VPN - Access to An Unfiltered Internet

One of the first things you notice about Indonesia is that Internet service is poor. And not that fast/reliable Internet is not available, but it's too expensive for most to afford. Then there are problems like Internet filtering. The Government recently started censorship programs called Internet Sehat (translated as "Healthy/Clean Internet") to block out, among others, sites of pornographic nature. The problem is its algorithm also filters a number of "clean" sites. And I noticed that recent attempts use DNS routing to block access. DNS is basically a "phone book" of the Internet. It tells your browser which IP address to "dial" when you enter a URL address. DNS routing points an address to a different IP than it's supposed to, which means you'll never get to you site.

US-based streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Amazon Instant Video, are also blocked, except these ones are on the grounds of licensing agreement, which is understandable.

VPN solves all this. Virtual Private Network (VPN) was originally used as a secure wide-range way of connecting distance computer networks together, as such in multinational corporations that need access to their remote networks. Today, VPN is widely used, among many things, to mask one's IP address, or to gain access to sites with geolocation requirement. In other words, VPN enables its users to create a secure connection (tunnel) to a server anywhere in the world, and hides the client's true location. Most VPN today use 256-bit or higher SSL encryption, a standard in the banking industry. Suffice to say, whatever you do behind your VPN will be kept private. The alternative is a proxy service. Proxies are very similar to VPN in a sense that it redirects your IP and hides your location. But because proxy services are unsecured, websites with smart java scripts, cookies and other scripts can detect and reveal your true location and deny you access.

After scouring the internet, I found one that has worked well for me - 12vpn.com. It works flawlessly in Indonesia and even allows you to bypass the Great Firewall in China. It costs approximately USD 80 per year for a subscription of unlimited connections to US servers from San Francisco to New York 24/7. You can share it among your laptops, phones, and other devices like Smart TVs, tablets, or game consoles. And with that, I can relax and enjoy my favorite TV shows after a long day's work.

Photo Credits:
Padlock Ethernet - getusvpn.com
No Hulu - mandeewidrick.com
VPN Diagram - vpnresource.com