If it’s just a fun website that you’re looking at then no need to worry. It doesn’t matter if someone sees your data. But if it’s online banking, business email, or anything else that’s a bit more sensitive — it’s a different story.
Now, here’s how the same connection looks with a VPN enabled:
When you use a VPN service, your data is encrypted (because you’re using their app), goes in encrypted form to your ISP then to the VPN server. The VPN server is the third party that connects to the web on your behalf. This solves the privacy and security problem for us in a couple of ways:
The destination site sees the VPN server as the traffic origin, not you.
No one can (easily) identify you or your computer as the source of the data, nor what you’re doing (what websites you’re visiting, what data you’re transferring, etc.).
Your data is encrypted, so even if someone does look at what you’re sending, they only see encrypted information and not raw data.
As you would imagine, such a scenario is much safer than connecting to the web the traditional way. But how secure is it exactly? Let’s find out.