One of the greatest things about the digital revolution for expats is that, in theory, we get access to music, movies and ebooks at the same time as our peers back home. We also no longer have to pay postal fees to have books, CDs and DVDs sent to us from places like Amazon. Unfortunately, this is not 100% true as some websites block us from buying and downloading digital products if we come from the wrong country. Even if we are willing to pay.
To get round this you could sign up for a VPN service like StrongVPN which I use. Sometimes my local ISP incorrectly blocks banned websites and I find it difficult to open some of my own websites including my server control panel. The VPN changes my IP address to one outside of Thailand which allows me to instantly connect to blocked websites as soon as I turn it on. An added benefit is that if I connect with a UK IP address, I can then access BBC iPlayer.
The downside to using a VPN, sometimes known as an anonymizer, is that it will slow your experience down. This means that even though your Internet in Thailand might be fast enough to stream the shows on BBC iPlayer, once you turn on your VPN, you will experience a lot of buffering. This is where Hola comes in. This neat free plug-in for your browser actually speeds up the Internet while bypassing censorship. I have already tested it on BBC iPlayer and didn’t have any buffering at all (*).
To get more information and to download the plug-in, please vist the Hola website. If you use this link we will both get a free month of the premium service. Up to now I have only used the free service and I am quite happy with it. But, if someone could click on that link and sign in, I will update the blog with a review of the premium service. Thanks.
* From what I understand, streaming of content doesn’t break any copyright laws. But if you use Hola to download or redistribute content then that could be against copyright laws. Unless, of course, it is free content.