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You might think that VPNs and proxies are just technical tools only useful for geeks and nerds, but that’s not quite the truth. Well it’s partly true but the reality is that a VPN offers something much more than an encrypted connection between two computers.
Although initially the original and primary reason for a VPN to be used is security nowadays it has arguably a more important role – to bypass blocks and filters. You see every single one of us has access to a ‘restricted’ version of the internet. Not one of us has equal access to each other when we’re online. We all use a regionalised version of the internet where some sites are blocked or filtered depending on our locations.
Of course, the extent of these filters varies greatly depending on your location. It’s fair to say that European access is way more extensive than connecting from Thailand , China or Turkey for example. Most countries operate some sort of restrictions, in most democratic nations it normally revolves around criminals sites. However other countries will extend these blocks to include all sorts of political, religious and moral restrictions, for example many gay rights and atheist sites are inaccessible online from Turkey.
A VPN offers the potential to bypass all these blocks and filters with relative ease and you can decide what content you are able to access irrespective of your location. The reason this works is that the VPN stops most content filtering methods from working. There’s another sector of websites that restrict access but these are generally down to copyright or licensing issues. Most large media sites operate these blocking access from countries outside their domestic market.
Which means that many of the best, most informative and interesting sites are restricted to the location they are based in. Sounds crazy doesn’t it – a global network like the internet slowly being segmented and filtered. However not if you have a VPN, all these sites can be available irrespective of your location.
Let’s take an example, perhaps you’re learning French but because you’re based in the USA. Lots of the French and Canadian French TV and educational sites are inaccessible from a US IP address. Same goes for other media sites in different countries, your access is only not restricted to sites based in the USA. However the VPN opens up that access, so you can watch online TV stations in France like M6 Replay or indeed any sites from anywhere – such as BBC iPlayer France!
So studying French, want to practice your vocabulary by watching The Simpsons dubbed into French – then make sure you connect to a VPN server based in France. Want to try out the BBC educational content and programmes switch it to a UK one and so one.
Further Information: Streaming UK TV