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Should I use a VPN? This is a question I hear quite often, and one that I think deserves a little more attention in the modern day.

 

So, what are some of the benefits of using a VPN?

- P2P downloads (Depending on VPN services)

- Anonymity

- Security

- Service purchasing & geographical restriction prevention

- Throttle prevention

- Much more

 

I myself have been using various VPN services off and on for a number of years from various different VPN providers, and recently had the chance to test a service from FastestVPN. The main reason why my usage has been off and on is mainly due to pricing. I find most VPN providers offer an amazing introductory offer; however, tend to inflate their pricing once you become an established client. This has resulted in me cancelling many subscriptions in the past and moving on to test new services. Over the last week or more of testing, I have to say that FastestVPN has been one of my favourite services to date. 

 

Let's break down some of the advantages of VPN services in general and why I think you could benefit from them.

 

P2P Downloads:

In the modern day of PLEX servers and cord cutting, everyone is either currently downloading or has considered downloading their content. Years ago this was a viable solution to supplement your entertainment needs with little to no repercussions; however, with the recent crackdowns on Anti-Piracy in Canada, Canadians run the risk of receiving notices/warnings and possible fines between $500-$20,000 for infringement damages. Users are found via the "log" files given by their ISP to the copyright holder if requested in order to track down the user(s) downloading and/or distributing copyrighted content. So, can a VPN help you P2P safely? Yes it can, providing it offers a couple of features. The first thing to look for is whether or not your VPN service collects log files. If they do, the copyright holder can still request the downloader/uploader information to determine the origin of the offence in order to serve potential repercussions. A second feature I always look for is a "Kill Switch". This allows the VPN service to disconnect from the internet if the VPN service fails or disconnects for any reason. This means your downloads/uploads will not continue if the Kill Switch terminates your connect rather than having your activity continue uninterrupted via your actual IP.

 

Anonymity/Security:

We do almost everything via the internet these days. Whether it's from a mobile phone, tablet, or computer, we are almost always connected even when we are inside or outside of our homes. For most of us in Canada with lower GB mobile data packages or for those constantly on the go for work, this fact really hits home. So, how does anonymity come to play in these situations? Well, open/public Wi-Fi networks at hotels, resorts, coffee shops, and more tend to be a feeding ground for those looking to phish for information. This information could include passwords, emails, phone numbers, banking information, maps data, and the list goes on from there. This is done by placing a digital wedge between you and the open Wi-Fi connection, and filtering/collecting data logs in the process. A VPN service can offer additional safeguards by encrypting the traffic sent/received across open Wi-Fi networks, as well as adding additional Firewall protection to prevent potential intrusions. 

 

Service Purchasing & Geographical Restriction Prevention:

This can either be a key feature or an added bonus for those considering a VPN. Since a VPN allows you to connect to another country while maintaining your physical home placement, you can do a lot more than just secure your connection. As an example, video games tend to have a wide variation in cost and promotions depending on where you live. I've seen fluctuations of $50+ between our Canadian market and promotions found for those who live in locations such as Mexico, India, The USA, and more. A VPN has allowed me to connect to another countries marketplaces in order to purchase game keys at a fraction of our Canadian market price. Once purchased, you can easily connection back to your home country outside of your VPN in order to install the game to your local region. I've done this for titles like TitanFall 1 and 2, Rise of the Tomb Raider, and many more. You can also use this same method to get around geographical restrictions for services like US Netflix, HULU, Amazon Prime Video (US), and more. 

 

Throttle Prevention:

Things in Canada have been getting better when it comes to ISP throttling; however, I still see a little slowdown here and there. ISPs tend to throttle high demand games and services in order to maintain network uptime and limit network congestion. The most notable ISP throttle in Canada is probably against gaming services like WoW, as well as PSN and Xbox Online Services by ISPs. Since these services have high traffic demands, ISPs would throttle the connection in order to maintain network speeds across other services. We've also seen or have heard tell of ISPs throttling competitive services in order to give first party services more appeal for their users. Since a VPN redirects and masks your traffic, ISP throttling can easily be prevented.

 

As I mentioned before, I have tried probably half a dozen VPN services from various providers in the past. I am currently using a service offered from FastestVPN, and have been extremely satisfied with the results and pricing thus far. They offer everything mentioned above, as well as a large variety of servers, 0 bandwidth restrictions, server hopping, DNS protection, ad-blocking, and more. One of my favourite parts of FastestVPN is the ability to have multiple sessions logged in at once (10 per account at once). This means I can have multiple devices operating on the VPN across various servers, while still operating others via my regular home connection. They also support a wide variety of devices such as Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android, FireTV, Kodi, AndroidTV, and more. 

 

I currently have FastestVPN on my main desktop PC for safe P2P connectivity for my PLEX server with the Kill Switch enabled. Since my desktop PC pretty much runs 24/7, this feature is a must as I do not want file sharing to resume outside of my VPN in the event the VPN ever fails. I also have the client on my Google Pixel 3 XL for safe connectivity to open Wi-Fi networks and for my upcoming vacation outside of North America. As far as speeds are concerned, I am acheiving on average about 80% of my advertised download speeds and 90% of my upload speeds with the VPN enabled and connected to my closest Canadian based server, with my Ping only increasing by 15-20ms. These are much better results than some of my previous VPN services that would provide speeds of only about 20-30% compared to results directly connecting to my ISP and drive my Ping into the 100s.

 

If you want to try FastestVPN, I will leave an exclusive subscription link here: https://goo.gl/d4Qk4v

FastestVPN is currently offering a lifetime subscription for only $80 for a limited time, which is well under the average yearly price of competing services. You can also choose shorter terms such as $50 for 5 years, $40 for 3 years, $30 for a year, or $10 a month. All subscriptions are backed by their 7 day money back guarantee, so testing the service based on their better valued plans is more comfortable as there is no obligation to keep the service if it's not right for you.

 

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