Protect Your Browsing With a VPN Chrome Extension
Privacy is a big issue on the internet. From websites and ISPs selling your data; to the hacking of your accounts over the network, the online world isn’t as safe as it looks. You don’t have to be doing something nefarious to be obliged to protect your privacy. Even a casual user like you and me should be concerned over online privacy. For example, your ISP (internet service provider) can sell your browsing data to advertisers, or a hacker can sniff your data to see your activity or even steal your passwords.
This is where a VPN (Virtual Private Network) can save you. It can encrypt all your traffic and prevent it from anyone from accessing it. You can just install a VPN chrome extension and it will route all your traffic through its servers and no one will be able to track your online activity.
Although there are many VPN extensions, but I will recommend you Surfshark VPN browser extension. I found it very reliable with perfect uptime and being very cheap at just $1.99/month for unlimited devices. It also has a plethora of features that take privacy to the next level.
How a VPN protects your online privacy?
Let’s learn how a VPN actually protects your privacy online. A VPN basically works like a middleman to handle your traffic on your behalf. It encrypts your query and sends it to their server and from the VPN server the query is sent to the destination address. And then the destination address sends back data to the VPN server and the server sends it to you.
In the whole process, you don’t make any direct connection with the destination address. Your ISP (or anyone else snooping on the network) only sees that you have sent a message to a VPN service, but they can’t see the message content as it is encrypted. The destination address also only interacts with the VPN server so it doesn’t know who is asking for the information. This simple process keeps your identity safe as the VPN works on your behalf.
It should be noted that your information does reach the VPN server and they can access it if they want. This is why it’s important to get a reliable VPN service that has dedicated policies to protect your privacy. For example, Surfshark VPN that I have mentioned above has a no-log policy that ensures they don’t keep any log of your data. Most of the reputable VPN services also have a similar policy to protect your data, so make sure you look for such a policy before buying a VPN subscription.
More than just privacy protection
Apart from protecting your online activity, a VPN has many other uses that make it worth an investment. A common use of VPNs is to access restricted content from anywhere, such as restricted YouTube videos. Websites like YouTube, Facebook, or even Wikipedia are restricted in some countries. If you are living in a country where your desired website is restricted, then you can use a VPN to show that you are accessing from a different country where the website is allowed.
You can also use a VPN to spoof your location if needed. A good VPN service usually has servers in dozens of countries, so you can use it to show your location in a completely different country.
Another reason I personally use a VPN is to prevent my ISP from throttling my connection in certain situations. ISPs can throttle your connection speed if they notice streaming (usually at rush hour) or other heavy activities such as torrent sharing. If you notice your ISP slowing your internet speed under certain circumstances, then you can use a VPN to hide your browsing activity and prevent throttling,
And of course, many VPN services come with custom features to make browsing even easier. Such as built-in ad blocker, malware protection, a kill switch to stop network traffic in case VPN protection stops, and dedicated customer support. The additional features vary from VPN company to company.
Free or paid VPN?
Before I end this post, it’s important to mention the difference between a free VPN service and a paid one. You must have seen many free VPN services available online. However, it’s a great risk to use a free VPN service if you actually care about online privacy.
Setting up a VPN service isn’t cheap. Having physical servers in different countries isn’t free to do, someone has to pay for it (usually you). So most free VPN services you see usually sell your data or use another way to make money, such as advertisements while browsing. They also don’t use any robust privacy protocols to protect you online in case someone decides to penetrate the protection.
The best usage I can think of a free VPN service is to access restricted content online while you don’t care about your data being sold or snooped on. Using a free VPN is basically just like regular browsing but from a different virtual location that allows you to access restricted content. And of course, it comes with possible connection throttling due to bad server infrastructure, advertisement, and yet another company selling your data.
On the other hand, a paid VPN service is dedicated to protecting your privacy and doesn’t have to use cheap tactics to make money. The purpose of a VPN is to protect your data and this is only possible when the VPN service can pay for itself. Otherwise, your data will become the source of income. And of course, a paid VPN also comes with much better service, such as access to many virtual locations, built-in data encryption, DNS leak protection, 24/7 customer support, and much more.
If you care about your data or use public networks for browsing, then it’s mandatory to use a good VPN service to protect yourself online. This especially becomes important when you have to access your financial accounts online as anyone with the right tools and knowledge can access the data unless it is encrypted by a reliable VPN service.
Do you agree that VPN is mandatory for online privacy? Do share your views in the comments below.