6 Good Reasons You Need a VoIP VPN
Almost one billion people are allegedly using VoIP services – and the data is from 2017, so it’s likely that number only went up since then.
Well, if you’re one of the many people who use these apps, you’d stand to enjoy a much better experience if you were to use a VoIP VPN too.
Why Exactly Do You Need a VoIP VPN?
So, why should you use one with VoIP apps?
Here are the main reasons:
1. To Bypass Government Censorship
While VoIP apps are normally available worldwide, that doesn’t mean certain countries can’t just block them to prevent people from using them.
Why would governments do that?
One reason would be because they want to track the conversations of their own citizens, which is much easier to do if they use national telecom services instead of encrypted third-party VoIP apps like Skype and Viber.
Also, more oppressive regimes (like the ones in China, North Korea, and the Middle East) likely restrict access to VoIP traffic to make sure there is no way for people who oppose the regime to easily spread dissent.
Furthermore, some governments might just block VoIP apps because of profit. Basically, they want to make sure their national telecom providers don’t have any competition. After all, the government can’t really tax VoIP providers as much as they tax their own telecoms, so they’re not making as much money.
Well, if you use VoIP over VPN, you can get around any type of government censorship since the service will hide your IP address.
Which Countries Block VoIP Apps?
Here are a few examples of governments that have previously blocked Skype, or continue to block it to this day:
- Morocco – National telecoms blocked VoIP traffic back in 2016 mostly because they wanted to put an end to free calls.
- China – The government officially removed Skype from the iOS and Android app stores back in 2017. Technically, the service works in China, but you can’t get it, which is pretty ironic. If you access Skype’s website, you get redirected to a Chinese version where you can only download a “modified’ Skype client.
- Bangladesh – The BTRC (Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission) blocked the service in 2018 because of political reasons.
- The UAE – Authorities blocked Skype in 2019 (they blocked it before in 2017 as well) because the service “isn’t licensed” in the country, likely meaning the government is upset they can’t get access to user data.
- Egypt – The government blocked VoIP traffic back in 2018 because of “security reasons,” though most people suspect it was a way to shut down the competition for national telecoms.
- North Korea – The country has its own intranet, so people there obviously can’t use third-party VoIP services. If you visit as a tourist, though, you might (emphasis on “might”) have some worldwide web access at your hotel, and manage to use a VoIP VPN to unblock services like Skype if the government censors them.
We used Skype as an example since there’s plenty of data on countries censoring it. Also, if governments block a popular service like Skype, it’s likely they will easily censor less popular VoIP apps too.
Of course, there are plenty of other countries that block VoIP traffic. Mexico, Guyana, Venezuela, Belize, Jordan, Libya, and Tunisia are just some examples.
2. To Get Around Annoying Firewalls
Sometimes, you might not be able to use VoIP services at school or work because the network admins use firewall rules to block them.
It’s mostly because some schools and workplaces have strict policies about what services students and employees can use. They might require admins to block VoIP apps because they worry students and employees might slack off chatting with their friends instead of studying or working.
Besides that, some VoIP applications use SIP (Session Initiation Protocol), which can cause conflicts with the firewall because it relies on random port numbers to set up connections. So even if you don’t need to worry about admins and policies, you still might sometimes have trouble getting past firewalls.
Luckily, you can bypass any firewall that stands in your way by just using a VoIP VPN to hide your IP address.
3. To Properly Secure Your VoIP Traffic
While most VoIP apps use decent encryption to secure your calls, that doesn’t mean there are no weakness cybercriminals can exploit.
After all, Skype had a serious issue that would have allowed anyone to eavesdrop on calls on Android. Viber also had a vulnerability that would have made it possible for hackers to intercept images and videos. And one last example – Apple actually confirmed there was a weakness with Facetime that made eavesdropping possible.
And that’s not all. We already mentioned SIP – the protocol a lot of VoIP applications (like Facebook Messenger, Skype, or Apple Facetime) use to configure, initiate, carry, and terminate connections.
Well, the problem with SIP is that it really isn’t very secure. In fact, SIP wasn’t made with security in mind from the get-go. Experienced cybercriminals could actually hack the protocol since it resembles HTML to a certain extent. Also, the addressing is a bit similar to SMTP, so the header of the connection will include info like:
- What kind of call you’re requesting.
- Details about your device.
- The caller’s email address.
- The IP address of the device you’re using to make a call.
Basically, that’s the kind of information hackers love to get their hands on.
And if that wasn’t enough, don’t forget that ISPs monitor and log what they can about your VoIP traffic to comply with data retention laws.
Not to mention that government surveillance agencies might force companies to hand over user data. The NSA already boasted about being able to “grab” Skype traffic, something they were able to do since 2011.
Ironically, that’s when Microsoft bought Skype Communications (the devs behind Skype). And we all know how buddy-buddy Microsoft is with the NSA – they were the first company to join the NSA’s PRISM surveillance program, after all.
Something like that can happen to all VoIP apps, which is why you should use a VPN to encrypt all your traffic. That way, nobody can monitor it.
4. To Prevent Bandwidth Throttling
If you spend a lot of time using VoIP applications (like a few hours a day) talking with friends and family, there is a chance your ISP might throttle your bandwidth.
Simple – because they consider you’re using up “too much data,” and that can increase the network congestion on their servers.
So, they just lower your speeds, causing your VoIP traffic to experience lag, choppy calls, and a lot of buffering.
Hardly fair, right?
Well, if you use a VoIP VPN, you can easily bypass that issue. Since the service encrypts your online traffic (that includes your VoIP traffic), your ISP can’t see what you are doing on the Internet, so they won’t be able to throttle your speeds.
At most, they’ll just see you’re using a VPN server.
5. To Get Better Deals
VoIP apps are normally free to use, but you’re going to have to pay if you want to make international calls to landline or mobile phone numbers.
Well, if you use a VPN, you’ll get different price tags for the same service, so you can potentially save money.
Here’s what we mean – if you want to use Viber Out to make calls to the UK, and you’re in France, getting a subscription with unlimited minutes would cost you €3,99. If you were to get the same subscription in Singapore, it’d cost $3,99. So, you’re getting a $0,43 (since €3,99 is roughly $4,42) discount if you’re from the US.
That might not seem like much, but it eventually adds up if you use the app very often.
Similarly, if you try to get a Skype subscription with 400 minutes to make calls to the UK from France, it will cost you €7,80/month or 2 cents per minute. If you’re based in Poland, it gets pricier. The same subscription will cost €7,89/month or 2.1 cents per minute.
However, getting the same subscription in Switzerland will cost you €6,87/month or 1.8 cents per minute. But if you really want to save money, a Singapore-based location can be just what you need. The 400-minute subscription will only cost €6,31/month or 1.5 cents per minute.
Those are just some price differences we came across by playing around with our VPN servers. But the main idea is that you can save some money in the long run with a VoIP VPN.
6. To Get a Superior Gaming Experience
If you play a lot of online team-based games, VoIP calls are a must so that you can better coordinate with your everyone – especially if you’re into competitive gaming.
But if your government decides to ban VoIP traffic (including in-game VoIP calls), you won’t be able to game as well. Not to mention you might get kicked off the team because they can’t reach you quickly during a match.
Using a VoIP VPN solves that problem. Just connect to a server in a country where VoIP works well, and you can effortlessly continue playing and coordinating with your friends.
Does VoIP Over VPN Slow Down Speeds?
Using a VPN while on a VoIP call might sometimes result in slow speeds. Though, it’s not always likely to happen, and – sometimes – it might just be a small drop in connection speeds.
Usually, it depends on what kind of VPN encryption you’re using, how far you are from the VPN server you’re connected to, and how fast your own Internet speeds are. There are other factors at play besides that, so feel free to check out this article if you want to learn more.
All in all, a good way to make sure your speeds are pretty stable is to use a VPN server that’s relatively close to your geographical location (so not one on a different continent), and a VPN protocol that is speedy and lightweight (like IKEv2, L2TP/IPSec, and SoftEther).
Should You Use a Voice Over IP VPN Combo for Work?
Yes, a VoIP VPN isn’t only for personal use. You should definitely get one for your employees, or suggest it as an option to the upper management if you can.
That way, you can better secure all the VoIP conversations you have with your business partners, clients, and remote employees.
Can You Use a VoIP VPN to Get Skype Numbers?
We’ve had some users ask us this question. The answer is “it depends.”
As it stands, Skype Numbers are nice ways to save money if you talk with your friends and family often, but live abroad. However, Skype Numbers are only available in specific countries. Here’s the list if you’re interested.
Naturally, you could try to connect to a VPN server in one of the countries on that list, and just get a Skype Number that way.
While you can do that, here’s the catch – depending on the country, you might have to provide Skype with proof of residence, or you might have to at least verify your address with someone from Skype.
So, there is a chance you might not be able to get a Skype Number if you can’t offer the proof the company wants.
Still, if you try to get a Skype Number from a country that doesn’t require any of the above, you might be successful.
How to Use a VoIP VPN
It’s pretty simple – just pick a VPN provider, choose one of their subscription plans, and download and install the VPN client.
Then, just run the client and connect to a VPN server of your choice. Once you’re done, you can start using VoIP apps without worrying about any restrictions or risks.
How to Pick the Right VPN for VoIP Traffic
With so many VPN options on the market, choosing the right one can be tough. So, here’s a quick list of the features that should be considered must-haves for a VoIP VPN:
- Wide VPN Protocol Selection – You want to make sure you can switch between protocols depending on your needs (high security, fast speeds, or both).
- High-Speed Servers + No Bandwidth Caps – The last thing you want when you’re on a VoIP call is to deal with lag because you’ve gone over the bandwidth limit on the server you’re using.
- A No-Log Policy – A VPN provider that logs your traffic kind of defeats the purpose of using VoIP over VPN to protect your traffic and data.
- Cross-Platform Compatibility – You want to make sure you can enjoy smooth and secure VoIP experiences on all your devices.
- A Free Trial Period – Ideally, you should be able to test out the VPN service free of charge to see if it works well for you before making a commitment.
Need a Reliable VPN Service?
We here at SmartyDNS offer high-speed VPN servers with military-grade 256 bit AES encryption and highly-secure VPN protocols (OpenVPN, SoftEther and IKEv2) and we adhere to a strict no-log policy.
Our VPN servers double as proxy servers and we also offer a Smart DNS service that lets you unblock Netflix, BBC iPlayer and other 300+ worldwide geo-restricted websites.
We offer user-friendly VPN apps for Windows, Mac, iPhone/iPad, Android, and Fire TV/Stick and browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox.
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Oh, and we’ll also have your back with our 30-day money-back guarantee.
The Bottom Line
VoIP apps are extremely useful, but they can also lack security, and governments can easily censor them if they want to.
That’s exactly why you should use a VoIP VPN. In addition to unblocking VoIP apps in certain countries and securing your VoIP traffic, you’ll also be able to:
- Improve your gaming experience by unblockin in-game VoIP chat.
- Bypass firewalls at work, school, or in general.
- Get better deals on VoIP subscriptions.
- Prevent bandwidth throttling from ruining your VoIP calls.
Just keep in mind that a VPN could sometimes lower your VoIP speeds – particularly if you use powerful encryption and a server that’s too far away from you.
Also, make sure you’re using a VPN that doesn’t log your data, doesn’t cap your bandwidth, and offers a wide selection of protocols (to name a few things).