VPNs are versatile tools known mostly for their excellent privacy protection features. Their capabilities, however, extend far beyond this point. Modern VPN solutions can also help you navigate around regional content restrictions, make the most out of online shopping and even find cheaper airplane tickets.
The efficiency of VPNs is closely tied to the way they work. First, they redirect your traffic through a secure tunnel, away from prying eyes. While tunneled, online services no longer detect your physical location and instead assume you’re accessing them from the VPN’s location.
This way, your online activity is not even known by your own ISP, let alone other entities with fewer means to monitor your traffic.
On the downside, simply diverting your traffic is not enough to fend off man-in-the-middle (MiTM) attacks or sneakier interception techniques. That’s when VPNs shine. Aside from tunneling your connection, they also encrypt your traffic, rendering potential attackers and snoops unable to make anything of it.
These abilities are paramount to a VPN’s functionality. They’re also the main reason why using this type of service can boost your online shopping experience.
VPN keeps you safe while shopping online
Buying goods and services from the Internet is convenient for several reasons: you can do it from just about anywhere, it offers a vast range of merchants and services, and it’s much faster than shopping in physical locations.
That’s not to say it doesn’t have its drawbacks, namely:
- Buying from untrusted vendors could get you scammed
- Your buying behavior could get tracked and used to profile you
- ISPs could monitor the time you spend in online stores
- Merchants could adjust their prices based on your past activity or current location
- You could get targeted by phishing attacks or other cyber threats
- Shopping on unencrypted websites from public Wi-Fi networks is a dangerous combo that can compromise your security
A trustworthy VPN service such as Bitdefender VPN can give you the upper hand in some of these situations. By cloaking your traffic away from your ISP’s network, a VPN makes it incredibly difficult, if not downright impossible, for snoops to know what websites you visit.
Furthermore, if you’re using a public unsecured Wi-Fi network (e.g., in an airport or coffee shop) to buy things online, you expose yourself to MiTM attacks. In this scenario, a cybercriminal tricks you into accessing a fake website and scams you out of your money by using the right combination of tools and techniques.
As mentioned, modern VPN solutions not only redirect your traffic through a secure network of servers but also encrypt it, so potential attackers couldn’t decipher your data even if they somehow manage to intercept it.
Avoid online profiling
Some companies track your online behavior and use it to tailor your experience on various websites. Unfortunately, this includes online stores, as some of them alter prices to reflect their customers’ activity and interests.
Product value is often driven by supply and demand. While these dynamics make sense, increasing prices for individual customers just because they’re more likely to need the product based on their past activity is entirely unfair.
Through its cloaking capabilities, a competent VPN solution can take you out of your online tracking bubble and let you go shopping online in an unaltered environment.
If you feel like one of your favorite online stores has inexplicably increased its prices, try accessing it from another device and network. Most of the time, it’s simply a matter of giving discounts to customers from specific locations.
In this case, a VPN could help you change your virtual location to check out the discount. Keep in mind, though, that some locations display lower prices because they tax differently. If your country has higher taxes, you shouldn’t try to dodge them using a VPN, as it may have dire consequences.
How to shop online with a VPN
If you want to shop online securely and privately, a sturdy VPN solution is your safest bet. Just download and install the VPN client on your device, log in to your account, and connect.
Choosing a VPN-recommended server (Automatic) works best if you don’t care much about location and just want to keep your privacy safe. However, if you aim to browse online stores from a specific country, manually select the location from the servers list.
It’s worth mentioning that modern VPN services such as Bitdefender VPN encompass ad-blocking and anti-tracking modules, which are paramount to preserving your online anonymity.