8 common VPN myths you should stop believing
VPN myths, or the common misconceptions regarding VPNs, circulate all around. This technology is dynamic, and its rapid evolution can seem like an unsolvable puzzle. After looking at the media coverage on the digital landscape, the strive for privacy becomes a one-person journey. If you believe in the common VPN myths, you won’t adequately evaluate its significance. In this digital war, there is no room for misinterpretations. Polish your armor and let’s debunk the most popular VPN myths together.
Myth 1: A VPN is only for tech experts
One of the biggest VPN myths is that only skilled technical specialists can use them. In reality, even a complete newbie can set it up without any assistance. People are prone to believing that all technology requires an in-depth understanding. So, it is natural for people to overlook VPNs as they seem like too much work.
However, modern VPNs have evolved so much that their setup is seamless and surprisingly brief. All you need to do is download an application compatible with your operating system. Then, the process is similar to any other registration. In some cases, apps even have helpful guidelines to inform users about how they can connect to servers or switch between them.
Myth 2: Only overly-suspicious people use them
Some skeptics treat VPNs as equivalent to covering your laptop camera with a sticker. If you fear hackers, you are paranoid: crooks have bigger fish to fry. These judgmental attitudes trigger one of the most inaccurate VPN myths. While you might not be a primary target, your data still has substance. Besides defeating hackers, people might simply want to reduce their digital footprint.
In addition to averting surveillance and hackers, a VPN might be the tool used to bypass geo-blocks. Many companies limit their scope and focus on their targeted audiences instead of infiltrating other markets. Hence, they prevent consumers from other locations to use their services to the full extent or at all. A VPN spoofs your location and lets you access the service you want. So, the motivation for using a VPN varies but is not parallel to wearing a tinfoil hat.
Myth 3: It is a burden on your internet speed
Accounts of VPN usage and its performance contradict others. Some state that VPNs have negative repercussions on internet speed. Others claim that VPNs can elevate connections by freeing them from ISP throttling. Each experience is unique, and the results might vary from user to user. However, VPN providers polish their tools to make speed infringement as minimal as possible. Of course, since a VPN encapsulates and encrypts data, some milliseconds might slither into your routine. However, a fraction of a second is a small price to pay for privacy.
Myth 4: Only cybercriminals use VPNs
Privacy is overkill if you have nothing to hide.A portion of the internet community might regard the current digital environment as comfortable enough. So, they associate VPN usage with cybercriminals, craving to be untraceable online. While some hackers might rely on such tools to conceal their identities, VPNs are much more than digital weapons. They are the armor that citizens use to evade surveillance, monitoring, censorship, and discrimination. The oppressive internet routine in some countries raises red flags on the global scale as well. Believing VPN myths that denigrate them as a mere part of criminals’ arsenal is offensive to people residing in heavily-censored regions.
Myth 5: A VPN protects from all digital threats
One of the dangerous VPN myths is that it can withstand all. However, a VPN is not a substitute for antivirus software. So, it would be unwise to treat it as a universal solution. A VPN will help avert compromising situations, but it won’t make decisions for you. For instance, if you willingly give away private information to scammers, a VPN won’t help you. Hence, using a VPN is the most effective when added in combination with other privacy-focused measures. Educating yourself about cyber threats should be one of the priorities.
Myth 6: They are illegal, and you could go to jail
VPN myths related to law and potential criminal offenses are more difficult to comprehend. To avoid thorny legal issues, you should read on how each government treats VPN usage. China is one of the pioneers that envisions the digital environment much differently than others. In addition to the lack of laws protecting privacy, China picks which VPN providers reflect their ideals. Similar practices are in Russia, Iran, Oman, Turkey, Belarus, Iraq, and UAE. However, the majority of governments do not impose any strict regulations or bans on VPNs. So, you can use the VPN freely, as long as you do not perform illicit activities.
Myth 7: Tor and a proxy gives you the same privacy
One of the prevalent VPN myths is that it is the same as a proxy or Tor. While they appear in similar contexts, people might misunderstand their relations. Tor is the privacy-focused browser that supports anonymous browsing. However, experts indicate that Tor is much less immune to bugs or vulnerabilities that can compromise privacy. A proxy is also not a permanent solution. Many of them get blocked over time. Additionally, their main purpose is to manipulate your IP address, but your tracking is still possible.
Myth 8: All VPNs are the same
Despite looking strikingly similar, all VPNs are different. Starting from the interface elements, ending with encryption protocols applied: each product is unique. Furthermore, VPNs comply with custom guidelines. Concerns regarding no-logs policies fuel many fiery arguments. Often, VPN providers write detailed documents, explaining the collection and retention of consumers’ data.
Former chef and the head of Atlas VPN blog team. He's an experienced cybersecurity expert with a background of technical content writing.