If you’re not that techy and you don’t really know the difference between your LAN or your WAN, a VPN may well be just one of those annoying bits of jargon for geeks. After all, there appear to be so many acronyms in computer technology it’s almost a language in its own right.

However, if you do decide to invest in property overseas, a VPN is likely to be your friend. Indeed, if you want to catch up on all your favourite TV shows around Christmas, it could even be essential.

What is a VPN?

VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) were developed to allow organisations to receive and send data across a public network privately. However, another advantage is that they disguise your whereabouts around the globe when browsing the internet. You can even choose which country you wish to be located in.

As a result, online doors which were closed to you when you left your home shores can be re-opened again, allowing you to view websites and use streaming services you might not otherwise be able to access.

Lets’ say, for example, that you have a home in the UK and have paid for a TV licence but you choose to spend Christmas in the holiday accommodation you’ve purchased abroad.

If you try to access BBC iPlayer to watch the final of Strictly Come Dancing, you’ll find a pop-up message announcing the streaming service is only available in the UK (disappointing when you’ve watched every round of the competition for the last two months).

However, with a VPN, you can persuade the server that you are located in the UK and thus the iPlayer site becomes available again.

Choosing Your VPN

There are over 300 VPN services available these days, far too many for us to attempt an analysis of the best ones in a blog. However, it is important to pick the best one for you – and that will depend on whether you’re prepared to pay; if so, how much; and whether your computer’s security software is compatible.

For example, Norton or McAfee may work well with some VPNs and not others; sometimes, a VPN can clash with security software and prevent it from working properly. You will also find some VPNs are only offered free for a set trail period, with a payment option introduced after a few weeks.

Some will offer a permanent version for free but you may find it slows down your download speeds. After all, if you’re using free software and watching all your favourite shows without any buffering, the incentive to upgrade to the paid-for option disappears.

As ever though it pays to do a little research, ask around and find out what you can from those who already use a VPN. It’s even a good idea to road test a few before committing to a payment plan.

A quick search under “best VPNs” should be enough to get you started. Good luck – and, if there’s anything else you think we might be able to help with, by all means drop us a line. Don’t forget we have a choice of properties available in Spain, Portugal, Turkey and Greece and we’re happy to offer advice on other aspects of starting a new life overseas.

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