- VPNs are excellent privacy tools that can help you bypass a lot of connectivity and censorship issues. However, this doesn't mean they help you get away with anything.
- You should steer away from unlawful behavior, even if you're under the false impression that a VPN will help you dodge responsibility for any wrongdoing.
- Check out our best VPNs that can help you protect your privacy.
- Visit the Security Hub to learn more about keeping your online identity safe and private.
In this article
VPNs are excellent privacy tools that can help you bypass a lot of connectivity and censorship issues. Aside from their obvious role in safekeeping your privacy from various third-party agents, VPNs can also handle other issues.
For instance, you can use VPNs if you want to circumvent geoblocking.
However, flying off the radar can make you feel a bit rebellious. Thus, regular VPN users started to ponder whether it’s 100% safe to use a VPN?
Is it safe to use a VPN?
Essentially, there’s nothing wrong with using a VPN. Sure, some regions have banned non-government-approved VPNs, and in those certain regions, you must be more cautious.
But merely using a VPN isn’t unsafe. It’s your fundamental right, after all, to benefit from a private, secure, and censor-free connection. So, as long as you obey the laws and regulations of your country, you should be alright.
As far as government-approved VPNs go, you should look out for those. There’s a reason why the government approved only a select few services, and that’s because they’re easy to monitor.
Even if a VPN should safeguard your privacy, there are certain providers that have been coerced to install backdoors on their service.
Thus, even if you think your connection is private, your ISP (or any other party that has clearance) can easily see your online whereabouts.
Can VPN get you banned?
1. If you engage in unlawful behavior
This is unfortunately the most common situation. Users see the advertisements and believe that a VPN can help them get away with anything. So they download the product and begin the series of wrongdoings.
Piracy, hacking, accessing or distributing forbidden content, terrorism, you name it.
Truth be told, some really do get away with it, as most reputable VPNs enforce zero-logging policies, and don’t monitor their customers. This, in turn, may encourage unlawful behavior, while also boosting the trust of the provider at the same time.
However, you should know that VPN services have other means to monitor activity without tying it to a certain individual. So if you get caught on the wrong side of the law, your VPN might turn a blind eye, or things might go the other way.
Your account might be suspended indefinitely and you might be even banned from using a VPN.
2. If you’re in a VPN-restricted region
As we’ve said a bit earlier, not all regions in the world are keen on VPNs. Thus, to counter them, they’ve enforced strict laws against using non-government-approved services.
As a result, many trustworthy VPN services have been removed and/or banned from those areas, and people who are caught using them might even be sanctioned.
ExpressVPN, for instance, is not a government-approved VPN service in China. However, if you manage to create an account, purchase a subscription, and download the client, ExpressVPN still works great in China.
Want to bypass the Great Chinese Firewall? ExpressVPN still works in China.
On the downside, if you get caught using ExpressVPN in China, or get reported, you might get in trouble.
3. Getting the VPN’s IP blacklisted
There’s also the chance that you’ll upset a certain website or service while behind a VPN. In this case, your VPN-assigned IP address might get banned, and you won’t be able to use it anymore on that specific website.
For instance, you might try to use a DDOS attack on a website. The website picks up on your current IP address and blacklists it. If you’re using a VPN, the website will (most likely) block the IP address of the VPN server.
Subsequently, this might lead to two events:
- Your wrongdoings will affect other users who share the same IP, making them unable to access the website that banned you
- The VPN provider will figure out things and will ban you from using their service
Note that DOS and DDOS attacks are pretty much still illegal. You shouldn’t, under any circumstances, attempt to replicate the scenario mentioned above, unless you’re authorized, certified, and in a controlled environment.
Yes, you can still get banned with a VPN
Either way, you should steer away from unlawful behavior, even if you’re under the false impression that a VPN will shield you. While a VPN can successfully anonymize your connection, you shouldn’t use it for any wrongdoings.
Keep in mind that VPN providers can still see what websites you access or files you download.
If they choose to turn a blind eye on you downloading a pirated movie for once, it doesn’t mean will work every time, or that you’ll get away with just about anything.
FAQ: Learn more about VPN bans
- Can you get banned for using VPN?
In some countries, such as China, North Korea, or Russia, VPN usage is restricted. Using non-government-approved VPNs such as ExpressVPN might get you sanctioned.
- Can you get banned on Netflix for using VPN?
No, Netflix won’t ban your account if it detects VPN traffic from it. Certain VPN providers such as ExpressVPN can easily bypass the Netflix VPN block.
- How to check if my IP is blacklisted?
If you suspect your IP has been blacklisted by a website, try accessing it with a VPN. If it works, it probably means that the website has blacklisted you.