This article was contributed by Sarah Sidney who works as a creative content writer for Search Agent Marketing Agency.

If you’re like 44% of all UK Internet users, you’ll have used a virtual private network (VPN) at some point in your lifetime.

Because of this, it’s now widely known that downloading a VPN for UK devices can help to create an additional layer of network security (especially when using unsecured public networks), while also masking your IP address and enabling you to access geographically restricted content libraries through Netflix, Hulu and similar platforms.

But these applications only represent the tip of the iceberg for VPNs, which actually offer access to a much broader range of uses. We’ve outlined three of the best below, while asking why they’re so beneficial for users.

#1. Enjoy Increased Data Privacy From Your Internet Service Provider

While you’re considerably less likely to be targeted by hackers or malware attacks when connected to a secure home network, your data (and subsequent privacy) can still be vulnerable.

One of the main reasons for this is the role played by Internet Service Providers (ISPs), such as Dodo, Optus or Telstra. These are the companies that you pay to provide you with Wi-Fi connectivity each month, while they can also access your Internet data, location and browsing history at any time.

There are two main risks here. Firstly, and from a security perspective, the data garnered by ISPs is constantly vulnerable to cyberattacks and breaches, with some 39% of UK businesses having recorded at least one such attack during the previous 12 months.

In the worst case scenario, these datasets can also be monetized and sold to third party advertisers (even when you browse in ‘private’ mode), potentially placing your information directly in the wrong hands.

Secondly, ISPs can observe your web activity and data and identify practices (such as gaming or streaming) that consume large amounts of data during peak periods. If this activity is observed regularly, an ISP can throttle your bandwidth in order to reduce your connection speed and ensure better performance across the entire network.

A VPN combats both of these threats, by routing all data and web traffic through an encrypted tunnel (which is inaccessible to hackers or ISPs) and simultaneously masking your IP address and physical location.

#2. Access Smart Savings When Shopping

Interestingly, downloading and installing a paid and reputable VPN on your device can actively help you to save money when shopping and buying items online.

This is because vendors and certain types of business (particularly airlines and subscription services) vary their pricing according to the location of individual customers, charging a premium to those who reside in developed countries such as the UK and US.

Such pricing variations can also occur for various other reasons, but the upshot is that you may end up paying considerably more for items and services based solely on your IP address and physical location.

A VPN can help in this respect, however, as it creates an encrypted tunnel by connecting your device to a remote server. The market leading clients offer a broad range of global server locations, enabling you to identify servers in different parts of the world according to your needs.

Not only does this feature circumnavigate the geographical content restrictions associated with global streaming services, but it also tricks vendors and businesses into thinking that you’re based in a different part of the world.

This should enable you to compare a broader price market and purchase goods for less, potentially driving significant cash savings over multiple purchases and an extended period of time.

#3. Enhanced Data Privacy From the Apps and Services That You Use

We’ve already touched on how VPNs can protect you from the prying eyes of ISPs, but they also offer an additional layer of protection from the individual services and dedicated apps that you use.

After all, many established apps and Internet platforms have the capacity to collate and utilize data, while prominent examples like Facebook and Google have faced legal action for their utilization of customer information in the past.

In fact, a recent lawsuit against Google accused them of deceptive location tracking technology, raising concerns about their approach to data collation, management and the way in which they describe their operation to users.

The good news is that a VPN will also prevent such apps and websites from attributing behavior and activity to your device’s IP address. In doing so, it will also limit the collation of your location data and browser history, creating smaller and less important datasets for third parties to access, buy or leverage.

Of course, cookies and similar tracking technologies can still garner data through your Internet connection, so a VPN doesn’t provide full protection in this respect.

However, it will reduce the amount and types of data that third parties can gather from your device while enabling you to browse native apps and services with genuine peace of mind.

About the author

Sarah Sidney works as a creative content writer for Search Agent Marketing Agency. She creates smart content with almost 7 years of experience in Lifestyle, Tech and other topics.