Gain access to blocked or censored websites. Trying to access Facebook but it’s blocked? Skype from the Middle East? Get a VPN and you’ll be able to unblock Facebook and browse to any websites you wish. The VPN allows you to freely use the Internet as if you’re based in the US or Europe.

Speed up censored websites. Some websites may be only partially blocked in your country. You may be able to get to the home page of some foreign news sites, but accessing specific articles might be very slow because your ISP is first doing a text-search for any censored topics in the content of the article. A VPN avoids all this. The network traffic will flow through an encrypted channel directly to your computer, out of sight of any censors, and will therefore load up faster than without a VPN.

Protect your privacy. Especially when working at public Wifi spots, it is easy for others near you to spy on your network traffic. By using freely available software called a packet sniffer, anyone can listen in on your network traffic. Unless the website you’re browsing uses https, they’ll be able to see and record everything you’re doing, including potentially taking your passwords. A VPN prevents this. The VPN encrypts all of your network traffic, keeping it safe from the eyes of spies. So even if you’re based in the US or Europe with uncensored Internet access, it’s a good idea to connect to a VPN when using public Internet spots.

Securely make online purchases when based abroad. When you’re traveling or living abroad and want to make an online purchase at an e-commerce site in your home country, that site may reject your order because your IP address (your computer’s network address) is in a foreign country. They wrongly assume that the order is fraudulent because of your foreign IP address. A VPN fixes this problem by giving you an IP address in your home country, making it much more likely that the e-commerce site will accept your order.

Avoid getting locked out of your Paypal or bank accounts because of logins from foreign IPs. Online banking systems like Paypal regularly lock customers out of their accounts when they log in from foreign IP addresses. For example, let’s say you have a Paypal account in the US. When you log into that account from a foreign country, Paypal may assume that a hacker abroad stole your paypal password and therefore locks down your account. You’ll need to go through a time-consuming process of sending utility bills to paypal in order to prove your identity and restore access to your account. A VPN avoids all of this by giving you an IP address in your home country. Remember to connect to the VPN before logging into Paypal and you’ll be safe.

Access geographically restricted sites. Some popular websites like or restrict their users to certain countries only. When trying to access these sites from abroad, you’ll get an error saying the service isn’t available for your country. That’s where a VPN comes in. Connect to the VPN first, it’ll give you an IP address in your desired country, and thus allow you to access these websites.

George Yellow