There are lots of reasons why you might want to use a VPN.
- Protecting yourself while using public WiFi, such as in cafes and hotels
- Accessing Geo-blocked content, such as YouTube and Netflix
- Hiding your meta data from snoops
Using the free WiFi in the cafe might be convenient, but can you trust it? Even if the cafe owner isn’t logging everything that goes through their router, there are monitoring tools that allow anyone to capture all traffic on the network they are connected to. So all a hacker has to do to get your passwords is take their laptop to the cafe, buy a coffee and sit for awhile.
Geo-blocking is not only annoying but often just ridiculous. While often the reasons are to do with legalities and licensing agreements, the end result for Australians is often that the only way to access the content is to bypass the block. And in other parts of the world there is government censorship.
Snoops can use your meta-data to monitor what you are doing on the internet. Australian ISPs are required by the Telecommunications Act to keep data on their customers for two years. Do you really want everyone to know all of the websites you have visited in the past two years?
These are some of the reasons for using a VPN. While there are free VPNs, many of these suffer from poor performance, and some are even scams selling your data to hackers.
Cloudwards has a review of the best VPNs providers for Australia
Choice has an excellent guide of what to look for in a VPN