While browsing the internet, you’re likely to encounter websites that ask you to enter your country and zip code to view certain content. In some instances, these restrictions can be frustrating, especially when trying to access content while traveling internationally.
With that in mind, sometimes it’s desirable to change the ports used by a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to access the content you want to see. Doing this can help eliminate the need to enter your country and zip code, as well as other restrictions that might be in place due to the geographic location of your current IP address (Internet Protocol address).
In this blog post, you’ll discover how to change the ports used by a VPN so you can access content that’s blocked due to country or region restrictions.
Step one: Identify the VPN you’ll be using
When you connect to a VPN, your computer will have a direct connection to the service’s servers. Because of this, the servers will be able to see and hear everything you do on your computer. In addition, your Internet connection will be shared with the VPN, and all Internet data will be secured while traveling internationally or domestically.
When selecting a VPN, it’s important to identify the protocols it supports and the ports it uses. Protocols are essentially sets of rules that govern how data is transferred over a network. A VPN that supports only a few protocols, such as PPTP, won’t provide the same level of security as one that supports L2TP/IPSec. Similarly, some VPNs use port 1194 for PPTP and port 1900 for L2TP, while others use different ports for the two protocols.
Knowing the ports used by different VPNs can help you determine which one is best suited for your needs. For example, if you’re trying to access a US-based website that uses HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure), then a VPN that supports that protocol is advisable.
Step two: Identify the type of device you’re using
Like with many other items that you connect to your computer, the type of device you use to access the internet with will determine the types of ports available to you. When connecting to a VPN, you’ll most likely be presented with the choice of a USB, Bluetooth, or WiFi dongle. Each of these devices supports a different set of protocols and ports, so selecting one that supports your preferred protocols and is accessible form your current location is critical.
If you’re fortunate enough to have a choice of wired or wireless internet at your current location, then you should opt for the former to connect to a VPN. Wired connections are generally faster than wireless ones, and you’ll be able to choose which network to access (your home network or the internet) with ease. In addition, you’ll be able to purchase internet access at any public location that has ethernet jacks, provided you maintain a decent connection.
Step three: Identify the type of content you want to access
The next step is to identify the types of content you want to access. This is usually straightforward – if you want to watch YouTube videos, for example, you’ll need to have YouTube’s app installed on your phone (which you can’t do while connected to a VPN).
In some instances, you might not be able to access a certain type of content even though you have the necessary apps installed on your device. For example, if you try to access a YouTube video on your iPhone in China, you’ll experience difficulty due to the country’s firewall. In that case, you might need to enter the video’s URL instead of searching for it within YouTube as you normally would.
Step four: Identify the geographic location you’ll be connecting from
For many of us, accessing websites, videos, and other content that’s restricted due to country or region restrictions is a major frustration when traveling internationally. In addition to the previously mentioned YouTube app experiencing difficulties in China, other commonly restricted content includes:
- Netflix show content
- Spotify music
- Steam games
- Pandora radio stations
- Amazon Prime videos
- Echo Bay games
If you’re fortunate enough to be in a country that has no restrictions regarding the internet content you can access, then the possibilities are endless. Still, the fact that this variety of content is not available everywhere makes it important to know how to work around these restrictions when you want to access it.
Step five: Set your device’s timezone and date correctly
Once you have all the necessary equipment and the location where you’ll be connecting from established, You’ll need to set your device’s timezone and date correctly. The timezone and date settings on your device will decide which time servers are used to determine the accurate time and date. While it’s not always possible to adjust your device’s timezone and date to match that of the location you’re connecting from, if it is possible, it’s recommended you do so.
If you’re connecting from a different country to China, then setting the timezone and date to match would mean setting the clock one hour forward. Similarly, if you’re connecting from Spain to Argentina, the time difference is almost 24 hours, which means you’ll need to set your device’s timezone and date one hour behind that of Argentina.
Step six: Ensure you have a strong, secure password
To protect your personal data and prevent unauthorized access to your device, you’ll need to ensure you have a strong password. The length of the password you choose should be at least 8 characters long, and it should contain upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. In addition, you should avoid using any phrases or words that can be interpreted as common English phrases such as your name, birthday, or phone number. Instead, use a unique password for each website and account you have.
Step seven: Test the connection
Once you have everything set up and connected, it’s time to test the connection. To test the connection, you can either use an actual VPN client or turn on the Virtual Private Network’s VPN service through your device’s settings.
If you choose to test the connection using a VPN client, then proceed to connect to the nearest VPN server and test the connection. If everything is configured correctly, the connection should connect successfully. You can now access all the restricted content you want while traveling internationally.
Step eight: Maintain the connection
After you’ve accessed the content you wanted, it’s important to maintain the connection. To ensure you stay connected when traveling abroad, you’ll need to either add the VPN’s IP address to your device’s list of trusted IP addresses or set your device to remember the VPN’s IP address. The former is usually preferred as it’s more convenient for users who want to connect to the internet while abroad; the latter option is useful if you plan to access the internet through a different device.
Once you’ve added the VPN’s IP address to your list of trusted IP addresses or set your device to remember it, you’ll be able to continue connecting to the service without any additional measures.
Step nine: Remove the device’s default gateway and DNS settings
If you have a router with a built-in DNS server, then it’s usually not necessary to remove it. However, if you don’t have one and you use a different DNS server than the one your router uses, then you’ll need to ensure your device is not using the router’s DNS server when you connect to the internet. You can either set your device to use a different DNS server or remove the device’s default gateway and set it to use IPv6.
Step ten: Monitor your device’s network traffic
Last but not least, we have step ten, which is arguably the most important step of them all. After you’ve successfully connected to a VPN, you’ll need to monitor your device’s network traffic to ensure everything is functioning as it should. For example, if you use the VPN to unblock Netflix shows, then you’ll want to make sure you’re not using too much bandwidth when streaming videos. Similarly, if you use the VPN to access Youtube videos, then you’ll want to ensure you’re not being charged by YouTube for over-usage.