.
1. When you are on a public network
The most anticipated use of a VPN is to prevent hackers from targeting you. If you frequently use a public Wi-Fi network and wonder if it’s safe long-term, your chances of being exposed are exponentially high. Thus, should and could a VPN be left on at all times? The answer is yes. If you spend a lot of time on such an unsecured network, you should ensure your safety by keeping a VPN on and connected. But then how can a VPN help? It’s simple.
It will hide your online activity behind an encrypted tunnel and then proceed to connect you to a remote VPN server for any further use. No one, even on the same public network, can pry into the VPN tunnel thus created using the latest security VPN protocols. Hence, keep a VPN always on, or at least as long as you are on a public network.
2. If you are visiting a country with strict censorship
You are traveling, and your itinerary includes a country with strict internet laws; how would you keep your Instagram up-to-date or use Discord or YouTube? The answer is a VPN. Keeping a VPN on all the time can prevent such a situation. Also, one with a decent obfuscation allows you to circumvent most censorship.
3. To protect your sensitive financial data
When you use the internet, the device sends and receives data packets at regular intervals. If an interested party intercepts such traffic, they can learn what you are doing online. This includes your financial transactions. Now, readers will be wondering why keeping the online traffic secret is such a big deal. Malicious individuals exist on the web.
They can then use such information to create strategies to lure users into banking scams and phishing schemes. Credit card fraud and other cyberattacks are also a source of constant headaches for users. Then there is the infamous MITM (Man In The Middle) attack where hackers position themselves between your intended target and your device. A VPN is the solution to each such issue we have described here. If you are someone who diligently uses the web for anything sensitive, then you should use a VPN all the time.
4. To use a VPN to prevent ISP throttling
Although ISP (Internet Service Provider) supplies an internet connection, they too are a business. Hence, there are times when your ISP favors one particular service. In response, it tries to throttle data and slow internet access down to competing services. As such, the user can employ a VPN to prevent ISP throttling. Also, some ISPs do not have enough resources to support 24/7 gaming or streaming. Thus, they can attempt throttling too. Hence, main a VPN connection at all times.
5. When you are visiting a website with no HTTPS extension
Although most websites use the highly secure HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure), there are still a few that rely on the older HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol). HTTPS uses a TLS (Transport Layer Security) protocol to encrypt data. But older websites are no longer safe. Hence, one should use a VPN regularly to prevent any potential loss.
6. When you want to stream global content
Many streaming platforms use firewalls and regional blocks. These blocks can prevent a user from accessing content from around the world. On the other hand, a firewall filters what you can access on a network. Firewalls are more adept at network security. These blocks and firewalls use a list of IP addresses to filter access. Hence, a VPN user can spoof his IP address to fool the system into granting permissions.
7. To prevent targeted advertisement
Many vendors use the net to ply their goods, which isn’t an issue. But these corporates then start collecting your data to tailor an ad to your needs. These ads are often quite headache-inducing, even if they can be somewhat helpful. Why? Because others can also get their hands on your data and in no time. Thus, all you will encounter on the web is repeated ads telling you what to buy.
The only recourse here is to hide your data from marketers. A VPN allows you to block ads and if not, stop ads from misusing data from your online habits. Thus, by keeping a VPN active all the time, you are essentially preventing such adverts from targeting you. Some VPNs are adept at blocking adware and filtering potential malware, so you’ll use them for better digital security, too.
8. To browse more privately
Lastly, a VPN empowers you to browse more privately than private browsers. We can no longer deny ever-present online surveillance. Although we will neither debate the legitimacy of such monitoring nor contest the needs of such an elaborate system, we should understand that the internet is no longer private. Hence, those who want such a browsing experience should use a VPN all the time. When it comes to monitoring, forget government policies and agencies; the first on the list is your ISP. Motivated by profit or other reasons, it watches your data constantly.
If you are uncomfortable with such situations, you should find a way out, and a VPN is your best shot. A VPN uses protocols to create an encrypted tunnel between a VPN client and server, and the data passes through this tunnel and reaches the website of your choice. And during this entire process, no other entity can be privy regarding what you are doing, ensuring web anonymity. Although VPNs are not foolproof, they are still a better choice than doing nothing.
When to turn off an always-on VPN?
Before you hurry home and turn on that VPN, we have to warn our readers that although beneficial, keeping a VPN active 24/7 isn’t practical. These are two reasons to stop using a VPN all the time:
- When it becomes an exhausting and resource-hungry product — If you run the service 24/7, your device will drain faster. There will be a need for constant charging of your batteries or pay slightly more for power.
- If it slows your internet connection — If you are not averse to crawling the internet, you can run VPNs constantly. However, any activities that include the transfer of larger chunks of data will slow down.