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Disclosure: I received access to NordVPN for free in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. This post also contains affiliate links which means that I may receive a commission if you click on one of the links and make a purchase. I only share products that I believe will be valuable to my readers. All opinions are my own.
What is a VPN?
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) adds a layer of internet security. It allows users to privately send and receive data within a private network. All traffic that passes through a VPN connection is secure and cannot (in theory) be intercepted which makes it the safest mainstream way to browse the web.
Why does a Photographer Need a VPN?
If you travel and connect your computer/tablet/smartphone to wifi on unsecured networks, you should probably be using a VPN, especially when accessing sites where passwords are involved.
I have been considering signing up for a VPN service for quite some time because I often use public wifi connections when I travel. There is always work to be done when I’m on the road and bills that still need to be paid, even if I’m not at home.
While I’m smart enough to not access my bank on a public network (you know that is a big no-no, right?) I still will log into my website or social media on public wifi which can put my computer and data at risk. I’ve been fortunate to not have issues, but it probably has more to do with dumb luck than skill.
NordVPN approached me about a month ago and asked if I’d be willing to promote them. I debated accepting because I normally only review photography-related products, but decided to push forward and give their service a try because internet security is an issue for everyone, including photographers – especially those of us who travel with our laptops.
NordVPN has military-grade encryption, a strict no-logs policy (no monitoring or tracking of your private data), and a host of other useful features. You can also use NordVPN on up to 6 devices simultaneously with a single account.
Installing NordVPN software was quick and easy on my Mac. With a few clicks I was up and running on a secure connection.
NordVPN is available for just about every platform out there: MacOS, Window, Linux, iOS, Android, and more!
Once the software is loaded, enabling the VPN service is as simple as toggling a switch. It used my computer’s location services to determine which country I’m in and connected me to the nearest server. You can also select a different server in another country if you choose.
Once the VPN is enabled you can proceed to work and use the internet as usual.
My connectivity speeds using the VPN are slower, but very workable. I used speedtest.net to test the speed with and without NordVPN enabled on my local coffeehouse’s wifi network:
I also noticed that certain apps like Skype require modification to run on the VPN. However, for most of my normal activities I noticed little to no lag and was able to work as usual.
I also tested NordVPN on my home network and the service worked as expected.
It is worth noting that I am not a hacker nor do I have the skills to try and break this VPN encryption. My experiences are based on being an average user looking for additional network and internet security.
Virtual private network users should be aware that some countries do not permit the use of VPNs. If you are traveling, please be sure to check local regulations before you use any VPN software.
You can get access to NordVPN on a month-to month basis for $11.95 per month or you can prepay a year for $69 ($5.75/month) or $79 for two years ($3.29/month). They also offer a 30-day money back guarantee!
NordVPN costs about the same as a cup of coffee at your local coffeehouse, and if you work at a coffeehouse a lot like I do, it is a worthwhile investment for the added security.