Is Using A VPN Legal
Some people wonder whether its legal to use a VPN. After all, the service enables you to become a lot more anonymous online, which can be quite useful for hackers and online criminals. If those people cant be traced online, its much harder to punish them for their crimes, after all. Even so, this doesnt necessarily mean a VPN is illegal.
On the contrary: many official companies and businesses work with VPNs and recommend their use. The European Union, too, supports internet freedom, which a VPN can give you.
Many countries consider the use of a VPN completely legal. Conducting illegal activities while using a VPN, however, remains illegal. Therefore, using a VPN for legal activities, such as browsing, gaming, Netflix, and YouTube, isnt a problem at all. If you use a VPN to, for example, , however, youre most likely going against your local laws. While the VPN gives you more anonymity online and makes it a lot harder for officials to trace you down, the downloading in and of itself is still illegal.
There are a couple of countries that do consider the use of a VPN illegal. If youd like to know more about these countries and the legal and illegal use of VPNs in general, you can read this article. Using a VPN in most of the world wont get you into any trouble. On the contrary: wed recommend it.
What Happens If A VPN Connection Fails While I’m On A Remote Connection
A lot depends on what VPN you’re using, how it’s set up, and where you’re connecting. That said, let’s look at the most likely scenario.
Recall that when you’re online and connected to an internet application through a VPN, a few things are happening: Your data from your computer to the VPN service is encrypted by the VPN. Your data from the VPN service to the internet application may or may not be encrypted via https, but the VPN service does not encrypt it. And your IP address is spoofed. The online application sees the IP address of the VPN service, not of your laptop.
When a VPN connection drops, you might just lose your connection. But because the internet is very good at routing around failures, what is more likely to happen is your computer will reconnect to the internet application, simply bypassing the VPN service. That means that — on failure — your local IP address may “leak out” and be logged by the internet application, and your data may be open to local Wi-Fi hackers at your hotel or wherever you’re doing your computing.
There is a reasonably robust solution to that problem, and that’s next.
Just How Vital Is A VPN At Home
Okay, so having a VPN at home isnt as vital as if you regularly travel and browse the internet on your laptop or phone, but it is important.
While accessing a public Wi-Fi network is where the biggest dangers are, threats are still viable everywhere. By using a VPN at home, youre much safer than before and you know youve covered all the bases.
Crucially, no one wants their ISP to be selling their data, and using a VPN stops that. Most VPNs are available for a very low price too, meaning theres hardly anything to lose in using one.
Most people wouldnt rely on one simple lock on their front door or prized possessions, and that should be the same for your internet connection. It simply makes sense to give yourself an extra layer of security, especially if you regularly browse the internet and use it for work and banking needs.
Throw in the extra benefits like avoiding bandwidth throttling and being able to circumvent geo-restrictions as and when needed, and a VPN is an essential tool. It could even save you money if you regularly buy flights or hotel rooms.
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Can I Still Be Tracked Online When Using A VPN
If you pay for your VPN with a credit card, your VPN provider will likely know who you are. Since youre connecting to your VPN from your device, theyll also have your IP address. But thats it most VPNs dont monitor your online activity, and many include explicit no-logging policies that prevent them from collecting any information about what you do while using their services.
A VPN protects your data along its trip between your device and the VPN server. If youre connecting to websites that use HTTPS encryption, your data will be safe along its entire journey. But if youre connecting to unsecured websites, your data will be exposed after it leaves the VPN server.
While VPNs can prevent people from tracking you based on your IP address, they cant block other web tracking methods such as cookies and browser fingerprinting. And once you log in to a site, such as a social network, that site can still track what you click on, share, and like even if youre using a VPN because youre logged in.
Security and privacy extensions for Chrome and, especially, truly secure and private browsers can block cookies and protect you against browser-based web and ad tracking, while a VPN insulates your data and hides your IP address.
VPNs that offer give you another layer of protection. By grouping multiple users under a single IP address, these VPNs make it very difficult for anyone to pinpoint the actions of any specific user.
Why Keep Your VPN On All The Time
There are considerable benefits to having a VPN and keeping it running 24/7. Security and data protection are not the only reasons to keep a VPN permanently connected. There are also perks of being able to lift restrictions on geo-locked content and it will enable you to safely access public Wi-Fi.
Here are the top 6 reasons why you should run a VPN all the time:
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What VPN Providers Are There
Above we have shown you three good VPN providers but there are hundreds of companies that offer commercial VPNs. Just type in VPN in the App Store or Play Store, and youll see a dizzying amount of VPN apps, that are often free to download. And then there are also quite a few companies that offer business VPN packages.
We like to help and have tested many VPN providers already. You can find more information about testing and the results in our VPN review section.
Below youll find a selection of VPN providers to give you an impression of the amount of services out there. We also state under which jurisdiction each VPN provider falls and whether the VPN provider is located in a 5, 9 or 14 eyes country the governments of these countries exchange information.
The jurisdiction may have implications for the privacy of VPN users, as each country has different privacy laws. In practice, there are therefore differences in which user data VPN providers store. With privacy in mind, you ideally want to use a VPN that doesnt log or track anything about your internet activities.
Do They Have A Large Server Network
The number of servers a VPN offers and their locations is important for several reasons. More servers means the VPN can support more users without their network slowing down. More locations means you can access the web from different places in the world.
These factors particularly matter if youre hoping to stream content from multiple countries. Its also crucial if you need to avoid censorship or other Internet restrictions in your region.
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Popular Reasons For Using A VPN
VPN is not an alien thing for todays internet users. The number of VPN users are increasing every day but a few years back, there were hardly any users of VPN. Even today, there are many people who arent familiar with this term. The rising popularity of VPN raises the questions of what is a VPN and whether you should use one.
VPN is a Virtual Private Network that works as an intermittent service between you and your host site. It can provide a safe mode for surfing the web as it gives you privacy and data security. When used correctly, a VPN helps keep your connections secure and protects your device from prying eyes.
Apart from security, it has numerous other benefits that are making this service worth using. Here are some of the top reasons people turn to VPNs in their home or business lives.
1. Safety and Security
The first and the most important reason people use VPN is its safety feature. It provides an encrypted tunnel for transferring data to and from your device and the host site. This removes all chances of spying and snooping on your data. Even your own internet service provider cant access your data or track your activities.
Whether you are surfing the internet for the purpose of mere entertainment or using it for share important files and information, everything is end-to-end encrypted with VPN. So you don’t have to worry about hackers and cybercriminals.
3. Breaking Geo-Restrictions
4. Subsidized Shopping and Traveling
Safely Access Send & Receive Sensitive Content
If you need to access, send, or receive sensitive content whether it be religious, political, or personal you may find yourself in need of some protection if youre in a region that doesnt respect freedom of expression.
A VPN is one of the few tools that can provide anonymity when youre transmitting data online no government, law agency, or other prying eyes will be able to see what youre doing.
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Does The VPN Log User Data
Paid VPN services usually promise that they wont log your data. Thats a good thing: If your VPN provider is logging or tracking your activity online, whats to stop it from one day sharing or selling your browsing history with businesses or government agencies?
The logging of data is why many tech experts recommend that consumers avoid free VPN services. These services might log your data and then sell them to others as a way to make money because they are not collecting monthly subscriptions.
Remember, the purpose of a VPN is to protect your online privacy. So its wise to consider a VPN provider that doesnt log your data.
Does the VPN log user data?
- Norton Secure VPN no
- Tunnel Bear no
How Many Servers Are There
VPN providers with lots of servers can spread their users out to avoid overloading any one server. This ensures faster and more stable connections for everyone. Wondering how many servers your chosen VPN has? Weve got the numbers right here:
Avast SecureLine VPN: 700+ servers
AVG Secure VPN: 700+ servers
CyberGhost: 6,900+ servers
TunnelBear: Approximately 3,000 servers
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Data Privacy From Your Internet Service Provider
While connected to your home Wi-Fi, you are less likely to be attacked by strangers than on a public connection. However, your data is still vulnerable.
Your ISP or internet service providerComcast, Spectrum, Verizon or other company who you pay for Wi-Fi each monthcan access all your internet data. Your ISP can see when, where and how you browse.
This data can be collected and sold to advertisers even if youre using the private browsing function, and it can be dangerous in the wrong hands in the case of a data breach. A VPN can help obscure your IP address from your own ISP.
What’s The Best Way To Choose A VPN Service
To be fair, not all pay VPN services are legitimate, either. It’s important to be careful about which you choose. I’ve put together an always up-to-date directory of quality VPN providers. Some are better than others . But all are legitimate companies that provide quality service.
Beyond my directory, it’s always good practice to a company or product name and read the user reviews. If you see a huge number of old complaints or new complaints suddenly start showing up, it might be that there’s been a change of management or policies. When I’m looking for a service, I always base my decision partially on professional reviews and partially based on the tone of user reviews.
Finally, be sure to choose a service with the capabilities that meet your needs. You may need one or more features only provided by certain services. So, think through your needs as you make a decision.
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Is A VPN Safe
You may wonder how safe you are with a VPN provider. Your internet traffic is redirected and runs through the servers of the VPN provider. The provider can see everything you do if it would want to. Therefore, its important that you have confidence in your VPN service. Most VPN services do not log what you do and wont store your data.
However, there are VPN services that abuse the data that travels through their servers and sell your data to advertisers, for example. This is especially the case with free VPNs. These are often not safe. Before using a VPN, it is therefore important that you do research in advance. Well give you a few recommendations for good and secure VPN services later in this article.
When Should I Have My VPN On
Below, youll find a short list of reasons to keep your VPN on, but there are many reasons we didnt list. A VPN helps you maintain privacy, security, and stay anonymous online, which is especially important in stopping hackers. But how often do you need to have it on?
Here are some of the most common scenarios where you should keep your VPN on:
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Finding The Right Solution
Whether you operate a large enterprise with multiple locations, or manage a small team of freelancers who enjoy working out of coffee shops you need a VPN to ensure your business data does not fall into the wrong hands. Email and cloud storage accounts, with their potential to be compromised, are a constant target for hackers. But by using a VPN, security can be reclaimed.
OpenVPNs mission is to connect your world securely by providing a more safe and secure experience online. OpenVPNs Access Server has been downloaded by more than 50 million people worldwide since inception, becoming the de-facto industry standard. Access Server was created for small-to-medium sized businesses, but also has the capacity to scale into the thousands. So no matter the size of your organization, and no matter what your end goals are for your business, Access Server can help you get where you want to go.
Do I Need A VPN If I’m Connecting My Phone Via Lte
That depends. Once again, your corporate IT department will let you know their policy for connection directly to their corporate network. Usually, you’ll use the VPN client built into your device’s operating system for that.
But here’s the thing: It’s up to how much you trust your carrier, where you’re located in the world, and how secure you want to be. The carriers can generally be relied upon to provide a secure connection from your phone to their network in the US.
That said, it is possible to compromise wireless phone service with a man-in-the-middle attack. This situation occurs when a malevolent actor places a device designed to confuse your phone and cause your phone to connect to what it thinks is the phone network, but, in fact, it’s a device designed for spying.
Outside the US, it depends on what country you’re in. If you are really concerned about security, simply avoid bringing any devices into a foreign nation that you intend to use after your trip. Those devices can be compromised in the country or during customs inspections.
Finally, as we covered earlier in this guide, it’s worth reminding you that some countries consider VPN use illegal. If you’re planning on traveling, be sure to research local laws exhaustively.
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What Do Net Neutrality Changes Mean For My VPN Usage
Net neutrality has been severely under fire in the US. The Federal Communications Commission has eliminated many of the consumer protections against internet service providers harvesting traffic data and selling that data to advertisers, or worse.
This could be bad. I’m not terribly concerned if Comcast discovers my secret passion for muscle cars and I get more ads for car customizing kits. It might be annoying, but I’m not doing anything I want to hide. The problem could occur if ISPs start inserting their own ads in place of ads by, say, ZDNet. That could cut off the revenue that keeps websites alive, and that could have very serious repercussions.
As for personal use and whether you should use a VPN at home because of net neutrality, I don’t think we’re there… yet. Certainly, if you’re working on confidential information and connecting to work, you should use a VPN. But we haven’t yet seen any evidence of ISPs being so intrusive that always-on VPNs are required at home.
Stay tuned to this guide because if that changes, we’ll let you know.
Can I Use A VPN To Spoof My Location Or Country Of Origin
Because the VPN server you’re connected to presents its IP address to whatever web application you’re using, by choosing a server located in a different country, you can represent your connection as if you’re in a different country. This may be illegal in certain regions, so use caution when doing this.
In my testing, some VPN providers could successfully hide their originating country or the fact that they were VPNs, but others were not. You’ll probably want to do some testing. Of the services where I did in-depth testing, NordVPN and Hotspot Shield could successfully hide their VPN origins, while StrongVPN and CyberGhost were not.
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