ISP vs. VPN: Which one is better for you?
The internet is one of the most important technological innovations in modern history, but little did we know just how much impact it would have on our daily lives.
Not only does the internet provide us with at-a-glance information about news, weather forecasts, and friends’ whereabouts, it also gives us access to an array of luxuries found anywhere in the world. But what if you want privacy while having access to these luxuries?
Well, take it from me – you need a VPN (Virtual Private Network). Let’s take a look at both ISPs (Internet Service Providers) and VPNs so that we can determine which would be best for your needs.
What is an ISP?
An Internet Service Provider (ISP) connects you to the internet by providing a gateway to the World Wide Web. They allow you to access all available content in various locations based on your subscription plan. Some popular ISPs include AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon.
You can also think of an ISP as a private mail delivery company. Let’s say you want to send a letter from New York City to Los Angeles. For that letter to reach its destination, it needs to go through the USPS (United States Postal Service).
In this example, New York City is your location, and Los Angeles is your desired destination – in this case, California if you’re following along well enough. The USPS is responsible for delivering that letter to its destination; this is what an ISP does – it gets your information from your location to the destination through the internet.
What is a VPN?
A VPN (Virtual Private Network) allows you to connect to a private network over public infrastructure. You can think of it as an underground tunnel that connects two separate locations. When you connect to the VPN, your information is encrypted so that no outside party can access it.
But one of the most interesting things about a VPN is that you can choose where you want your “tunnel” to exit. Maybe, for example, I want my tunnel to exit in France to watch French TV shows for free. Maybe I want my tunnel to exit in Germany so that I can watch live sports.
If you’re a fan of live streams and want to access channels and sports, which you would normally need a subscription for, a VPN is perfect for you.
If you often find yourself traveling or working abroad, a VPN is great for connecting your “local” computer to your “local” account, regardless of where you’re physically located.
Is your ISP tracking you? Look for these signs now!
What are the major differences between an ISP and a VPN?
- Internet service provider, they provide access to the internet.
- They make money by charging you a monthly subscription fee for access over their network.
- An ISP cannot encrypt traffic, only segregate it.
- ISPs do not use encryption, they can not make sure your data does not get intercepted by other people on the same network as yours or someone else wants to steal your data.
- Virtual private network, it creates its own internet connection through the use of encryption.
- Through this custom made connection it will ensure that all of your data is secure against interception or misuse by anyone else.
- You can also access it from anywhere as all you need is a mobile device and an Internet connection.
ISP vs VPN: A look at some of the pros and cons of each
The argument is that while an ISP can see all you send and receive, it doesn’t know who you are; while a VPN can mask your identity (and thus prevent de-anonymizing), VPN protects you from anyone monitoring your connection.
ISP is a more straightforward option, though the question of identity remains. This is where a VPN excels. Sure, it masks your identity, but only as far as the server, you connect to. Once you leave that network, your identity is still known to those who have been monitoring it.
That’s why many people believe VPNs aren’t as private as some might think. In fact, there are reasons not to use a VPN—you can’t expect complete anonymity and unbreakable security on the internet; anyone with enough know-how can sniff your information out and compromise you.
ISPs monitor all of your internet activity. If you prefer anonymity or don’t want to be tracked, this isn’t ideal. (Using VPN addresses this concern.)
ISPs are more user-friendly than VPNs. (That said, some ISPs are notoriously awful with customers who need support.)
In short, ISPs are best, but VPNs can be more secure. In general, it’s more of a trade-off.
Is your ISP tracking you? Look for these signs now!
The big question is: is there anything internet users can do to ensure their privacy if they choose to use an ISP?
The answer is yes. Thanks to virtualization technology, many great tools are available that enable people to bypass the dangers of using an ISP. While they may not be as secure as VPNs, they can deliver all the same benefits without exposing your personal information.
As long as you take the time to read over each one carefully and pick one with high marks for both security and stability, you should be able to unblock sites like Netflix or access content that might otherwise be unavailable in your region.
ISP vs VPN: Conclusion
To sum it up, the answer to this question is VPNs. We all know that ISPs are convenient, but they also come with their own risks. It’s much better to use a VPN for security reasons; the biggest trick is deciding which one will work best for you.
You can’t go wrong with ExpressVPN or NordVPN, but if you’re looking for something that doesn’t compromise your privacy, check out VPNs that use OpenVPN protocol. It’s a highly secure protocol that makes sure all your data is secure. You can see a list of the top VPNs in a chart here.