Do you need a VPN for Online Teaching? Yes and No!

By Keith Michael Howard | Last Updated: June 2, 2021

You only need a VPN for online teaching if you are using a public wifi network to teach your class. On your home network, a VPN may cause connection slowdowns and does not offer as much security protection as you might believe. 

In this post, you’ll learn about when to use a VPN and when not to use one! Plus I’ll share my own experience using these types of services – which was less than stellar.

1. What is a VPN and what does it do?

A VPN is software that connects your device to a server over the internet and allows you to access any of the websites or content on those servers as if they were in your home (or another) country.

VPN services are often used by people who want to anonymously browse online. But it can be an ideal solution for many other purposes too – like accessing blocked sites from outside one’s region (or getting around location-based censorship).

It also provides encryption (or extra security) between devices and servers which makes your data transmissions more secure than unencrypted connections. And VPNs aren’t just for when we’re out-and-about either! They can help keep our personal information safe while browsing at work, too.

2. Why do online teachers think they need a VPN for online classes?

The main reason for using a VPN is to hide your location and IP address from the server. Some educators do need a VPN such as those who live in countries with restrictive internet access (e.g., China) to teach online securely without fear of getting caught.

VPNs may also prevent third parties from intercepting any sensitive information that might be transmitted over the internet. For example, if an online teacher is logging on to their accounts and working with a public Wi-Fi connection, they will need protection because hackers can easily steal these details off of their computer or phone without them being aware. If this happens then it is very difficult for banks to refund the money as banks are usually not responsible for protecting customer’s data when using public Wi-Fi hotspots.

3. Why you may not need to use a VPN for your online class

VPNs are not a one-size-fits-all solution to online security and privacy needs. And they’re not always the best way for teachers of English as a second language learners because they may slow down your internet connection speed by about 20%.

If you are using an internet connection that doesn’t have public Wi-Fi as its source (such as if it’s only available through your home network) then there may not be much point in downloading and installing a VPN on your laptop.

So the answer to “does an online teacher need a VPN?” depends on whether or not you are using public Wi-Fi for your internet service. If so, then yes – it’s probably better if you download and install one before teaching in the classroom. But if not, just be sure that you use other security measures like antivirus solutions (Bitdefender offers one) as well.

You may also want to take advantage of two-factor authentication when logging into email accounts because these can provide even more layers of protection against cybercriminals who might try to get access by guessing passwords or stealing them from another source.

4. Why I stopped using a VPN for teaching online

I used to use a VPN for teaching online because I was worried that someone would hack into my computer or steal the video feed. But then it got too slow and made my classes a nightmare of endless freeze-frames, so I stopped using a VPN altogether.

Online education should be intuitive, not clunky!

This is something some people might need but if you’re just tutoring an English class online from home with students who are all on your own machine – there’s no need for a VPN.

So do you need a VPN for online teaching? I don’t think so.

5. So what security do you need when teaching online?

An antivirus program.  I use Bitdefender security which includes a VPN, and it’s perfect for me since I don’t have to think about anything else. It protects my computer from any outside intrusion, blocks malicious downloads or malware-infected websites in real-time, and even provides backup data protection just in case something spicy happens!

In addition to that, if you’re looking for a way to protect your identity while living abroad – then this is the product for you because it also encrypts all of your personal information like credit card numbers or bank account passwords so nobody can steal them through an unprotected Wi-Fi connection at Starbucks.

The best part is that once installed on your computer, it’s like you’re living in a safe bubble – so none of the threats out there will ever be able to penetrate your system.

6. Conclusion

The bottom line is: you need more than just a VPN to protect yourself on the internet and it can slow your connection way down making for an unpleasant online learning environment. It may cost more to get a real security solution, but I think it is worth the peace of mind that Bitdefender provides.

Hi, I'm Keith, an education technology innovator and host of The New Curriculum Specialist. But I wasn’t either of those things 2 years ago. Then 2020 happened. To adapt, I learned a little bit of code and things have really taken off from there. Not that bad for a guy who failed Math 6 times.

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