Your home network is safe – you have a firewall, antivirus, antimalware, geofencing, and state-of-the-art technology keeping your computers and electronics safe. However, when you leave your home to travel the world, that same level of security doesn’t necessarily travel with you.
If you leave the country, the problems get even worse. Many of your favorite music and video streaming services work differently overseas. This is because copyright laws on the content varies by region, so your Netflix and Hulu queues may be made inaccessible.
There is a way around this, of course, and it’s as legal to use as bringing your DVD or Blu-Ray collection with you on the trip. Using a VPN and proxy, you can access content on your home network from anywhere, and may even be able to bypass geographic restrictions.
How Proxy Servers Work
In simple terms, a proxy is a point-to-point connection between you and a remote location on the Internet. So instead of connecting directly to the Internet, proxies reroute traffic through remote servers, hiding your IP address from the end server and providing a level of security.
While at home, proxy servers are great for avoiding cookies and other website tracking. While traveling, they’re great for connecting to your home network and accessing the Internet just like you would from home.
So instead of connecting directly to the hotspot at the airport, hotel, restaurant, or wherever you’re at on the road, you’re using a secure tunnel to indirectly reach it. This is useful for keeping data you transfer safe from prying eyes.
Accessing content is the least of your worries as an American traveling overseas. The last thing you need is to draw undue attention to yourself or broadcast your itinerary to dangerous parties. A proxy provides both of these services, but the most secure and comprehensive type of all-in-one proxy is a VPN.
Differences Between Proxies and VPNs
Proxies are only used for one connection, such as torrenting, browsing the web, gaming, etc. To protect everything at once, you need to take the holistic approach of installing a VPN, which is a type of proxy server.
Using a VPN, it doesn’t matter where in the world you’re at, you can still access your content at home with the same level of military-grade encryption. A VPN builds a tunnel between your devices and home network using a virtual network that reroutes all communications through the proxy server.
It’s a much easier approach that ensures all data and sensitive information is secure. You can learn more information about the technical differences between Proxies and VPNs at BestVPN.com, which rates the best VPN and proxy services for different individual needs.
Accessing Network-Attached Storage
Of course, to get this to work remotely, you’ll need to take some proactive steps at home to make your network content remotely accessible. You can’t necessarily access your desktop computer without enabling remote access or installing a Plex server. Leaving your desktop on while away from home can lead to security issues, however.
Plex servers are known to allow content streaming to Fire Stick, Roku, Shield TV, gaming consoles, and more, making it an essential tool for accessing video and music stored locally.
If your wireless router/modem/access point has a USB port, it’s possible to plug an external hard drive directly into it that’s accessible to any device on the network. Running a program like Privoxy on your desktop can provide you that access, as well as remote access to your desktop content.
A VPN is crucial to secure these types of connections – otherwise you’re providing access to your home network to anyone nearby.
You can also purchase a Network-Attached Storage (NAS) device from companies like Synology. These are always-on mini network servers that allow you to create a personal cloud and store all your content for remote and at-home access through any devices. Configuration is necessary to enable remote access, which can be found here.
Bringing It Back Home
We live in a connected world, and one of the benefits is the accessibility of more content than we could ever access before in human history. It’s convenient being able to leave disks and hard drives at home – these can create issues when traveling through customs and may compromise your security if lost or stolen while on the road.
Cloud storage is the new trend, and by creating a personal cloud at home and connecting to it through a VPN, you’ll have maximum control over your security while consuming digital content anywhere in the world as though you were on your couch at home.