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How To Get Round Web Blockages To Work Abroad

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Working abroad is never without its drawbacks. On occasion we all have to do it, whether we’re on holiday or have been sent out to work on location.

Working in hotel rooms in foreign lands is full of limitations, particularly if you’re working out of a country that has high levels of censorship.

As designers and developers we often need the whole internet to work in order to grab certain aspects of code or APIs, so it can be hugely frustrating with the lack of resource needed to get the job done.

All over the world there are countries with limited access to the internet, and its well worth exploring if you’re going away and will be relying on the web.

Where Has The Highest Levels of Censorship?

For the most part you’ll find the likes of the Middle East or China the places where censorship can be extremely limiting.

Censorship is rife by the government in these regions, with social media in the latter banned, meaning you could be without a vital form of communication.

Practically any web pages that could potentially have blockages on them, with anything anti-government, going against religion, or LGBT usually seeing a block on them.

North Korea is of course one of the more extreme examples, where only around 4% of the population even has internet access, with every page under government control. Not that you’ll be busy visiting Pyongyang in a hurry.

Elsewhere though, the likes of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Dubai are pretty limited in what they offer, while in Iran you have to register yourself with the government if you’re a blogger and Vietnam you need to sign in and leave your details every time you visit an Internet cafe.

Ways To Get Round Censorship

There are ways around it and if you’re planning on picking up some work away from home, it’s well worth looking into getting around these limitations.

The most common way is through a VPN, which can not only open the web but allow you to change your location to almost anywhere in the world.

Naturally, this is incredibly important, particularly if you also need to do work for clients back home. Even the slightest of things can see a website get banned abroad, so a VPN may be absolutely necessary to work.

Not only that they are also useful for any downtime you may have. We all like to catch up on shows from back home and a VPN allows you to access this, including the likes of US Netflix. You can read more about how to access international media by clicking the link below, while also finding out more about how to download a VPN.

Doing that is fairly simple though and not only do they open up the web but they also add an extra layer of security.

How A VPN Works & Keeps You Secure

That’s because of a VPN’s functionality. What they do is essentially add an extra level of privacy to send or receive data in complete secrecy.

This is done by creating a tunnel that bypasses any blocking or geoblocking, camouflaging your ISP to your internet provider and the government.

What they do:

  • Hide Your IP address: A private network will protect your IP address from being viewed by anyone on the network
  • Encrypt Data: Any data transferred over the network will be protected, leaving less chance of being hacked
  • Change Your IP Address: You can also change your IP to add an extra layer of security
  • Change Your Location: Most VPNs have around 70+ locations to choose from, giving you access to thousands of extra sites
  • Access Censored Sites: As previously mentioned, you’ll be opened up to all blocked sites.

Aside from being helpful in camouflaging your IP to open up a network from censored information, many people do use a VPN purely for security purposes.

When working away from home, you’ll often find yourself needing to connect to the likes of hotel Wi-Fi or public connections in coffee shops. Ultimately, anyone could be viewing your connection, so the advanced encryption on your data from a VPN will keep you much safer.

What Can I Use A VPN On?

Thankfully VPNs aren’t just limited to your MacBook or Windows PC either. You can use them across multiple devices, whether that be a computer, your mobile or your tablet.

This will give you access at all times and is generally perfect for just kicking back in the evening and watching catch up TV or movies on your tablet.

So, How Do I Get A VPN?

If you’re heading abroad and feel you may have to work, investing in a VPN is certainly a worthwhile purchase, whether it being yourself or your company footing the bill.

There are very easy to get hold of and can be purchased for as little as $60 per year or a couple of dollars per month.

It’s worth checking which VPNs are accessible over multiple platforms and you’ll generally find some work better than others across different devices.

It is generally a good idea to shop around with some even having specific specialties in certain regions. You’ll often find review sites that can be helpful and give you a good idea of what they’re compatible with as well as the number of locations they have available to mask yours as.

However, do be aware, they are banned in some countries including Iraq, Belarus and Turkey, while also have restrictions in Russia, North Korea and Turkmenistan.

For the most part though, they’re the ideal option for adding extra security and open up the internet to get your work done abroad and continue your general day to day online activity.

John Culotta
John is the chief editor here at WebDesignDev. He is a creative who enjoys writing, research, and all things design related as well as (formerly) a full-time musician. As an entrepreneur, he has many years of experience in designing websites, packaging, logos, photo editing, and the development of his own top-selling products on Amazon and Shopify. You can see his motivational Instagram account or connect on LinkedIn and follow him on Twitter.

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