A Virtual Private Network, or VPN, is a foreign term for many less technically minded people. A VPN works to keep your online activity hidden and encrypted from potential hackers. It does this by creating a virtual tunnel that scrambles your data and hides your IP address.

But while the inner workings of VPNs can get a little confusing, its uses are in fact very much geared towards the security of simple, everyday online situations. Whether you’re working online, gaming online, or travelling abroad, VPNs have a number of important uses, to keep our sensitive data safe and improve our online freedom.

Not sure if you might need the extra layer of security? These VPN uses might change your mind:

Keep your data secure on public Wi-Fi

How many times have you travelled locally or abroad, and jumped onto free Wi-Fi to get your social media fix, or check your bank balance? Despite the ease and cost benefit of free Wi-Fi spots, these networks are often not secure. 

Without an encrypted network, the network you hop onto can easily be intercepted and your data found. You run the risk of card details, passwords and any personal information getting into the wrong hands. Luckily, a VPN encrypts your data, so even if you login into a free Wi-Fi, your data and IP address will be hidden.

Keep up-to-date with local content while abroad

Is your favourite local e-Commerce website unavailable when you’re overseas? Or does your online banking give you trouble while you’re abroad and you can’t make a transfer or check your balance? 

With the use of a VPN, you can switch your location to reflect your home country and access all the local websites you need to get your shopping or personal admin done. 

Speed up your online gaming and streaming

Depending on your internet package, your service provider may throttle your connection while you are gaming online or streaming videos, if you are using too much bandwidth at a time. If you’re playing online with friends or watching your favourite Netflix show, your experience can be negatively affected.

As a VPN keeps your internet activity hidden, your connection and bandwidth is not affected, and your gameplay and streaming continues to be as fast as your connection allows.

Watch geo-blocked content

Whether you’re a sports fanatic or just TV enjoy shows from around the world, a VPN will let you choose a different location so that you can access content not available in your country. Choose a VPN that offers a number of server locations that you most often watch content from, and you’ll be on your way to completely unrestricted online content access.

The same goes for watching local shows while you’re abroad. If you don’t want to miss any local content while you’re travelling, all you have to do is choose your home location and you’ll have access to your favourite local sports or TV shows.

Extend security to your mobile devices

VPNs don’t only protect your data while browsing on your PC or laptop, but also extend to other mobile devices. While it does depend on the VPN provider you choose, most will offer support to a number of devices at a time.

That means your data is protected whether you’re browsing or messaging people at home, on the road or in an airport or restaurant. It’s important to note that a free VPN won’t necessarily give you this type of security, and can end up harming your security efforts. A paid VPN will provide a much more robust solution across your devices.

From streaming, to gaming, to personal data security, VPNs have multiple uses that not only enhance your content choices on the web but also keep your sensitive information safe no matter where you are or what device you are using.