expat network

5 Benefits Of VPNs For Expats And Digital Nomad

VPNs for expats and digital nomads

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) allows the user to establish a protected network connection when accessing public networks. VPNs for expats and digital nomads help you to stay safe on unsecured Wi-Fi and allows you to bypass geo-restrictions on social media and when streaming content. 

There are many providers of VPNs including Surfshark, NordVPN, Express VPN and atlasVPN.  To download Surfshark click here.

VPNs encrypt your internet traffic, hide the your actual public IP address and give you online anonymity. This makes it more difficult for third parties to track your activities online and steal data.  For expats this has many potential benefits as they travel to different parts of the world.

Here are 5 benefits of a VPN for expats:

1. Secure Wi-Fi connection in public places

When travelling and accessing the internet in airports, cafes and hotels through their free public Wi-Fi networks there are risks when logging on unprotected that you will be vulnerable to hackers and data thieves, who may seek to steal your data. When you send or receive valuable data such as your bank details and passwords using a public network they can be stolen as there will no encryption on the network.

By using a VPN you can make any public Wi-Fi connection secure and ensure that your online activity is not trackable because of the layer of encryption added.

2. Stream online content

Many content providers and TV streaming services impose geographical restrictions on where you can view programmes or films.  Netflix, Amazon Prime offers different content to different countries preventing you from watching programmes you watched in your home country.  In some countries the state imposes strict censorship.  Social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook are restricted in countries, notably China, Iran and Russia. 

A VPN allows you to watch what you like and access social media without these restrictions by hiding your location and gives you the ability to connect to the internet via servers in a range of other countries.

3. Access free VoIP services in restricted regions

VoIP services like Skype and WhatsApp are popular with expats as a free/cheap way to stay in contact with friends and relatives. However, in some countries the use of foreign VoIP services is restricted  or require you to use local VoIP programs that charge fees. Some global VoIP providers charge higher prices to people in different regions.

To avoid these costs of these regional services use a VPN to connect to a server in a country where VoIP services are permitted or are not subject to higher prices.

Another benefit when using VoIP services is to ensure your data is encrypted while using the VoIP which means that people cannot access any data you send or receive.

4. Cheaper shopping

Many retailers offer different prices depending on your location.  This is particularly true of airlines and flight comparison websites.  Often the country where the airline is based will offer lower prices.  Airlines will also offer different prices based on what they know about you through cookies and your browser history.  By using a VPN, you can stay hidden to avoid them increasing the price base on your online activity or set your IP address to different countries allowing you to compare the prices offered.  This will not prevent you choosing your departure point but will enable you to take advantage of lower prices available

5. Secure online banking

Accessing banks should be safe using the Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS). It uses encryption for secure communication.  However, SSL stripping downgrades the security so that your connection can be hacked. Using a VPN adds an additional layer of encryption to online banking and helps to ensure that wherever you are in the world, your banking details remain secure.

A VPN can be very useful as an expat whether it is to avoid geographical restrictions or enhance security while in different parts of the world where protocols may not be in place.