If you’re anything like us, you’ll choose your holiday accommodation partly based on whether it has Wi-Fi, and preferably resort-wide free Wi-Fi.
It’s tough to turn off the tech completely, and it’s nice to catch up with what’s going on at home. Perhaps you’re away when there’s a major sporting event on or you just want to watch the latest episode of your favourite TV show or YouTube channel.
Often you’ll find that content is blocked because you’re out of the country and the video is restricted to residents only. It doesn’t matter that you’ve paid for the service or for a UK TV Licence: as far as on-demand services are concerned, your location – not who you are – determines whether you can watch or not.
There is a solution to this problem: a VPN service. It allows you to have precisely the same internet experience you get at home no matter where you are. You simply install the VPN app, enter your details and select your home country as your location. Bingo: websites and social media apps think you’re in the UK and allow you to watch shows and access content.
If you’re an ex-pat living abroad, a VPN serves the same purpose, allowing you to get around ISP and government geo-blocks so you can read news sites, use YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and stream video just as if you were in the UK.
Without a VPN, you’ll tend to get redirected to the local version of a website, such as ESPN.com when you actually want ESPN.co.uk. But if you use a VPN, that doesn’t happen: you’ll get the same localisation and personalisation you’re used to when at home.
Obviously, make sure you choose a VPN service that has a server in the country whose video or website you want to access: details should be readily available on the provider’s website.
Certain countries filter access to the internet using firewalls so you can only access websites that the governments approve. So if you’re travelling to these countries and want the internet to be like it is at home, once again a VPN is what you need.
When you’re at home, you’re pretty safe from hackers as your Wi-Fi network is protected by a password. So when you’re on holiday, a VPN will keep you safe even if you have to connect to public Wi-Fi at your hotel or in a restaurant.
What is a VPN?
Put simply, a VPN is a secure connection between your phone, laptop or tablet to the internet. When you connect to a VPN server, it uses encryption so that no-one can see the data going between your device and the website to which you’re connecting.
It also replaces the IP address of your device – the information which tells a website where you are located – with a new IP address from the country in which the VPN server is based.
This means that the usual geo-blocks don’t apply and you can defeat censorship or specific blocked media on websites, and it also means your activity is anonymous: the internet provider you’re using cannot tell which site you’re browsing and neither can any government.
Why choose IPVanish?
There are plenty of VPN services, so choosing one can be a confusing affair. Aren’t they all the same?
In a word, no. If you’ve ever tried a free VPN you’ll probably already know most of the usual limitations in terms of connection speed and the limited amount of data you can use before the service either stops entirely or throttles your speed even more.
With paid-for services, which cost just a few pounds per month, you should look for not just the number of servers on offer but where they are located.
IPVanish has over 1100 servers in 60 countries, including the UK, US and all popular holiday destinations.
It doesn’t keep any logs, so there’s no record of when you used the VPN nor your activity while you used it.
It’s ideal for streaming video thanks to the fact that IPVanish owns and operates all of its servers and network. This means you get the best speeds thanks to intelligent routing and it also means you are truly anonymous.
Some VPN services simply rent servers or use a hosting company, and may not be able to guarantee the privacy of its users.
It also offers 24/7 customer support (as well as phone support in the US) should you ever run into any difficulty. With easy-to-use apps for iPhone, Android, Windows, macOS and Chromebooks, no technical knowledge is required.
Finally, unlike some VPN services which limit you to just a couple of devices, you can connect up to 10 simultaneously, so the whole family can watch iPlayer, Netflix and other videos.
Tech Advisor readers can get up to 60% off of an IPVanish subscription by
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