Do you need a VPN to keep your internet activity private and safe?

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A virtual private network effectively secures your network and allows you to unblock geo-restrictions while hiding your IP address.


But do you need a VPN to keep your internet activity private and safe? Is this really a much needed tool to keep your browsing activity a secret, or are these claims just myths?

Here, we’ll explain why you may or may not need a VPN to browse the web and protect your online activity.


Are VPN services keeping you anonymous?

Yes and no.

A VPN is not a solution to make you anonymous, but rather aims to keep your internet activity secure or private to some extent. There are several myths about using a VPN, and this is one of the lesser known that many users don’t explore.

Yes, your IP address is kept obscure and your country of origin is hidden on the website you are visiting. However, there is more to it than meets the eye.

When it comes to your overall browsing activity, it is likely that you are logged into some background services while browsing. And as such, these could possibly associate you with the new IP address.

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Plus, only a handful of services go above and beyond to offer anonymous payment options, without requiring you to share personal information.

In addition to these factors, you should know that you need tools like Tor Browser or hardened web browser to escape various tracking technologies.

While it is possible to apply extreme techniques to stay out of the network, these are often not a practical solution for many.

Therefore, neither of us can ever be truly anonymous using a VPN. We leave digital footprints everywhere in one form or another. And, a VPN can’t magically erase your digital footprint or help you get off the network, like movies.

Therefore, it is essential to note that a VPN is not an all-in-one solution for hiding your identity online. It only prevents websites from tracking your original IP address and location and secures your connection.


Related: Free VPNs to Protect Your Privacy

Do VPN companies log your activity?


Photo of a VPN displayed on the screen of a smartphone

Several VPN companies claim that they don’t log any of your activity. But if they don’t have evidence to back it up, you just have their word.

No system is 100% foolproof; Security incidents can and do happen with VPN servers. For example, a NordVPN server was hacked in 2018. After that, the attacker had easier access to perform a man-in-the-middle attack. Once done, you could intercept a single connection.

Another VPN service provider, Windscribe VPN, also suffered a breach in 2021.

Many VPN services are trustworthy, but it’s important to make sure that they can back up their claims not to save your information. To some extent, you can trust the third party audits presented by them.

A VPN’s no-logging policy should give you some confidence, but it doesn’t give you the green light to explore illegal activity – and many providers will explicitly state that you cannot use their services for such purposes. .


When do you need a VPN?

Understanding why and when a VPN is useful is essential. This should help you decide if you really need it.

For starters, when you need to hide your IP address from a website or service, you need a VPN.

The ability to hide your original IP address and connect through servers in different countries allows you to unblock geological restrictions. And beyond that, you can also protect your original location by appearing to be logged in from another location. This should come in handy when trying to access restricted services or when looking to consume content that is only available in certain countries.

On top of that, if you are a privacy-conscious user, a VPN can prevent your Internet service provider (ISP) from connecting or spying on your activity.

Your ISP may be able to detect that you are using a VPN. But they can’t figure out what you’re doing when you’re logged in.


A VPN is also useful for bypassing specific connection issues. For example, when you can’t connect to a website, trying it using a VPN is a solution to check if it’s a problem with your browser, ISP, or the site. Web.

Can you stay private without a VPN?


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Without a VPN, you can accomplish the same tasks, like preventing your ISP from spying on your activity and unblocking restricted sites.

All you need is secure DNS service.

For example, unblocking Netflix content can be done using a SmartDNS service that allows you to change your location when connecting to the service. In another case, a DNS service like NextDNS can help you block trackers and prevent native tracking on your smartphones.

A DNS service also has its share of advantages that have no impact on the speed of your Internet connection while having various configuration options.


With the help of DNS over HTTPS, it’s hard to tell the difference between encrypted DNS queries and regular HTTPS web connections. Thus, it makes your DNS queries private and does not make it easy for ISPs or the government to track your online activity.

Setup can be tricky if you have multiple devices, but services like NextDNS and ControlD have made it easier than ever.

Of course, a DNS doesn’t measure up to a VPN in terms of privacy and security. A DNS service may not mask your IP address, and it is definitely not a solution for downloading files privately using torrents.

You don’t need a VPN for everything

While a VPN can be useful in terms of privacy and security, you don’t need it for everything.

If all you need is to stop your ISP from spying on your activity, a good DNS service should do the job. And, it should also improve your browsing experience in the process.


Therefore, using a private DNS service should be sufficient for most users.

However, if you need better unblocking capabilities, an encrypted connection tunnel, and different IP addresses, a VPN should be your choice.


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