With big companies watching our every move online, you may feel that your personal information or activities online are not as private as you would like them to be. VPNs encrypt your connections and can help those who are looking for protection from this. However, some instances may require you to switch VPN servers to continue taking advantage of this protection.
You should switch VPN servers if you are not getting the best performance from your current server, if you want to access restricted sites from other countries, or if you want to keep your data private. Switching VPN servers for privacy is not necessary if a VPN provider has strong security and no-logs policy.
Although there are plenty of other reasons you may want to switch your VPN, the above are the most common. In this article, we’ll cover VPN server switching in greater detail, including how it works and reasons why you would (or would not) want to change servers.
What is VPN Server Switching?
With VPNs, you can choose which server you would like to use as you surf the web. For example, even though you live in the United States, you could connect to a server located in Europe or Canada. The ability to change servers to those in different locations is referred to as VPN server switching.
But, why would you want to switch to different servers—especially those not in the same region as you—even though VPNs will continue to mask your IP address regardless of which server you use?
There are actually a few advantages to switching servers, which we will cover in more detail.
Can Using the Same VPN Server Decrease Your Privacy?
Because VPNs are inherently designed to keep your browsing data private, using the same server during a single online browsing experience will not reduce the level of privacy you have while connected. A VPN’s strict no-log policy and security is enough to hide all your online activity.
However, some users recommend switching your VPN server to one in a random location every so often if you access a public network to connect your device to the Internet.
Should You Switch Servers Even if the Connection is Good?
But what if your internet service is sufficient on the server you are currently using? Could you still improve your connection’s performance by switching?
The short answer is, you can, although the speed differences will usually not be enough to justify switching servers in the first place. In some cases it may make your internet speeds worse.
Additionally, suppose you generally receive good internet service where you live. In that case, you may opt to connect to a VPN server closer to your area instead of the next city over or other locations to avoid your internet speeds slowing.
When Should You Switch VPN Servers?
There are three main reasons why users would want to change their VPN server to another one:
- You are not getting optimal Internet performance from your current server.
- You want to access blocked sites that are available in other locations.
- You want to change your IP address to keep your data private.
Improve Internet Performance
If you were to run a speed test on your computer before connecting to a VPN versus after, you will notice that often, the speeds may be a little slower with a VPN compared to connecting without one.
This is because the process used to connect your device to the VPN server and then the Internet adds a few extra steps—specifically encrypting and connecting to a remote server—usually not required when you normally connect to the Internet.
However, you will find that in some cases, certain VPNs will actually improve your internet speeds, depending on the server you choose to connect to.
You will definitely want to switch VPN servers if you generally have poor internet service; connecting to a VPN server where the service is better could improve the connection’s performance, potentially resulting in faster download and upload speeds.
Unblock Sites and Content Available in Other Regions
Without a VPN, the sites you can visit online will depend on your IP address or your device’s location.
For example, if you wanted to watch a specific show on Netflix on your laptop that is only available in the US, you can simply login on to the website and start streaming. However, if a show is not available in the US, you could use a VPN to connect to a server in a country that does have it available so you could access that content.
Likewise, VPNs can also help you access websites that are usually not available where you live. For example, if there’s a specific streaming service you want to use to see foreign movies and shows that’s not available in the US, you could connect to a VPN server in a location that can access that platform.
In short, you can access a wide variety of sites and content from around the world simply by switching your VPN server as you see fit.
Keep Your Data Private
Your IP (internet protocol) address is a specific number assigned to your device (usually by the internet service provider providing access to their network) every time you connect to the Internet.
Your IP address is used by the websites and search engines you visit to identify your device and can also be used to track your activity online. (The latter is often the case with marketers as well as the government during special investigations.)
However, when you use a VPN, your true IP address essentially becomes “hidden.” If marketers try to track your activity, they can only trace you back to the server you used, not your personal device or specific location.
With that said, if you switch your VPN server, this means you can update the IP address that others can see online. This allows you to keep your data private as you browse the web.
Other Reasons to Switch VPN Servers
Beyond the above reasons why most will opt to switch VPN servers, you may also consider changing servers because:
- You want to escape data and bandwidth throttling: Internet service providers are known to cap off the amount of data or bandwidth you use according to your specific data plan and/or location; this usually results in your internet speeds slowing down to avoid going over your allotted amount. With a VPN, you can switch servers to prevent this.
- You want to keep your online work activities secure: Switching VPN servers—especially on a work computer or at home performing work tasks on a personal device—allows you to keep files and other data private and secure without risking competitors or hackers from hacking and stealing that data.
- You want to take advantage of special deals only available in specific locations: Some users like to switch VPN servers to gain access to sales only available in certain regions, which is often the case with airline tickets or hotel rooms.
VPNs are great for connecting your device to the Internet without having to worry about your privacy or data online. Switching VPN servers, in particular, not only aids in this regard but also helps improve internet speeds and allow you to access restricted content usually not available in your region.
However, keep in mind that the VPN server you switch to and how often you switch will also contribute to how effectively you can use the software to protect your online activities.