If you are involved in Facebook marketing, it is critical for you to understand what a Facebook VPN is and why it exists. Whether you’re trying to promote your brand to a country where a VPN is necessary or you happen to be on a business trip where you can’t access Facebook, VPNs are an essential tool for marketers to understand as they conduct Facebook research and evaluate their reach.
Facebook is, arguably, the biggest network of them all, so being unable to log on can prove extremely detrimental.
Facebook has been around for about 18 years now and has become such a central part of people’s lives. At over two and a half billion users, some people have a love-hate relationship with this often controversial social platform. But it’s hard to deny the importance of this mega-popular platform in society. That being said, Facebook isn’t always accessible to everyone. Even with a quick jump into Facebook research, it is made clear that some countries and areas are not able to secure a VPN provider and effectively access Facebook.
The precise reason is not always known, but no matter where or who you are, Facebook could end up blocked when you try to access it. In this article, we will discuss what to do when that happens.
Why is Facebook Blocked?
There are countries in the world where Facebook is not available. Residents who permanently or temporarily live in any of those countries are likely aware that they can’t access Facebook. But anyone who’s traveling abroad might not know that once they enter their destination country, Facebook might no longer work. Some quick Facebook research can reveal which countries are more likely to block access to the site.
Countries like Iran, Vietnam, North Korea, and China have banned Facebook and Messenger (and some other social media platforms). Anyone who lives there or travels to these countries can’t access Facebook and a few other websites.
The other, and a more common reason for not being able to access Facebook, is school or workplace restrictions. Many institutions block students from accessing social media on their networks and computers out of concern for online privacy and wasted time, though there may also be concern regarding app usage and the level of access granted to Facebook during use.
Likewise, some workplaces also tend to restrict the websites, so people do not procrastinate at work. Usually, an IT person or team that manages network restrictions handles the process of blocking Facebook and monitoring application usage on work computers.
Is There a Way to Unblock Facebook?
If you find yourself with no way to access Facebook, never fear: you aren’t completely out of luck. There are a few ways to get around school or workplace network restrictions, as well as country-wide bans designed to filter out deceptive conduct or increase control over a population’s access to online content.
If someone finds themselves locked out of Facebook at work or school, then they could switch to using their phone and access Facebook over their cellular network. Sure, it can be inconvenient and use up data, but remember that Facebook isn’t a necessity. Schools and places of business block Facebook and Facebook Messenger because they don’t want people to get distracted and not do their work and because the level of access granted to Facebook can be of concern.
Unfortunately, mobile data won’t help if someone is visiting a country that bans the social network. For that, people can turn to a proxy website or a virtual private network (VPN).
Proxy websites or a VPN connection circumvent school/workplace blocks and sometimes bypass country-wide bans as well. It works like this:
- Visit the proxy website
- Enter the Facebook URL
- Visit the site through a proxy server
VPNs work on the same principle as a proxy server. When someone has a VPN installed, they can access Facebook because the connection goes through a different server, almost as though server locations are drastically different. It is a much better option than using a proxy website because it’s much more secure.
Why are VPNs the Perfect Solution?
These handy tools are useful for more than one reason, and people often use VPNs for many different purposes. But here are the two main reasons why a VPN connection is the perfect option for people who want to take advantage of all of Facebook’s features:
Proxy website servers are not secure. And it’s crucial to use a reliable method to log into Facebook; otherwise, outsiders could hack the connection and see your email address. If that happens, then they could steal login details, personal information and messages, and photos.
It won’t happen with a VPN. The encryption protocols created by VPN providers make them the better option–especially for travelers who want to connect to public WiFi spots, which are very unsafe. These internet connections are often easy to hack, and all personal activity you engage in is subject to scrutiny.
Virtual Private Networks can get around network restrictions without most workplaces or governments realizing what’s happening. The technology can even hide what someone’s doing online from their ISP. It encrypts the connection with robust algorithms, making it incomprehensible to all third-parties, thereby saving your personal activity from view and allowing you to access Facebook, Facebook messenger, and other social sites.
On top of that, VPN services let their users choose the server or the server location they want to connect to. That means a VPN user can not only access Facebook from wherever they are, but they can also access content from another country. For example, if a person travels to China for work, then they can still access their documents or watch streaming content available in their home country only. These simultaneous connections make VPNs the clear choice for consumers looking to get around a network lock or ban.
Facebook isn’t exactly known for its stances on personal privacy. The company stores extensive records on what its users do while on the platform. It includes what they look at, which pages they visit, and what they click on, essentially mining the usage habits of Facebook users, privacy concerns notwithstanding.
The social network is also tracking whatever they do elsewhere on the web, or active usage. It includes the websites someone visits, what they do there, and which ads they click on.
Doesn’t sound creepy at all, huh?
Moreover, authorities have found the company sharing (selling) the data they gather on more than one occasion by now. Those third parties they share information with aren’t necessarily using it responsibly or safeguarding it as they should, either. From internet providers to random companies schilling products, your information is extremely valuable.
A VPN cannot protect the data anyone shares on Facebook or the data that they opt to share through their privacy settings. VPNs also can’t prevent that data from being shared with third parties. What they can do, however, is give people more privacy by preventing third parties from tracking their activities elsewhere on the web. Then, they won’t be able to share information about you with Facebook, either.
Since VPN services mask a person’s IP address, the the consumer app can’t attach anything they do online to their IP address. An IP address also serves as someone’s online identity. All advertisers and websites link their online activity to that address. To make matters worse, it also reveals your approximate location. So when you visit any site without hiding your IP address, you leave a digital footprint.
Since a VPN hides an individual’s IP addresses, the technology is useful for more than unblocking Facebook. It is also an excellent option for people who want more privacy regarding their bandwidth usage, online activities, and personal information.
Of course, online tracking is not limited to following one’s IP address. People should also disable third-party cookies and use privacy-focused browsers and search engines. But that’s a discussion for another time, and is not solely focused on the social media giant and its questionable privacy ethics.
How Does a VPN Unblock Facebook?
VPN services work on the principle of network rerouting. They reroute a connection through their server first and then to the destination website. Because of this, the IP address of that server replaces the user’s IP address. It makes the site assume the request is coming from that server rather than the user’s computer or smartphone. Since people can choose which server they connect to, they can choose one located in a country that doesn’t ban Facebook. While this may not thwart a data-collecting app altogether, it does muddy the waters a bit, as to what exactly you are doing and where you are.
If it’s a network that’s blocking the website, then a VPN is still useful. By installing the VPN on the computer, it circumvents the blocks placed by the network administrators. Whenever you turn the VPN on, you can access Facebook and other websites because IT can’t see what site you are connecting to.
Keep in mind, though, that some administrators may realize a person uses a VPN, because no computer is completely logless. If you have been expressly told to use a work computer for commercial purposes, it is better to avoid trying to work around blocks altogether.
How to Install a VPN to Unblock Facebook?
The installation process for most VPN services is quite simple. Shop around a bit and find a VPN with excellent features and an acceptable price point. VPNs are often extremely user-friendly apps that can hide your true location and make you better able to access any social media app or site you want to browse.
Features to look out for when choosing a VPN include:
- A no-logs policy (meaning the service won’t track and log any user data)
- Plenty of servers across the world
- Strong encryption protocols
- Good customer support
- Affordable pricing tiers
Then head over to their website and go to the downloads section. The VPN should list the devices and browsers they support. After signing up for a subscription package, download the corresponding app for the device you use to be able to access Facebook everywhere.
Always make sure that the VPN is on before heading to Facebook or any other website to keep your activity data private or to keep your activity invisible. If Facebook is still not accessible, then make sure you connect to a VPN server in a country where Facebook isn’t banned.
Facebook is not only a way to keep in touch with family and friends anymore. It has also become a source of information, news, and shopping. And it’s a goldmine for digital and social media marketers. There’s no denying that this social network has become an essential fixture in everyday life.
So what happens when people find that they don’t have access to Facebook anymore? It could be that their school or workplace is blocking the website or that they’re in a country where the platform is banned. Luckily, there are a few ways around this. Most notably, use of a secure VPN server. This method works well because it’s easy to implement, you can use it on any device, and it offers a secure way to log in to Facebook while maintaining an anonymous connection.
If anyone should find themselves without access to the social platform, then all they need to do is install a secure VPN server and turn it on. Don’t opt for any free VPN services or cheaper providers, as they are not reliable and can even be unsafe. Instead, opt for a selection of servers that have a proven track record of safety and require a small upfront investment.
Make sure you know the local laws regarding VPN use when visiting a country like Saudi Arabia, as access to networks may be more problematic than a workaround is worth. If you plan to use it at work, keep in mind that IT might be able to see when someone on their network is using a VPN and all internet and app activity may be visible.
Do you have a VPN installed, or your own selection of servers? Which service do you recommend? Please feel free to comment on your experiences below!
Hero photo by Petter Lagson on Unsplash
This is a post contributed by one of my marketing partners.