VPN myths busted - here's the truth

Asia's Tech News Daily

Looking to find out the truth about VPNs? Good plan, but there’s one big obstacle in your way… and it’s probably not the one you think.

You might assume it’s all that technical jargon, the low-level VPN detail and network-speak. But that’s not as important as many people assume, and you can get a very good understanding of VPNs without, say, knowing even a tiny fraction of how WireGuard works under the hood.

The real problem with figuring out VPNs is there are so many misunderstandings and misconceptions about the technology, that it’s often difficult to tell the fact from the fiction. In this article we’re going to highlight some of the most common VPN myths and set the record straight.

1. VPNs make you completely anonymous

One advantage of VPNs is that they give you a new IP address – perhaps helping you to virtually change location to another country altogether – and effectively a whole new digital identity. So, it’s tempting to think this makes you anonymous online. But that just isn’t true.

Log into a website, for instance, and it knows exactly where you are. Social media buttons, cookies and assorted other tracker-related trickery enable sites to follow you round the web.

Even your VPN’s IP doesn’t guarantee total anonymity. Disconnect and reconnect to a VPN location and some providers may allocate you the same IP address, allowing a site to recognize you on a second visit.

VPNs will help with anonymity in some situations, but they’re not a one-size-fits-all solution, and you still face many web privacy risks.

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

2. VPNs are too complicated for most users

Figuring out the low-level details of exactly how VPNs work is a challenge, even for the most technically-minded. Fully understanding just one concept – how elliptic curve cryptography is all about finding distinct logarithms in a random elliptic curve, say – can feel like it needs a week of study, all on its own.

But actually using a VPN is very, very different. You don’t have to know exactly what’s happening underneath any more than you need to understand exactly how your mobile just requested, download and displayed that last website.

Getting started in the VPN world is usually as simple as launching the app, clicking ‘Connect’, and waiting a few seconds until you’re told you’re connected. Then just get on with your regular internet life as usual, while the VPN automatically encrypts your traffic and protects you from snoopers, all on its own. Easy.

The likes of ExpressVPN and Surfshark are great proponents of this, making it really easy to get started and use your VPN on an array of devices.

3. Using a VPN gives you watertight online security

Connecting to your VPN encrypts your internet activities, and makes it more difficult for your ISP, Wi-Fi snoopers or malicious Wi-Fi hotspots to monitor or modify your traffic. But once you access a website, you’re essentially as vulnerable to many online threats as before.

Phishing site, for instance? Forced malware download? Crypto-mining script in a web page? They’re still dangerous, whether you’re using a VPN or not.

You can reduce the risk a little by installing a VPN with malicious URL blocking, such as NordVPN and its CyberSec.

But to stay truly secure online, you’ll still need additional layers of protection from tools such as the best antivirus packages or internet security suites.

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

4. You only need a VPN if you’re planning something illegal

VPNs are regularly used to protect users while they’re busy with unlawful activities, from downloading copyrighted media to sending spam or launching some hacking attacks.

But we obviously in no way condone that – and there are many other very good and (crucially) legal VPN uses that may encourage you to sign up.

You might want to protect yourself on public Wi-Fi, for instance. Or access a business network when you’re out and about, while guaranteeing that no-one else can intercept any sensitive work documents.

Maybe you’d rather your ISP and local network don’t get to see and perhaps log your internet browsing history? You don’t have to be visiting dubious websites to be concerned: everyone deserves privacy.

VPNs can also help you avoid having your connection speed throttled, get DDoS protection when gaming, securely access your home network, and a whole lot more.

Yes, criminals will always use VPNs, but they have advantages for everyone. And you can enjoy them them, too.

5. Using a VPN cuts internet speeds to a crawl

Connect to a VPN and your internet traffic is encrypted, sent to a VPN server, and then decrypted before travelling on to its destination. These are all extra steps which your traffic didn’t have to take before, so of course these slow down your internet speeds. Especially if you’re connecting to a VPN server on the other side of the world.

Use your nearest VPN location, though, and you may not notice any difference at all. Our reviews regularly show the best VPNs can deliver amazing speeds.

In our last update, for example, even the slowest WireGuard connection from the top ten providers reached a mega 450Mbps. Exactly what you’ll see depends on your device and network connection, but choose a fast VPN and you should get very usable results.

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

6. All VPNs are the same

Discuss VPNs just about anywhere and someone will pop up to say that it doesn’t matter who you choose – paid or free VPN – and that they’re all the same, so you might as well just pick any provider that has the locations you need.

It’s true, VPNs all carry out the same core task, routing your traffic through a secure tunnel to a remote server. But our reviews have shown huge differences between services.

The best services are transparent, with open-source apps and detailed privacy policies, verified by independent auditors. The worst take someone else’s adware-stuffed app, then rebadge it with their brand. And they don’t even bother to write their own privacy policy: they copy and paste one from a commercial provider and pass it off as their own.

Better providers make realistic claims about they can do, and invest in their networks and app development to deliver the maximum possible speeds, often 600Mbps or more. The worst plaster their website with fake ‘world’s fastest’ promises, when actually they throw you on an underpowered VPS with 100 other users and you’ll be lucky to reach 10Mbps.

And if something goes wrong, the best providers have support sites packed with troubleshooting guides, and live chat to give useful answers in minutes. On the other side of the spectrum, there are those that have no website, no contact options beyond a single email address, and if you ask for help, they may not even reply.

All VPNs are the same? No. Not even close. Keep an eye on our VPN reviews to help you focus on the best providers (and steer clear of the worst.)

Internet Explorer Channel Network
Asia's Tech News Daily
News Related

OTHER NEWS

What does the Microsoft-Activision deal mean for Sony?

Yahoo Finance’s Daniel Howley details the impact Microsoft‘s acquisition of Activision has for the video game space and competitors like Sony, cloud gaming innovations, and the benefits this deal holds ... Read more »

Boris Johnson's removal would be a chance to reconsider Brexit, says Heseltine

Lord Heseltine speaking at an anti-Brexit rally (PA) Boris Johnson’s removal from Downing Street would be an opportunity to reconsider Brexit, Conservative grandee Michael Heseltine has said. The prime minister ... Read more »

Sling TV is now streaming on Vizio TVs - here's how to get it

Big news for cord-cutters: Vizio has announced that its SmartCast platform will now have direct access to a native Sling TV app. Before now, it was possible to cast Sling ... Read more »

Steam Deck works 'flawlessly' on nearly half the PC games tested so far

We’re starting to get a look at how well Valve’s forthcoming Steam Deck handheld is handling some of the best PC games going, and so far it looks like it ... Read more »

A new Google AR headset? Just don't call it Google Glass 3.0

Google is reportedly making a new AR headset — and this tech junkie is having flashbacks. This was me in 2013, an idiot greeting the world while wearing a monocular ... Read more »

TikTok marketing lead behind its NFTs and ghost kitchens no longer at the company

© Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge TikTok has had some… interesting marketing campaigns recently. Nick Tran is no longer TikTok’s global head of marketing, reportedly because the company ... Read more »

Twitter brings NFTs to the timeline as hexagon-shaped profile pictures

© Image: Twitter.com Twitter NFT profile pictures Twitter said in September that it would add a way for users to authenticate non-fungible tokens (NFT), and now the feature is live ... Read more »

Don't sleep on Casper's huge bi-annual sale—save up to 50% on mattresses, duvets and more

— Recommendations are independently chosen by Reviewed’s editors. Purchases you make through our links may earn us a commission. Few things feel better than a great night’s sleep on a ... Read more »

The Queen's ‘forgotten castle' in Windsor behind William and Kate's rumoured move out of London

(David Goddard/Getty Images)) The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are rumoured to be considering a move familiar to many young families, out of central London and into the Home Counties. ... Read more »

How cold is it going to get tonight?

Widespread frost is expected across the UK. (PA) Some parts of the UK could face their coldest night of the winter on Thursday, with temperatures going as low as -7C ... Read more »

NordVPN admits it does sometimes share user data with law enforcement

NordVPN has clarified its position regarding whether or not it will comply with information requests from international law enforcement agencies. As reported by PCMag, the VPN provider reached out to ... Read more »

How to watch The Apprentice 2022 episode 3 online for free in UK and abroad

Beginning with a shock exit and segueing into a drinks-related task, this week’s episode promises to be a dramatic concoction. Find out who Lord Sugar sends packing next with our ... Read more »

Capital One's luxury travel card, the Venture X, can deliver a $1,000 signup bonus

— Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you sign up for a credit card after clicking one of our links, we ... Read more »

‘Hitler should have killed you all': Woman accused of threatening and spitting on Jewish children in New York

‘Hitler should have killed you all’: Woman accused of threatening and spitting on Jewish children in New York New York police are searching for a woman accused of threatening and ... Read more »

Tory MP Wades Into 'Blackmail' Row... And Makes Everything Even Hairer

Tory backbencher Michael Fabricant has commented on the blackmail claims (Photo: NurPhoto via Getty Images) Tory backbencher Michael Fabricant shared his own take on the alleged blackmail said to be ... Read more »

Government scientists monitoring new BA.2 variant of Omicron

The nature of the new Omicron variant means it may be harder to detect. (PA) The government has confirmed it is monitoring a sub-variant of Omicron that scientists fear could ... Read more »

5 Reasons You Should Still Be Wearing Your Face Mask

(Photo: Images By Tang Ming Tung via Getty Images) Plan B rules are being scrapped from January 26, meaning working from home rules will end and face masks will no ... Read more »

Kate Middleton and Prince William Surprise Healthcare Workers — and Meet a Cockapoo Therapy Puppy!

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visit to the Clitheroe Community Hospital PA Images/Alamy Stock Photo Kate Middleton and Prince William Kate Middleton and Prince William are championing the mental ... Read more »

Keep your makeup looking flawless despite dry skin with these amazing products

— Recommendations are independently chosen by Reviewed’s editors. Purchases you make through our links may earn us a commission. You may feel like your dry skin is a blessing in ... Read more »

Shop deep discounts on Staub, Le Creuset and GreenPan at Williams Sonoma's huge Warehouse sale

— Recommendations are independently chosen by Reviewed’s editors. Purchases you make through our links may earn us a commission. There’s no better time than now to elevate your cooking experience ... Read more »

Windows 10 and 11 get a fix for search-breaking Outlook bug

Some Windows 10 and 11 users have been suffering at the hands of a strange Outlook bug which affects the search facility in the desktop email client, but a resolution ... Read more »

The highly anticipated 'Lord of the Rings' series finally has a name—here's how to watch

— Recommendations are independently chosen by Reviewed’s editors. Purchases you make through our links may earn us a commission. There and back again—it’s almost time to return to Middle Earth. ... Read more »

NYC Mayor Adams will convert his city paycheck to cryptocurrency via Coinbase

© Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for Brooklyn Academy of Music NYC Mayor Eric Adams will convert his paycheck into cryptocurrency Following through on a plan he announced before he ... Read more »

Updated daily: Here are the 10 best Amazon deals today

— Recommendations are independently chosen by Reviewed’s editors. Purchases you make through our links may earn us a commission. Every day, we scour Amazon to find the best deals available. ... Read more »

Activision Blizzard CEO thinks Guitar Hero and Skylanders could be revived by Microsoft

Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick has said the publisher’s acquisition by Microsoft could see the revival of the classic rhythm game series Guitar Hero. Speaking to VentureBeat about the new ... Read more »

Prezi review

Online presentation tools have evolved a lot over the last decade, with the advancement of various rich web technologies that have enabled developers to do everything they want within the ... Read more »

Today's best Super Bowl TV deal is this 70-inch 4K TV on sale for just $599.99

The Super Bowl is less than a month away, and if you’re looking for a killer deal on a big-screen TV, then you’ve come to the right place. Best Buy ... Read more »

Xbox backwards compatibility sale:10 hidden classics to buy right now

Microsoft is currently running a massive sale on classic Xbox and Xbox 360 games, with over 100 of them going for cheap and playable on your Xbox One or Xbox ... Read more »

Many game developers hate NFTs, too

© Image: Ubisoft Ubisoft’s NFTs, pictured here, received a critical reception when they were announced. NFTs have been a contentious topic in the video game industry as of late. Fans ... Read more »

Microsoft Teams emoji are about to get more annoying than ever

If you’ve ever felt that you just can’t express yourself enough on a Microsoft Teams call, then a new update coming to the platform could well be the answer. The ... Read more »

Tory Burch is offering impressive markdowns on its iconic purses, shoes and clothing

— Recommendations are independently chosen by Reviewed’s editors. Purchases you make through our links may earn us a commission. Take your winter wardrobe to the next level with fashionable finds ... Read more »

Nadal vs Khachanov live stream: how to Australian Open tennis 2022

Rafael Nadal is 5-0 in competitive matches since his return from injury, but he’s yet to face opposition as tough as fellow power-hitter Karen Khachanov, who’s looking to build on ... Read more »

There's more to renaming multiple files on a Mac than you think

© TheRegisti / Unsplash Apple’s Finder icon is smiling, but secrets lie behind those eyes. The mundane act of changing a computer file’s name seems so simple that many of ... Read more »

How to avoid seeing yourself on video calls

© lucas law / Unsplash Your camera might need to be on for school, but you might not want to watch yourself sit there. If you would rather square off ... Read more »

Messenger Kids’ new internet safety games are mostly teaching kids how to use Messenger

© Photo Illustration by Igor Golovniov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images Meta Messenger for Kids is adding new games to teach online safety Facebook parent company Meta has launched new activities ... Read more »

How to watch every Real Madrid football match online from anywhere in the world

It’s not just people in Spain who want to watch every Real Madrid live stream match. Ask any football fan who the best team in the world is and, through ... Read more »

Jason Isaacs interview: ‘I won't be stabbing JK Rowling in the back'

Jason Isaacs, known for his roles in the Harry Potter film series, The Patriot, Event Horizon and Armageddon – Rii Schroer Jason Isaacs, best-known around the world as Harry Potter’s ... Read more »

Meghan Markle's mother Doria Ragland is the Duchess' double in archived wedding photos

Meghan Markle's parents Doria Ragland and Thomas Markle tied the knot back in 1979 – and Doria looks remarkably like the Duchess in unearthed photos. READ: Who are Meghan Markle's ... Read more »

Tories 'threatened defecting MP Christian Wakeford with scrapping new school' amid blackmail claims

The former Tory MP who sensationally defected to Labour has claimed funding within his constituency was threatened if he did not vote with the Conservatives. Christian Wakeford, MP for South ... Read more »

UK company behind Tom Cruise space film unveils plans to launch space movie studio

© Image: S.E.E. An artistic rendering of SEE-1 attached to Axiom’s space station on the ISS On Thursday, a UK-based company that claims to be producing Tom Cruise’s upcoming film ... Read more »
On free-english-test.com you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic