VPN may be a term you’ve heard a lot lately. They are becoming more commonplace in homes and businesses as the first line of protection for your online devices. VPN’s are simple, cost-effective, and easy to install, making them a one-stop-shop for your online security needs for your home or workplace. But what is a VPN?

VPN stands for Virtual Private Network and connects your devices to an online server via a secure digital tunnel. This tunnel acts as a barrier, protecting your activity, data, and privacy from any opportunist looking to capitalize on your lack of security. When your online, your device will have an IP address, which shows your location and Internet Service Provider (ISP) to anyone who knows how to access it.

A VPN will mask your IP address by allowing you to connect to servers from across the world. So, you can browse the internet from your sofa in New York, while your computer shows your location as Madrid, Spain. A VPN will help you get the most out of your devices while keeping your private information safe. If you’re more of a visual person, see here for a useful VPN infographic. CyberGhost VPN has put together this handy infographic that clearly explains what a VPN is.

Here are just a few of the benefits of a VPN:

Stay Anonymous Online

Each of your devices will have an Internet Protocol (IP address). A VPN changes your IP, giving your online activity anonymity and increased security. It creates a secure connection that masks your location and keeps your browsing private. Your location and browsing history are hidden and won’t be traceable to you. If you download files or use peer-to-peer torrenting, your information is kept private.

Unlock a World of Content

If you’re a big TV or movie buff, a VPN can give you access to worldwide content effortlessly. Your Netflix library will depend on where you are in the world. A VPN will unlock all of the films, documentaries, and TV shows from libraries across the world. If your country enforces censorship or bans certain films or games, a VPN will bypass geo-blocking and allow you to watch your favorite shows without limits. If you’re a sports fan, you won’t have to miss any of your teams’ games with a VPN. You can stream sports games from all over the world, even if they are not available or banned in your country.

Look After Your Money

A VPN will allow you to look after your money in more ways than one. Not only will it protect your credit card information when you’re online shopping or using online banking, but a VPN can save you money on items you purchase. The cost of items varies across the world due to taxes and shipping, so if you’re looking to make a big purchase checking the cost on international servers could save you a lot of money. Just be sure to check the shipping costs to your home country before you place an order. This is also very useful when booking a vacation, as flights and hotels can be significantly cheaper when you buy them from another country.

Protect your Privacy

If you use public wi-fi networks, you’re potentially putting your private information at risk. These networks rarely have any security measures, making them an easy target for people who know where to look. Without a VPN, your online activity is visible to those who are nearby, as well as your ISP. Your ISP can use this data to intentionally slow down your internet speeds if it detects the websites or games you are accessing are using high amounts of data. This information can also be sold by your ISP to marketing and advertising companies who will use it to send unwanted promotions. A VPN will encrypt your data, hiding it from hackers and cybercriminals.

Improved Performance

As any fan of tech will tell you, one thing that’s always a bonus is faster internet speeds. A VPN can improve the quality and speed of your internet connection. Your ISP can limit your bandwidth if it detects you are doing something online that uses a lot of data. This is called bandwidth-throttling. It cannot do this if it doesn’t know what you’re doing online, so a VPN will help keep your connection consistent, no matter how you use the internet.

All this, as well as a faster connection, is something no internet user can disagree with; a VPN is a must-have for any household.