Although the answer could be extremely complex, in truth the reason a person needs a VPN is for security and privacy. The most common reasons for using a VPN include:
1. You Want Extra Digital Security
From our photos to our personal health records to our finances: most of our lives are online nowadays. Using a VPN will provide extra encryption and security when you are transferring your personal data.
As the following map shows, various Governments around the world either censor the internet or demonstrate intrusive surveillance. Any country with an icon actively monitors it's citizens and people visiting the country.
2. You Log Onto Public Wi-Fi
Public Wi-Fi hotspots like those found at most cafes are notorious hangouts for hackers. That’s because these hotspots generally have very weak security to the public can get onto them with little effort.
Using a VPN will add the security to these hotspots that they should have by encrypting your connection traffic.
3. You Use Online Cloud Storage
Online storage solutions like Dropbox, Box, and OneDrive do a decent amount of work securing your files on their servers. However, when the files are in transit, that’s another issue altogether.
Use a VPN to add extra encryption to your cloud storage upload and downloads.
4. You Download Torrents
There are as many legitimate, legal reasons for downloading torrents as there are torrent users who download pirated movies. The problem is ISPs have a very hard time distinguishing between the two. That means they sometimes block or traffic shape users who are using torrents for legitimate reasons (for example game updates and Linux ISOs).
A VPN would make it much harder for your ISP to see you are the one downloading torrents.
5. You Play Online Games
If you play a lot of MMORPG or other online games using a VPN can create a direct and secure connection between you and your friends.
This means there will be less data from other players flowing down your network, which should increase game load times as well as limit any buffer overflows.
6. You Are A Researcher or a Journalist
For many, most email services provide sufficient privacy when transmitting emails. But journalist and researchers send messages containing data that, more often than not, some people might want to try extra hard to intercept.
Using a VPN will provide extra encryption for your message and even make you look like you are sending or receiving them from a location you are not in–helping to protect your physical safety if you are researching or reporting on a story someone doesn’t want to get out. Additionally, Researchers and Journalists should read our Best Security Practices guide.
7. You communicate via VOIP services
While companies have stepped up their game encrypting texts and emails, they still lag behind on VOIP security. That is calls and video chats made over Skype, FaceTime and similar services.
Using a VPN will add extra security and encryption to your video chats, making them harder to be intercepted.
8. You Don’t Like Companies Keeping Tabs On You
Most companies store cookies on your computer or they track your ISP (or both) to see what you do online and what you click on. They then use this information to show you ads. Amazon is notorious for doing this.
You can stop Amazon, Google and other similar sites from building up an anonymous database of your clicks by using a VPN as each time you surf the web it will look like it's a different computer because your IP will change each time.