Why You Should Use a VPN in Ghana
If you live in Ghana or are visiting, should you use a virtual private network? For many people, the answer is “yes.” It provides better privacy and gets around restrictions. With a VPN, you have extra protection against spying, data theft, and other forms of cybercrime. Surfshark VPN services are available in Ghana, and you can get a free VPN trial to decide how well it works for you.
Internet in Ghana
Access to the Internet in Ghana’s cities is good. Broadband access has been available since 1994. The country ranks high in free speech, including Internet freedom. Most Internet access is by mobile devices.
In many rural areas of Ghana, access becomes problematic. With limited options, people have to connect however they can. Criminals eagerly take advantage of this situation, setting up rogue Wi-Fi access points. These hotspots collect personal information or inject ads and malware into websites. Even in urban areas, it’s important to be wary of access points. Cybercrime in Ghana is a major problem.
Internet censorship isn’t a big issue in Ghana, but this could change. In 2016, there was a threat to shut down social media access during the election campaign. Streaming media sites limit what is available in the country for contractual reasons. The choice is smaller than in many other countries.
Some topics are best discussed privately. In Ghana, gays face legal suppression and criminal charges. Vigilante gangs are a danger to LGBT people. When they read and post to message boards and forums, it may be wisest to stay anonymous. Even secure HTTPS connections don’t hide the names of the sites being accessed. An Internet spy might find enough of a pattern to decide violence is appropriate.
Reasons for using a VPN
No matter where you are in the world, Internet privacy and security are concerns. Not all websites and apps use secure protocols. Using a VPN eliminates opportunities for a hotspot or Internet service provider to spy on or tamper with your data communication. This is important when you have few connection options and have to choose between an unfamiliar service and going without.
Even when public Wi-Fi hotspots are legitimate, most of them lack any security. Someone nearby with the right equipment can intercept any unencrypted Internet traffic that goes through it. They could steal passwords, credit card numbers, and banking information. A VPN guards against this, even if the server uses an insecure connection.
If you like to watch streaming movies, that’s another reason to use a VPN. The movies on Netflix are restricted because local TV stations in Ghana have secured exclusive rights to send them. Netflix might like to let you watch those movies, but contractually it can’t. A VPN can let you appear to connect to Netflix from another country, such as the United States, where the selection is greater. Netflix and other streaming sites try to block VPNs, so if they’re important to you, you should check whether the service you’re considering can access the content you want.
If you travel to Ghana, you’ll get the local version of any services you regularly use. Unwanted localization complicates even things as simple as checking a fact on Wikipedia. With a VPN, you can use a server in your home country and have sites appear the way you’re used to.
How a VPN works
A virtual private network is a set of machines that have secure communication with each other, as if they were in a local network. They can be thousands of miles apart. Clients use special software to connect to their VPN and communicate with it. As long as they’re connected, all their data goes through the VPN server. It’s strongly encrypted in both directions. To the rest of the Internet, all connections seem to come from the server. This helps a careful user to be anonymous.
It’s not a guarantee of privacy. Cookies, logged-in accounts, user profiles, and careless comments can reveal a user’s identity even on the most secure network. Malware can monitor all the activity on a phone and send it to a criminal organization. A VPN doesn’t provide end-to-end encryption. It’s just one piece of staying safe on the Internet, but it’s an important piece.
Setting up a VPN in Ghana
It’s legal to use a VPN in Ghana, but the choice of services that operate in the country is limited. ProPrivacy offers several recommendations, including Surfshark.
Free services exist, but they offer little benefit. They need to make money somehow, and it’s usually by bombarding users with ads. Their connections are slow, and they may or may not be trustworthy. A rogue VPN is worse than none at all, since it has access to all of its users’ Internet activity.
Examine the alternatives. Check their reputation and find out what level of service they offer in Ghana. The right choice will improve the quality and safety of your Internet experience at a reasonable cost.