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Skype Blocked? How to Unblock Skype in the Middle East and Anywhere

Monday, July 29th, 2013

Skype is the most popular Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) service in the world. First launched in 2003 by a team Estonian developers, the service was subsequently purchased by eBay and then by Microsoft in 2011. Skype has more than 650 million subscribers, ranking it right at the very top among web services having biggest subscriber base in the world.

Skype is one of the most versatile VOIP services allowing its users to communicate through voice, video and instant messaging. The service also offers add-on features like ability to get a country based local number, file transfer, video conferencing and group chat through its text chat client. While calls from Skype-to-Skype are free, the company charges for calls made to mobile and landline phones through a debit based subscription system.

Blocking of Skype

Although Skype has made long distance communication easier, it is not available in all countries and network environments. Many countries have banned VOIP services due to security concerns or to prevent revenue loss of their telecom companies while many organizations and universities have blocked it due to excessive bandwidth and resource consumption. The blocking of VOIP is widespread in Middle East, Caribbean, Latin American and African countries and defaulters have to pay huge fines or even face a lengthy prison term just for using a VOIP service.

Here is a partial list of countries where the use of Skype is considered illegal – China, Brazil, UAE, Bahrain, Belize, Paraguay, Kuwait, Jordan, Cuba, Egypt, Singapore (blocked by Singtel), Germany (blocked by T-mobile), Oman, Qatar, North Korea, Jamaica, Pakistan, Syria, Iran, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Anguilla, Grenada, British Virgin Islands, Antigua and Saint Lucia.

How To Unblock Skype From Middle East And Elsewhere

It is easy to unblock Skype from anywhere by using IP changing services like proxies or virtual private networks. Since ISPs and network administrators block access to Skype and other VOIP services based on IP address, it is easy to bypass such restrictions once you change your IP address. Let’s look at the pros and cons of both the methods:

1) Unblocking Skype with a Proxy – Skype offers an easy way to connect via proxies by modifying its Connection settings. However, proxies do not offer the best answer to unblocking Skype since they do not provide speeds and privacy necessary for accessing VOIP services. Most proxy servers, especially public proxy services, are notorious for their slow speed so you may not be able to communicate effectively by using them. What’s worse, many proxies are not truly anonymous which means you may not be able to use Skype at all plus your you may have to face the wrath of the authorities since your real IP address would be visible. On a positive note, many proxies are available for free and even premium private proxies are available for as little as $1 per month.

2) Unblock Skype with a VPN – Virtual private networks offer a much better choice to unlock Skype from Middle East and elsewhere. Since VPNs encrypt traffic and create a secure tunnel around your online activities, not even your ISP can monitor your Skype usage. Moreover, most VPN providers have excellent infrastructure in place so they can deliver fast speeds and high bandwidth required for VOIP activities. However, subscribing to a VPN costs a lot more and you should expect to pay anywhere from $5 to $20 monthly for a good VPN service.

Unblocking Skype with a VPN also allows you to take advantage of lower call rates and save significant amount of money while making long distance calls. As you might be aware, Skype call rates vary from country to country and by changing your IP address, you can access Skype service from a different country and make calls at the rates prevalent in that country.

Unblocking Skype With A VPN

Step 1:  Signup with a VPN provider that has servers in low call rates countries like US and UK or a country of your choice. There are several trustworthy VPN providers like PureVPNExpressVPNVyprVPNOverplay,Invisible BrowsingHideMyAss and IPVanish  that deliver excellent VPN service at a very low subscription price.

Step 2:  Download the VPN client on your machine or configure the service as per the instructions provided by your VPN provider. For mobile devices, there is often no VPN client available so you have to setup the service manually.

Step 3:  Save and apply the network settings and restart your machine if required. For Smartphones and tablets, you just need to save the new settings and restart the Skype app to take advantage of the new network configuration.

Step 4:  Start the VPN service by clicking on the VPN icon or by simply tapping on the Connect button on your Smartphone or tablet.

Step 5:  After the connection is established, choose a VPN server from a low call rate country. If your VPN provider has servers in several countries, make sure to choose a server from a country where the use of Skype is legal.

Step 6:  Start the Skype application and check whether you are able to use the service. If you face connectivity problems, contact the support staff or check the documentation available on the VPN provider’s site.

July 29, 2013

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