Is A VPN Legal?

Michael Gargiulo - CEO, VPN.com

By: Michael Gargiulo, CEO at VPN.com

Updated: 8:44 PM ET Mon, October 5th 2020

Letter blocks stacked to make the acronym VPN.

Internet privacy and security is a hot topic for anybody these days. Fears of data being compromised and identity theft, concerns about third parties monitoring web usage, and worries about malware and viruses corrupting a computer or your files lead many people to look for the most secure Internet access they can find. This generally means a VPN, or virtual private network. A VPN is a service that allows for a secure connection to any website from any device. This includes smartphones, PCs, tablets, and even streaming devices like a Roku Streaming Stick.

However, a few myths surround the use of a VPN, namely the question, “Is a VPN legal?” A better question might be, “Where is a VPN legal?” Using these services doesn’t have the same legality the world over, and some countries are more restrictive than others. We’ll explore the legalities of VPN usage and address some of the more common questions to help you remain compliant with laws in your area.

 

 

Is Using A VPN Legal?

Using a VPN is legal in most developed countries. For many people, the security of a VPN means they can safely conduct online banking, shopping, and have their Internet browsing history completely private. However, China restricts the use of VPN services.

A VPN establishes a secure connection from your device to any website you wish. The better VPNs have a strict privacy policy, meaning that your browsing isn’t logged nor are any passwords, credit card numbers, or usernames you use. VPNs operate by masking the IP address of the user and encrypting the connection between your device and the server of the website you’re visiting.

The best VPNs have servers in dozens or hundreds of countries, enabling users to connect to the Internet from anywhere in the world. This enables users to access websites that may be blocked from their home country or the location they’re accessing the Internet from.

What Are My Legal Options For a VPN?

There are many excellent VPN services that you can choose from. Some are better known for their lightning speed and connectivity, which is essential if you’re using a VPN connection for streaming services. Other VPNs emphasize security or business and enterprise solutions.

The best VPN services have sophisticated programming and talented software engineers that can quickly get servers back online if they’re detected by other agencies or blocked from accessing any sites. Netflix and other popular streaming services are known in particular for attempting to block VPN users from their apps and websites.

Can I Legally Use A VPN While Traveling?

Most of the time, yes. However, it’s important to be aware of the local laws of the countries you travel to. There are a handful of countries that have outlawed VPNs.

In general, having a VPN service is something that travelers appreciate, as they can access the public WiFi hotspots without compromising their security. If you travel to countries where certain websites, apps, or social media are banned, using a VPN may be your only option. In addition, people who travel for work often require the added security a VPN provides to conduct business securely.

Most VPN services allow multiple devices for each account, which means your smartphone, laptop, and home computers can all be protected. Cell phones are particularly vulnerable, as they’re often connected to unsecured public WiFi networks that can be easily breached.

 

Are Free VPNs Legal?

Yes, free VPNs are legal, but they aren’t as secure as paid services. Some free VPN services may share your information with third parties, and this, too, is legal. Paid VPN services make their money from subscribers, while free services make money selling browsing data to advertisers or even Internet service providers.

Many VPN services offer a free trial period that allows you to familiarize yourself with the program before committing. By trying a few different services, you can find the one that best fits your needs.

When choosing a VPN service, always check their logging policy. The best services have a “no log” policy, although some may store certain kinds of data, such as your name and billing information, in case there’s a billing discrepancy. It’s important to be clear what data, if any, the VPN provider will be storing.

Run a speed test during your VPN trial, too. You’ll want to be sure you can perform all your regular web activities while connected to a VPN. Bear in mind that you’ll likely see a small decrease in upload/download speeds due to the encryption and decryption of your connection, but with good VPNs the decrease will be negligible in terms of actually performance.

So, Are VPNs Legal? Yes, In Most Countries

VPN use is legal in most countries, although it’s important to ensure that you’re compliant with your local government’s regulations. If legal where you live, a VPN is an essential tool to protect your identity and private data from third parties, whether it’s your Internet service provider, intrusive advertisers, or more malicious entities.

VPN.com has all the information to find the best VPN for your needs. Get started today by reading our expert rankings, reviews, and recommendations.

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