Virtual Private Networks (VPN) – Watch whatever you want anywhere in the World

Anyone who has ever moved away from their home country will be able to relate to this.

I was talking to someone from back home yesterday, and somewhere in the conversation we turned to British TV shows and they mentioned my favourite show, Silent Witness, had started again. Having never really been into watching lots of TV shows, I do really enjoy Silent Witness which is a pathology drama and has been running for almost 20 years.

Naturally, I wanted to follow it but I wanted to watch it from a legitimate source rather than download it as a torrent, which is illegal to do in Canada and can cause you to have your internet service revoked. The only legitimate place to watch it is on BBC iPlayer but there is a problem, you have to be watching it through an internet connection located in the UK. Here is where a Virtual Private Network (VPN) comes in.

A VPN essentially allows you to change which servers you connect to to roam the internet. They can act as a form of security because it keeps your connection private and can move your connection from one server to another based on connection strength. It also keeps what you are browsing private. In Canada I normally connect to Canadian servers but when I want to watch Silent Witness or World’s Strongest Man (another favourite), then I connect to the UK servers.

Is it legal? In short, yes it is unless your intent is to use it for illegal activities. It is not illegal to change your IP (Internet Protocol) address provided you are doing it for legal reasons like watching programs legally rather than downloading them, or changing your location to access films on Netflix. Actually a lot of big companies use VPN‘s to access information (financial reports, data about competitors etc) not available in their country.

Options for VPN‘s

As with many things online you usually have 2 options, pay or not to pay. Personally, I use a VPN called Tunnel Bear that my brother uses and gave me a free pass to.

He came across Tunnel Bear after a friend mentioned it to him.

Tunnel Bear allows you to change your IP to up to 13 different countries including the USA, Canada, UK, India, Germany, Australia, Japan and a number of other European countries.

Reviews on their website by The Wall Street Journal, Macworld, and Yahoo!News all give glowing reports about how easy it is to use. Having used it myself for a couple of months I can safely say it is ridiculously simple.

There are three options to signing up to Tunnel Bear. 1, use the free bear that allows 500MB every month, 2, pay a $6.99 monthly subscription and get access for up to 5 computers or mobile devices, 3, pay a yearly subscription of $49.99 (equivalent to $4.99 per month) and get access for up to 5 computers or mobile devices.

Additional advantages of using VPN‘s

There are a number of other reasons to use VPN‘s aside from accessing online content in other countries. These benefits include:

  1. Additional security – because your browsing history is hidden from the server it means it is harder for people to track what you are doing. As I live in a shared house where the internet router is shared this means I can connect to the main router safe in the knowledge other people can’t see what I am browsing (not that I have anything to hide but it’s useful especially when buying things online or doing online banking).
  2. Privacy – similar to the point above VPN’s allow you to browse with complete anonymity.
  3. Allows access to different servers allowing people to dial into their work servers from other locations giving businesses greater flexibility.
  4. Better performance – there are some claims that it can improve bandwidth and efficiency of a network once implemented.

Conclusion

Overall I find using my VPN Tunnel Bear really easy to use. There’s no complicated signing in, you just download it to your computer and turn it on when you want to use it and turn it off when you don’t. You can try it now for free or take advantage of one of their subscription options.

Watch whatever you want anywhere in the World

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