When you’re attending college, you’ll have a lot of things to stress over. Cramming, working a part-time job, attending classes, writing papers, participating in clubs and sports groups, and trying to fit a social life into your busy schedule will all take their toll. You shouldn’t have to worry about limited computer access and Internet privacy on top of all that. This is one of the top reasons that more and more college students are getting VPN service.
VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) allow you to use a private network to access information. The provider will encrypt your data, hide your IP address, and possibly use a firewall to ensure that nothing is accessed by identity thieves. This will also allow you access to restricted sites, platforms, and information. As a college student, both of these things can be incredibly helpful.
Avoid Blocked Access Issues
For one thing, did you know that many college servers block access to certain sites that they deem disruptive and non-educational? Many of these are social and news websites, but what if you need those to communicate with other students or do research for a paper? Certainly, you should be able to use them between classes, when you don’t need to be actively participating or listening to a lecture. Or perhaps you would like to look up something that the professor just mentioned to use as a reference point.
These colleges also often block file-sharing, which may be a problem when, for instance, you are working on a group project. A VPN can get around all of these issues and allow you free access to everything on the web.
Invest in Increased Security
Another advantage to a VPN is the increased security that it provides. With so many other students and people accessing information in one location, it’s not surprising that colleges are hotbeds of identity theft. A VPN will protect you when surfing during class, in your dorm, in the school library, in the cafeteria, and even just sitting on the front lawn of the campus.
In fact, a VPN can protect you wherever you happen to be – which is good, because there are plenty of locations that aren’t even as secure as a campus network. Here are some important times when college students could benefit from VPNs off campus:
- When you are home for the summer – You don’t want the parents looking at your browser history.
- When you are on vacation – Nothing says “Internet security” like an airport.
- When you commute to school – You do most of your work at home, and don’t want that neighbor that you’re pretty sure is close enough to “borrow” your Internet deciding that they want to get more ambitious with their life of crime.
- When you are on a break at work – Maybe you study or try to finish papers during lunch breaks so that when you go home, you can actually relax. Say you work in a mall – are you really going to trust your sketchy (but tech-savvy) co-worker or the customer who scams you on returns by using an unprotected network around them? And what about the rest of the crowded mall? A VPN will protect you from all of them.
- When you are at the local public library – Free network access at the local library will attract many people to it that you might rather not meet, much less share a network with.
- When you are in a café – Cafe’s are notoriously risky for Internet security. Don’t take your chances.
Being in such public locations puts college students at particular risk of identity theft and limits access to many standard sites. VPN services can make the difference between a hack or struggling with limited resources and a positive college experience.