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Should I Always Use a VPN? (Turned ON or OFF?)

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Are you caught between leaving your VPN on all the time or turning it off until you think it’s needed?

It’s best to keep the VPN app connected to bypass firewalls, geo-blocking, secure financial transactions, prevent specific hacks and boost your online privacy.

However, it makes sense to turn the VPN off when you’re experiencing a slow internet connection, losing access to local services, or suffering a huge battery drain.

So, I’ll discuss when to leave your VPN on, when to turn it off, and everything in between.

9 Reasons to Leave Your VPN on at All Times

If you’re wondering why you should always leave your VPN on or need conviction on continuing to do so, these reasons apply.

Bypass Geo-Blocking & Unblock Content

VPNs are excellent tools to enjoy the free web by unblocking access to content in regions where such content isn’t usually available.

They provide suitable servers using AES 256-bit encryption to hide your IP address. Thus, use the VPN-assigned IP addresses to unblock the content you want.

That way, you can:

Streaming Shoresy Shoresy S1 Trailer
ExpressVPN unblocks Crave TV from abroad, using its Canadian servers

There’s more, but that gives you an idea of how a VPN service helps bridge the web content availability gap.

In fact, VPNs like Surfshark incorporate a NoBorders Mode that automatically detects geo-blocking and suggests servers to unblock that content. 

NordVPN and ExpressVPN also offer reliable AES 256-bit encryption to bypass online restrictions by connecting to up to 94 countries.

Defeat Harsh Censorship/Firewalls

Geo-blocking (discussed above) is usually done by the content creator. 

But with censorship and firewalls, the content creator may not block access. 

Instead, your employer/school/country/network admin keeps the content from you.

This is the case in countries like China (with the Great Firewall), Venezuela, Myanmar, Afghanistan, and Russia.

Defeat harsh censorship firewalls
ExpressVPN's obfuscation works on all servers and protocols to bypass firewalls and censorship

Thus, you’ll need a VPN company with reliable encryption and robust obfuscation technology to bypass these firewalls.

Here, I’ll recommend ExpressVPN for its fast obfuscation to hide your VPN traffic, access content behind firewalls, and not lose significant connection speeds.

Avoid ISP Throttling

Internet service providers are notorious for throttling your internet speed, especially when using a lot of bandwidth for:

Since you paid for the data plan, it should be illegal to throttle your connection speed. But it isn’t.

Fortunately, a VPN helps unlock better bandwidth and speeds

Encrypting your internet activity means your internet service provider (ISP) doesn’t know what you’re doing and can’t leverage that to throttle your speeds anymore.

Avoid ISP throttling

However, since VPNs cause a connection drop, be careful to choose those optimized for speed. Otherwise, you may encounter an even slower internet service after connecting.

I’ve used NordVPN and ExpressVPN to get faster speeds than my benchmark ISP speeds in the past.

To get the best speeds, connect to their NordLynx and Lightway (UDP) protocols.

Avoid Price Discrimination

Certain flight booking, hotel booking, online shopping, and trip planning services may charge more based on:

  • Where you’re browsing from.
  • Your browser history.
  • Your online purchase history.

So, suppose you’re perceived to be from a more affluent country or have more disposable income. In that case, you may pay higher than someone from another location for the same service.

Avoid price discrimination

Thus, it’s best to connect to a VPN server and go incognito when searching for the best prices on flights, hotels, trips, and e-commerce stores.

NordVPN and Surfshark are excellent options here, given their reliable encryption to divorce your IP address from you.

Secure Financial Transactions

Always use a VPN for online financial transactions, especially if connected to a public/free Wi-Fi network. Otherwise, the network admin or a hacker may see everything you’re doing, including:

  • Your online account login details.
  • Account balance information.
  • Funds sending and receiving information.

Thus, you instantly get on the hacker’s radar since they start targeting you to steal your money.

You should also use a VPN for gambling, as it protects you from online snoops monitoring your deposits and winning withdrawals.

Stay Private and Anonymous

VPN providers use reliable encryption to improve your online data privacy and anonymity by:

  • Hiding your actual IP address.
  • Assigning you a random, untraceable IP address.
  • Tunneling your internet data to prevent hacking/reading.

So, you can interact with peers online without revealing your identity in public chat rooms (like Omegle), gaming servers (e.g., Discord), and other sensitive web platforms.

Stay private and anonymous

To get the best privacy and anonymity, choose a no-logs provider like NordVPN, Surfshark, and ExpressVPN. Thus, your data isn’t written to their servers from where it can be hacked.

Also, note that your internet habits may limit how well a VPN keeps you private and anonymous. So, I recommend this guide to what a VPN hides to know how best to prevent deanonymizing yourself online.

Enjoy a Cleaner Web Experience

Ads have become a staple of the internet, but they can get too intrusive and malicious. Thus, leaving your VPN connected while browsing the web saves you from seeing these evil-intentioned ads.

Cleaner web experience
Surfshark's adblocker, dubbed "CleanWeb"

Otherwise, you risk:

  • Adware – a form of malware distributed via ads you see on the internet.
  • Redirections – from clicking on shifty ads when you meant to close them.
  • Online tracking – some ads leave a cookie in your browser and can follow you across the internet.

However, not all VPNs block ads. That’s why I recommend picks like:

VPN Provider Ad-Blocking Tech
NordVPN Threat Protection Lite
ExpressVPN Threat Manager
Surfshark CleanWeb

Prevent Certain Hacks

VPNs can help protect you against hacks like:

  • Man-in-the-middle attacks. As long as your VPN connection is encrypted and your internet traffic is tunneled through secure servers.
  • Adware hacks. Ensure your VPN has ad-blocking tech.
  • DDoS attacks. Reliable VPNs like NordVPN, ExpressVPN, and Surfshark will take on the DDoS attack and ward it off.

However, a VPN isn’t the best for all hacks. So, don’t relax on other aspects of your online security profile because you have a VPN enabled.

Get Online Protection

Robust VPNs are an essential tool in your online protection arsenal.

Some of the things a VPN will protect you against online include:

  • Hacks
  • Data loss
  • Identity theft
  • Doxing attacks
  • Public Wi-Fi dangers
  • Financial losses
Get online protection

These are crucial aspects of your personal makeup, and a single leak can undo your life’s fabric. Thus, it’s best to commit to a reliable VPN that keeps you safe.

4 Reasons to Not Leave Your VPN on at All Times

Even though it’s great to always have your VPN on, there are arguments against it.

I’ll discuss some of these and what you can do to salvage the situation below.

Battery Drain

Leaving a VPN app on may cause a drag on your battery, but how much?

A VPN app in the background will drain as much of your battery as any other active running app. However, since VPNs are network-based apps, they tend to draw more power from the system.

Battery drain

Still, choosing system-optimized VPNs like NordVPN will save you a massive battery drain. Thus, you can keep the software running without rushing for a charger every few hours.

Higher Data Usage

VPN traffic tunneling means your web requests must travel to the VPN’s servers before getting to the target web servers/platforms. That extra step in the online browsing model ensures encryption but demands higher data usage.

Higher data usage
Well-coded VPNs won't draw as much as 15% extra data

However, well-optimized VPNs don’t draw up to 1-5% more data than you’ll have used without the app. Thus, the negligible extra data usage isn’t enough to sacrifice your online security against hacks, scammers, tracking, and privacy invasion.

To minimize data usage while keeping your VPN on, here are my trusted VPNs and the preferred connection protocol to choose.

VPN Provider Data-Friendly Protocol
NordVPN NordLynx
ExpressVPN Lightway (UDP)
Surfshark WireGuard

Access to Local Services

You may lose access to local services if you connect to a VPN server outside your region.

For example, a Norwegian resident won’t get access to NRK TV anymore if they connect to a US server and try to access the streaming platform.

Thus, you may need to disconnect from your VPN to regain access to local services and servers. Alternatively, choose a VPN with local servers to keep getting local services while staying protected.

You can also set up split tunneling to connect to a remote server location while bypassing the VPN on select, region-sensitive apps/platforms.

Slower Internet Connection

It’s advisable to disconnect from your VPN if your internet connection gets unbearably slow over the software.

Due to their encryption technology, VPNs are known to cause connection drops. However, speed-optimized VPNs like NordVPN and ExpressVPN don’t often cause a noticeable dip.

I tested this, and you can see the results below.

Before Connecting VPN:

Slow internet connection

After Connecting VPN:

Speed connection after connecting to VPN

They may even provide better speeds by bypassing throttling from your ISP.

Likewise, don’t disconnect your VPN for slow internet sakes if you’re browsing over slow public Wi-Fi networks. Otherwise, your quest for comfort may lead to severe repercussions of data theft, financial scams, identity theft, man-in-the-middle attacks, etc.

Frequently Asked Questions

You need a VPN on your phone, PC, gaming consoles, router, and other connected devices at home to keep hackers out. Since smart home units like your baby monitor, cameras, and doorbell units are often susceptible to network breaches, a VPN is indispensable.

Thus, get a no-logs VPN like NordVPN with reliable encryption and an impressive suite of security features to protect your devices, family members, and housemates.

You’ll always be caught behind firewalls, be subject to geo-blocking, suffer ISP speed throttling, and expose your data online whenever you don’t use a VPN. 

This puts you in the line of fire for adware, doxing, session/DNS hijacking, and DDoS attacks.

Leave your VPN on all the time on your phone/mobile devices if you’re fond of connecting to public Wi-Fi networks or browsing over restrictive school/work/other Wi-Fi networks. You should also leave your phone’s VPN on to stream geo-blocked content, play online games over region-locked servers, and bypass website blocks.

The average person needs a VPN to stream geo-blocked content libraries, place online bets anonymously, bypass censorship at school/work, and unlock better ISP speeds. A VPN protects the average person from getting DDoS-ed, malicious doxing attacks, session hijacking, and other dangers of public Wi-Fi networks.

Stay Connected for the Best Protection

You can already see that it’s best to stay connected to a VPN. 

Otherwise, you may fall into the trap of everything that’s wrong with the internet today.

Likewise, you can see cases where it makes sense to turn the VPN off – and what you can do in those instances.

Finally, choose a reliable VPN like NordVPN with robust AES 256-bit encryption, top-shelf online protection, and security features.

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