Tech Updates - August 11, 2015

How to Access Any Website from Any Location

Restrictions to the internet can be a real pain. If you travel often, you’ve probably noticed that there are some websites that you can’t access on your trip, though you can access them in your home country. This is especially frustrating when you’re paying for a service such as Hulu Plus or Netflix, but can’t view them on your travels.
Luckily, there are easy ways to get around regional restrictions and unblock websites so you can view any page you choose, whether you’re home or overseas. Here’s how you can access any website from any location:

Use a Virtual Private Network:

When trying to unblock websites of any sort, using a Virtual Private Network, or VPN, is the best option available. An added bonus is that using a VPN also protects your privacy, which can be extremely important when you’re using public Wi-Fi or any unsecured network. A VPN unblocks websites by allowing you to connect to a remote server that acts as a secure tunnel, routing your internet traffic through it.

The location of the VPN’s server (known as an IP address) will show up instead of your own, so you’ll appear as though you are located wherever the VPN’s server is. You can choose which location you’d like to use, since the best VPN services offer a wide variety of countries and cities for its users to pick from. Since websites use this sort of information to determine whether or not they need to restrict your access, you’ll be able view content even if you’re outside of the non-restricted area.

VPNs have much more to offer than just unblocking websites; using a VPN will protect you from hackers and identity theft due to its encryption. In basic terms, an encryption is a code that is extremely difficult to crack. It can take years to do so and of course will cost the hacker a lot in time and energy, as their computer will have to be running for however many years it takes to crack the code.

Overall, it’s not realistic that any hacker would go to these lengths in order to hack into your device, so the VPN will allow you to surf the web safely, while still letting you enjoy what the internet has to offer, no matter your location.
Affordability

VPN services are usually subscription based, running between $5 and $15 per month, depending on the subscription plan you choose. Most services will give you the option of paying monthly, every 6 months, or annually, with a lower price offered to those who pay upfront for a longer period of service compared to those who pay on a monthly basis. You can find VPNs for free, but they are usually lacking in quality and won’t supply you with a large amount of bandwidth or speed.

Another thing that can’t compare when it comes to the free services versus the paid is the customer service. Paid services usually offer 24-hour customer support, even via live chat through their website, whereas free services tend to have slow customer service and only give you the option of contacting them through email.
Realistically, you’re going to need a paid service if you plan on accessing Hulu or Netflix due to the amount of bandwidth it takes to stream TV shows and movies. For the low cost of a paid service, it’s well worth it. Many VPN services offer money-back guarantees, so you won’t have to worry if you decide you dislike one service versus another.

Finding the Right VPN:

Depending on your needs, not every VPN will work well for you. As I mentioned, bandwidth is limited on some, which can be a problem depending on the websites you are trying to access. There’s also the matter of which device you’ll be using the VPN on, as not all VPNs work for every operating system.

You also have to consider the frequency of your travels outside of your home country and to where you travel as well. If you’re one to travel to several different countries in a given year, you might prefer a VPN that has more options when it comes to locations. Some have more servers than others and can provide you with a better chance of unblocking websites because of this (you’ll need as many options as you can get if you travel around a lot).
There’s also the matter of privacy. Even though a VPN encrypts your connection and protects your privacy from hackers, certain VPN services log your browsing activity. Obviously this can be a problem for those who really don’t want to share their personal information with anyone.

However, not all VPNs log your browsing activity. Each VPN has its specific strong point, with some surpassing the others. Overall, when it comes to choosing a VPN, you really need to take your specific needs into consideration when making your decision.

Access Granted:

No matter which VPN you decide on, all of them will unblock websites for you. The only issue is whether or not the VPN offers a server in the location that you need to access the specific site. The majority will, but this is also dependent on your traveling habits.

When you find the right VPN to suit your lifestyle, you’ll be accessing websites without any problem, from any location, any time. Protecting your data is just an added perk that comes with being able to view what you want, when you want, so start downloading, and don’t forget to install a VPN on your smartphone and tablet as well; it’s not just for your computer!