If you’ve spent any amount of time on the internet, chances are you would have come across the term “VPN.”
If you haven’t, don’t sweat it – we’re here to cover everything you need to know about VPNs and why everyone can stand to benefit from using one. To start off with a basic definition, VPN stands for a virtual private network. They work by providing device users with an encrypted network connection, allowing you to hide your IP address and other connection info when surfing the web.
Aside from keeping you safe online, one of the most common VPN uses over the last decade has become unblocking streaming content from other countries.
If you often find yourself frustrated by limited selection on your favourite streaming platforms due to geo-restrictions, using a VPN can help to unlock thousands of movies, TV shows, games and more to keep you entertained all day long. However, the benefits don’t simply end there — in fact, there are numerous other benefits to using a VPN on Firestick, Roku, Chromecast, or any other device.
Without further ado, let’s dive into the 6 key reasons why you should always use a VPN when streaming your favourite TV shows, movies, games and more.
- Unlock Geo-Blocked Libraries and Content
As mentioned earlier, one of the foremost benefits of using a VPN when streaming is gaining access to geo-blocked libraries and content. Your location can dictate what content you’ll be able to view or download when using streaming services like Netflix, Disney+, or Prime Video. This means that by not using a VPN, you may be missing out on potentially thousands of geo-exclusive titles that are not available to stream in your country. For example, popular movies such as Avengers: Infinity War, Black Hawk Down, Star Wars and Thor: Ragnarok are all available on the US version of Netflix, but locked in other regions. Thankfully, the simplest way to get around this is to virtually change your location by using a VPN.
Simply connect to a server in the country where the streaming service or title is available, then proceed to open the application on your device. The application should think that you’re in your country of choice, and you’ll be able to stream whatever you want, wherever you are.
- Secure Streaming On Public Wi-Fi Networks
Public Wi-Fi networks are truly a lifesaver in many instances, but these networks are also accompanied by a fair amount of risks. If you enjoy catching up on your favourite TV series while enjoying a hot cuppa at your local cafe with free Wi-Fi, it’s important to keep in mind that public Wi-Fi networks are often not secure, which means that your connection may be visible to third party observers.
Thankfully, when you’re accessing the web with a device that’s using an installed VPN, all of your data is encrypted, thus making you less vulnerable to experiencing cybercrimes. Be sure to always connect to a VPN when using a public Wi-Fi network in order to keep your data safe and secure while streaming your favourite content on the go.
- Enhanced Speed and Loading Times
We’ve all been there – you’re excited to catch up on the latest episode of your new favourite TV show, only to be left disappointed by lengthy loading times, choppy buffering and crummy streaming speed. Oftentimes, this problem can also be exacerbated by bandwidth failing as your ISP starts throttling your connection speeds. No one likes to be left disappointed, but thankfully, you can easily bypass this common conundrum by using a VPN.
To get technical, a VPN essentially improves latency, which is defined by the time required by a dataset to travel from one device to another via a network server. As VPNs provide a direct connection from your network, the time required for data transmission greatly reduces, thus improving latency and providing you with a buffer-free viewing experience.
Simply put, no matter what you’re doing online, a VPN helps to create a fast and stable connection, ensuring that you don’t experience any annoying buffering issues during your streaming session.
- Broaden Your Streaming Horizons
While some streaming services, such as Netflix and Disney+, are available globally, there are still a number of services and platforms that are geographically locked to just one country – i.e., BBC iPlayer, Peacock, Hulu, and many more. While this may not seem like a big deal to many, it can end up being a real pain when you travel abroad and find yourself locked out of your favourite streaming service due to your new geolocation.
Thankfully, the simplest way to get around this is to virtually change your location by using – you guessed it – a VPN. So, the next time you’re on a business trip or a much-deserved holiday, fret not — you’ll still be able to access all of your favourite TV shows, movies, gaming streams, and more to keep you entertained for days on end.
- Eliminate Privacy Concerns
Find out more about all the ways Netflix tracks you and what you watch here.
- Protect Your Device From Malware
Last but not least, the furthest thing from fun is finding out that your device has fallen victim to malware. A blanket term for viruses, worms, trojans, and other malicious computer software, malware is used by cybercriminals, and hackers to wreak havoc and gain access to sensitive information stored on your device.
Scarily, over 89.93% of affected users became vulnerable to malware while searching for Netflix and related content. Unfortunately, the problem is further worsened if you download content from services such as Torrent, or stream on unregulated websites online. To avoid falling victim to malware while using streaming services, the best thing you can do is to connect to any and every service through a VPN. VPN services are capable of scanning files for malware, thereby ensuring that any threat is dealt with before it can get to your device. However, it is always advised to exercise caution and discretion when downloading content, clicking on links, or streaming online, as cyber attacks continue to get more and more sophisticated in a bid to bypass VPNs and antivirus software.
And there you have it – 6 essential reasons why you should always use a VPN when streaming. Whether you’re looking for a smoother experience, increased security, or access to geo-blocked content, a VPN is the answer to all your streaming woes.
Do you use a VPN when streaming content online? We’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter, so be sure to leave us a comment in the comments section below!
Article contributed by Amrita Bala.
About: Amrita is a writer, blogger, and content creator hailing from Melbourne, Australia. With a penchant for research and exploration of esoteric topics, Amrita is always on the lookout for more pointless things to get excited about.