Virtual private network or VPN was mainly developed as an integral part of internet security. It was developed with the sole purpose of sending encrypted data over the network. Yes, VPN does come with a host of benefits, there’s absolutely no doubt about it. Yet, at the same time, it also exhibits a few negatives to go along with those positives. In this article, we are going to discuss the different pros and cons of a virtual private network in thorough details. But before that, let’s go through the basics first. So what is a VPN? A virtual private network is a private network that’s extended across the public network. In simple terms it can be said that the VPN network acts as a tunnel between your device and a VPN -operated server. The diagrammatic representation is provided below- Source- Flickr Now let’s go through the pros first. VPN Pros Improved online security When you connect to a network via VPN, the data is kept secured through encryption which helps to safeguard the same from the hackers’ eyes. Now this is definitely one of the most important benefits of a VPN; a reason for which it’s used extensively all over the world. When you are working online, you would definitely not want your sensitive information such as your credit card details, your internet banking passwords and other similar things to fall into the hands of a hacker because that would simply lead to a disaster. A VPN can easily be your best bet against such unethical online access. VPN gives you complete online anonymity A VPN makes you anonymous on the World Wide Web. This is definitely beneficial in certain aspect when you would not like your ISP or the owner of your site to track your user data. Online anonymity has several upsides because it helps to prevent online stalking which is something that can lead to serious crimes. It also helps government investigation departments conduct their investigations anonymously in the best possible manner. Thus, as far as online anonymity is concerned the effectiveness of a virtual private network is seldom matched by anything else. VPN makes it possible for you to access an IP address of another country This is particularly beneficial to the digital marketing professionals. I’ll use an example here for the sake of a better explanation. Say, for example the marketing professional is based in India and has to handle a campaign in the UK. The professional can easily use a VPN to mask his/her IP address and make it look like one that’s based in the UK. You might argue saying: “why didn’t the professional use his/her individual country IP address to search for something in the UK?” The searches are global and should crop up irrespective of an IP being India or UK; isn’t it? Yep, you are absolutely spot on with the assessment. But as far as local searches are concerned it still creates issues. VPN comes in as a savior in such circumstances. VPN has low maintenance cost Once the VPN network is created; the maintenance costs are very low in comparison to that of a regular network. You might even choose to opt for the services of a VPN service provider who can create the network on your behalf. In such cases, you won’t even have to maintain the server because the service provider will look into that on your behalf. Such a thing can reduce a lot of headache and a lot of expenses as well. If this is not an advantage, I seriously don’t know what is. VPN can help you unlock geographically-restricted sites You surely have come across dozens of content on the internet and have found them blocked as a result of geography-based advertisements or to prevent content piracy. Your IP just doesn’t match the focus of the content; hence, you are unable to access the same. Here’s an example: So is there any solution? Course there is. A VPN comes as a part of your solution in these cases. Through the use of VPN, you will easily be able to curb all geo-restrictions and access the content with ease. VPN Cons VPN implementation is a complex bit of task indeed The implementation of VPN can be pretty complex under certain circumstances. Such a thing signifies the fact that a beginner having no prior knowledge of the network may find it exceptionally difficult to configure the same in his/her individual workplace. A VPN network requires professional understanding for proper configuration. This factor definitely qualifies as one of the biggest downsides of a virtual private network. VPN can create security issues in a wireless network Paradox; isn’t it? I said it before that VPN was mainly implemented as a part of security but here I am saying that VPN can actually create security issues in itself. It might look a bit absurd but VPN security issues do occur on a wireless network. That’s because the network admins would not be able to trace the devices that are accessing the network at the same time. Who knows whether there’s a rogue device or not? For this exact reason, an extra layer of protection is needed to prevent any rogue unknown devices from getting on to the network. VPN can also create reliability issues Reliability can actually become a factor depending upon your preferred service provider. If you are compelled to work with a VPN, it’s important that you work with a reliable service provider that can provide you with minimal downtime. Downtime can create a huge loss of revenue which is something that can really make a difference from the negative point of view. VPN can also result in a significant reduction in speed Depending on the router set up, the router and the number of devices that are connected to the router at any particular moment, the speed of a VPN can vary accordingly. Sometimes, it can slow down to a crawl which is a problem indeed. Therefore, it’s advisable to check with a few VPN servers in general and then choose the one that suits you the best. So what do you reckon? Is VPN good or bad? Weigh up the pros and the cons and then decide accordingly. I’d be glad to respond to a few answers in the comments section below.