Using a VPN in Belgium
Residents and visitors alike can easily and safely access the internet in Belgium using various reliable Virtual Private Network (VPN) services. Using a VPN in the country can enable you to obtain a Belgian IP address from a local server that can replace the actual IP address of your device. You can then readily access the local Belgian apps and websites with this local IP address. You can also access other countries’ websites from Belgium by choosing another applicable server from the roster offered by the VPN provider.
However, most ISPs in Belgium restrict access to websites that promote hate and violence, as well as illegal activities such as gambling and pirated content-sharing.
You can either choose a free VPN service or a paid one in Belgium. It is recommended that you choose a paid VPN service to ensure that your browsing activities are encrypted and secure. A paid VPN service also provides fast servers and reliable customer support.
Best Belgium VPN
Best Free Belgium VPN
How to choose the best VPN for Belgium
There are many available VPN service providers that can be used in Belgium. To select the best providers, there are several factors that can be considered, depending on what is the most important for you.
Good VPN providers usually offer many server options in most key countries, including Belgium. They should also be able to consistently demonstrate their capability to allow access to many geo-restricted sites.
They should also have relatively fast servers with minimal to no downtime. Furthermore, VPN service providers should have reliable encryption and security setups to securely protect your digital activities.
It is also best to choose those VPN providers that can allow several simultaneous connections to their network. They should also be able to provide fast and reliable customer service support.
Price is also another consideration. It is best to compare the prices and features of various VPN providers to determine who can provide the best value for your money.
How Belgium’s Internet Censorship Works
Various internet service providers (ISPs) in Belgium such as Belgacom, Telenet, Base, Scarlet, EDPnet, Dommel, Proximus, Mobistar, Mobile Vikings, Tele2, and Versatel have been censoring websites at the DNS level. They are doing this to track websites that undertake illegal activities. The ISPs also monitor and block those websites that violate public order or moral standards.
Those who stumble upon these censored websites when using any of these ISPs will be redirected to a webpage that explains the reason why the site is blocked. Some reasons why a website may be blocked under Belgian law are the following: content promotes hate, unlicensed gambling websites, bigotry, antisemitism, and illegal file-sharing activities.
Are VPNs legal in Belgium?
VPN services are completely legal to use in Belgium, even if there were internet censorship cases in the past. There are many well-reviewed service providers that are already offering their VPN services in the country.
Can you get in trouble for using a VPN in Belgium?
You will not get into trouble for using a VPN in Belgium. However, it will be best to stick to websites that do not promote hate, violence, racism, and other unlicensed or illegal activities, even if you are masking your IP address with a VPN. Some Belgian ISPs monitor these websites and block access to them.
What sites are blocked in Belgium?
In general, websites blocked in Belgium promote violence, racism, hate, and other illegal or unlicensed content. A comprehensive list of all blocked websites in the country is not available. Blocking will also depend on the ISPs used. Some of the blocked websites in the country mostly include illegal file-sharing sites such as The Pirate Bay, IsoHunt, KickAss Torrents, BitSnoop, ExtraTorrent, h33t, monova, TorrentReactor, TorrentHound, Yify Subtitles, InterPlanetary File System, and MEGA. Several illegal gambling sites were also blocked in the country.
Do any free VPNs work in Belgium?
Urban VPN is free to use in Belgium for non-commercial activities. It is backed by Urban VPN’s community (Peer-to-Peer) VPN. All the community members assist each other to unblock access to most internet sites by lending their network resources.
Hide.me also offers a free VPN service in Belgium with limited features.
Windscribe also offers a limited free version of its paid offering. The service comes with 10 GB of free data every month.
There are many other free VPNs that are available in Belgium. However, their speeds and security settings are not always guaranteed. They also don’t offer many server choices. Most of them also have higher disconnection rates and don’t offer ongoing support. It will be good to select only those that are recommended well by user review sites.
Why is my VPN slow in Belgium?
The reasons for the slowdown of VPN services vary. VPNs are there to encrypt your activities and push them through a secure server. Due to these additional steps that need to happen before you can access the internet, the service can cause some lag in your connection.
The slowdown can also be caused by the distance between you and your chosen VPN server. Selecting a server from a farther location will result in your traffic traveling for a longer distance to your destination and back. This can then result in upload and download lags.
It can also be caused by a VPN server that is almost full. Some servers also have a limited capacity and can only handle a certain number of users. As that user limit is approached, you might notice some lags or disruptions in your connection.
Some sites can also cause VPN lags as they try to restrict access from those using VPNs. Sometimes, the Google DNS setting can also cause the issue.
Using a free VPN can also result in a slow connection. Most free VPNs deliberately restrict your connection speed to save bandwidth for their paying subscribers.
Check also if there are many background apps that are running quietly on your device. These apps can also cause your VPN to lag. Some junk files and unwanted programs can also take their toll on your VPN speed.
How to unblock Google, YouTube, and more in Belgium
Popular sites such as Google and YouTube can be accessed freely in Belgium. If there are problems accessing websites, you can use a VPN to mask your IP and location. The VPN can encrypt and protect your internet activities and conceal your real location based on the VPN server that you will use.
You can also use a web proxy site or server to bypass country-level restrictions. You can change the location of your server using these proxy solutions.
A SmartDNS solution is another solution to mask your location and redirect your activities through multiple servers, just the way proxy servers do. However, this solution does not offer encryption, so it is much faster.
What To Do If Your VPN Isn’t Working in Belgium
If your VPN is not working, check first whether your main internet access is working as it should be. Experts also recommend using a good VPN service provider to ensure that the servers that they offer are reliable, secure, and fast. Good VPN providers can also give users access to quick and effective customer support in case they encounter issues with their VPN services.
You can also perform some self-service checks on your connectivity configuration to ensure that all the settings are correct. You can use the command prompt as administrator to release or renew the IPConfig.
Furthermore, you can also check if the problem is related to the DNS setting. Try pinging an external IP address (ex. 188.8.131.52) to check if your internet connection is working. If you get responses from a ping, then there should be no issue with your internet. If there is no response or if there is a request timeout error, this indicates that there is something preventing the VPN from working.
Next is to check your DNS settings in your network connections menu. The “Obtain IP Address automatically and Obtain DNS Server Automatically” should be enabled in the Properties tab to ensure that your device can reflect the settings directly from your modem or router. If there is still an issue with the connection, then configure OpenDNS to resolve your DNS.
You can also review your Ethernet adapter option settings to ensure that the recommended settings are used. You can try to input the following OpenDNS addresses (184.108.40.206 and 220.127.116.11) as the preferred DNS server and alternate DNS server.
Another step is to flush your DNS cache in the Windows command window as an administrator.
You can also try to check your underlying connection or try to connect to another server location. Another option is to change your VPN protocol. The following are the recommended protocols: OpenVPN TCP, L2TP, and PPTP.
Another step to try is to change your DNS server configuration and adjust your proxy settings.
If the steps above do not work, try contacting your ISP or VPN provider’s help desk services.
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Author Per-Erik Eriksson
Per-Erik-Eriksson is the main author of VPNetic. Everything you read here has been written by him or one of his colleagues. Per-Erik has 10 years of experience within cybersecurity and has previously worked at Microsoft as a software engineer.
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