Since the Congress' decision and Trump's approval of ISPs selling consumers browsing history, a lot of internet users are looking for ways to mask their data and VPNs might provide the answer. VPN do offer some sort of protection but it's important to know it's capabilities, risks and restrictions.
Not Everything is Safe
Here's the truth: nothing is safe online and anyone thinking that they are fully protected was not just targeted by hackers. ISPs know everything about their consumers and the current decision by the congress allows them to profit from it. VPNs or Virtual Private Networks are now seen as the hero that could save everyone from profitable data mining.
But before you go out and check out a VPN it's important to learn more about its capabilities. At its barest, it has the capabilities of masking your real location by providing ISPs a different data with regards to your location which could mask your identity. In this way, VPNs could help but according to Life Hacker, some encryption and masking methods of this type of service is very outdated which means anyone could get around their protection.
Don't even think in going for free services. Some of them help but it's very difficult to fathom their objective since they do not offer anything else. Their users are practically their product.
Speed, Capacity and Detection
Before the Congress' hoopla with ISPs, one of dubious reasons why some use VPNs was to mask their location in order to watch shows not available in their territory. For that reason, a lot of websites block visitors using this type of service.
According to ZDNet, users of VPNs are often blocked from getting to popular sites, especially media streaming sites. Slow internet speed is also a regular problem because data request doesn't go directly to the website's server since it passes through another network.
It's a huge hurdle for users to protect themselves from prying ISPs. But be careful in choosing a VPN since it could do more damage than good in the long run.