Using a VPN is becoming a well-known activity to our absolute delight. Additionally, we commend you for the decision to check this article out, even if you’re sure you know what VPN represents and why you should use it. To be fair, we believe everyone should implement it into their daily routine, even when they’re, as far as they know, not using the Internet. The truth is, many types of software have an online component, and we’ll quickly explain how that can be a privacy concern. If that piqued your interest, let’s delve into 10 VPN facts you probably didn’t know.
1. Free VPN can come at a cost
This shouldn’t come as surprise if you read our guidelines for choosing the perfect VPN. We also outlined the “dangers of a free VPN” when teaching you to get free VPNs. Obviously, not all free VPN services are created equal. Some genuinely don’t store any logs, sell your data, and plant adware, force the premium service or use your devices as an exit node for other users. As expected, they’re few and far in between because they’re costly to maintain for the VPN providers, but offer privacy and security online with minimal drawbacks.
2. Data logging isn’t always zero
3. VPNs promote freedom of speech and thinking
There’s a big misconception that VPNs are used by criminals or pirates to escape justice. And while that is true for a negligible number of people, the benefits far outweigh the cons. Many countries impose heavy censorship and limit the number of websites and services the residents can access. Unquestionably, there’s merit when it comes to illegal or damaging websites and services. But in doing so, they shape people’s vision of the country and the world, leaving them none the wiser about everything they don’t want them to see. Anyone who has read George Orwell’s book named 1984 recognizes the danger this poses.
4. Server location matters; type and number – not always
If you plan on bypassing a VPN block, a VPN service must have a server in the country the website or service is in. Does it matter whether they offer “only” 150 or have 6800+ servers, then? There’s even an advantage to having less. VPN providers oftentimes offer virtual servers instead of physical servers to reduce costs while bolstering numbers. They rent or own a server in a data center in one country and simulate having servers across the globe, which, in reality, share storage in the aforementioned data center. You’ll have no idea – the IP address and DNS server match. However, your speed and latency would drop and rise, respectively, compared to a server physically located in that country.
5. PPTP is the oldest security protocol
One of the VPN facts that you maybe didn’t know is that the inception of PPTP (Peer-to-Peer Tunneling Protocol), the first VPN protocol, dates to the mid-1990s. Gurdeep Singh-Pall, who worked as a software engineer at Microsoft, developed it. Its creation paved the road for IPSec in 1996, and all the modern security protocols today – L2TP, IKEv2, SSTP, OpenVPN, WireGuard, etc.
6. VPN can never make you 100% anonymous
This is a common misconception and among the top myths about VPNs, where we explained why that is, and defined concepts of privacy and anonymity. But even if VPN providers logged no data whatsoever, you still wouldn’t be in the clear. Your VPN IP address leaves traces on the Internet. And, if a skilled investigator with advanced software were to collect all the evidence it left, it would create a so-called “digital footprint”. While it’d be nearly impossible to connect this online “persona” to you unless you slip up, the chance, no matter how small, still exists.
7. You can still get hacked with a VPN
This is yet another myth – number 5, to be specific, and we described why a VPN isn’t a replacement for common sense and anti-malware software. It’s true that things are improving, however. Many VPN services now come with a built-in ad, tracker, crypto miner, and malware blocker. These features are frequently accompanied by “always-on SSL” i.e., automatic transition to a version of a website that uses an SSL certificate.
8. VPN can save you money
Saving money by purchasing a subscription is one of the VPN facts you likely didn’t know. To clarify, some websites alter prices depending on your geolocation. Some of it has to do with currency conversion, e.g., $5 vs. 5€, but they often do it intentionally, and the difference isn’t always slight. Most notable examples include online shopping (both massive marketplaces and private stores), airline tickets, airport services/products, hotel bookings, and vehicle rentals. Paying for a VPN subscription can even make you money since you can reset polls, surveys, giveaways, and anything with a limited number of entries per IP address.
9. VPN can increase your speed
This is a popular topic, and we already analyzed whether VPN increases speed compared to your regular Internet connection. The answer is: yes, VPNs can boost your speed, but only under specific circumstances. For noticeable improvements, you must be the victim of speed throttling or traffic shaping by your Internet Service Provider (ISP).
10. VPN is banned in some countries
Among VPN facts you possibly don’t know is that 30 countries worldwide have banned VPN use. The extent varies – some only passed the law, but no one was punished. Other countries order ISPs to forbid access to URLs for popular VPN services to deter their use. The most radical countries make it illegal to use VPNs that the government hasn’t approved.