Many Indian student hostels come with free Wi-Fi, but it’s very likely that you’ll come across some restrictions. More specifically, you shouldn’t expect to use hostel Wi-Fi for anything other than education. Not without help, anyway. Fortunately, you can connect to any of these VPNs in India and bypass all those pesky limitations, among other things.
Scroll on to see what a VPN subscription gets you.
Why Do You Need a VPN in India?
VPN not only protect your online privacy, but there are several other benefits as well. Before we get into the topic of Wi-Fi limitations, we need to discuss the dangerous road of censorship and mass surveillance that the Indian government is treading.
Avoid Mass Surveillance and Cybercrime
India currently sits at number three on the list of the biggest surveillance states, just behind China and Russia. Internet providers in the country are required to store your network activity for up to 180 days as well.
You’ll need a VPN to prevent the Indian government from spying on your private life. When you use a VPN, your browsing data and all other network activity are encrypted – garbled, essentially. This means Internet providers, spy agencies, and even hackers looking to steal your data will only see a bunch of gibberish with no value.
And yes, hackers can (and will) abuse the fact that you’re using hostel Wi-Fi to cause some damage. One way to do so is by using Evil Twin attacks, essentially creating a hotspot that mimics the real one. Once you connect to this fake network, hackers can see everything you do online, and they’ll be fishing for any valuable data you input. Credit card info, digital wallet logins (Google Pay, PhonePe, PayPal, etc.), email and social media accounts, you name it.
Aside from that, current Wi-Fi encryption standards are vulnerable to security exploits, meaning hackers can simply steal the hostel’s password and view your traffic. VPN encryption makes your data unreadable to outsiders before it has a chance to leave your device, thus preventing any of the above attacks.
Bypass Government Censorship Online
Despite being a democracy, India takes a page out of the Chinese playbook, censoring the Internet much like its neighbor to the north. Most recently, the government has banned a host of Chinese apps (TikTok and PUBG, among many others). Luckily, by using a VPN in India, you can experience the Internet more freely than before.
How? Well, when you log into your VPN app, you have the option of choosing a VPN server in a different country. This process masks your real IP address, assigns you a new one based on your chosen country, thus allowing you to access content from the area. Not only will this unblock most content deemed “unsafe” by the Indian government, but you’ll be able to stream content from abroad as well.
Enjoy More Online Shows and Movies
Despite paying more for Netflix on average, Indians have a smaller pool of shows and movies to choose from. Many streaming platforms are also exclusive to other countries (Hulu, BBC iPlayer, etc), so you’re missing out on tons of content. Get around such geo-blocks by selecting a VPN server in the US, UK, or any other area that has the shows you want.
And finally, here’s that part about the Wi-Fi restrictions we’ve mentioned. VPNs help you bypass firewalls set up by network admins to block content they deem “unnecessary” for a student. You know; the fun part of the Internet. Streaming platforms, social media, maybe even YouTube – even though the latter is an excellent learning resource.
Understandably, they want you to focus on your education – but you still need to unwind at some point, right? Save the precious GB of mobile data you would have used instead, and take advantage of the free Wi-Fi with a VPN.