Do you need a VPN at home?

Anton P. | January 25, 2021

Locked front doors and closed blinds give homeowners a sense of security and privacy. The same reassuring feeling can come from a home VPN, shielding netizens from threats lurking in the digital space. You might know: VPNs are incredibly useful in unfamiliar settings. However, their relevance does not wither when users connect to networks they consider secure. Besides the dangers of unsecured Wi-Fi, users are unwilling participants in far-reaching tracking practices. Sadly, such monitoring follows you home, and a VPN at home will help you tackle it accordingly.

A VPN at home: how can it improve your life?

Hiding from ISPs

Internet Service Providers have the right to monetize their clients’ browsing habits and histories. Typically, such consumer data is relevant to marketers, hoping to tweak their advertising models. It is a disappointing truth, but one you can beat with encryption from a home VPN.

Depending on your living arrangements, you might share your internet connection with neighbors or roommates. For instance, landlords could provide internet access to multiple tenants. Then, they become your ISP, and you might question their reliability. Landlords or dormitory managers could watch over the traffic on the networks they supply. The same scenario could happen with other tenants connecting to the shared hotspot. They could get a glimpse of the traffic traveling through the wireless network. While you might know these people, you might not necessarily trust them.

A Virtual Private Network will cease ISPs from profiting off your data. It also protects from snoopy landlords, neighbors, and roommates attempting to spy on your activities. However, if you are the sole user of your Wi-Fi, your official ISP receives substantial revenue flowing from home broadband and wireless data plans. Thus, it is not the entity that can easily justify its double-dealings with consumers’ logs. Hence, if you wish to escape their prying eyes, take your ISP out of the loop on your browsing habits.

Boosting internet connection

ISPs have their ways of dealing with netizens that engage in bandwidth-heavy activities. One of the infamous techniques is internet throttling, meaning that ISPs will intentionally slow down specific traffic. Such measures typically apply when providers try to avoid congestion. However, a study in 2019 revealed that the leading wireless carriers in the US throttled clients’ bandwidth in different situations. The number-one throttled activity was video streaming on Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Prime, and other providers. Thus, your ISP might follow similar prioritization. If you suffer from buffering, delayed load times, and poor-video quality, it could be that your ISP is the one to blame.

Hence, the black-listed activities include gaming or streaming. Thus, users will experience lags, buffering, low video resolution, and other symptoms suggesting sudden performance drops. A VPN at home might resolve snail-paced connections. Since ISPs need to identify when users perform bandwidth-heavy activities, encryption will make their check-ups futile.

Unblocking access to various services

A home VPN is not all about obviating intrusive tracking practices or reducing digital footprints. Sometimes, it is the instrument used to battle geo-blocks, preventing access to country-specific services. The decision to restrict access can derive from copyright and licensing issues or government rules. Typically, geo-blocking is prevalent in the video streaming industry, social media, news sites, or dating sites. Hence, users in the US and Germany will likely face different access privileges online. If you wish to explore the internet to the fullest, a location change will give you that chance. Turn to a VPN service provider, connect to an appropriate server, and the door is wide open.

Geo-blocks imposed due to licensing or copyright issues make sense to an extent. Sadly, state-sponsored censorship can go above and beyond to control citizens. Oppressive governments can limit or block access to services they deem offensive and prevent people from fully participating in digital life. Thus, a VPN at home can break such shackles, supporting independent journalists and outspoken citizens.

Preventing family members or roommates from spying

It might be that you share your network with roommates or family members. Hence, when people connect to the same router, its logs can serve as a window to your activities. It won’t necessarily let anyone see your exact actions, such as the actual comment you left on YouTube. The person with access to the router can see that you visited YouTube, and presumably for how long. However, when websites or apps do not offer adequate protection, snoopers could take a more detailed look at your activities. If this potential for spying bothers you, you can stop it by using a home VPN. Encryption will prevent both your noisy roommates and ISPs from keeping tabs on your browsing.

Which devices need a home VPN?

A VPN for your computer

You will likely perform most of your daily activities either on a laptop or desktop computer. They might include streaming, browsing, gaming, online shopping, or any other task. You might even undertake work-related activities that involve more confidential procedures. By rerouting your traffic through a home VPN, you make these activities more private.

Third parties will have fewer tracking routes, be it ISPs slowing down your gaming or others accumulating logs on your browsing patterns. How can you achieve anonymity and privacy on your home computer or laptop? Install a reliable VPN client on your computer, connect to a server, and protect your device from unnecessary tracking. It will make your browsing history, downloads, or anything that you send over a network unreadable.

A VPN for your smartphone

A smartphone is a go-to gadget when you need quick access to the internet anywhere within your home. It can replace your computer, as most activities are equally achievable on mobile devices. Thus, it requires protection even if you are using it at home. If you already use a home VPN on your computer, do not leave your phone out of the equation.

A VPN for all

Computers and smartphones are the dominant devices you will use at home. However, you might also wield other smart home products. They include video doorbells, digital home assistants, smart bulbs, smart door locks, and a range of other convenient devices. These tools also participate in data collection and might send it to central applications for storage. Depending on the product and network restraints, data transmission can happen in real-time or in batches at any time. To make this transmission safe, you need to improve network security. Typically, you won’t have the option of installing a home VPN on individual devices. Hence, you might need to set it up on your router. Currently, Atlas VPN does not support routers. You might need to look for other available options to secure your traffic on the router level.

How can you set up a home VPN?

Turning to a reputable VPN service provider is an option that requires no technical know-how. It renders your connection secure instantly, right after you connect to a server. It is also the option for maintaining blazing speeds and bypassing geo-restrictions. With Atlas VPN as your home VPN, you can build a secure environment for all your activities. Simply install it on compatible devices you want to protect and start browsing. Limit the grasp of ISPs, noisy roommates, and experience the internet fully with encrypted connection sheltering you from tracking.

Anton P.

Anton P.

Former chef and the head of Atlas VPN blog team. He's an experienced cybersecurity expert with a background of technical content writing.

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