Spoiler alert: yes, you need a VPN for Australia, whether you’re a resident or just on vacation. There are several reasons for it, whether it’s privacy, security, avoiding bandwidth throttling, or unlocking new entertainment possibilities. First, here’s how to access US Netflix in Australia with a VPN – along with other region-exclusive platforms (such as BBC iPlayer).
Using Australian VPN for Entertainment
Netflix won’t allow you to see all the shows you want due to region-based licensing restrictions. Fortunately, you don’t have to move to the US just to catch The Office before it leaves the platform in 2021. All you need to do is connect to a VPN server in the US and access the shows you want.
Here’s how it works. Streaming platforms and other websites can see your location through your IP address and serve you content based on that. By connecting to a different region, your IP is changed with that of the VPN server. This tricks websites into believing you’re in the “correct” area.
Of course, Netflix and co. are aware of this practice and set up filters to prevent it. That’s why it’s not likely to work with free VPNs, which have a limited number of servers to work with. You’ll need a proper VPN subscription if you plan on unblocking Netflix US in Australia any time soon.
Fortunately, paid providers tend to have 30-day money-back guarantees or free trials. You can test out their product without the limitations usually found in free VPNs, such as:
- Data caps between 500 MB and 10 GB, barely enough for streaming
- Small number of servers, as mentioned – limited access to worldwide Netflix libraries and other region-exclusive content
- Slow speeds, partly because you share few servers with thousands of others
This isn’t even counting the security issues of free VPNs. Those that are trustworthy are purposefully set up so their premium plan is more tempting, so you might as well skip the hassle.
Great Against Bandwidth Throttling
If you’ve ever binge-watched any TV shows, you might have noticed that the streaming quality dropped significantly after a point. Or worse, the episodes would load slowly or barely at all. This phenomenon is called bandwidth throttling. Now, there are several reasons why Internet providers would throttle your connection:
- To combat network congestion during high traffic spikes. This usually happens to entire neighborhoods at once.
- They’ve noticed a large volume of traffic for a single activity (streaming, downloads, etc.). This is usually done to get you to pay for a better plan.
The latter isn’t surprising, considering NBN Co have floated the idea of charging more to users who use the Internet mostly for streaming.
Fortunately, using a VPN allows you to avoid such shenanigans. How? Well, connecting to a VPN will encrypt your traffic, meaning anything you do online will appear as unreadable gibberish to your ISP and anyone else trying to snoop around. Since the provider can’t see which services use up all your traffic, they can’t selectively slow them down.
VPN for Australia – Security & Privacy Needs
We can’t talk about VPNs and not mention how they enhance your online security. First off, masking your IP means you also shield your real-life location from the rest of the Internet. Your IP can reveal your approximate location right down to the ZIP code, so an experienced cyber criminal could use that information to do some real damage.
Second, encryption lets you hide your online activity from more than just your ISP. Hacking incidents are on the rise nowadays, with one attack taking place every 39 seconds. As such, a VPN is more necessary than ever to protect your credit card info, email and account passwords, and other sensitive data you transmit every day without giving it a second thought.
It’s especially serious if you tend to use public Wi-Fi frequently. According to a study, coffee shop hotspots tend to be the most common targets for hackers, followed by airport and hotel Wi-Fi. The same report revealed that 69% of public hotspot incidents involved man-in-the-middle attacks. Basically, hackers intercept your network traffic when you use unsecured (i.e. no password) Wi-Fi.
Not that password-secured hotspots are any better. A security flaw that’s been around since the previous Wi-Fi encryption standard (WPA2) could allow hackers to crack their passwords and steal your info. However, using a VPN encrypts your data before it leaves your device, keeping it secure in spite of what we mentioned earlier.
We can all agree that free Wi-Fi is awesome when available – but it’s probably not worth the money in your banking account or your social media passwords. Just make sure to use a VPN and take a worry off your mind.