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Should I leave my VPN on all the time?

Should I leave my VPN on all the time?

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The best VPN (Virtual Private Network) services keep your IP address, online activities and personal data encrypted and private. It also allows you to access region-restricted content – and it can also reduce streaming buffering issues. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that a more secure VPN is a popular choice when it comes to improving anonymity, security, and online access.

However, you may be wondering if leaving your VPN on all the time has drawbacks or is necessary. In this article, we discuss situations where you should keep turning it on and which ones turning it off might be more beneficial.

Leaving your VPN increases privacy and security

Leaving your VPN on means your browsing is always encrypted and private. This is especially important when your online activity typically involves sharing sensitive information, connecting to a public Wi-Fi hotspot, or accessing websites that are not entirely encrypted.

If you use public Wi-Fi frequently (in places like coffee shops, airport terminals, and hotels), it is imperative that you keep your VPN running as these networks tend to be unsecured, meaning that hackers and snoopers can easily access your data Online / Activity. The same applies if you share personal information (for example, filling in details while shopping online), banking online, or visit websites that are not entirely encrypted with a secure HTTPS extension.

In all of these scenarios, your VPN keeps you safe by making it difficult to detect your presence and encrypting your data, so it is essential to let it run constantly. Additionally, be sure to use a VPN with a Kill Switch feature, which immediately shuts down your network connection if your VPN stops working.

VPN also improves streaming

First, maintaining your VPN means that you are less likely to experience bandwidth throttling by your Internet Service Provider (ISP).

Your ISP will usually limit your bandwidth if you are streaming content that is thought to be taking up too much space on the network, which can then lead to persistent buffering. Since a VPN effectively keeps you hidden from your ISP, your favorite movies and TV shows are less likely to be constantly interrupted.

Second, most decent streaming VPN services allow you to access geo-blocked content (for example, content that is blocked in certain regions/countries), which means you can stream your favorite content on popular platforms, such as Amazon Prime and Netflix, from many locations . To ensure this consistently, your VPN must remain turned on or else your IP address location will be detected and your access blocked.

(Photo credit: Leon Seibert/Unsplash)

Are there drawbacks to leaving your VPN on all the time?

Although your VPN can improve issues like bandwidth throttling, it can also cause your internet connection to slow down. This is because the VPN redirects your data to a remote server, which can sometimes cause delays.

If you’re in the middle of something that requires faster speeds and experience significant lag (for example, downloading large files), you may find it helpful to turn your VPN off for a while. However, first make sure that you are connected to a private Wi-Fi network that you can trust (for example, your home network), so getting a fast VPN from the start may be a simpler solution.

Keeping the VPN running can drain your device battery more quickly. If this becomes a problem, it may be a good idea to turn off your VPN for a short while. Having said that, always think carefully about the context in which you’re going to turn it off – if you’re on public Wi-Fi, it might not be the best idea.

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In most circumstances, you should leave your VPN on to stay protected from snoopers and hackersβ€”particularly if your online activity involves sharing sensitive information, or transferring money, while connected to a public Wi-Fi hotspot.

Plus, if you like to stream frequently, you’ll get better (and wider) access to content with your VPN constantly on, as it can bypass annoying restrictions like bandwidth throttling and geo-blocked content.

You may want to temporarily turn off your VPN if it causes a noticeable lag in your internet browsing speed, but always consider potential security risks before doing so.

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