Australians learned yesterday just how far their government will go to prevent piracy. Both houses have now passed the Copyright Amendment Bill which means Australian ISP’s will soon be forced to block popular websites like The Pirate Bay in an effort to curb copyright infringement. The new law covers any foreign website that is found to be facilitating copyright infringement. Luckily the government has made it clear that VPN services will not be impacted by the new law. That means millions of Australians will soon be using VPNs to avoid censorship and unblock websites.
As with any site blocking law there are bound to be legitimate websites caught in the net and blocked. Some of today’s most popular websites could have been blocked by this law when they started. Consider large streaming sites like YouTube. The new Australian law could very well curb innovation. It could also be used to censor websites like Wikileaks. Time will tell just how far the new legislation goes. As long as officials exclude VPN companies from the law Australians will have an alternative.
It’s very sad to see the Australian government going down this slippery slope. It’s not surprising given their data retention laws. Leaving VPNs unaffected by the new site blocking law at least leaves citizens a way to access censored content. A VPN will provide users with an encrypted connection to a server in their country of choice. Australians have been using them for years to enjoy popular streaming services like Netflix. Now millions of new VPN users will join for the purpose of unblocking sites. In doing so they will also be protecting their online privacy.
It helps to understand how a virtual private network (VPN) works. Most people are familiar with VPNs for business use. You connect to them to protect your connection to your work network from home or while traveling. The same is true for personal VPNs. In this case Australians will connect to servers outside the country. In doing so they will have an encrypted connection along with an IP address in the country of their choosing. A VPN gives users local access to websites and streaming services in other countries like Netflix, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer.
How to Unblock Websites with VPN
I’ll use IPVanish for the example of how to use a VPN service to unblock websites in Australia. First you’ll want to download the VPN client. IPVanish offers free client software for Windows, Mac and Linux. In addition to free apps for iOS and Android.
Now that you’ve had a chance to download and install the software it’s time to connect. Launch the IPVanish client and select a server location. We’ll walk you through step by step using their Windows client.
- Select a server location. We chose Atlanta but IPVanish has a large network of servers located around the world.
- We recommend you select OpenVPN (TCP) or (UDP). For streaming videos from sites like YouTube we use OpenVPN (UDP). They also support PPTP and L2TP. We still recommend OpenVPN for the best privacy protection.
- Click connect. After a few seconds you’ll see the button at the top change to green and show “Disconnect”. You’ll also notice the server location and IP address show up at the top of the client.
- We’re now located in the U.S. as far as anyone can tell online. As such we can reach any site as if sitting in Atlanta. The same would be true if we connected to a server in Canada or anywhere else in the world.
That’s all there is to it. Now that you have an IP address from the IPVanish server in the United States you can browse the Internet as if you were actually there. The same is true from any country. Connect to a server in the United Kingdom to watch BBC iPlayer or another country to watch that regions Netflix content.
As you can probably tell by now a good VPN opens access to censored sites and content around the world. VPN services will help Australians unblock sites and access popular US services like Netflix, Hulu and Pandora. You still need an account for services like Netflix but the VPN will help you watch US television shows and movies on Netflix as if you were sitting in the United States or any other region you would like to access. Follow us @VPNFan for more guides and VPN deals.