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What is a VPN?
VPN stands for ‘Virtual Private Network’. It’s a private network that encrypts your data and protects you against hackers looking to steal your information.
You can also use VPNs to spoof the location of your device. You know when you try to watch a video or read an article but it won’t let you because it’s not available in your location? With a VPN you can just change your location, bypassing things like that. A VPN for expats can be invaluable.
How does a VPN help with security overseas?
Do you feel at ease on public Wi-Fi? Well, you probably shouldn’t.
I don’t know much about web security. Up until last year my password was 1234. But one thing I do know is that when I’m on an unsecure connection, that anyone can access, there’s a higher risk of someone stealing my data.
And think about when you travel abroad – how often do you have to rely on public Wi-Fi, or questionable connections to hotel or café Wi-Fis? You never know what shady hackers are lurking in the background, trying to hijack your data.
With a VPN you don’t need to worry about that. They protect you from unsecure networks by redirecting your browser session to a server on the other side of the world while encrypting your data. It’s virtually impossible for cybercriminals to access your internet traffic.
Can I access all of favourite sites with a VPN?
Yep. Some countries block social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. But, to the annoyance of many, those sites are an integral part of a lot of people’s lives. Some people struggle to get by without them.
If Facebook is blocked how are you supposed to stay up two hours past your bedtime reading two complete strangers arguing on a random Facebook post? With a VPN it’s easy – you just change your location to somewhere Facebook isn’t blocked. Then you’re free to read as someone called Steve tells someone called Alan his son looks like a trout as a post about a missing cat escalates.
Another bonus of a VPN is that you can use it to access streaming services: Netflix, Hulu, Disney, iPlayer, Spotify. You can even use them to access content from other locations – I know a guy who has a VPN literally just so he can spoof being in America and watch South Park.
You can pretty much watch anything you want, wherever you are. Well, not completely.
Can I use a VPN anywhere?
Unfortunately not. Most countries allow you to use a VPN but there are a few that don’t like them: Belarus, Egypt, India, Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Oman, Russia, Turkey and Turkmenistan, for example. All of them have issues with VPNs, but some of them allow you to
I wouldn’t worry too much about it, though. You’ll be fine using a VPN in the vast majority of countries. Just check the rules of somewhere before you use a VPN there. It’s not worth getting arrested over Netflix’s fairly poor selection of films.
Can I use a VPN for cheaper flight tickets?
No. Well, maybe, but not really. Let me explain.
According to Google you can. There are loads of articles out there claiming it’s a thing, but I noticed that they all have something in common. Every one of them included an affiliate link to a VPN service. Convenient.
I did a bit of digging anyway and it turns out it’s not really a thing. Sometimes it might work, but there’s no real correlation. Flight prices are calculated using a complex algorithm that factors in all sorts; time of year, destination popularity and the exchange rate just to name a few. VPNs don’t come into it.
Sometimes it might look like you’ve been quoted a cheaper price using a VPN, but in reality the VPN probably has nothing to do with it.
(To avoid being a hypocrite, I should point out that there’s an affiliate link in this blog too, but I’ve researched everything I’m saying and I’m not trying to sell you on false benefits, so I’m giving myself a bit of a pass).
Are VPNs only for travelling?
Not at all. You can use your VPN whenever, wherever (as Shakira says). I know a fair few people who use them in their day-to-day lives just because they’re so handy and let you access a lot more content.
More importantly, though, think about all the information that’s stored on your phone. Bank accounts, emails, private messages, private photos. There’s so much at stake if you get hacked or you data gets compromised. Using a VPN gives you that extra peace of mind that your stuff is safe.
A VPN for expats is an invaluable tool, but even if you aren’t an expat they’re worth thinking about.
Which is the best VPN for expats?
We’ve done a fair bit of research into the best VPN for expats, and we’ve crowned our winner: SurfShark! Round of applause, please.
It’s consistently ranked amongst the top 3 VPNs out there, but it’s a lot more affordable than its competitors. It has a huge selection of server locations to spoof, all of which have blistering speeds. On top of that, it boasts ad blocking, P2P support, chaining, tunnelling and 24/7 support amongst other things. It has everything you’ll ever need at an affordable price.
If you’re an expat thinking about the different options for a VPN, or if the thought of a VPN has piqued your curiosity, then why not take advantage of SurfShark’s free 7-day trial? You’ve got nothing to lose. See what VPNs are about, see how much safer you feel knowing that all of your data is encrypted. Play about with the different servers, see what new Netflix content you can find by spoofing your location.
We know you’ll find it a game changer when travelling overseas, but if you don’t like it then just don’t take it any further than your free trial. Give it a go – you won’t be disappointed!