What is a Firewall and how can a VPN bypass it?
For over 25 years now, Firewalls have been the first line of defense against the many dangers concerning every Internet user. It’s a network security device that works by establishing a barrier between your internal networks and the uncontrolled, and many times dangerous, outside networks. It can be a software or a firmware. Nevertheless, its job is to monitor the traffic coming in and going out of your device. Depending on the established settings, the Firewall decides whether to block something or not.
The name is a metaphor, a barrier protecting you from the damage that can be caused by the “fire” that represents the external cyber-attacks. But, there are many types of firewalls, and some of them can be a real headache sometimes for Internet users around the world. Although the first impression we get from a firewall is protection, you are not the only one that uses it to protect yourself. There is a twist.
Firewalls are used by companies, governments, organizations. These security devices will restrict your access to certain websites. For example, you won’t be able to access Netflix if some of its content is blocked in your region. Yes, you are no real threat to this streaming platform, but they do have strict rules for people reaching their restricted content. Their firewall will block you, even though all you wanted to do was watch that movie you couldn’t access in your movie library. A more rigorous example is the Great Firewall of China where the “protection” is imposed by the government as a way of controlling the citizens and their usage of the Internet.
With all this said, what’s the best way to bypass these kinds of restrictions?
The answer is a Virtual Private Network (VPN). It works like a tunnel, between you and the content you are trying to reach. It’s also a way of protecting yourself, while at the same time surpassing even the biggest governmental restrictions.
Using a VPN provider to bypass a Firewall
Not every VPN can successfully do this. It depends on a few factors, including the strength of the firewall, as well as the overall performance of the VPN provider.
A Virtual Private Network will protect all of your traffic, creating a completely encrypted tunnel. When you connect to a VPN, you will access all content through this tunnel, making your online activities unreadable. It will also change your IP address, making it easy to access Geo-restricted content. No matter where you are located, the VPN provider will assign a new IP address for you, near the location you are trying to access. So, if you wanted to reach the US Netflix library from a European country, your IP address will make you appear as though you are located in the U.S, not Europe. That’s, of course, if the VPN provider has a U.S. server. Moreover, nobody will be able to see your online activity, nor keep any kind of tabs on your traffic.
A good VPN provider is the one that has the best security protocols followed by only the strongest encryptions. Although even the less secure protocols and encryptions might get you through a certain firewall, if you want to bypass the stronger ones, you need to make sure you have only the best provider. Just recently, it was much easier to reach content with almost any kind of VPN, but now the security barriers have grown much stronger than before.
The whole “science” behind a VPN lies in the protocols and encryptions. A provider doesn’t really bypass this protection but goes through it by masking your identity. Many firewalls are IP-based. Many times they have a “blacklist”, working like a mass regional block. If you are in China and want to access Facebook, or live outside of that region but want to access Chinese content, you need to choose the right IP addresses.
Bottom line, if you want to bypass these types of restrictions, make sure you choose the right VPN provider that fits your needs. One that has a large number of servers in as many locations as possible around the world. Also, one that has the best security protocols such as an OpenVPN followed by a 256-bit encryption. Moreover, make sure the VPN provider doesn’t have any leaks that might stop you from reaching the wanted content.
Make good research before reaching a final decision, and keep in mind that only the best providers in the industry will manage to bypass every kind of obstacle that you might face.