Ever wanted to access sites from the USA to shop (think TJ Maxx and Macy’s) but find yourself on the “Access Denied” notification page the moment you hit “enter”? Here’s an easy-peasy solution to make sure that your online shopping isn’t hindered by geo-blocking: Get a VPN!
What is VPN?
A VPN, or a Virtual Private Network, is a nifty way to allow you to “geo-spoof” your location as means to browse through sites or content that you’re unable to access due to where you’re located at. A VPN is also a useful service to protect you from hackers when you’re using a public WiFi hotspot.
According to BestVPN.com, VPN technology was initially created to “allow remote workers to securely connect to corporate networks in order to access corporate resources when away from the office.” Nowadays, VPN isn’t merely used for that purpose, as this terms also refers to the commercial VPN services for users to access Internet privately through their servers.
Why should I use a VPN?
For a various of reasons, mainly to protect your privacy as mentioned in the above, along with accessing sites from overseas you always wished to check out but never could due to your location. This comes in handy especially when you’re on holiday and you can’t seem to check out the usual sites that you usually do back home. On an unrelated note, VPN also allows you to evade censorship as well, be it from your ISP or government.
How does it work?
To put it simply, a VPN actually creates a secure route from you to your VPN provider. This “virtual tunnel” allows your Internet traffic to be encrypted, and you will appear to access the Internet from the VPN server’s IP address. VPN services actually (and usually) run on servers that are located in different countries.
This means that if the server is located in the USA, the Internet thinks that you are located in the USA. Hence, you can now browse sites such as TJ Maxx, Bloomingdale’s, and many other sites for your online shopping. The beauty about VPN is that your real IP address is hidden, so websites can’t tell where you’re really from.
How do I get a VPN?
A VPN is pretty much legal, unless you’re residing in the People’s Republic of China. It isn’t recommended to get a VPN extension on your browser, and it’s practically impossible find a VPN service that’s 100% free either. If you do find a free VPN service, it likely means that they offer limited services that do not include the same benefits as a regular commercial service.
So the obvious and most recommended way to go is to invest in a VPN service that offers a free trial and/or money-back guarantees so you can try it out before actually buying it. If your Internet speed seems to be slower while you’re on VPN, fret not as using a service as such will result in slower speeds due to the extra distance that the data travels. Ensure that the servers are located in scattered geographical locations (and preferably the USA if you intend to spend most of your time ShopandBoxing from there).
Also, look out for a service that runs on your other operating systems and devices such as your smartphone, tablet, and laptop. After all, it defeats the purpose of forking money out for VPN if you can’t even access it across different platforms.
*Do note that a Proxy service could work just as well (and might save you some cash too!). If you want more info on this, leave a comment below!