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What can you do and not do with a VPN?

According to the many VPN ads on the Internet, a VPN is first and foremost a tool to get rid of dangerous hackers who are after our data. That’s true, but a VPN is not limited to that alone. Here are the three main VPN uses on your PC, smartphone, or even TV sets under Android TV.

Access Netflix’s foreign catalog

VPNs make it easy to relocate your connection abroad. A server located in the United States will, therefore, allow accessing Netflix’s American catalog as if you were present on American territory.

One of the main advantages of a VPN is that it provides access to Netflix’s American and foreign catalogs.

Generally speaking, a VPN makes it possible to bypass what is known as “geoblocking” which are blockages set up by websites or services depending on the countries where you are in. It is the case with Netflix – whose American catalog is much more complete than the European one – but it also works for Amazon Prime Video or to access American television channels.

Bypassing geoblocking also has another useful purpose: it lowers the price of rentals or online services. The cost of a rental car can vary from 5 to 15%, depending on the country where you are searching from. Just connect to a VPN to test the prices by changing servers from the VPN application to a different country.

Protect your anonymity online

So here we are, on the Internet, malicious people are lurking next to your connection. They want your data, they want to get your credit card numbers, they want to know what you do every night on these ponies sites.

Of course, there are not any malicious hackers who are after your data every day. But like it or not, the web is nowadays very much monitored. Whether on peer-to-peer networks or through social networks that like to know where you are connecting from and what you are doing, it is difficult to hide from the state or large technology companies.

Here’s how a VPN works: a secure and encrypted tunnel is created between your device and the server. The server will then go on the Internet, but the data it will send you are undecipherable.

What a VPN does not allow

Today, the VPN is an actual digital Swiss army knife. It can also bypass censorship of countries that restrict Internet access (China, Iran, to name but a few), guarantee connection security at open WiFi access points, or even and generally ensure your online anonymity.

On the other hand, a VPN is not a digital shield against various cyber threats. If it protects your connection by encrypting it, it will not protect you from viruses and does not protect you from social engineering. By definition, a VPN does not look at the data you download or use: it cannot do anything if you go to suspicious sites or download suspicious files!