Use a VPN

You should sign up for a VPN service! Yes you, the casual Internet browser. Here is why.

  • Any time you connect from your laptop/phone to a wireless network (SFO Wifi, Starbucks, etc), anyone else on that network can read all of your traffic over HTTP, to sites like Wikipedia, Netflix, YouTube, WebMD and more. This is not good.

  • Your ISP (Comcast, AT&T etc) can also read your HTTP traffic and throttle connections based on it. This is part of the reason for the Net Neutrality hubbub and the poor performance many people suffer when connecting to Netflix.

    When you use a VPN, all of your traffic is encrypted from your computer to your VPN service provider, and you should enjoy good speeds from there to the rest of the Internet.

  • In some cases, an ISP actually intercepts the response from the remote website and inserts its own ads or content. A VPN encrypts all of the traffic and makes this impossible.

  • You can use a VPN to route around location-based IP tracking; for example, if the Warriors are blacked out on NBA TV in your area, you can connect to a VPN server in New York to watch the game.

  • VPN's provide a better level of anonymity. In general, a VPN provider smushes all of its outbound and inbound traffic together so it's harder to track a specific set of requests back to you. Your ISP can no longer log your traffic.

It is pretty easy to set up a VPN for PC or Mac, and cheap (about the price of a coffee every month). I suggest you try it today!

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