Lebanon may be a small country, but its location makes it a unique point where the West and the Middle East come together, bringing a captivating combination of ancient traditions and modernity. Beirut is a vibrant city with an active nightlife and Lebanon offers magnificent ruins and impressive landscapes. However, the country is still haunted by decades of civil war and sectarian violence often affects the nation. Visitors are warned against going to certain areas in the country, and even suburbs in Beirut. Corruption is another ongoing issue that prevents Lebanon from emerging as a stable nation in the region. Since the government runs a monopoly over the telecommunications industry, investment and development in this area have been curtailed.
It is estimated that over 75% of the population has access to the internet. However, as a result of the feeble infrastructure, internet users in Lebanon have to deal with poor internet speeds and high prices for broadband. Mobile internet is expensive and many people don’t even have access to it. Given that the government has a monopoly over telecommunications in general, it has the capacity to control ISPs. In Arsal, a small town bordering Syria, residents haven’t had mobile internet for over two years (https://www.ifex.org/lebanon/2017/04/05/mobile-access-arsal-lebanon/) on the basis of security issues. While the new government is set to work to improve internet speeds and reduce the prices of internet access, the changes are yet to be implemented. Due to the control that the government has over the telecommunications industry, ISPs are not able to decrease prices without approval from the Ministry of Telecommunications.
While there is not a massively restrictive program in place in Lebanon, there are some websites blocked. In most cases, the blocks are implemented on websites that refer to Israel or that are focused on categories like gambling and escort services. LGBTI websites and websites that are considered in breach of copyright have also been blocked. The government often puts pressure on users and ISPs to remove comments that criticize government/religious officials, or the military. Although the constitution guarantees freedom of expression and protects privacy, people have been arrested due to their posts on social media, and bloggers and journalists often apply self-censorship for fear of the possible repercussions of speaking against the authorities. As such, it is not strange to see that Lebanon is only considered as Partly Free by Freedom House.
Given the restrictions and the possible issues that you can face when using the internet and expressing your opinion in Lebanon, it is advisable to use a VPN. Some of the blocks impose affect websites that don’t even fall within the categories that are set to be blocked by law. If you want to be able to enjoy online freedom, without compromising your privacy, the best option is to use a VPN service. Apart from adding anonymity and allowing you to keep your online activities private thanks to the encryption applied, a VPN is a great solution to defeat not only censorship, but also geographical blocks. This means that you can access websites and services that are only available outside Lebanon. Here are the best options to consider.
ExpressVPN is a provider based in the British Virgin Islands and it has a strong commitment to privacy and online freedom. They have servers in over 90 countries and allow you to keep your online traffic protected from eavesdroppers, thanks to the high level of encryption used. ExpressVPN doesn’t keep logs of your online activities, which is also important for users who want to ensure that their privacy is not compromised at any stage. In addition, the service is very fast, so even if you have to deal with slow connections in Lebanon, you won’t notice further slowdowns while using ExpressVPN.
Protecting the security and privacy of your internet traffic is very important for users in Lebanon, which is why a solution like NordVPN is a great choice. This Panama-based provider protects your data with high encryption and thanks to its no logs policy, you can enjoy peace of mind. NordVPN is known for its reliable and highly secure VPN service and it also support advanced features such as double hop encryption and Tor over VPN. They have servers in over 50 countries, including many options that are convenient for users in Lebanon.
VPNArea is another convenient solution for users in Lebanon who want to secure their online traffic and bypass restrictions. This provider doesn’t keep logs and it offers AES-256 encryption to protect your traffic from surveillance, hacking and other threats. VPNArea brings you a practical selection of features designed to make your internet connection safer. Thanks to features like anti-DNS leaks, anti-IPv6 and anti-WebRTC protection, your real IP address will remain hidden from others while you are online. VPNArea has over 200 servers in 60 countries and it offers a solid combination of speed and security that allows you to enjoy a more secure and versatile internet experience in Lebanon.
VyprVPN has servers in more than 50 countries, including options in the Middle East and in Cyprus and Greece, which are convenient options near Lebanon. VyprVPN is another good option to bypass censorship and enjoy access to websites and services that are not available in Lebanon. One of the best things of this VPN solution created by internet consortium Golden Frog, is the unique Chameleon technology, which is an effective tool against firewalls and blocks. VyprVPN allows you to enjoy great speeds and it also offers great customer support. There is a free trial that allows you to test the service for three days before purchasing a subscription.