VPNs essential for expat internet access

Published:  30 May at 6 PM
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Regardless of their reasons for leaving the home country, the majority of expats rely on the internet to keep in touch with friends and family as well as to further their business interests and plans to explore their new country of residence.

Decades ago, the world’s expat population looked a great deal different than it does nowadays. In the 21st century, career opportunities are just on of the reasons to leave the country of birth and settle in the unfamiliar ‘elsewhere’. Even so, whether they’re students, retirees, modern-day gypsies and explorers or simply people who want to try somewhere different, the draw for expats to stay informed about home via the internet is always present.

Being able to communicate with those at home, watch familiar TV programmes, study and research via the web or read the news worldwide is a much appreciated product of this century’s internet age. The downside, especially in far-flung destinations, may well be finding a service which works well enough to get what is needed. TV streaming, for example, tends to be geo-restrictive in that specific countries’ channels are almost always configured to be viewed only in their countries of origin.

Less frustrating but more important problems linked with surfing the net overseas are security and privacy, whether of emails and social media activities or, most importantly the use of an internet banking service. ‘Digital security’ tends not to be understood in many less-than-developed countries where a secure network is still a dream. Monitoring, hacking and data loss as well as all your activities being logged is commonplace in more remote locations, with the only answer a Virtual Private Network (VPN).

Although VPNs won’t help with unreliable service and frequent outages, they keep private information safe and secure as well as allowing users to watch all their favourite TV programmes as well as the locked pages targeted by restrictive foreign governments, the most famous of which is the BBC! They are straightforward to use, even for the non-tech expat, as they simply provide an IP address in the country of choice as well as secure network connections.

VPNs also avoid censorship such as the Chinese government’s blocking of Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, and slow connections can be improved via the use of the their speedier servers. All your data is encrypted, thus making hacking your data far more difficult. Costs are very affordable, your privacy is protected and you’ll never miss a favourite TV show.
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