Using a VPN keeps your internet searches encrypted. VPN services are a great way to get around ISP throttling, and a way to watch US Netflix even if you’re not in the country. It keeps your data private. So, this poses a question for a lot of people, a sensible question, that makes logical sense: Can I use a VPN to hide my browsing and data usage, to get around data caps?
Well, the simple answer is, no. Using a VPN will still contribute to your data usage, even though the content of the data is encrypted, it still has to flow through your internet provider before it reaches your VPN.
A surprising fact that a lot of people don’t know, is that VPN servers actually increase your data usage by 5-15%. This is down to the fact that encryption is used to protect the data. The process of encryption involves scrambling up the data to make it unidentifiable to anyone other than your computer and your VPN. This ‘scrambled’ file takes up more space than its unscrambled predecessor.
If you’re looking for some VPNs that use slightly less data than the others, then we would recommend the following:
2. PPTP VPNs (Point to Point Tuneling Protocol)
3. L2TP (Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol)
Generally, if you use a lot of data and don’t want to get capped when you reach your limit, you should opt for a ‘soft’ cap plan from your internet provider. These are plans advertised as unlimited, whereby after you exceed a set cap (generally 20GB), your internet is slowed down rather than prohibited.
In certain situations, such as throttling video, then your VPN might dodge your data cap. If you have a soft data cap, VPN could prevent the slowing down of your internet speeds once you surpass the set limit, so it could protect torrenting.
Here’s an analogy to help create a better understanding of how VPNs work, and why they can’t bypass your data caps:
If you were to put 10 gifts in the post to your friend, and your friends letterbox could only fit in one at a time, then only one gift can be delivered each time. Using a ‘VPN’, essentially means that you have put each of those gifts in to a padlocked box that cannot be broken into. This means you’ve protected the contents from being seen, but the letterbox remains the same size.
So, there you have it, VPN’s are the saving grace for a lot; internet speed, private browsing, and torrenting. Nothing is perfect, and unfortunately this is something that most VPN services have not yet found a loophole for. Because of this, we would advise that any VPN services that do advertise an ability to bypass data caps, you investigate further. If they don’t check out, move on to a more well-established, named brand VPN service.
Maybe one day we’ll all have uncapped data, but just not today.