You don’t need to live in China, Iran, Cuba, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, or Russia to experience internet censorship and geo-restrictions that limit your online activity. You can live in a liberal democracy like the US (where censorship is unconstitutional) and still encounter limitations. For instance, you can’t access some UK websites and services from the US or your US Netflix account when abroad.
Whether political, religious, or cultural, internet censorship locks free access to information. How can you unlock it, regardless of where you are? You can use a VPN.
What is a VPN?
A VPN (Virtual Private Network) is a service that extends a private internet network over a public one, creating an encrypted VPN tunnel for secure data transmission. It lets you connect to a server in a desired country, virtually placing you in a different geographical location.
How does it work?
VPN providers have multiple server locations (thousands or tens of thousands) across countries worldwide. After registering and logging into your account, you can pick a country so your chosen VPN service can establish a secure connection between your device and the target server.
That masks your IP address, making only the remote server’s IP visible to the websites you visit. The VPN redirects all your traffic through that server, encrypting it so no one, not even your ISP, can see your identity online, determine your location, track your online activity, and steal or misuse your data.
Top use cases of VPNs
The following use cases are the top reasons people increasingly use VPNs.
Accessing geo-restricted content
We’ve all seen that frustrating “Not available in your country” message when accessing a geo-restricted website or service. Whether your country has geo-restriction laws or you want to bypass them while traveling, you can use a VPN to unblock and interact with the desired content.
Internet censorship is another reason people use a VPN, whether they live in countries with censorship laws or traveling to one and looking to remove online limitations.
Bypassing censorship with a VPN works the same as going around geo-restrictions. Connecting to a remote server in a country without censorship laws enables you to access any content like a local citizen.
Protecting online privacy
With cybersecurity threats lurking around every corner, online privacy and anonymity have taken center stage, driving the demand for better security solutions. VPNs are only some of them.
Since a VPN creates an encrypted tunnel when establishing your internet connection, it prevents third parties from detecting and tracking you online, intercepting your data transmission, and accessing your data.
The same goes for public Wi-Fi connections, which typically don’t use encryption, making connected devices vulnerable. You don’t have to worry if you get a reliable VPN since it will extend its service over a public Wi-Fi network.
Preventing bandwidth throttling
Bandwidth throttling may not be as problematic as the issues above, but you can’t deny its role in your online experience. Many ISPs slow down internet speed to stabilize traffic during peak times, fairly allocating resources.
However, network congestion isn’t the only reason for reducing bandwidth speed. Some ISPs do it to entice users (primarily online gamers, streamers, and web scrapers) to upgrade to a plan with more data—and a higher monthly bill.
A VPN can prevent this intentional speed limitation, improving your online sessions. Your ISP can’t see your online activity since your VPN will encrypt your traffic.
Worthy VPN alternatives to consider
VPNs aren’t the only solutions to defying online censorship, bypassing geo-restrictions, and enjoying online privacy and security benefits. Here are two worthy alternatives to consider.
Proxy servers are server applications acting as intermediaries between web browsers and target websites’ hosting servers. They work similarly to VPNs, routing traffic through remote servers and concealing IP addresses. That way, they can go around geo-restrictions and censorship.
They can also overcome IP blocks and bans, avoid CAPTCHAs, save bandwidth by caching files, and establish faster connections. That’s why businesses often use them for uninterrupted web scraping.
Web Unblocker is another excellent option for seamless web scraping. It’s an AI proxy solution by Oxylabs that bypasses anti-bot mechanisms, helping you extract website data without encountering annoying CAPTCHAs or getting an IP block. It also overcomes geo-restrictions, allowing you to access localized content worldwide. Read this Web Unblocker article to learn more.
The best part? You can seamlessly integrate this AI-powered solution into your code since it uses a back-connect method.
Internet censorship, geo-restrictions, IP blocks, and other limitations don’t need to be the bane of your existence. You can bypass them with a VPN, proxy server, or Web Unblocker, unlocking the web and enjoying unrestricted access to information.