Internet freedom has improved in Bangladesh in the last year, with a report from the Freedom House initiative declaring the country “partly free” in terms of internet restrictions and noting less violence targeting bloggers recently. However, there are still people who face criminal charges for comments that they have made online. Bloggers who write about secular issues are frequent targets of violence or arrest in the country, so people need to protect themselves when writing online.
In addition, there is an issue with websites being blocked in Bangladesh. In the last year, 35 news websites were blocked by the government – mostly websites which favoured the opposition. These news websites shared stories and information which was unflattering to the status quo and which the government wished to quash in order to prevent the spread of “rumours”.
For these reasons, it is advisable for internet users in Bangladesh to use a virtual private network. A VPN can help to both keep users safe and anonymous online, and to allow users to get around censorship and access blocked websites freely. In this article we will explain how a VPN can help and then give our recommendations for the best VPN for Bangladesh.
Keep Yourself Safe Posting Online With A VPN
If you are going to write a blog or even to post on social media about political topics, it’s important to take steps to keep yourself safe. Many people choose to post anonymously and assume that this will keep them safe from government repercussions. But unfortunately, merely posting anonymously isn’t enough as the government can still identify you through your IP address.
The problem is that whenever you use a website, including a blog, social media site, or forum, the site records your IP address, which is a unique string of numbers used to identify your device when you go online. An IP address is essential for data from the internet to be routed to your device correctly. However, even when you post on a site anonymously, that site still has a record linking your IP address to your post. Then, if the government forces the website to hand over data about their users (which legally they can do), then they can see that the post originated from your IP. The IP can then be traced to your specific location, compromising your anonymity.
In order to stay safe, you should use a VPN as well as posting anonymously. A VPN works by encrypting all of the data that your device sends over the internet, and then sending this encrypted data to a server run by your provider in another country. When the data arrives at the server, it is decrypted, assigned a new IP address, and sent on to its original destination. This means websites only see the IP of your VPN instead of your real address. In other words, it becomes virtually impossible to trace your blog post back to you via your IP address.
Get Around Website Blocks With A VPN
Another issue that a VPN can help with is getting around website blocks and censorship. When the government decides to block a website such as a news site, they send a list of URLs to be blocked to all of the ISPs in the country. The ISPs are then obliged to prevent their customers from accessing these websites. If you type the URL of a blocked site into your browser, the request is passed to your ISP, who sees that the site is on the blocked list, and refuses the connection. This means that the site won’t load in your browser. Even if you use another internet connection such as one at a cafe, you still won’t be able to access the blocked site as all of the ISPs in the country have to follow the same rules.
However, it is possible to access blocked sites from within Bangladesh using a VPN. When you connect to your VPN, all of your data is encrypted, including information about the URLs you visit. So when the request for the blocked site is passed to your ISP, they cannot block the request because they cannot see the URL. Then, your data is sent to a server located elsewhere in the world where it is decrypted. When the decrypted data rejoins the internet, it appears to originate from wherever the server is located instead of where you actually are.
This means that you can connect to a VPN server in a country like Sweden or The Netherlands that has good internet freedom and you’ll be able to access blocked sites. Because you use the internet as if you were in that country rather than your own, any content that is available there is now available to you too. This is how you can see and use any sites which are blocked or censored using a VPN.
Our Top Recommended VPNs For Bangladesh
Now you can see all of the benefits of using a VPN for privacy and security. But which VPN provider should you choose? There are many providers to choose from, although we recommend that you steer clear of free VPN providers that can sell off your data and make you less safe. We advise that you look for a paid VPN that meets the following criteria:
- Excellent security to keep your data safe and private, such as using strong 256-bit encryption which can’t be cracked and having a no logging policy which means that none of your data will ever be recorded or saved, so it can never be given over to a company or the government.
- Fast connections so that using your VPN won’t bog down your internet too much. All VPNs will slow your connection somewhat as the data has to go through extra steps of encryption, but good providers offer speedy connections that won’t be an annoyance when you’re browsing or downloading.
- Many servers in many countries around the world so that you can get around censorship by accessing servers in different countries which have more liberal internet policies. Having lots of servers means better options for finding a server which is fast and which meets your needs.
- Support for different platforms so that you can use your VPN on all of your different devices like your phone, your tablet, and your computer. You can use one VPN subscription to protect all of these devices as long as the software is available for the operating systems that you use.
When we looked at all of these factors, we came up with the following recommendations for VPNs for Bangladesh:
1. ExpressVPN – Strong In All Areas
ExpressVPN is one of the most popular VPNs online as it is good in terms of speed, security, and user-friendliness. The VPN offers blazing fast connections that are perfect for streaming HD video or downloading large files, with excellent security like 256-bit encryption to keep your data safe and a no logging policy to keep your information private. On top of this, there are more security features in the options like a kill switch so you don’t accidentally send data over an unencrypted connection, DNS leak protection to keep your DNS use private, and an IP address checker to make sure that your real IP address is hidden.
There are also lots of servers available, with a total network of more than 1500 servers in 94 different countries. The software is available for Windows, Mac OS, Linux, and Android, plus some games consoles and smart TVs, and there are also browser extensions available for the Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Apple Safari browsers.
Read our full ExpressVPN review here.
2. NordVPN – Massively Flexible
NordVPN will be the ideal VPN for advanced users who need to configure their VPN connection or to use connections for specific purposes like torrenting. The basic VPN service has the features you would expect, like the use of 256-bit encryption and a no logging policy, plus more options like a CyberSec security option for ad blocking and malware protection, a general kill switch, an app-specific kill switch and the ability to change notification settings. With fast connections in tow, the standard VPN covers all the bases.
Additionally, NordVPN offer speciality servers which can be used for particular functions such as downloading with torrents, using onion over VPN, getting a dedicated IP address, or double VPN where your data is encrypted twice over for the best possible security. In total, there are more than 3500 servers available in 60 different countries. The software has an attractive and easy to use map interface and is available for Windows, Mac OS, Linux, iOS, Chrome OS, Android, or Windows Phone.
Read our full NordVPN review here.
3. CyberGhost – A Beginner Friendly VPN
CyberGhost is the VPN that we recommend for users who don’t have a lot of technical knowledge or experience and who want a simple, easy to use VPN that they can start using straight away. To connect to the VPN, you just open up the software and then choose an icon from the homepage. These options have functions like browse anonymously, torrent anonymously, or unblock streaming sites. Once you have clicked on an icon, a server will be chosen for you and configuration will be automatically applied. This means that it’s simple to use even if you have no prior experience with VPNs.
As well as ease of use, CyberGhost offers excellent security with the use of 256-bit encryption and a no logging policy, and the connections are fast. If you want to connect to a server manually then you can do this too, and you’ll find a network covering 1300 servers in nearly 60 countries. The software is available for iOS, Android, Windows, and Mac OS.
Read our full CyberGhost review here.
4. PrivateVPN – Great For Unblocking Sites
PrivateVPN is a great choice for users who want to get around regional restrictions and to unblock sites of all kinds. Many VPNs don’t work to unblock streaming sites like Netflix or Hulu, but PrivateVPN does. This means that it’s a great choice for users who want to stay safe and unblock the internet. The security is good, with 128-bit encryption used by default and an option for 256-bit encryption for those who prefer a higher level of security. The provider keeps no logs of traffic, meaning records of your activity can never be used against you since they don’t exist. And there are hundreds of servers in 56 different countries, and connecting to these servers is super fast with some of the best speeds we’ve seen from any VPN.
The software is minimal which means that it is easy to use, and it is available for Windows, Mac OS, Linux, Android, iOS, and Amazon Fire Stick, or it can be installed as a browser extension for Chrome.
Read our full PrivateVPN review here.
5. PureVPN – VPN Plus Extra Security Software
PureVPN a VPN and so much more. The core VPN has all the essential features that you would hope for, like an option to use strong 256-bit encryption and a no content logging policy to protect your privacy. There are lots of servers available to get around regional blocks, with a total network of 750 servers in 140 different countries which you can connect to. The connections are fast and can be used for web browsing, streaming, or downloading large files.
In addition to the VPN service, a subscription to PureVPN includes access to a set of extra security software such as anti-malware and anti-virus protection to keep your device free from invasive software that you didn’t agree to install, an anti spam filter to keep your email inbox free from clutter, DDoS protection, app filtering, a kill switch, a dedicated IP address, and a NAT firewall. The software is available for Windows, Mac OS, Android, iOS, and Android TV devices, plus there are browser extensions available for the Chrome and Firefox browsers.
In order to stay safe and to use the internet freely, users in Bangladesh benefit from having a VPN. A VPN allows users to connect to a server in a different country, which has the benefits of promoting anonymity, protecting from cyber attacks, and allowing access to blocked or censored content. We have recommended several top VPNs that are ideal for users in Bangladesh to stay safe and use a more open internet.
Have you had problems with blocked content in Bangladesh? Have you tried out one of the VPNs we recommended? Let us know about your experiences in the comments below.