Travel blogging has been a thriving community for over 10 years now and as the web spreads and infrastructures improve across the globe we are seeing people traveling further and more frequently than ever before and sharing their travels and stories via blogging as well as social media. As well as travel bloggers we also have the rise of the digital nomads with more and more people choosing to move overseas to live the expat life while pursuing their career online through various digital ventures and careers.
There are a lot of good reasons to be a travel blogger such as getting to see the world, saving money on the costs of living (depending on where you are) and gaining valuable life experiences. But if you are running a blog or any other business website while on the road then you really need to be read-up on data security & privacy, encryption, and VPNs.
What is a VPN?
A VPN is a private network of computers connected together by the internet. Businesses use them for connecting to data centers remotely and employees often use them to access data on a companies LAN (local area network) when they are on an unsecured public network as data sent via a VPN is heavily encrypted. If you are running your blog as a business then you need to be taking these same steps and precautions also as you will be just as vulnerable to viruses and hackers.
Here are some main reasons why you need to be using a VPN when logging on the road:
Public Computers Are Virus Havens
Many developing countries such as Thailand have numerous internet cafes, often costing as little as $1 for an hour. You should never under any circumstances use these computers for anything that requires your login as you have no idea what has been installed on them and in many cases even the cafe owners may not know too!
Logging Into Your Blog Securely
Even when using password protected wifi your data traveling over the network may not be 100% secure. The wifi router for the network may not be secured properly or be using encryption. If you are logging into your blog or business website then if this data is not properly encrypted then someone could be potentially stealing your login without you knowing.
Accessing Payment Sites Without Being Locked Out
Paypal will often lock accounts if they can see a user logging in from different locations across the globe, if you are traveling frequently then it may look like suspicious activity to them. Many banks now have automatic lock down systems which get triggered if a login from a specific country ip is detected. Some of these safeguards will trigger even if you notify the bank that you are traveling to these countries as for them it’s better to be safe than sorry. Using a VPN means you can get round this by using a home nation ip.
Viewing Geo-restricted Video Content
Many media companies and publications block video content if you are not based in specific locations eg the BBC iPlayer, for example, is only available from certain country specific ips as well as many other popular media platforms such as Hulu and Spotify.
Government Censored Websites
We all know about China censoring many social media sites such as Facebook, you can even check which sites are blocked in China using this tool (maybe your blog is listed there??). Many other countries block web sites that criticize their government or publish content that is culturally sensitive, some of these blocked sites. Keeping your data and browsing and most importantly your blog is relatively easy with a VPN.