Instagram is a global phenomenon. Founded in 2010, the social network has thrived as part of the Facebook family. It now attracts 1 billion unique users every month, who post photos and videos of their lives, from their daily meals, to stunning nature photography.
However, Instagram isn’t available to everyone. Some countries have blocked the site, fearing the potential for subversion, and as we’ll see, the trend towards Instagram blocking isn’t going away. But there is a way to resist: using Virtual Private Networks (VPNs).
VPNs are an extremely useful tool for social media users, whether they are sat at home or on the move. So let’s dig deeper and assess whether a good VPN should become part of your digital routine when logging onto Instagram.
Why would you need a VPN when using Instagram?
While we’re becoming used to relying on VPNs for torrenting, sending emails, and making online purchases, fewer people realize how useful these privacy tools are when accessing social media sites like Instagram.
There are actually plenty of reasons to use a VPN when accessing your Instagram account:
- Work around geoblocks – Instagram may be a global company with a billion users. However, it’s officially banned in a number of countries – with China being the most famous. With a VPN installed on your smartphone or laptop, users can unblock Instagram geoblocks that have been imposed by authoritarian regimes, and enjoy their social media accounts wherever they travel.
- Counter Instagram’s advertising systems – Advertising is one of the biggest problems associated with Instagram, which targets each user with ads designed to appeal to their tastes. If you don’t like the idea of being analyzed and targeted in this way, VPNs offer an elegant solution. Because they anonymize your online identity, they render you invisible to Instagram’s ad trackers.
- Keeping business assets confidential – Many companies make Instagram a centerpiece of their marketing operations, and keep extensive archives of photos, videos, and written content. Much of this is not publicly available, but still stored via Instagram accounts, and it needs to be kept safe from competitors or copyright violators. With a VPN Instagram users can encrypt their connections, making it tough to access their accounts – so transferring assets is much harder.
- Making it impossible to track your location – Instagram gathers data about user locations as part of its advertising program. Many people are uncomfortable with being followed wherever they post, and VPNs make it easy to conceal your location.
So there are basically two major motivations to create a VPN Instagram combination: the desire to maintain your privacy, and the need to unblock Instagram.
In this blog, we’re mainly concerned with the latter issue. As we noted earlier, Instagram is routinely blocked in China, making it inaccessible for a huge chunk of the human population. So how can you unblock Instagram anywhere in the world?
Instagram blocking is spreading across the world
In the United States and other liberal democracies, individuals have become used to enjoying unfettered access to the websites of their choice (albeit on a pay-to-play basis). But that’s not the case for a huge portion of humanity.
China blocks Instagram, but it’s not alone. Turkey often cracks down on social media, accusing tech companies of aiding enemies of the government. And bans have been imposed at various times in countries as diverse as Cuba, Iran, Pakistan, and Russia.
The trend towards blocking American-owned social media sites is actually spreading. For instance, the Indian government’s Ministry of Communications has launched a consultation about how to limit access to Instagram.
If that results in action, over half of the global population could be barred from Instagram. So finding out how to unblock Instagram is becoming a serious issue.
How to defeat the censors and ensure Instagram access
Fortunately, these bans are often less thorough than they seem. While countries can talk big about repressing subversive websites, ordinary people have some very powerful tools which render their words almost irrelevant.
Virtual Private Networks are an effective response to online censorship, and no government has found a foolproof way to neutralize their operation. Moreover, they are affordable to purchase and easy to use. Here’s a quick run down about how to use a VPN for Instagram access in repressive countries:
- Do a little research to discover the best VPNs for unblocking Instagram. We’ll talk a bit about this later, but for now it’s important to remember that free VPNs are not usually up to the task. So pick one which can get the job done.
- Subscribe to the VPN of your choice, and install their client. Add the client to any devices you’ll be using on your travels, including smartphones and tablets.
- Remember to subscribe before you visit countries like China. If you pay within those countries, there’s a chance that the government will detect your identity before you fire up the VPN.
- Load up the VPN and enter your login details. Now, pick a server from their portfolio which is outside the jurisdiction of the country which bans Instagram.
- When the connection is established, carry out an IP leakage test. This will let you know whether the VPN is actually protecting your online identity, or “leaking” it to potential snoopers. If so, you won’t be able to unblock Instagram.
- If there’s no leakage, that’s great. Now you’re fully protected, and you can log onto Instagram as if you were in a liberal utopia.
Why it’s important to choose a reliable VPN
If you want to guarantee access to Instagram wherever you go, choosing an elite VPN is absolutely essential, and there are a number of reasons for this.
Firstly, low quality VPNs are prone to IP leaks. As we noted above, this can totally defeat the purpose of installing a VPN, and Instagram won’t work unless your IP address is anonymized.
Another issue is encryption. When accessing Instagram in dictatorships, users will want to guard everything they post as tightly as possible. VPNs enable you to post any images or comments in encrypted form. That way, the government won’t have a clue what you are saying.
Speed also matters. Good VPNs blend excellent encryption and anonymization with high speeds. When you’re uploading huge amounts of vacation photos, you’ll appreciate the value of super-fast servers, believe me.
Enjoy Instagram across the world with the help of VPNs
Don’t risk having your vacation ruined by Instagram blocks. If you love to use social media, and want to guarantee access in every corner of the world, it’s vital to install a reliable VPN before you travel. And if you live in repressive countries, protecting your identity is a no-brainer.