How A VPN Can Defeat Internet Censorship In Times Of Political Upheaval

Laptop connected to the Internet with red censored label across the screen.

Internet censorship is no longer a far-fetched idea reserved for visions of a dystopian future. Sophisticated and specifically engineered censorship programs threaten more people and are lasting longer than ever before, and the solutions to combat internet censorship during times of political upheaval aren’t always apparent. 

Thankfully, long-lasting and widespread internet censorship motivated by political power is still unable to overcome the proper protective technology — virtual private networks (VPNs), in particular, can maintain internet connectivity for users even in times of crisis and political upheaval. 

With the right VPN, users can route their internet connection through an encrypted tunnel to a separate server located in another country that’s outside of local censorship. But how do you know which VPN is best for defeating internet censorship? Let’s take a quick look at the key things to keep in mind when searching for a VPN to bypass government-imposed blocks to the internet so that you can obtain crucial information without fear of government interference.

What Is Internet Censorship?

It’s clear how VPNs combat government-imposed internet blocks; but what, exactly, is the definition of internet censorship that VPNs aim to overcome? The answer is that, more often than not, internet censorship can take many different forms.

Small-scale censorship, for instance, may be instigated by authorities such as employers, university network admins, and even librarians. Internet censorship on a small scale can limit your access to certain websites if you’re trying to access those sites on the network of your employer, your university administrator, or your librarian. Of course, by connecting to a VPN, you can hide your browsing traffic from your local network and even your Internet service provider. This subsequently can confer numerous benefits like the ability to hide your entire browsing history.

Internet censorship can also occur on a much larger scale. Large-scale internet censorship usually refers to government-perpetrated blockages that prevent users from accessing certain websites. These websites are usually perceived by certain governments as threatening to their political influence and their nation’s public order. Governments typically use three methods to censor online content from users: DNS filtering, IP address blocking, and deep packet inspection. 

When searching for a VPN provider, do your best to work with a service that can maintain your encrypted communications even under the duress of these aforementioned censorship methods. Unfortunately, some governments that censor online content may simply shut down the internet in their country altogether, rather than target specific URLs. In this situation, a VPN won’t help. This most commonly occurs in countries with few internet service providers.

How VPNs Bypass Government Internet Blocks

In order to bypass government-imposed internet blocks, a VPN needs to rely on a VPN server. VPNs that are installed on your internet-connected device(s) must communicate with a VPN server to route your device’s traffic to the website it’s trying to access. Once you begin using a VPN that routes your traffic to a VPN server, websites that you access will only be able to see the IP address of your server, rather than the address of your actual internet-connected device. 

Under certain circumstances, you may find that your local network administrator or even your government is blocking your access to specific websites and applications. In this case, VPNs will provide you with access to alternative networks that aren’t being blocked. And because your device’s IP address isn’t being routed to the site you want to access, you also reduce your risk of falling prey to cyberattacks such as ransomware. Even though your personal information remains private while using a VPN, it’s important that you choose a VPN provider that explicitly outlines their commitment to combating cyberattacks from malicious threat actors. 

A good VPN provider is able to shield users from hackers and cyber attacks, and breaches, which have been increasing in regularity among small and mid-sized businesses for years and especially among single users. This is because hackers understand that single users are unlikely to have ample protection against cyberattacks. 

In the event your local network admin or your national government is trying to block a specific website or app, you can use a VPN to access another network where there is no block, bypassing censorship attempts. It’s important to consider that there are different types of VPN server hosting solutions that interact with your VPN as you search for a VPN provider. These solutions vary in terms of operating costs, bandwidth, the number of supported users, and location, so decide on the solution that’s best for you while you shop around for a VPN.

Elements To Look For From VPN Providers

We now understand how VPNs bypass government censorship as well as what that censorship actually means. The question now is: what key elements should you look for from potential VPN providers? 

When choosing a VPN provider to overcome government censorship, it’s important that you choose a provider that prioritizes privacy and freedom of data communication. VPNs should enable you with unlimited internet browsing that is free and easy to use. Such a VPN means you don’t need to weigh the pros and cons of your provider when it’s necessary for you to access online content. 

From there, you should then search for a provider that lets you download their VPN across multiple platforms. This allows users to download a VPN from alternative platforms should their primary platform become blocked. 

Additionally, your VPN of choice should make it difficult for your connections to become blocked by using multiple VPN protocols. Ultimately, your VPN should make it easy for you to secure the information that you transmit online while avoiding malicious censorship. A VPN provider that includes the above elements as part of their service can help you maintain your freedom of information and ability to share your ideas, your news, and your opinions without fear of censorship.

Wrapping Up

Internet censorship imposed by certain governments threatens the fundamental promise of the internet to enable free and open transmission of data and communications. But with a reliable VPN provider, users can maintain their internet connectivity even in times of great political upheaval. The right VPN can bypass government-imposed blockages to online content without compromising the safety and privacy of its users. 

The best VPN providers not only ensure stable and consistent access to online content, but they also protect users from malicious cyber criminals who propagate cyber breaches and attacks such as ransomware. When searching for a VPN provider to defeat internet censorship, ensure that you choose a service that prioritizes your privacy and freedom of online communications. 

Your provider should also allow you to download their VPN across multiple platforms should one or more platforms go offline and become unavailable. Additionally, make sure that your VPN makes it difficult for your internet connections to become blocked by small and large-scale censoring authorities by using multiple VPN protocols.

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