Updated March 4, 2019
Internet censorship is very common in several countries, including Lebanon, and is practiced for many reasons. Democratic countries generally practice mild internet bans on extreme content, but some countries go as far as banning thousands of websites so they can limit the kind of information their citizens can access.
Censorship is never good. It’s against the idea behind why the internet was created – to be a hub of readily accessible and free information.
While Lebanon is pretty liberal in providing access to online content, a few websites are banned here.
If you are in Lebanon, you might notice that gambling websites have been blocked. Also, some Israeli websites cannot be accessed. LGBT content falls in grey areas and websites that publish such content might get blocked sooner or later.
If you’re planning to travel to Lebanon and want to stay connected to the free internet, it’s best to use a VPN. A VPN is a network of servers that will help you bypass internet censorship.
All the best VPN companies have servers all over the world. You can connect to any of these servers and when you do, your traffic is redirected through that server. This way, your IP is changed and websites see the IP of that server instead of your true IP address.
Also, a VPN will also encrypt your data, so the government won’t be able to see what you’re doing online. This means you can access just about any content without worrying about being caught.
Lebanon is pretty liberal, considering the online censorship policies of some other Middle Eastern countries. However, according to Freedom House, Lebanon's internet is only partly free. This means that government surveillance is present and some websites are also blocked.
There have been cases where government agencies have pressurized ISPs and individuals to remove some comments from social media pages. In 2017, Lebanese model-cum-singer Myriam Klink was forced to remove her video “Goal” from the internet as the video was “too raunchy.”
While the Lebanese constitution supports the freedom of expression, there is some degree of censorship which might not be welcome to someone who’s accustomed to the free internet. This is why a VPN is recommended for all travelers visiting Lebanon.
While a VPN will help you unblock websites, it will also help you stay connected to the streaming channels of your home country. For example, if you’re traveling from the US to Lebanon, you can use a VPN to watch all your favorite shows on US Netflix.
While using a VPN is a great idea, keep in mind that not all VPN providers offer the same services. Some providers offer higher privacy, security, or speed than others. As a rule of thumb, free VPNs generally offer low-quality services. Setting up and running a VPN costs a lot. If a company is doing all that and offering free services in return, something must be up.
There are some top VPNs that have free offerings as well. While they may not be logging and selling your data, they do have bandwidth restrictions. These caps will generally allow you only limited protected browsing every month.
Whether you live in Lebanon or you’re planning to travel there, there are some factors to keep in mind when selecting a VPN.
Privacy policies are often long and boring, which is why people don’t generally bother reading them. But when it comes to VPNs, it’s very important to read the policy. Some pieces of information they might be keeping are the web pages you visit, timestamps, and bandwidth consumed in each session etc.
When a VPN company keeps logs, they can be approached by the government to hand over your details. The only way to stay secure from government surveillance is by getting a VPN that doesn’t keep any logs in the first place.
If you’re working on a Linux system but there’s a VPN provider only services Windows and Mac, there’s no point getting that VPN. You need to check the device compatibility before you get a VPN.
Different VPN providers have networks of different sizes and locations. If you get a VPN with a large network, you’ll be able to unblock content from several countries. However, with a VPN that has a small number of servers, your content unblocking abilities will be limited.
A Kill Switch drops the internet connection as soon as there’s a problem with the VPN. This way, even if the VPN stops working, your details will not be leaked online and your identity will stay hidden.
There are several VPN protocols that balance speed and security. If your VPN provider offers OpenVPN or another protocol based on OpenVPN, it’s always a good choice. Don’t go for weak protocols such as PPTP.
With multi-logins, you can connect multiple devices by purchasing just one license saving you lots of money and hassle.
BulletVPN offers fast and secure connections and comes with a 30-day money back guarantee. They let you connect 3 devices simultaneously, use OpenVPN, and have a zero-logging policy, which means your online activity in Lebanon will not be recorded.
They provide apps for all major platforms so installing the VPN on your devices is easy.
ExpressVPN is a popular choice as it offers over 2000 servers in 94 countries. They offer blazing fast speeds on all major platforms.
With OpenVPN and AES-256 bit encryption, you can rest assured that your connection is practically unhackable when you’re in Lebanon. The ExpressVPN app comes with an inbuilt Kill Switch to keep you protected.
They also have split tunneling which means you can send some data over the encrypted tunnel and the rest over the unprotected internet.
CyberGhost has been a popular choice for online security., and now they’ve launched their VPN 7.0 that’s super easy to install. It’s highly customizable and comes with automatic connection features. They offer a Kill Switch and don’t keep logs, which means your identity is completely hidden.
CyberGhost has fast servers that will help you stream your favorite movies and shows when you’re in Lebanon. They allow torrenting as well, which means downloading and watching movies is a breeze.
Surfshark is relatively new in the VPN scene but it's quickly gaining popularity. With its ability to unblock content and to encrypt your data, it acts as a good VPN for Lebanon.
When you use this VPN, you’ll be able to browse the internet without leaving any footprints. They offer apps for all major devices, which gives you even more freedom. They have a strict no-logs policy, making it a safe choice.
NordVPN has been a market leader for a long time. With their advanced security and complete privacy, you get the online freedom that you want in Lebanon. They offer a 30-day money back guarantee so you can try their services risk-free.
They have apps for all major platforms and offer 5100 servers in 61 countries. So this means you can easily stay connected to the outside world when you’re in Lebanon.
PureVPN offers fast services and apps for all major platforms. They have over 2000 servers that let you bypass the content restrictions in Lebanon. They have features such as Kill Switch and split tunneling for a more safe and customized experience.
They offer 24/7 live chat support that will fix your issues as soon as they arise.
Thankfully, VPNs are not banned in Lebanon so getting one is really easy. Here are the steps to register for a VPN service and to install it on your device.
1. Choose a VPN provider.
2. Visit their website and register for their services.
3. Select the right plan and pay for it. Longer plans are generally cheaper.
4. You’ll find app installation files. Download them on your device.
5. Install the VPN. If it’s a custom app, it will install just by opening it and you don’t have to do much.
6. Open the installed app and enter your credentials.
7. Select a server and click on Connect.
A VPN will keep your identity hidden from the Lebanese government. It will also encrypt the data so your ISP won’t know what you’re doing.
With the help of a VPN, you can unlock the content that’s banned by the government. If you believe in online freedom, it’s best to get a VPN. Besides, VPNs don’t cost much, so it’s a win-win situation.