The idea of Facebook and social networking was very new to me when it was blocked in the country a few years back. Everyone addicted to Facebook at the time could not seem to live without it. Unluckily, the Facebook had still not casted its spell on me and I had to endure discussions focused around Facebook blocking.
“My brother is still using the Facebook,”one of my friend told me.
“How come?” I asked in surprise.
“I don’t know. He used some software his friend told him about.”
The ambiguity in her answer irritated me enough to search online about this mystery “software”. This is when I stumbled upon different proxy servers and the idea of accessing an inaccessible website over the internet.
Hotspot Shield was one of the earliest proxy service used to unblock websites within Pakistan. It is termed as the most trusted VPN service across many international blogs with over 300 million downloads. With increasing popularity, the application was made available for different platforms including MAC, iPhone, Android and Windows. You can either use this service for free with ads or you can buy an ellite version without ads.
Hotspot Shield offers two types of services to customers: Web Proxy and VPN Proxy. Web Proxy service can be used to hide your IP address in order to surf the internet anonymously thus protecting your online privacy. Moreover, you can bypass internet filters and firewalls to access blocked websites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other websites etc.
When you use a web proxy to access a website, your IP address is hidden from it and the website only views the IP address of the proxy server from where you are accessing the website. The problem with web proxy is that your data is not encrypted and secure when travelling over the internet. This can make you vulnerable to hackers stealing your passwords, financial data, or other sensitive information. On the other hand, a VPN Proxy secures your web session while providing you the same privacy and access benefits as a web proxy.
Recently, there has been a lot of debate on the proposed Cybercrime bill that would give the PTA/Government an unrestricted power to control speech and access to information. Bolo Bhi has also started an online petition on change.org to demand to protect and upheld Pakistani’s right to privacy and freedom of expression. PTA is already denying access to YouTube and more than 50,000 websites in Pakistan which may or may not include censored content. Meanwhile, Hotspot Shield will be a great help to access blocked websites and protect your online privacy.
Hotspot Shield provides stable and secure connection when enabled but using it as a free service can create issues with internet connectivity. You may also have to endure the pop-up ads while accessing different websites using the free service. However, these minor problems can be solved with a paid version of the Hotspot shield. The Elite Version offers the following benefits with just Rs.500 per month.
- multi-device support
- ad-free browsing
- dedicated customer support
- complete cloud-based malware protection
- access to virtual locations such as USA, UK, Australia, Japan, Canada and Germany.
The introduction of Cybercrime bill may result in information blockage in the coming days. Though it will also create business opportunities for foreign proxy services and for local developers to come up with their own versions of Web and VPN proxies.
If you want unrestricted access to websites, then download for free or buy Hotspot Shield here. If you are already using this service, don’t forget to share your experience in the comment section below.