The most recent UK government lockdown introduced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson has now been extended until the end of April. As businesses and consumers seek to get back to some sort of normality, restrictions on using public transport are being lifted, with more people able to get out and about. However, with many businesses changing their working practices to remain remote, the transition to a fully functional country may be a bumpy one. The aim of this article is to advise on how to access blocked websites while traveling abroad, so that when restrictions are lifted you can continue working as usual.
Use A VPN To Get Around Blocked Sites
If you’re reading this article, then it’s very likely that you’ve already heard of VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) and know what they are. If not, then it’s time to step into the 21st century and enter the wonderful world of cybersecurity. You may have even heard of VPNs being called “proxies” or “mirrors”, which are the two most common terms used when referring to them. A VPN creates a secure tunnel between your device and the website you’re trying to access, hiding your identity and preserving your sensitive data. While there are numerous pros to using a VPN, here’s a short list of just a few reasons why they are useful for getting around blocked sites:
- They encrypt all the data you transmit, helping to ensure that everything you type is protected
- They offer a kill-switch so if your connection drops, you can quickly restore it — ideal for when you’re on the move
- They allow you to access sites that you may otherwise not have gotten to (great for those who enjoy a Netflix binged while abroad)
- They allow you to access sites that are blocked by your country’s ISP (Internet Service Provider, or Internet provider for short) which could be useful if you’re trying to access a site that is blocked by your government
- They give you a different IP address (a virtual address that identifies your connection and prevents others from scraping your data)
- They help to prevent your data from being hijacked by malicious parties
- They provide an additional layer of security should your device be compromised (for example, by a lock screen hacker)
If you decide to use a VPN, then you will need to pick a provider that accepts PayPal as a means of payment (many do). The best VPNs for privacy and security have no problem with this, so you can use this particular payment option to make sure you stay completely anonymous while using their services.
A VPN Is Only As Good As Your Location
It’s crucial to always check the laws and regulations of the country you’re visiting before you travel there. In many places, it’s not legal for websites to collect your personal data, which is why VPNs can be useful in hiding your identity while you browse. However, as already mentioned, this is only as good as the law allows. If you’re in Vienna, Austria, then it may be okay for a business to collect your data, but if you’re in Moscow, Russia, then they may not be allowed to do this. In some countries, such as China, it’s definitely not allowed and could get you into serious trouble. Check the laws and regulations of the country you’re visiting before you set up shop and start collecting data. This will help ensure you don’t get into trouble and allow you to have a good time abroad.
A VPN Can Only Do So Much
VPNs are great at hiding your identity while you’re surfing the web, but as we’ve established, this is only as good as the law permits. In some countries, such as China, it’s actually illegal for businesses to help their customers to get around blocked sites. In addition, if you’re traveling to a country where your government has blocked certain websites, then it’s inadvisable to even try to access them through a VPN. For example, if you’re trying to access the New York Times website from China, then you’re probably going to get in trouble. In this case, it may be safer to visit the site via a mobile phone or portable device, such as a tablet or notebook computer. This way, you won’t incriminate yourself, and the Chinese government may not be able to monitor your actions. In some situations, this may be your only option if you want to keep your personal data secure.
Things To Remember
With all of this talk of VPNs and cyber security, it’s important to remember that not everyone is familiar with this concept. If you’re visiting a country where technology isn’t as trusted as it is in some other parts of the world, then it may be wise to refrain from using certain technologies, such as VPNs, when abroad. For example, if you’re in Iran and you try to use a VPN to get around the government-imposed internet restrictions, then you may end up in trouble. While it may be tempting to use a VPN to get around restrictive internet policies, it’s probably not a good idea in countries where security is a concern. Remember: your identity can be hidden while you’re surfing the web, but this doesn’t mean that everyone knows who you are. For instance, in Russia, using a VPN may be okay, as long as you don’t tell the authorities that you used this particular tool to access certain websites.
If you’re curious about what other people think about VPNs, then check out this article from a popular blog that reviews various products, including VPNs.