So everybody knows that a VPN is an essential part of life here in China (I often use ExpressVPN), providing both security and much-needed access to blocked websites like Facebook, Twitter, Gmail and many others.
But perhaps you didn’t know that there are some added benefits to using a VPN that most people never realize. Not only can these VPN tips open up a new world of content for you, it may even save you hundreds of dollars.
How is that exactly? Take a moment to see exactly what I mean and perhaps you can start using these three VPN tricks today!
Using a VPN to Unlock More Streaming Content
One of the most common uses I have for a VPN is to allow me to stream Netflix, Pandora and a few other geo-restricted sites.
What I didn’t realize until this past year, however, was that Netflix had a treasure-trove of content I didn’t know existed. I started streaming Downton Abbey on Netflix even though it wasn’t available to stream for my family back home in the US.
How? Simple: it was available to stream in Canada.
You see, Netflix has different licensing deals with different countries, so the library of movies and TV shows in the US is different than that of Canada, which is different than that of the U.K. By switching my VPN to a server in either Canada or Great Britain, I am able to access quite a few different movies that weren’t available to me before. I love it!
So to demonstrate, I did a quick search for Denzel Washington movies (he’s one of my favorite actors). This is how my search turned up using a United States-based VPN server:
Ok, not bad, but not a great representation of the movies that have made me really like him. A total of 7 Denzel Washington movies, only 2-3 that I would really care to watch.
So then I switch my VPN to Canada. Here’s what that same search looks like:
Hmm…now we’re getting somewhere. I now have six more Denzel Washington movies to choose from, a few of which I would like to see rather than “Out of Time”.
One last try here, this time using a server in the United Kingdom:
Crimson Tide! Now that’s a great Denzel movie. As you can see, by using a VPN in three different countries, I’ve increased the number of movies I can watch from 6 to 16!
What’s crazy is that I just gave you an example from 3 different countries. Netflix has service in over 20 countries including France, Germany, Australia, Switzerland…the list goes on. Imagine the streaming options!
“Is this illegal?” some of you may be asking. It’s a fair question. I pay for my Netflix service and I hold a US passport so I don’t feel the least bit bad about it. The fact is that Netflix knows that this is happening and could stop it if they want to…but they won’t. The day they block me is the day I cancel my subscription.
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Using a VPN to Get Cheaper Flight Tickets
Have you ever searched for a flight online, compared prices and then gone back to the original site to search only to find that the flight price has increased? How does that ALWAYS happen?
Online ticket agencies know how easy it is to shop prices so they have combatted that by promoting a mentality “If I don’t get it now…the price will increase!”. That’s not to say that ticket prices don’t naturally rise and fall, but within the span of an hour or two? Usually not.
One of the ways I avoid this problem is to search for flights using one server and then buying that same ticket using another VPN server in the same country. As far as the search engine can tell, I’m two different people searching for the same flight. 90% of the time I never experience the price hike.
Here’s one more VPN Pro tip: did you know that online ticket agencies have different pricing for different countries? They will sell a ticket to somebody buying from the US at a different price than that same person buying from Australia – no matter what passport they hold.
In a test done by VpyrVPN (Update 2018: click this link to view their 25% off special), they searched for a flight from Sydney, Australia to Los Angeles, United States. Searching Kayak using servers in different countries they found a flight priced at $2,929 for people in New Zealand. That same flight was priced at $5,424 using a server in Lithuania!
That’s a difference of almost $2,500 for the SAME FLIGHT!
They found out that the same is true not only for flights but also for car rentals. Click here to see the entire results of the test.
Using a VPN to Access Time-Restricted Content
There are times while I’m watching something online – usually sports related content – or using a free service when I am told that I have either spent too much time watching or using their service.
It might look something like this:
All I have to do is change my VPN and all of the sudden…BAM!…my limits are reset. I try not to take advantage of this too much as this to me is a questionable usage of a VPN. Still, I justify it in some cases because if they kept me from streaming that sporting event (say a football game) I would just have to go find it elsewhere, robbing them of advertising dollars.
Additional VPN Information
If you’re in need of a good VPN I suggest you check out our look at the best VPNs to buy for China. There are also a few more specific articles about using a VPN that you might find helpful including:
Do you have any tips based on your experience using a VPN? Please share them in the comments below and don’t forget to share this article on Facebook, Twitter and Google+!