Using a virtual private network (VPN) is beneficial for everyone. The technology provides many benefits to internet users but can be especially useful for expatriates living in Asia. If you’re residing in Asia here are five great reasons why you should be using a VPN service.
Watching Online Content Overseas
One drawback of being an expat living in Korea is missing my home country’s media. Not all sites stream my favorite TV shows and movies outside of the USA. Videos that are available through NetFlix in the USA were not available in Korea. Needless to say, I was euphoric when I found out USA Netflix worked still worked at LiquidVPN. The only drawback is Netflix somehow still blocks my mobile devices when I am not connected to my home Wi-Fi.
VPN companies have servers in countries all around the world, and you can choose which server you want to use. When you connect to a VPN server in another country, your IP address is replaced with the VPN server’s IP address. When you want to stream the latest episode of your show connect to a VPN server in your home country, the service will read your IP address and think you’re at home, and you can pick up where you left off.
Finding Better Deals and Cheaper Flights
You might not know it, but many companies and airlines dynamically change their prices based on your location. As an expat, I am traveling a lot on a shoestring budget. Using a VPN while buying airplane tickets and booking hotels has saved me quite a bit of cash. Electronics and clothing companies are also notorious for changing prices based on data they collect from you.
Protecting Your Privacy
Speaking of companies collecting your data… Most websites you visit collect lots of data about who you are and the device you’re browsing with. Many expats are shocked when they realize their new ISP has been watching their browsing habits. Everyone knows a good VPN makes you much harder to track because it hides your IP address, but it also encrypts your web traffic. No third party can see what you’re doing because the VPN prevents them from seeing your real IP address.
It’s not only your web browsing that is encrypted – your communications are encrypted as well. Using a VPN isn’t foolproof, but it’s much safer than browsing without one. If you are an expat in a country that is very strict about Internet access, you might want to take it a step further and use your VPN in combination with TOR.
Keeping In Touch With Friends and Family
Virtually everyone uses social media, but many Asian countries control access to the big social media sites, making it hard to contact your friends and family back home reliably. It gets even more difficult during times of celebration or civil unrest. A VPN will allow you to connect to your social media sites without too many problems.
Many Asian governments snoop on Internet traffic inside their countries. You do not have to be an investigative journalist or a whistleblower for them to want to keep an eye on what you are doing, so using a VPN can help stop this type of surveillance. This goes back to how VPNs encrypt your traffic. By creating a secure “tunnel” through the internet, your data is protected from those who would want to intercept it. Where https traffic can be decrypted using a ‘man in the middle’, attack it is much harder to pull off on a VPN connection. This is another opportunity to use TOR
Andrew is a blogger and amateur photographer from Michigan. His favorite topics to read and write about include privacy, technology, and science. Currently, he lives in Korea where he teaches English and works remotely for a startup company.