Last Updated on September 29, 2021 by Calvin C.
A VPN is a great tool to protect your online security and privacy. However, it is important to make sure that you use it properly. Fear not because in this article I highlight 7 common VPN mistakes you should avoid.
The number of data breaches increased during Covid-19 lockdown, with big companies falling victim to ransomware attacks amongst other attacks.
To make matters worse, cybercriminals now use more sophisticated methods to carry out various attacks on their targets.
Apart from hackers, your ISP and government agencies may monitor your internet activity. In countries like China, there is no internet freedom and most major platforms like YouTube are blocked.
A good VPN can hide all your activity so that hackers, your ISP or even government agencies are not able to see the sites you visit.
You also use public WiFi networks with a peace of mind but all these benefits require you to avoid the mistakes I will outline next.
1. Not seeking help from customer support
When you sign up for a premium VPN like NordVPN, you get 24/7 customer support with an option for live chat.
Take note that the agents you chat with ARE PAID TO DO THAT. You can ask them any question, big or small.
Even if you feel like you are asking too many questions, it’s their job to answer your questions and help you get the best out the VPN.
If you don’t ask questions, you risk using a misconfigured VPN and open doors to online attacks.
When you pay for a VPN, you should get your money’s worth and part of the package is 100% customer support.
Make sure you choose a VPN provider with live chat support where you interact with a REAL human being (not a bot).
2. Ignoring other aspects of online security
A VPN alone is not going to give you 100% security or privacy when you are online. There are other aspects of cybersecurity that you need to observe.
Examples of what you need to do are:
- Using a strong password
- Keeping software and hardware up to date
- Avoid installing software from unofficial sites
- Enable multi-factor authentication
Don’t let your guard down when you are online because attackers find every possible way to compromise your privacy.
3. Using a free VPN
If you use a free VPN then you automatically throw your privacy out of the window.
I have written a detailed article on the dangers of free VPNs so make sure you read and share it.
Some providers of free VPNs even sell you browsing data to third parties without your consent.
In addition, government agencies can easily access all your internet activities.
To get the most out a VPN, use a paid VPN and you can easily choose one here.
4. Shying away from discounted plans
Paid VPNs offer multiple plans and if you use a VPN frequently, it’s best to choose a longer plan to benefit from a big discount.
If you pay monthly for a VPN, you spend more in the long run.
Take for example NordVPN – for a monthly plan, you pay $11.95/month, but if you choose 2-year plan, you pay only $3.67/month. (a 67% discount!)
You can save a lot of money by simple choosing a longer plan.
5. Switching a VPN off in high-risk areas
If you are in a public space, you need to keep a VPN connected all the time.
A hacker can mount a man-in-the-middle attack to intercept all your traffic.
It’s best that you don’t share banking information when using public WiFi.
6. Not cross-checking VPN settings
A VPN uses VPN protocols to establish a secure connection between your device and a VPN server.
It is a good practice to cross-check VPN settings so that you use a secure VPN protocol like OpenVPN or WireGuard.
Obsolete VPN protocols like PPTP are not safe, so make sure when you are working with sensitive data online, you use a secure VPN configuration.
7. Sharing your data with third parties
Lastly, even if you are using the best VPN, make sure you don’t share your personal information on shady websites.
Cybercriminals create fake websites that look like official versions and if you don’t look for the tell tale signs, you end up voluntarily handing over your data to attackers.
Don’t open suspicious emails or download attachments that you don’t trust.
All these bad practices take place while a VPN is connected and it ceases to protect you entirely.
Avoid the above mistakes and you can use a VPN without any worries.
You can check out the best VPNs that we have reviewed on this site.
If you are short of time, use NordVPN, and save 69% off a 2-year plan.
Are you using a VPN properly? Leave comments below and share the article with your friends on social media.