No matter where you are located in the world, you have to deal with potential geo-restrictions online that limit what kind of websites you can visit. For example, a school or an office building might decide to block social media or video streaming websites such as Netflix. When websites are blocked in a specific location, individual users within that geographic area are unable to gain access. This is done by identifying a user’s rough location through their IP address. The Netherlands has long had issues with censorship. The country has blocked several major file sharing websites in high publicity cases. In one of the most prominent cases, The Pirate Bay was blocked due to claims of copyright infringement. Internet users in the Netherlands do have more autonomy online than users in other regions, such as East Asia or in the Middle East. But these users still face geographic based restrictions that prevent them from accessing certain websites. Although government action might lead to a website being blocked in the Netherlands, a user with a virtual private network, or VPN, can still gain access.
VPNs are critical for any internet user that wants to enhance their privacy online. The three major features provided by VPNs allow for the shielding of IP addresses, encrypted communications, and access to blocked websites. For an internet user in the Netherlands, this means that you can shield your IP address and stop your internet provider or government agencies from being able to see your online activity. It also means that you can gain access to blocked sites, such as file sharing networks, by utilizing a VPN client. VPNs help individuals to keep their online activity private, and to ensure that they can access the websites that they want, when they want to see them. Social media, video streaming sites, and file sharing sites can all be accessed through VPNs that spoof your IP address and make it seem like you are accessing the site from another location.
VPNs are well-known for their ability to allow users to view content that is blocked at their current location. But VPNs don’t get enough credit for providing a private and secure online experience. Using Wi-Fi in a public area can be dangerous if you aren’t using a secure connection. Hackers and fraudsters are constantly looking for new ways to get your personal and financial information, and unsecured connections to public networks are easy marks. VPNs provide a secure connection and encrypt your communications, so even if a hacker could access your connection, he or she couldn’t decipher any of your data. This goes for government agencies as well—they won’t be able to view your online activity. If you are located in the Netherlands and looking for an anonymous online experience, VPNs are definitely for you.
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