For those who live in the USA, UK, Australia or New Zealand, you might not even think you need to use a VPN server. The main reason for this is that most western countries enjoy complete freedom when it comes to accessing information online. Most of this is due to the importance given by western nations to freedom of speech, and as a result people in those countries enjoy complete and unedited access to just about everything online. While this is the case for America and other nations, it is the complete opposite in many other countries. Some countries which have the highest level of censorship on the internet include the Middle East and Asia. If you ever plan to visit or live in either of these two regions for a prolonged period of time, then you will quickly discover how important it is to have a virtual private network of your very own.
China is notorious for it’s “Great Firewall”, and this is one of the main reasons people in China use a VPN on the internet. The “Great Firewall” acts much like a normal firewall does, but it affects the entire country. All internet activity is monitored and tracked in China. What does this mean for you? It means that even things like Facebook and Twitter can be blocked, if the authorities wish to do so. Of course there are “local” versions that Chinese citizens use, but since they are all in Chinese it means that any foreigners living in China either need to learn how to read Chinese or find some way to access the blocked sites that are overseas. It makes sense that most foreigners in China would prefer to use any accounts they have already created on sites like Youtube and Twitter, instead of creating news one on the local Chinese versions. To do this you’ll need a vpn server of your own, because you have to unblock the internet. VPNs make this possible because the government has no idea that you are using the VPN to surf the internet with. This doesn’t mean they can’t see your connect to the virtual private network server, it just means they don’t know what you are doing with it.
The above was just an example of the kind of problems you’ll face living in other countries. It can be a huge mistake to assume that you’ll enjoy the same kind of freedom on the internet in a country like China as you would in the USA. Sadly, most people don’t realize how bad internet censorship can be until they actually arrive and by that time it is too late. Finding or getting access to a VPN if you are already in China can be difficult, it is a much better idea to setup your own private server before you actually go. VPN servers are very easy to setup once you know how. The added benefit of setting up your own means that not only does it save you money in the long run, but it means that you don’t have to worry about being stuck in a country with blocked internet access anymore.