Should I leave my VPN on all the time? Yes, and let us explain why
The answer to “should I leave a VPN on?” is yes. VPNs offer the best online security, so you should leave your VPN on at all times to protect yourself against data leaks and cyberattacks, while you’re using public W-Fi, and against intrusive snoopers such as ISPs or advertisers. So always keep your VPN on.
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. NordVPN also has plenty of additional functions such as Threat Protection or Kill Switch, which provide extra layers of protection.
When exactly should you keep your VPN on? Here are 8 times you should always keep your VPN on
1. Keep your VPN on when you use public Wi-Fi
Public Wi-Fi isn’t encrypted, so hackers can 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.
Luckily, using a VPN will encrypt your public Wi-Fi connection. NordVPN’s strong encryption algorithms hide your online activity and protect you against malicious actors who try to secretly intercept your connection and steal your personal information.
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. Keep your VPN on when you are in a country with harsh internet restrictions and a low index of internet freedom
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 for these threats. For example, NordVPN’s Kill Switch function shuts down your internet connection in case the VPN connection suddenly stops.
3. Keep your VPN on when you send sensitive data or perform 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 banking online while on the move.
Banking scams and credit card fraud are some of the most worrying cyberattacks since they’re fiercely escalating during a pandemic that has 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 cyber attack, a hacker positions themselves between your device and the internet connection to steal your information in transit. Banking sites themselves are always encrypted, so your details should be safe on their sites. But your details can be stolen and intercepted in other ways too, like when you’re connected to public Wi-Fi and making transactions 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. Keep your VPN on 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 (such 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. Keep your VPN on 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.
HTTPS encrypts only the connection between you and the website, while a VPN encrypts all your connections. HTTPS encryption is usually weaker than that of a VPN, so make sure to use both HTTPS and VPN at the same time.
Moreover, a VPN can offer lots of other security functions such as Threat Protection and Kill Switch. NordVPN’s Threat Protection feature warns you before you enter any malicious websites that might host malware, and a VPN Kill Switch cuts your devices off from the internet if your VPN ever fails. That way, you’re protected even in unpredictable circumstances.
6. Keep your VPN on when you wish 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.
Your university, school, or workplace usually has 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. 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 This makes the internet think you’re in the UK instead of the US, for instance. NordVPN lets you connect to servers in 59 countries all over the world, from the UK to Canada and Australia.
7. Keep your VPN on if you experience malicious pop-ups or annoying ads
NordVPN 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 advertisements for 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.
NordVPN’s Threat Protection feature also uses an ad blocker to protect you against malicious ads as well as websites that are known for phishing attacks and hosting malware. Threat Protection is an invaluable tool to have as part of your VPN, especially since you can barely tell when an ad is malicious. Clicking on malicious ads can potentially download malware or a virus onto your device, and malicious websites can steal your personal information, especially since they’re not encrypted.
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8. Keep your VPN on if you want to access your devices remotely
NordVPN’s Meshnet feature lets you connect multiple devices as part of an extended network. As well as being able to access data stored on devices that you don’t have physical access to (a home computer while you’re traveling, for example), Meshnet also gives you the ability to connect to the internet using the IP address of your home network, even when you’re not at home.
9. Keep your VPN on 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 often 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.
VPNs give you paramount privacy and excellent security online. If you keep your VPN on all the time, it will keep your browsing private and help secure your personal information from spies. All you have to do is download NordVPN and switch on the app to start browsing privately.
And before you start wondering how big the difference between VPNs and private browsing tabs is, know that it’s massive. Private browsing tabs make sure that the websites you visit aren’t stored in the browsing history of the device you’re using. However, your online activity can still be seen by your ISP and snooping 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.
When you should think about turning off your VPN
While we advise you to disable your VPN as rarely as possible, needing consistently high speeds could be a rare exception:
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. However, NordVPN offers exceptionally high speeds, so you may not even notice any difference.
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.
Get an extra layer of security with NordVPN
To sum it up, keeping your VPN on all the time is not only perfectly safe but actually recommended. It can keep your online identity anonymous, protect you from attacks associated with unsecured public Wi-Fi networks and help you bypass various artificial restrictions.When should you not use VPN? ›
- Using VPN is illegal in many countries. ...
- Performance issues while using the private network. ...
- VPN service might use your data and monitor your activity. ...
- VPN service may be difficult to set up for business users. ...
- It might add more cost to your network connection.
Using a VPN service almost always slows down your connection speed. This is because, once you turn the VPN on, your connection starts to take a longer route to the internet, via your chosen VPN server. With good-quality VPNs, the speed loss is minimal, to the extent that you won't even notice it.Should I have VPN on my iPhone? ›
Do I need a VPN on my iPhone? It's crucial to use a VPN on your iPhone whenever you're connected to the internet. The built-in encryptions in iPhones are limited to the traffic your device sends to Apple's servers. Cybercriminals can easily sneak a peek at the rest of your internet traffic.Is turning VPN on and off bad? ›
Turning off your VPN reveals your IP address, identity, and data to interested parties, including snoopers and cybercrooks. You'll also lose secure access to your favorite content on certain networks. We recommend you always keep your VPN on and only disconnect if absolutely necessary.Is it worth having a VPN at home? ›
Ultimately, a VPN is a necessary and valued tool in 2023. It completely secures your private and personal information and prevents your data from getting into the hands of third parties who can use this information against you. For such reasons, it's recommended to keep your VPN on for most if not all of the time.Which countries to avoid VPN? ›
Never connect to a VPN server that's located in one of the "Five Eyes" countries. Those are the US, UK, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. Also, avoid the "Nine Eyes" countries (France, Norway, Denmark, The Netherlands). And avoid the "Fourteen Eyes" countries (Belgium, Italy, Germany, Spain, Sweden).Can FBI track VPN? ›
Police can't track live, encrypted VPN traffic, but if they have a court order, they can go to your ISP (Internet Service Provider) and request connection or usage logs. Since your ISP knows you're using a VPN, they can direct the police to them.Does VPN affect online banking? ›
Can banks detect a VPN? While a bank cannot tell that you're using a VPN specifically, they can see your IP address — or rather, the IP address of the VPN server you're connected to. This won't always be a problem because your IP address does change depending on the network you're connected to.What are the most common VPN issues? ›
Common VPN issues include your VPN not connecting, your IP address still being visible despite the VPN saying it's connected, and your VPN continuously disconnecting. It's usually possible to overcome these issues by resetting your internet, restarting your VPN software, or changing your VPN server/protocol.
Some of the most common reasons include privacy, protection, and anonymity. A VPN helps keep your data hidden from other internet users by disguising it as regular traffic. It also scrambles your IP address so that hackers can't find you or steal your identity.Why is my iPhone VPN always on? ›
If your VPN keeps turning on iPhone and you've already checked enabled functions and even reinstated your VPN client, try to reset your network settings. Resetting network settings will turn off any cellular data connections you have and delete any additionally configured network settings.Does Apple provide a VPN? ›
Secure access to private corporate networks is available in iOS, iPadOS, and macOS using established industry-standard virtual private network (VPN) protocols.Is it worth having a VPN on my phone? ›
VPNs are important because internet connections can be eavesdropped easily by malicious cybercriminals. Whether you are using wireless or wired connections, your data might be visible to others that can access the network.Why would you disconnect from a VPN? ›
While it's recommended to use a VPN at all times, there are a few scenarios when you might want to disable it for a short while. Situations in which you may wish to disconnect a VPN include: troubleshooting network issues; setting up an internet connection for the first time.What are the pros and cons of using a VPN? ›
|Protects your online privacy||Cheap or free VPNs are slow, insecure and may collect your data|
|Masks your IP address||Premium VPNs cost money|
|Works as a handy protction tool for activists in hostile environments||VPNs do not protect you from data hoarding on social media|
In the United States, yes, it is legal to use a VPN. Every country has different regulations regarding the legality of VPNs. Your VPN is a privacy tool, and you are completely free to use it as one. While using a VPN is completely legal, you should never engage in illegal activity while using a VPN.What is the number 1 VPN in the world? ›
- Private Internet Access VPN.
- Norton Secure VPN.
- Hotspot Shield.
While Netflix has a ban against VPNs and proxy servers, it's perfectly legal to use VPNs on Netflix; it just may not work. Netflix has specific licensing agreements with TV shows and movies, meaning that they're only allowed to offer them to certain audiences, divided by country.Can police find you if you have VPN? ›
Police can't track live, encrypted VPN traffic, but if they have a court order, they can go to your ISP (Internet Service Provider) and request connection or usage logs. Since your ISP knows you're using a VPN, they can direct the police to them.
Can my ISP see my VPN? While using a VPN, your ISP cannot decipher the contents of your internet traffic nor can it figure out where your traffic is traveling to or from. That means your ISP cannot see what sites you visit or anything you do while connected. It can only see that encrypted data is traveling to a server.Can an email be traced if I use a VPN? ›
Using a VPN to Send Email
Instead of sending your emails using your own IP address, the VPN will assign you a different IP address thus meaning that the sender of the email cannot truly be identified.
You should always use a VPN when online banking. If possible, only do your online banking when you're at home (not using public Wi-Fi). However, even when you're home, you should use a VPN for added privacy. This is especially important when online banking.Can a VPN stop hackers? ›
How does a VPN prevent hacking? By redirecting your internet traffic to disguise your IP address, it makes it impossible to track you. And by encrypting the information you send across the internet; it stops anyone who wants to intercept your information from being able to read it.Is it safe to use credit card over VPN? ›
Whether you're using a VPN or not, the payment information will be transmitted securely and encrypted. The VPN only serves to protect your internet connection and hide your location, it will not affect the credit card transaction process.Why do so many websites not work with VPN? ›
One of the simplest ways of VPN blocking is blacklisting the VPN's IP addresses. Sites like Netflix and Hulu simply find the lists of IP addresses belonging to a VPN (unfortunately, these are sometimes available publicly) and block their access to the website.
NordVPN is a fast and secure VPN service with a range of unique features. It's one of the most secure VPNs out there, combining AES-256 encryption with an ad and malware blocker, as well as double VPN services, aka multi-hop connections. If you want to bury your online presence, NordVPN provides the tools.Is my VPN hacked? ›
Router login failure
Having trouble logging into your router's admin settings is an immediate sign of having your router hacked. Since passwords can't change themselves, a hacker likely used some kind of password attack to break into your router's settings.
Since your VPN is your best form of protection against hackers and helps keep your information private, it's best to leave your VPN on whenever you're on the internet.What happens when you enable VPN on iPhone? ›
A VPN reroutes your internet through a server address with a different IP than your own. That way, no one online can trace your internet activity back to you. A VPN also encrypts your internet data to protect your personal information.
Go to Settings and tap General. Tap VPN & Device Management. Tap VPN. Tap the Status toggle to disconnect the VPN.What VPN is recommended by Apple? ›
ExpressVPN is currently the fastest VPN we've tested, causing us to lose less than 2% of our total internet speeds. Its apps for iOS and Android are designed with a streamlined approach aimed at connecting fast without a fuss.Does Safari have a built-in VPN? ›
No, Safari doesn't have a built-in VPN. iCloud paid subscribers do get an extra security feature called iCloud Private Relay.Do Apple computers come with VPN? ›
Do Macs have built-in VPNs? Mac does not have a built-in VPN; however, you can connect to a school or company's private network from a Mac, if you have the required information.Do I need a VPN on my phone if I don't use Wi-Fi? ›
Without an active internet connection, a VPN won't work since it cannot create a secure tunnel through its servers over the internet. Other than Wi-Fi, you can establish an internet connection using alternative means such as cellular mobile data and ethernet.Does Verizon have a VPN? ›
Verizon's VPN services.
It's affordable — just a few dollars a month — and works globally to protect privacy and block ad tracking. There are 2 ways to subscribe: Go to MyVerizon.com and sign in; then go to the Products & Apps page.
Let's face it: Using a virtual private network will slow down your internet -- often by 50% or more. It's the nature of how VPNs work, and there's really no way around it. However, there are a few things you can try to get the fastest possible speeds out of your VPN connection.Do you really need a VPN for Firestick? ›
The main reason why you need a VPN for Firestick is online privacy. A Firestick needs to be connected to the internet, which makes your browsing and other online activities vulnerable to tracking by internet service providers, marketing outfits, government agencies, and hackers.Why is my VPN always on iPhone? ›
If your VPN keeps turning on iPhone and you've already checked enabled functions and even reinstated your VPN client, try to reset your network settings. Resetting network settings will turn off any cellular data connections you have and delete any additionally configured network settings.Is VPN faster than Wi-Fi? ›
Most of the time, you won't get a speed increase by using a VPN. That's because a VPN can't actually increase the amount of bandwidth available to you beyond what your connection is capable of.
A VPN protects your activity so hackers or malicious actors on the same network as you cannot see the information transmitted to and from your device. It also obscures your IP address, shielding you from remote attacks and distributed denial of service attacks.Why does my internet speed go down after connecting to VPN? ›
Simply put, a VPN will slow your internet connection down, because your internet traffic is going through the VPN server. It's an extra step in the process. However, a premium VPN like NordVPN is so fast that you won't normally notice any increased latency. The slowdown is usually invisible to the user.What happens if I don't use a VPN on FireStick? ›
If you don't use a VPN, your ISP will be able to see what you're watching. Your connection may be insecure if you're on a public Wi-Fi network, making you susceptible to hacking. Google and other online advertisers may be using your data to create targeted ads.Should I have a VPN for streaming? ›
Also, using a VPN can help you when streaming content through any service, since your ISP won't be able to know about it. This is especially important for downloading and streaming since ISPs often throttle network bandwidth when they find users doing either.Can you get caught jailbreaking FireStick? ›
No one is going to sue you for jailbreaking your Fire Stick. Installing Kodi or any other such FireStick apps are also not illegal. However, if you access to copyright content using Kodi builds or add-ons, then you can very much land in trouble with your government or your ISP. It is very much like torrenting.What happens if I turn off VPN on my iPhone? ›
What happens if I turn off VPN? If you disconnect a VPN, you will disable additional online security and privacy it provides. Without a virtual private network, you won't have a secure connection on http websites, which can put you at risk.