Why 2014 will be the year of the VPN

Over the past six years VPN services have outgrown their niche circles and into major popularity amongst everyday internet consumers. The majority of my friends now have a VPN client installed alongside their anti virus and backup software clients, something you would never see five years ago. It’s purpose? To be the latest tool to battle against a new wave of internet fragmentation and government censorship.
For those who don’t know what a VPN is, it essentially encrypts your internet connection and completely anonymises what you do online. No one can see what you’re downloading, streaming or even the websites you visit, you are completely anonymous.
Why is a VPN important to me? I’ve cancelled my TV cable subscription and honestly can’t remember the last time I bought an MP3 album. Netflix and Spotify fill that space and provides more value than existing traditional services. They are incredibly convenient media portals and they’re spreading like wildfire on the internet. A major drawback (for some users) is that these services are only available in certain countries leaving the vast majority of the online population out of the loop. The first years of the VPN industry saw huge growth from the demand to access media streaming sites and this is still the case. The other week ‘Best VPN’ Magazine posted a HideMyAss review featuring a dedicated section to this very use case. They specifically looked at servers which have fast connectivity and low latency for smooth media streaming. 
Government censorship is on the increase and it’s worrying what the future holds for many online users. Countries which I expected would be the leaders in freedom of speech have taken drastic steps backwards. Noticeably the UK now actively blocks websites it considers harmful to it’s citizens. America too, now thanks to Edward Snowden, have their illegal spying tactics out in the open. The NSA and PRISIM are two programs aimed at interpreting all private data passed through the internet and make it accessible to the US government. This means all emails, messages, SMS texts, social posts are stored on a government computer halfway across the world. We are now drawing to the 1 year anniversary since the first NSA revelations and we are still publishing new leaks. 
What you have to face in 2014 is your online privacy being taken away you. The idea of the VPN is to free from you censorships and internet blocks. The added value of being able to access any of my favourite websites across the world is very good value for money and if government threats continue to grow this year then I only expect the VPN’s popularity to thrive. 
Written by Marlon Brand, a tech journalist who specialises in internet security. He founded BestVPN.me in 2014 and writes to educate and help users secure their internet connection.