If you’re living in America or Canada, 99% of the time, you don’t need to use VPN to access the Internet freely. But here’s some shocking news; not only do many countries restrict people’s access to the Internet to a huge degree, but they also block VPNs so that people are cut off from the world completely.
The good news is that humans can find a solution to almost any problem if they are persistent. Hopefully, robots can come up with these anti-censorship solutions much faster.
What Is VPN?
VPN is short for Virtual Private Network, which basically masks your true IP address so you can access geo-restricted content without jeopardizing your identity. Imagine there are tunnels that grant you safe access to your destination and cover your tracks thoroughly, like a cleaner.
Some tunnels are more secure than others and, for that matter, have much higher entry costs. VPNs are exactly like these secret tunnels that allow you to safely access the Internet without leaving any online fingerprint.
The best thing about VPNs is that they hide your true location and encrypt any data you send or receive. Your IP address is like a 24/7 beacon that leaves you vulnerable to hackers and cyber threats.
Your internet traffic and online activity are the gateways hackers use to steal your personal information, such as bank account details, passwords, etc. So using a trusted VPN provider allows you to turn your online activity into an unsolvable puzzle.
How to Setup VPN
When it comes to using VPNs, you have two options:
- Download a VPN app and let your smartphone take care of the configuration process.
- Host your own VPN on a VPS server.
Option one is the go-to option for 99% of people because they don’t have the time or the knowledge to configure a VPN themselves. The process of setting up a VPN app is straightforward, you go to the App Store or Google Play and download the VPN you want; once it’s done installing, you open it and hit connect; the VPN app will then connect you to a remote server and any location the remote server is in will be your new IP address.
Now option two is the most secure and budget-friendly way to hide your IP and protect your online activity from government officials, hackers, or any other snooping entity. Let’s say you want to host your own VPN. For this purpose, you will need a cloud virtual server or a physical server. The cheapest option is to buy Windows VPS server, a trustworthy one. Then you need to configure your VPN using one of these protocols: OpenVPN, L2TP/IPSec, SSTP (The Secure Socket Tunneling Protocol), or PPTP (Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol). You need to have basic command-line coding knowledge to create your VPN, but fortunately, there are hundreds of online tutorials that can guide you.
VPN Use Cases
Our smartphones, MacBooks, and PCs are all little hearing devices that spy on us and make us vulnerable to all kinds of cyber attacks, viruses, etc. Most people are unaware of the dangers of the online world because nothing serious has yet happened to them. But why wait until something drastic happens to start protecting our data and online security?
Precaution is always the best remedy.
Here’s a list of VPN use cases that can help you stay safe online:
Never ever use public WiFi without a VPN; it’s like leaving the door open for any online users to dive into your personal data.
ISP (Internet Service Provider)
Your ISP might seem friendly and promise that they don’t monitor, log, or sell your online traffic, but one can’t be too careful. Remember that your ISP is bound by your government’s laws, and if the authorities ask them to track or even block your online activity, they will absolutely obey.
Facebook is one of the most popular apps in the world, but everyone knows that their data privacy is nothing but an empty promise.
Network channels (Netflix, Hulu, BBC, etc.)
These popular streaming channels restrict access to their content in some countries and use VPN blockers. But with a premium VPN like Proton VPN or NordVPN, you can access their exclusive content easily and privately.
Which Countries Have Internet Censorship?
Internet censorship is more common than you may think; in fact, in some countries, such as Iran, major social platforms like Instagram and WhatsApp are entirely blocked.
Let’s look at online censorship in different categories and list the countries that enforce them:
- The UAE
- North Korea
- The United States
Political Media Banning:
- Papua New Guinea
Social Media Restrictions:
- North Korea
Bans on VPN Use:
- North Korea
Fortunately, every time a new censorship protocol pops up, the anti-censorship protocol rises soon after. There’s no need to be overly concerned with online censorship as long as you don’t do something illegal or criminal. Still, in terms of protecting your online data from cyber criminals that can harm you significantly, you definitely should have every tool at your disposal.
With all the restrictions enforced by governments, organizations, and other authoritative entities, VPNs seem like the only accessible solution for online privacy. Everyone has a right to privacy and should be protected at all costs.
Remember that free VPNs are not the best option if you want to keep your online activity safe. In most cases, these companies sell your data to governments or advertising agencies which can pose security threats.
Premium VPNs are safer options to ensure online safety, but even they cannot bring you 100% online anonymity.
We suggest investing your budget in buying or renting a dedicated VPS server to create your own VPN and getting a robust antivirus server to become totally invisible online.
Hosting your own VPN on a VPS means you are in control of your server resources, and if you run a business, it is the ultimate solution to protect customers’ data.
No data leakage, no privacy issues, and no downtime.