WiFi Hotspots (sometimes referred to as wireless hotspots) have become common in modern society. Hotspots may be found from your favorite coffee shop, fast food restaurant, Dr’s office, or even at your mechanic’s waiting room. Many businesses have seen the need to provide free WiFi (wireless internet connections) to their customers, and use it as a selling point. It may also give thieves an opportunity to steal your data. Hotspots are great for sure, but we would not advise using one without a VPN.
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With the rise of mobile computing, wireless internet connections are becoming a necessity. It has become more common to have a mobile device than a computer. Of course if you have internet access at home, you can connect to your own wireless router. If you are in a public place or don’t have access, you can connect to any place that gives you the option. People will elect to work from coffee shops, browse the news, or even keep themselves entertained while waiting for an appointment. The problem is, the network that gives you access is same one that gives it to other people in the area. Even if the public place uses a network password, it is usually not changed frequently.
Any crook that attaches to that network, perhaps the person at the next table over, could be waiting for the opportunity to steal your data. Everywhere you go, you hear about identity theft happening. Imagine your important health, work, or financial information getting into the hands of someone with bad intentions. All sorts of havoc may be caused by just connecting at a local business. That is why using a VPN at a WiFi Hotspot is a good idea.
When you connect to a VPN, you create a secure connection to a server that could be in another city or country, depending on your preferences. This connection is encrypted so you could go to any website and not have to worry if your data will be stolen. Choose a provider with a no logs policy, and the only information that would be seen is the encrypted traffic.
If you live in or decide to travel to a country that has restrictive internet policies, you may run in to other problems. In the picture above, we show a Starbuck’s coffee shop in China. They are well known for having massive amounts of information blocked. By using a VPN there, you have the option of connecting to a server in another country, and you would be able to access blocked content. The same could be said if you wanted to watch content from a different region than you are currently in. An example of that would be watching shows from the BBC while outside of the UK.
Let’s sum up the good reasons to use a VPN at a WiFi Hotspot. Having the ability to protect your privacy so you are not vulnerable is the big one. The second benefit is having the potential to unblock content around the world. That may be due to the country you are in, or the licensing rules of a media company you want to watch. Both of these reasons make using a VPN a wise choice. In the table we provided above, we show our overall favorites for WiFi Hotspots based on security, price, ease of use, and server locations. We feel you will be happy with any of the choices in this post, but if you would like other options, feel free to investigate our top 10 VPN providers list. If you are going to use a Hotspot, don’t go unprotected, use a VPN.