Choosing a VPN Provider
VPN stands for "Virtual Private Network" and we believe that most, if not all expatriates, should consider subscribing to a VPN service. A VPN allows individuals to use the internet on a secure basis; effectively encrypting all data and sending it through the internet on a "private tunnel" through to a designated server. These designated servers will often be outside your country of residence, and you will usually have the flexibility to choose between the most appropriate server, which provides other advantages.
What are the advantages of a VPN?
In usual situations, your ISP has almost complete access to details regarding all your Internet browsing. Whilst strict privacy laws in many countries protect this data, in many developing countries true privacy does not exist. VPN encrypts all your data traffic and provides additional privacy, with the result that your local ISP is unable to see anything except that you are connecting to a specific overseas server. Because your browsing history may be retained on your designated VPN server you should also consider the privacy laws applying in the country where the server is physically located.
Many countries block certain websites and activities - for a variety of reasons. This includea access to Skype in parts of Middle East and website restrictions currently in place in China. The use of a VPN may also assist in avoiding these restrictions and provide full access to your home country websites, although you must have regard to local laws and regulations.
3. Wireless security
Expatriates and travelers will often use wireless broadband available in public places, such as hotel lobbies. Without VPN there is some prospect that these sessions could be intercepted.
4. Watching Geographically Blocked TV and other services
Unfortunately, it is quite common for a variety of internet based services to be only available in certain geographical areas - "geoblocked" in short. For example, you may not be able to access certain UK or US television programs unless the server, looking at your incoming server address (IP number), believes you are resident in the UK or US. Effectively, by choosing one of a number of a servers located around the world, you can appear to be in these countries for the purposes of these services.
Choosing a VPN Provider
We do not claim to be an expert in VPN technology, but the factors we think are important in selecting a VPN provider are:
1. Supporting your platform - ensure that the provider supports your operating system, for example Windows/Mac/Linux
2. Stability - ensure the provider as a solid history, remembering that VPN's are a relatively new offering
3. Geographical scope - that the provider offers a range of available servers in different countries, and particularly in your base country.
4. Service - provides prompt and knowledgeable response to chat or e-mail inquiries, and
Based on our own requirements and reserach, we have opted for PureVPN, but it may not suit everyone - we suggest you review the services of PureVPN and alternative providers before subscribing to a service. There is a learning curve associated with this technology, but we found the process fairly simple and the service, at times, to be absolutely invaluable.