\r\nThanks to increasing concerns over users\u2019 online privacy, Virtual Private Networks (or VPNs) and proxy servers are gaining popularity daily. However, people who aren\u2019t familiar with them often question whether they are legal and safe to use.\r\n\r\nNearly a dozen countries have regulated proxies and VPNs as illegal through their laws. Namely, if you use proxies or VPNs servers on their territory, you run the risk of paying a fine, or serving time in prison! However, most of the time, it\u2019s perfectly safe.\r\n\r\nIn fact, you should consider getting private proxies \u2014 they use dedicated IP addresses, which are used by one client exclusively.\r\nHow a VPN Works and When to Use One\r\n\r\n\r\nA VPN is a service that allows you to access and browse the web privately by rerouting your connection through different servers and hiding your online activity. Without a VPN, your connection is entirely open, and anyone with the right tools can gain access to your data.\r\n\r\nAdditionally, you can use VPNs to access websites that are otherwise considered illegal or blocked in your country. For example, for websites like Netflix, the library can be limited if you try to access it outside the USA. However, with a VPN, you can get full access to them from nearly anywhere in the world.\r\nHow Proxy Servers Work and When to Use One\r\nProxies can change your IP address and mask your identity and location.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nA proxy server, simply put, is another computer that serves as a hub through which requests are processed. They serve as an intermediary between your personal computer and the rest of the internet. This way, you can maintain your anonymity online while using services and accessing websites that you otherwise couldn\u2019t.\r\n\r\nAdditionally, private proxies are available for one user only, their primary benefit being the fact that you have the entire server\u2019s bandwidth and speed to yourself. That gives you fast browsing speeds and allows even more privacy.\r\nWhere Is It Illegal to Use a VPN and Proxies?\r\nUsing VPNs and proxies is a somewhat new concept when it comes to law regulations. A lot of countries have not caught up to it yet, and most of them have laws that are very much open for interpretation. \u00a0However, some countries are trying to completely outlaw the use of VPNs and private proxies, while others mandate that the government approves them first.\r\nCountries Where Using VPNs and Server Proxies Is Completely Banned\r\n\r\n \tIraq\r\n \tBelarus\r\n \tNorth Korea\r\n \tUganda\r\n \tChina\r\n \tUnited Arab Emirates\r\n\r\nCountries Where Using VPNs and Server Proxies Needs Government Approval\r\n\r\n \tIran\r\n \tRussia\r\n \tOman\r\n \tTurkey\r\n\r\nWhy Are They Illegal?\r\nThe simple answer is because the government wants to block users from accessing certain information. While this can be seen as censorship, these countries claim they do this in order to protect their citizens.\r\n\r\nWhile there is technically nothing wrong with using VPNs and proxies, if you do it in order to conduct some illegal activity, you can be legally prosecuted.\r\n\r\nHowever, the reasoning behind these restrictions depends on the country. For example, when Russia banned VPNs and proxy servers, they claimed they did it in order to prevent the spreading of \u201cextremist materials\u201d online. Additionally, the Belarusian government views VPNs as a way to bypass restrictions set in place by their politicians.\r\nIs It Safe for You to Use These Tools?\r\nThe short answer is yes, as long as you\u2019re not in a country that explicitly prohibits them by law. Proxies are used for various reasons, like filtering web content or bypassing restrictions set in place by your employer.\r\n\r\nWhile the use of a VPN is perfectly legal, any illegal activity that happens online will remain illegal regardless of whether you use a VPN or not. For example, while a VPN may cover your tracks and keep your activity hidden from your internet provider, \u00a0torrenting copyrighted material with a VPN doesn\u2019t make it legal.\r\nFinal Thoughts\r\nIf you are concerned about the privacy of your information, data, and internet using habits \u2014 \u00a0consider getting a paid VPN and proxy service. Running a good VPN service costs money, and if someone is willing to give it to you for free, think about the compromises being made.\r\n\r\nWhy would a company do this when their intention is to make money? The truth is, they could be logging your activity for their own reasons, or selling your data to a third party.\r\n\r\nIn conclusion, when choosing VPNs or proxy servers, make sure they are legal in the country where you\u2019re using them \u2014 or at least be clever enough not to have them traced back to you. Also, make sure to use trusted proxy providers, so you don\u2019t get yourself into any more trouble.