For most people, a VPN is synonymous with unblocking online content. Need to access Facebook abroad? Use a VPN. Want to tune into American Netflix and British BBC iPlayer? Use a VPN. Itching to stream the year’s biggest sporting event? You get the idea.

But only using a VPN to access geo-restricted content would be selling it short. Here are three important things you didn’t know your VPN can do.

1. A VPN protects your information from hackers

These days, connecting to various public Wi-Fi hotspots for quick internet access is the norm. Whether it’s at a coffee shop or the airport, people often sign in to their social media accounts or check their work emails without a second thought.
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The problem is, public Wi-Fi connections present a minefield of online dangers. Savvy hackers can deploy packet sniffers to highjack the data transmitted from your device or carry out man-in-the-middle attacks by altering the communication between your device and the server you think you’re connected to.

A VPN solves this problem by automatically encrypting your internet connection. With a VPN, the other thing a hacker could see from your device is a bunch of meaningless numbers. This helps you hide your personal and professional information from nefarious parties and allows you to use the internet with added peace of mind.

2. A VPN gives you the fastest connection for online gaming

Whether you’re a hardcore FPS fan or a MMORPG geek, the one thing that unites gamers is the need for a fast and stable connection. Too often, players competing in a game hosted in a different country will suffer from slow connections or may not even be allowed to join a game because of their physical location.

With a VPN, your internet traffic is redirected through a privately maintained network. This eliminates problems like connection throttling and bandwidth restrictions, giving you a high-speed connection for your online matches. And since the majority of top VPNs offer a wide range of server locations around the globe, you can always switch to a server in or near the host country to ensure you’re not disadvantaged against the local players.

Better yet, a VPN allows you to access DLC not available in your country. Simply connect to a country offering the digital goodies you want, and you’ll have no problem unlocking the most out of your game collection.

3. A VPN saves you money when shopping online

In many ways, shopping online is a no-brainer. Your local mall can never compete with the range of items available on the web. And with the added convenience of being able to shop from the comfort of your own home, it’s a surprise why anyone still goes to the shops.

That said, online stores are in the business of price discriminating based on a user’s location. For example, connecting to a VPN before buying a flight ticket can save you around $100 USD on said flight. So whether you’re thinking to buy some new furniture or tickets for that dream getaway, remember to fire up your VPN first. Simply connect to a location with lower prices (or region-exclusive deals), and you’ll be getting the most bang out of your online buck.

What could be better than going on a lovely holiday AND knowing you saved more than the other people on your flight? Nothing, really. (Unless they’re also savvy enough to use a VPN!)

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