Should I use a VPN all the time? | NordVPN (2024)

Contents

  • Should I leave my VPN on all the time?
  • When should you keep your VPN on?
  • How to keep a VPN on all the time?
  • When should you turn off your VPN?

Should I leave my VPN on all the time?

Yes, you should leave your VPN on all the time. VPNs offer the best online security, so keeping it on will protect you against data leaks and cyberattacks, especially while you’re using public Wi-Fi. It can also safeguard against intrusive snoopers such as ISPs or advertisers.

Always use a VPN when you go online. A VPN hides your location by connecting you to a remote server so no one will be able to tell what and where you browse.

When should you keep your VPN on?

In certain situations, a VPN is crucial to maintain privacy and keep your online traffic and personal information under lock and key. Below, you can find nine cases when you should keep your VPN on:

1. When using public Wi-Fi

A VPN encrypts your public Wi-Fi connection, so hackers can’t easily intercept the connection and steal your personal information. Encryption protects and secures everything you do online by scrambling your traffic into gibberish, which is all a hacker would see if they ever got hold of it.

A common public Wi-Fi trick is an evil twin attack, where a hacker sets up a Wi-Fi network similar to the one you’re expecting to use in the hope that you’ll connect to it instead. These dupe networks could potentially steal your personal or financial information, so bear this in mind whenever you’re connected to Wi-Fi in a hotel, café, or airport.

2. When traveling in countries with restrictive regimes

Some countries administer severe punishments for accessing certain content. In some places, you may even go to prison, so using a VPN could quite literally save you. Some VPNs have additional protections against these threats. For example, NordVPN’s Kill Switch function shuts down your internet connection in case the VPN connection suddenly stops.

3. When sending sensitive data or performing financial transactions

Hackers may intercept your connection, but with VPN encryption your traffic is hidden from potential snoopers and third parties, which is useful if you’re seeking secure online banking experience while on the move.

Banking scams and credit card fraud are some of the most worrying cyberattacks since they fiercely escalated during the pandemic that forced the world online. In fact, the dark web is brimming with databases full of credit-card details that are often exchanged between hackers for a few dollars.

In a man-in-the-middle cyberattack, a hacker positions themselves between your device and the internet connection to steal your information in transit. Such attacks may happen when you’re making transactions while connected to public Wi-Fi or if you paid for something on an unencrypted website. Always use a VPN to encrypt any internet connection and help protect your data.

4. When you wish to avoid bandwidth throttling

Sometimes ISPs tend to slow down users’ traffic. This is because some ISPs do not have enough resources to cope with 24/7 streaming and gaming. So what they do is reduce traffic either during certain hours for users who engage in these activities or generally when such activities are at their peak (this practice is called bandwidth throttling). By using a VPN, an ISP will not see what you do, so it will be less likely to reduce your connection speed.

5. When there is no HTTPS extension

Not all websites are equally safe. Some websites still don’t use the secure HTTPS extension and have the old HTTP. HTTPS uses the TLS protocol to encrypt data traveling between users and a website. However, you should still use a VPN when accessing HTTPS sites, because HTTPS encryption is usually weaker than that of a VPN. So make sure to use both HTTPS and a VPN at the same time.

Should I use a VPN all the time? | NordVPN (1)

6. When you want to bypass firewalls

Firewalls are to the internet what a secretary is to a CEO – controlling, limiting, or even blocking the information that gets through. This function helps protect the network from malicious activity.

Businesses and organizations usually have a firewall up to protect other users on the network. Users are detected by the IP address of their device, but sometimes that IP address changes if, say, you move abroad, and firewalls can react to this by blocking your access.

A VPN will let you bypass firewalls by connecting you through servers based in other countries, making the internet think you’re in the UK instead of the US, for instance.

7. When experiencing malicious pop-ups or annoying ads

A VPN hides your online activity and protects you from unwanted advertising for a smoother browsing experience.

Personalized ads are a pain. One day you search for black leather sofa-beds, and for the next month that’s all you see advertised online. But how do these ads follow you around? Well, third parties and your ISP can snoop on your online activity and sell it to advertisers who use it to target you with relevant products. A VPN hides your online activity from third parties and your ISP, making you practically invisible online. So if you’re tired of personalized ads following you around online, keep your VPN on all the time.

8. When accessing your devices remotely

Some reputable VPNs feature advanced tools that let you connect multiple devices as part of an extended network. They allow you to access data stored on devices that you don’t have physical access to (a home computer while you’re traveling, for example). A VPN may also give you the ability to connect to the internet using the IP address of your home network, even when you’re not at home.

9. When you simply want to browse privately

VPNs are an everyday essential tool for privacy and security online. Think of a VPN as a virtual equivalent to window blinds in your house.

Whenever we go online, we are being watched. Your ISP records every single website you visit, and unknown third parties track everything you do online. Your data is often sold to advertisers and traded with authorities, who build complex profiles on citizens. And let’s face it: most aspects of our lives can be traced online. So, information about you may be more revealing than you think.

When you use a VPN, you connect to the internet through the VPN’s private, encrypted servers rather than your ISP’s unencrypted servers. This means that anything you do online is hidden from your ISP, snoopers, and other third parties.

PRO TIP: Keep your VPN on at all times while traveling. If you’re on holiday or abroad for work, it’s likely that you’ll need to use the Wi-Fi in hotels, airports, and other public spaces. Your VPN will ensure that you don’t expose your data on an unsecure or malicious Wi-Fi hotspot.

How to keep a VPN on all the time?

Open your VPN client and turn on a VPN. That’s it! Some VPN apps connect you to a secure server once you turn on your computer, mobile phone, or tablet. Advanced VPN apps shut your internet connection down if your VPN disconnects.

When should you turn off your VPN?

While we advise you to disable your VPN as rarely as possible, you may still want to disable your VPN connection in certain situations.

  • Speeding up the internet. Internet speed is of the utmost importance in certain situations (e.g., when gaming or downloading massive files). Sometimes VPNs can reduce your speed because they create an encrypted tunnel and connect you to a remote server, which requires additional traffic resources.
  • Using online banking. Some banking websites flag logins from foreign IP addresses, which can potentially block you from your account. If you’re connected to a secure Wi-Fi network, disable the VPN to avoid these issues.
  • Connecting to a secure hotspot. If you’re not concerned about your internet service provider (ISP) tracking your online activity, you can turn off the VPN when connected to a secure home Wi-Fi. This may also help increase your browsing speed.
  • Accessing specific websites. While people sometimes use VPNs to bypass geo restrictions or for malicious deeds, some websites block access if a user’s VPN is on. In such cases, disabling a VPN might be necessary.
  • Avoiding software conflicts. Some applications or services, such as online games or streaming services, may clash with a VPN. So disconnecting from a VPN may resolve such issues.

While we strongly recommend keeping a VPN on most of the time, you should also make sure you use a reliable service. Make sure the VPN service does not store your data, has a wide selection of servers, and comes from a reliable provider. Try out NordVPN for lightning-fast speeds and a simple, easy-to-use interface.

Online security starts with a click.

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Should I use a VPN all the time? | NordVPN (2024)

FAQs

Should I use a VPN all the time? | NordVPN? ›

If you're asking whether you should always have NordVPN active, the answer is yes. Features such as NordVPN's no-logging policy, high-level encryption, and double VPN make it an outstanding online security tool.

Should you use a VPN all the time? ›

Yes, you should leave your VPN on all the time. VPNs offer the best online security, so keeping it on will protect you against data leaks and cyberattacks, especially while you're using public Wi-Fi. It can also safeguard against intrusive snoopers such as ISPs or advertisers. Always use a VPN when you go online.

Is there a downside to using a VPN? ›

Slower connection

The encryption process and routing your traffic through remote servers can slow down your internet connection. However, premium VPN services usually have fast protocols and a powerful infrastructure that make the speed drop barely noticeable.

Do you actually need a VPN? ›

Without a virtual private network (VPN), your internet service provider (ISP) may record your online activity and sell it to the highest bidder. However, you can protect your internet traffic with a VPN while browsing at home, at work, or connected to a public network.

How to use a VPN efficiently? ›

Use a VPN on your computer (Windows, Mac)
  1. Download a reliable VPN. We recommend NordVPN, which is super easy to use on both Windows and Mac.
  2. Install the VPN app onto your computer.
  3. Connect to your preferred server.
  4. That's it – now you can start browsing safely.
Jan 12, 2024

What are the disadvantages of always on VPN? ›

AO VPN works only with Windows 10. It is not supported for Windows 7 or other operating systems. While AO VPN does add extensive filtering options, no additional blocking technologies exist to prevent viruses or malware, such as crypto locker, from encrypting files.

Can I use VPN everyday? ›

Yes, you should use a VPN when you're at home, especially when you're working with sensitive data. If you feel like your privacy is breached with intrusive ads or you have reasons to believe your internet service provider is spying on you — then you have to use a VPN.

When should you not use VPN? ›

When should you turn off your VPN? While we recommend to keep your VPN on as much as possible, there may be cases when you actually need it off. This includes accessing local content or devices. For instance, you may need to access streaming services that are unavailable in countries you're virtually connected to.

How risky is VPN? ›

Even if a VPN says it provides bulletproof security, even if it says there is no record at all, you can never be sure. After all, data is being sent through a third party, so it can be compromised, because we don't know how data is actually processed. In addition, VPN's own software may contain viruses and malware.

What happens if you don't use VPN? ›

So if you want some privacy online, you can get it by using a VPN at home, school, work, or on public networks. Without the protection of a VPN, you are far more likely to receive targeted ads, phishing attacks, or become a victim of data breaches.

Should I use a VPN when doing online banking? ›

Yes, it is safe to use a VPN for online banking, provided you know what you are doing. In fact, online banking with a VPN is safer than without it. A virtual private network does NOT compromise your data, protecting it when you bank over public Wi-Fi or through a home network.

Do you need a VPN on home Wi-Fi? ›

There are lots of good reasons a home VPN might be a valuable addition to your security and privacy arsenal, but what's most important is whether you use it. If you find yourself too frustrated with reduced internet speeds, or juggling streaming devices, don't use a VPN at home.

Do VPNs slow down your internet? ›

A VPN will slow down your internet connection. With a premium VPN (Virtual Private Network), that slowdown should be unnoticeable. But no matter whether it is paid or free, a VPN will slow down your connection because it needs some of that bandwidth for encryption purposes. And without encryption, a VPN is just a VN.

Is there a better way than VPN? ›

One of the best alternatives to a VPN is a proxy server. A proxy server acts as a gateway that sits between a user's device and the internet. The user can activate the server in their web browser and proceed to reroute their traffic through it. This helps to hide their IP address from any web servers that they visit.

Where should you set your VPN to? ›

5Which countries are best for VPN server locations? Switzerland, Iceland, Estonia, Canada, Singapore, Spain, the UK, Panama, Romania, and Germany are considered the best countries for VPN server locations due to strong privacy laws, advanced internet infrastructure, and minimal content restrictions.

How to use a VPN correctly? ›

The basic process for using a VPN is to install a VPN app on your device, fire it up, log into your account and select a server. For the fastest speeds, you'll typically want to choose a server geographically nearby, but for accessing region-specific content, pick a VPN server in your desired country.

Is it safe to stay connected to a VPN? ›

A VPN connection is made through highly secure protocols at a level of encryption that has never been cracked. This, coupled with the anonymity of IP masking and location spoofing, renders your online presence nearly untraceable. If you or your organization handle sensitive information, then a VPN is a must.

What happens if you turn off VPN? ›

The More You Know: When you disable your VPN, all of your internet traffic becomes visible to your ISP. The websites you visit also see your real IP address, which is tied to your physical location. And if you're on public Wi-Fi, hackers connected to the same network can see and even steal your online data.

Does using a VPN drain battery? ›

Although overall battery use was higher, the difference in the Android device's battery consumption with VPN vs. without VPN was comparable to the iPhone.

Should VPN be on or off on my phone? ›

Yes, You Should! A VPN (virtual private network) is a service that provides a secure Internet connection by using private servers in remote locations.

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