Why expats should use a VPN

Posted on August 1st, 2019 by in Privacy basics.


Living abroad can be an adventure, but it also presents unique online privacy obstacles. A VPN can help expats stay in touch with their family and avoid Internet censorship.

In the age of the “digital nomad” more and more people are moving abroad. Living in a new country can be both exciting and complicated. One thing expats should not overlook is how they plan to maintain their online security and access to the uncensored Internet.

Having your identity or credit card number stolen is stressful enough. Now imagine trying to resolve the issue in a foreign language or over the phone from thousands of miles away. A trustworthy VPN adds an extra layer of encryption to your online activity, helping you keep your sensitive information safe. 

A VPN also has other benefits that are especially useful to expats. From letting you stay in touch with friends and family back home to making your online banking more secure, here are four reasons why expats should use a VPN.

1. Unrestricted access to social media

Staying in touch with your family and friends while living abroad has never been easier. Skype, WhatsApp, Twitter, and other social media sites let you catch up with the people that mean the most to you anytime you get online. This ability to bring people together has, unfortunately, made social media services the target of government suppression. Over the past several years, more and more governments around the world have blocked access to social media services

To block individual sites, the government can order the local Internet service provider to block that site’s IP address. Or, it could delete the site from its DNS servers so that if you try to go to that web page, you will be told the site does not exist. You can circumvent these blocks by using a VPN to connect to a server in another country where no block exists. Once that VPN connection is established, you will be able to access the restricted sites. 

2. Unrestricted access to censored content

Depending on which country you go to, you may encounter state censorship. China, Thailand, Iran, and Russia are just a few countries that are known to block access to foreign news networks. Accessing unbiased, accurate reporting on the Internet can be difficult in countries like these without the assistance of a VPN.  

Similar to the way a VPN allows you to evade social media blocks, a VPN can help you access censored content. Besides allowing you to circumvent the content block, a VPN also encrypts your Internet traffic. This encryption means your ISP will have no idea what site you are visiting. 

3. Safe access to online banking

Setting up a bank account can be a long, drawn-out process. Now that almost every major bank has an online banking portal, there is less of a need for expats to set up a bank account in a local bank. However, this means you will need to regularly access your bank accounts over the Internet. If you use a public WiFi hotspot, you could potentially expose sensitive financial information.

A VPN adds an extra layer of encryption to your Internet traffic, making it more difficult for attackers to observe your activity. By connecting to a VPN, you can confidently conduct your online banking no matter where you are. 

4. Watch sports abroad

You may leave your hometown, but you cannot abandon your hometown team. Unless your local TV broadcaster carries international channels, it is unlikely you will be able to find your favorite team on TV. Meanwhile, on the Internet, regional restrictions and geo-blocking can make it just as challenging to find reliable sites to watch the big game. 

With a VPN, you can avoid the regional blocks put in place by your favorite sports broadcaster’s website. You’ll never need to miss a game again. 

If you are an expat who wants to prevent your Internet access from being censored or monitored, you should sign up for ProtonVPN for free. You can get Proton VPN for free for Windows and macOS. You can also sign up for a Free plan on iOS and Android. We are a community-supported VPN service that was developed by the same team that created Proton Mail, the world’s largest secure email service. We have over 400 servers in over 30 countries on six continents, so no matter where you live, we have a server nearby. We have taken extra precautions to secure our servers so you can be confident your online activity will remain private, even if you access a server in a high-risk country. And our Plus plan users can access Secure Streaming, which allows you to watch your favorite shows on Netflix, Hulu, HBO Go, and other streaming sites. 

No matter where you go, a VPN lets you bring a little of your home — be it friends, family, or your favorite team — with you.

Best Regards,
The Proton VPN Team

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To get a free Proton Mail encrypted email account, visit: proton.me/mail

Prior to joining Proton, Richie spent several years working on tech solutions in the developing world. He joined the Proton team to advance the rights of online privacy and freedom.

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