These days, VPNs are popular among a large number of Internet users. In fact, VPN use grew by an astonishing 165% in 2018. VPN’s have a number of uses; for instance, many people use VPN’s to stream films not available on their country’s Netflix, while others use it to protect their communications with an encrypted connection. There are many reasons why VPNs have become so popular–but are they really as great as so many people think they are?

The fact of the matter is, using a VPN has many problems that most users aren’t even aware of. Some of these limitations include problems with anonymity, problems with mobile usage, and slow navigation. Some VPN’s are even rather inefficient, sub-optimal solutions to the Internet censorship problem. But fortunately, a number of modern-day solutions are being created to tackle the ever-changing VPN landscape–like Substratum for example.

VPN problems and their consequences

Not having anonymity guaranteed is a significant problem for any VPN user. After all, many people use VPNs exactly for this reason–to be anonymous–but because a customer is using a VPN service, this service can collect information such as websites visited. Not to mention the fact that a VPN service also has your IP address, which brings about an inherent security risk from the company whose VPN you are using. And considering that identity theft impacted 60 million Americans, according to a 2018 survey by The Harris Poll, the last thing you want is a security solution that puts you at risk.

If you’ve ever used a VPN, then you know that slow connection is a problem that runs rampant. Because behind the scenes, there are several proxies and layers of encryption that your internet request must travel to before the request is sent back to you in the form of a web page. Unfortunately, this means that sometimes your connection is going to be slow.

But if you’re a business owner or a busy entrepreneur, slow connectivity won’t cut it. A better VPN may not have this problem, but a better VPN is most likely going to be more expensive–maybe even out of your budget. And considering that many VPNs don’t work well with mobile devices, trying to connect to a VPN through your mobile device might end up taking even longer for a connection to be established. The consequence of these problems isn’t as dangerous as a security risk, but it’s certainly annoying.

As you might have imagined–especially if you have hands-on experience using a VPN–VPNs are not as good as they’ve been marketed to be when it comes to overcoming Internet censorship. Even though VPN’s are used frequently, the fact that VPNs can be shut down by a central entity is a risk for any user looking to bypass censorship. After all, China has blocked VPNs before.

Alternatives to VPNs

Luckily, there are some great alternatives to VPNs.

For example, you can use a Smart DNS system; according to blogger Georgina Jones, a Smart DNS works like this:

“DNS stands for domain name system, and it refers to the way in which domain names on the internet…are translated into the IP address that your device connects to. Basically, DNS is the system that links the address you type into your browser to a numerical address which holds the content of a web site. …[I]nstead of using your nearby local DNS server, your connection is managed through a company-owned DNS which directs traffic to a proxy server. You pay a fee to the company that owns the DNS server, and then you can use that server to redirect portions of your web traffic.”

However, this solution has its own problems, such as a slow Internet connection, stability issues, as well as issues regarding the legality of the service.

An even better alternative is our SubstratumNode; our blockchain-based technology can do what a VPN does–and much more–without the drawbacks that come with using a VPN. According to an interview with our founder– Justin Tabb–published in Tech Bullion, Substratum provides “a decentralized web that allows users to download the SubstratumNode to circumvent internet censorship.” And because it’s blockchain-based, this technology is completely decentralized and has a transparent transaction ledger, which are two features we need more than ever in today’s world where centralized data centers are hacked and CEO’s of companies sometimes mysteriously lose historic data.

The Bottom Line

At the end of the day, the world is a better place when we have access to an open, free, and globally accessible Internet. Even though governments may try to limit the information we take in and what we exchange with each other, there are viable solutions out there. VPNs were once the most effective solution on the market, but today’s world changes fast, and government crackdowns have made VPN’s less effective than they use to be. Fortunately, modern-day innovations such as our SubstratumNode are setting out to be the solutions that combat internet censorship most effectively given the current landscape of the internet and the world. And when we implement these innovative solutions, there will be equal access to the information on the Internet at a global scale, and the world will indefinitely become a better place because of that.