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If you’ve never experienced geoblocks, chances are you will while traveling from country to country. Some websites are restricted to a country, meaning you get an error message when you try to access them from outside their borders. You can get around that by changing your IP address, though. In this article, we’re going to show you how to get an Italian IP address.

When you visit a website, it can detect your location through your IP address. If you’re not in the country that it is available in, you’ll sometimes see an error message. On other occasions, you’ll be able to access it, but it’ll be a different version than you’re used to. Once you change your IP address you’ll be able to surf as normal.

Netflix is a good example of geoblocking. Though it’s available in many countries, each library is different. Some shows are restricted to one or two countries, meaning you can only view them in those locations. The reasons for that are license restrictions and language or cultural differences. A lot of users want access to the U.S. version as it has one of the largest libraries.

If you want to watch a show on Netflix that’s only available in Italy and you’re not physically there, you’ll need to get an Italian IP address from there. Our guide to the Netflix ban will educate you about the subject. If Netflix is your priority, take a look at our best VPN for Netflix piece, too.

Perhaps you’re missing certain channels from Italy, such as Rai News 24, or you want to browse streaming services, such as Rai Play and Sling Italian, change your IP address to an Italian one and you’re in.

You may also find that you can’t log in to your online banking app or another financial service. To combat fraud, many banks only let their customers log in from their home country. It’s frustrating, but once you change your IP address you’ll be able to access your account as usual.

How to Get an Italian IP Address

A popular way to change your IP address is with a proxy, but that doesn’t mean it’s the best way. Though proxies will change your IP address, they’re not reliable and come with security issues. You’ll be vulnerable to cybercrime, which can leave your IP address exposed. If you want to learn more, read our VPN vs. proxy vs. Tor comparison.

The best way to get an Italian IP address is with a virtual private network. Our best VPNs get the job done better than proxies, with top-notch security and airtight privacy policies. With that, you and your IP address will be protected, with a no-logs policy ensuring your online activities are kept secret.

You could just pick a random provider from our VPN reviews, but we want to make sure you choose one that’s suitable for Italy. You need to make sure it has servers in the country. Otherwise, you’ll be in the same position.

Plus, if you want to access Netflix, you’ll need one that can get past its smart VPN detectors, and there are only a few that are reliable in that area. Read our piece on the Netflix proxy error to learn more about it.

CyberGhost

CyberGhost is a good choice for getting an Italian IP address. It has a large network of servers, 70 of which are in Italy. Its security is good and it respects your privacy with a no-logging policy. Its speeds are decent, too. Plus, it can get into Netflix and other streaming services.

You can install it on Windows, macOS, Android and iOS. It’s one of our best VPNs for multiple devices, too, because it allows you to connect up to seven devices simultaneously. There’s a seven-day trial you can put to use, and if that’s not enough time to test it, there’s a money-back guarantee, as well. Read our CyberGhost review for a better look at the service.

ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN is another good provider that’ll get you an IP address in Italy. It has many servers across the globe, including some in Italy. Its security is excellent and it doesn’t keep a log of your activity. Plus, it’s the fastest VPN we’ve tested. That and unlimited bandwidth make it the best VPN for streaming.

All major operating systems are supported and each client is easy to use, making it a great choice if you don’t have previous experience in using a VPN. The 30-day money-back guarantee gives you plenty of time to try it, too. Our ExpressVPN review has more information.

  NordVPN

We also recommend NordVPN for getting an Italian IP address. It has over 5,000 servers, and 56 of them are in Italy. Its security is among the best and it has a solid no-logs policy. Its speeds aren’t as good as ExpressVPN’s, but a little digging goes a long way. That flaw is made up for by NordVPN’s specialty servers, which earned it first place in our best VPN for torrenting guide.

Clients are available for Windows, macOS, Android and iOS, and each version is simple to use. There’s a 30-day refund period, giving you plenty of time to decide if you like it. Read our NordVPN review for a more in-depth look at the service.

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Dangers of Using an Italian IP Address

Changing your IP address isn’t dangerous in itself, but different countries have different regulations for the internet (read our guide to the Russian VPN ban to see that in practice), so you should make sure you know what may get you into trouble.

Defamation is a criminal offense in Italy and, under the criminal code, aggravated defamation can be punished with imprisonment of up to three years and a fine of at least 516 euros ($580). Be careful what you post online.

Governments around the world engage in online surveillance, and Italy is no exception. Following a law enacted in 2017, the government is able to regulate malware for hacking purposes and there are concerns that personal communications are being intercepted with it. Plus, telecommunications operators are required to store internet data for up to six months.

You should also keep in mind the risk of cybercrime, wherever you are, especially if you plan on using public WiFi. Hackers and other online dangers could be lurking and there’s no way to tell how secure the connection is. Make sure you’re protected by a good VPN, as well as an antivirus. Read our best antivirus software guide for recommendations.

Final Thoughts

Now you know how to get an Italian IP address safely. Using a VPN is the best choice because you’ll be protected by its security and your real IP address will be hidden.

CyberGhost is the best option for Italy because it has the most servers there. You’ll also be protected by its security and no-logs policy. Plus, it can get into streaming services. Take it for a test drive with its seven-day trial and use the money-back guarantee if you need more time to decide.

If you want to read more articles like this one, check out our online security archive. You’ll find all the ways to keep yourself protected online, including our most secure antivirus software and our best password manager guides.

Let us know in the comments section if you have experience getting an Italian IP address. We welcome any tips you have. Thank you for reading.

The post How to Get an Italian IP Address in 2019, Rapidamente appeared first on Cloudwards.

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We’re living in the age of the surveillance state, and it’s not just the state surveilling, either. Governments and corporations are walking hand-in-hand down the road to totalitarianism in lockstep with jackboots on. Though there are plenty of ways to change that, in this article, we’ll be talking about how to avoid it by showing you how to hide your IP address.

The reasoning behind that is simple: if they don’t know who you are or where you’re from, nobody can come after you. Hiding your IP address makes you a lot more secure, and we recommend it as one of the most important steps you can take in our online privacy guide.

As a bonus, ads will have a harder time tracking you, though using one of the best pop-up blockers is still a good idea, and you can more easily access geoblocked content across the globe. We talk about that more in our article on getting past the Netflix VPN ban.

How Do I Hide My IP Address?

Before we discuss how to hide your IP address, let’s talk about what it is you’re doing. For one, you’re not really hiding your address as much as replacing it with another one. Blanking out or removing your IP is impossible. Without it, you couldn’t visit websites or even access a local network. If you’re not sure what all that means, read our guide to how DNS records work.

To replace your IP address, you have to send it to another server. Normally, you access the internet by sending a signal to your internet service provider and from there it goes wherever you want it to go. When you’re trying to hide your presence, you need to send it to a second server after your ISP to cloak it with that server’s IP address.

For example, let’s say you’re in Los Angeles. Normally you send your internet connection into the world via a data center in, say, Burbank, California, but you want to keep what you’re doing secret from your ISP and, by extension, the U.S. National Security Agency and its PRISM program. To do so, you need to connect to a third-party server after your Burbank-based one.

Once you do so, a world of opportunities opens for you. There’s no rule that says you have to pick a server in California or even the U.S. For example, you could access the Netflix offerings in other countries or do some banking abroad. The possibilities are practically endless, but do note that the farther away a server is, the more your connection will slow down.

By hiding your IP address, you won’t just stay away from prying eyes, you’ll also open yourself to a world of entertainment. You can get an Austrian IP address and watch public television there, or connect to Britain and watch all seasons of Doctor Who on the BBC.

There are two easy ways to get that extra measure of safety and the added entertainment, as well as a few more complicated ones. We’ll go over them one by one, starting with proxies.

Hide an IP Address with a Proxy Browser

The simplest way to hide your IP address is to use a proxy, or, to be more technically correct, a proxy browser. In most cases, you go to the service’s website, enter the web address you want to go to and the proxy will “take over” your browser in a special window and transport you to wherever you want to go. It’s that simple.

That said, its simplicity comes with a few downsides, most notably security. We talk about it at length in our article weighing the pros and cons of VPN vs. proxy vs. Tor, but the short version is that proxies are inherently insecure. Your connection is being rerouted, but that’s it. Anybody with a mind to can see what you’re doing.

Even the best free proxies suffer from this defect, which is why at Cloudwards.net we recommend using a virtual private network instead.

Hide an IP Address with a VPN

A VPN is a step up from a proxy in that it reroutes your traffic and encrypts it at the same time, which is much better than a standard connection. We explain that in detail in our VPN security guide, but the upshot is that a VPN is the gold standard for hiding your IP address. If you use a good one, it can even get past the Great Firewall and the Russian VPN ban with ease.


VPNs are much better than proxies at getting past geoblocks, too, which is another reason to prefer them to their lesser siblings. That said, there are two downsides, as well.

First, VPNs are generally harder to use than proxies, requiring installation and interaction in a client. It’s not too bad, but when you browse our VPN reviews, you may want to pay extra close attention to our “ease of use” section.

The other downside is more substantive, namely price. Good VPNs cost money, and our best VPN picks will set you back $30 to $100 per year. There are free VPNs, but as you can read in our best free VPN article, they’re often stripped down versions of the paid option. They’ll often cap how much you can use them per month or limit you to a few, usually slower, servers.

Though it’s never easy to part with money, VPNs are the best way to invest in your safety and anonymity online, with the bonus of allowing you to stream to your heart’s content.

Hide an IP Address with Tor

A third option when you want to hide an IP address is to use Tor. If you’ve been around for a while, you probably know it as TOR, as the name was originally an acronym for “The Onion Router.” Tor is, essentially, an open source browser network that uses servers set up by volunteers to access the internet without leaving any trace.

Rather than send your connection from your home to your ISP server, you instead get bounced around several nodes, spots where the internet goes out into the wider world. It’s not unlike those silly scenes in TV shows where they’re going after cybercriminals and the investigators need to track the bad guys through several connections.

There are several serious drawbacks to using Tor that keep us from recommending it for most users, though. Thanks to its decentralized, open source nature, it quickly became the standard way to access dark web websites such as Silk Road and other dens of inequity where cybercrime thrives.

Because of that, law enforcement agencies take a keen interest in monitoring traffic that might be going through a Tor node, so you’re only one slip away from showing up on the FBI or Europol’s radar. It’s the cyber equivalent of going 30 over the speed limit on the road in front of your local police station.

On top of that, most websites refuse traffic coming through a Tor connection because they’d like to avoid being associated with the dark web. If the mainstream internet is a liquor store, Tor users are the unwashed reprobates hanging out outside the doors.

Other Ways To Hide Your IP Address

There are other ways to hide your IP address besides VPNs, proxies and Tor, but they’re often impractical, ineffective, morally ambiguous or a combination of the three.

One way to hide your IP address is to access the internet with your smartphone’s mobile data. You could even tether your computer to it. That’s not a good way to stay hidden on the internet, though, because your SIM card will usually be linked to your name and address. Plus, most smartphone users can be tracked and providers are always happy to cooperate with the law.

Another option is to use somebody else’s WiFi connection, but that’s a crappy way to treat your fellow man. In this age of security cameras, going to a coffee shop to log in isn’t as safe as you’d like it to be, either. It’s just another way to invite trouble, especially if you’re doing something illegal such as torrenting in Europe or the U.S. or speaking your mind in Russia or China.

Final Thoughts

If you’re going to hide your IP address, we suggest using a VPN to do so. Though proxies are free, they’re ineffective and offer nowhere near the security of a VPN. As for Tor and other methods, they’re little effective and will likely be more trouble than they’re worth. If you need a quick recommendation, check out our ExpressVPN review.

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What do you think is the best way to hide your IP address? Did we miss any reliable ways to do so? Let us know in the comments below and, as always, thank you for reading. Stay safe out there.

The post How to Hide Your IP Address & Stay Safe on the Internet in 2019 appeared first on Cloudwards.

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Spain is known for many things, including fantastic sunshine, bullfights, Flamenco music and more. It’s also one of the biggest countries in the world for soccer, or, as called by its proper name, fútbol. If you’re outside of Spain and want to get in on the action, you’ll need a Spanish IP address.

In this guide on how to get a Spanish IP address, we’ll show you how to tunnel into the country securely. While accessing fútbol streams is great, we’re also going to talk about the security and privacy risks involved with connecting to another country virtually.

How to Get a Spanish IP Address

Before telling you how to get a Spanish IP address, we need to talk about what an IP address is. Like a physical address, IP addresses identify computers in a network. When you connect to a website, you share your IP address, which also notes your geographical location.

That can become a problem when trying to access content restricted to a certain country. Geoblocks are created to restrict content to a certain area. For example, Netflix has different libraries of shows and movies for different parts of the world (read our best Netflix hacks guide to see how to access them).

Replacing your IP address is, thankfully, simple, but many go about it the wrong way. One of the more common routes is to use a proxy, which allows you to connect to a server in the country you’re accessing before moving to the internet. When doing so, your IP address is replaced.

That said, as you can read in our how to beat the Netflix VPN ban guide, proxies are easily detected. Plus, they’re dangerous, which you can learn about in our VPN vs. proxy vs. Tor explainer.

That’s because your connection to the proxy isn’t encrypted. Virtual private networks bypass that. By using VPN protocols, you can tunnel anywhere in the world virtually. Unlike proxies, though, your connection will be encrypted, meaning your identity and requests you send will be kept private.

We’re going to give a few recommendations from our best VPN guide that have servers in Spain, but if you want to shop around, read our VPN reviews.

ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN is the most secure VPN we’ve tested. In addition to offering a streamlined user experience and excellent security, it’s quick. ExpressVPN is the fastest VPN we’ve reviewed, not just because it stays quick when tunneling close to home, but also because it maintains your speed over long distances.

It has two locations in Spain: one in Madrid and another in Barcelona. Though only two locations, ExpressVPN has a network of over 3,000 servers, meaning you should always be able to connect. You can learn more in our ExpressVPN review or try the service with its 30-day money-back guarantee.

NordVPN

NordVPN has a massive server network, but it still falls short of ExpressVPN. It’s not as consistent a provider, but it’s impressive. As the champion of our best VPN for torrenting guide, NordVPN stands out from the crowd with a great set of features and top-notch security.

It has 61 servers in Spain, and unlike with ExpressVPN, you can choose the one you want to connect to. Though Spain doesn’t have all of NordVPN’s specialty servers, you can use the P2P ones for torrenting. You can learn more about NordVPN’s features in our NordVPN review or see how you like it with its 30-day money-back guarantee.

CyberGhost

CyberGhost is one of our favorite providers here at Cloudwards.net. It earned a spot in our best VPN for streaming guide thanks to its excellent range of dedicated streaming servers and comes with a low price tag, to boot. Though not as fast as ExpressVPN or NordVPN, CyberGhost does almost everything else right.

It has 64 servers in Spain distributed across Barcelona and Madrid, and as with NordVPN, you can choose the server you want to connect to. CyberGhost has more to offer than a large server network, though, so read our CyberGhost review for the specifics. Alternatively, you can sign up for the service to take advantage of its generous 45-day money-back guarantee.

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Dangers of Using a Spanish IP Address

Spain has a generally free internet, despite issues with fair use in the past. Even so, there isn’t much to worry about when getting a Spanish IP address, unless you’re doing something illegal such as supporting terrorism, taking part in hate speech or distributing child pornography.

Though tunneling to Spain may not pose an issue, tunneling from another country can be problematic. As you can read in our internet censorship guide, many countries around the world restrict or block the internet. Using a proxy tool, such as a VPN, could mean fines or jail time.

Because of that, it’s important that you use a provider that adheres to the best in VPN security. By combining strong encryption and a strict no-logs policy, a VPN can keep you off the record. The three options listed above earned spots in our best VPN services for China guide because of their excellent security.

Even if you’re not living under the oppressive Chinese government, you should still factor in VPN security. The U.S. government, for example, tracks user data through programs such as PRISM, and massive tech companies such as Facebook and Amazon feed on the requests you send.

Though protecting yourself from obvious online threats is, well, obvious, some of the sneakier and more nefarious collection may slip through the cracks. A secure VPN stops that.

Final Thoughts

There are many reasons why you’d want a Spanish IP address, with fútbol streams being near the top of the list. Though there isn’t much to worry about from the Spanish government when it comes to security or privacy, the country you live in and the services you use may cause problems.

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A VPN is essential to online security, but it’s only one step in ensuring you’re safe while browsing the web. If you want to learn about more ways to protect yourself, check out our online security archive.

Which VPN are you using to get a Spanish IP address? Let us know in the comments below and, as always, thanks for reading.

The post How to Get a Spanish IP Address in 2019: Move via Madrid appeared first on Cloudwards.

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Trying to access certain content online can be a pain if you’re traveling. Some websites and services are restricted to a particular country and if you’re not there, you’ll get an error message or a different version. Thankfully, you can get around that by changing your IP address and spoofing your location. In this guide, we’re going to show you how to get a Polish IP address.

IP addresses hold information about your location, among other things. If you want to access something that’s restricted to a certain country, you’ll only be able to do so if your IP address shows that you’re there. That’s thanks to geoblocks. By changing your IP address, you’re essentially faking your location.

Netflix is a good example of geoblocking. Every country it’s available in has a different library. In order to broadcast a show, it needs a license for each country in which it intends to show it. Because of language and cultural differences, it isn’t practical to air all shows everywhere. Our piece on the Netflix ban goes into more detail.

If you’re missing the Polish version of Netflix, you’ll be reaquainted once you get a Polish IP address. You could also get into the U.S. version, which has the largest library. Check out our best VPN for Netflix for dedicated recommendations.

Polish internet television service IPLA is not available outside of Poland. Just like with Polish Netflix, though, you can access it by changing your IP address to a Polish one.

Another reason you might need a Polish IP address is because some banks and other financial companies don’t allow people to log in from other countries. Their reasoning is to combat fraud.

Whatever you want, you’re going to need to change your IP address to a Polish one to get access.

How to Get a Polish IP Address

One of the easiest ways to change your IP address is to use a proxy. That said, it’s not the best way to do it. They don’t always work and there are no security features included to protect you and your IP address. Read our VPN vs. proxy vs. Tor piece to better educate yourself.

A virtual private network is the best option. A VPN will not only change your IP address, but you’ll be protected by its security and your IP address will be shielded from prying eyes. Plus, many of our best VPNs have no-logs policies, meaning your online activities won’t be recorded.

You could just pick one from our VPN reviews, but you need to make sure it’s suitable for Poland first. It needs to have servers located there, otherwise, you’ll still be stuck. If it’s Netflix you’re after, you’ll need one that can bypass its VPN detection system, and there are only a few that can. You can learn more in our piece on the Netflix proxy error.

ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN is a good choice for getting a Polish IP address. It offers excellent security and a strict no-logs policy. It has a massive server network, including some in Poland. It’s the fastest VPN around and doesn’t restrict the amount of bandwidth you can use. You’ll have no issue getting into Netflix as it’s our best VPN for streaming.

You can use it on all operating systems, and it’s a great choice if you don’t have much experience with VPNs because it’s so easy to use. There’s a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can give it a try before committing. Read our ExpressVPN review for a better look at the service.

CyberGhost

You can also use CyberGhost to change your IP address. Its security is good and it respects your privacy with a solid no-logging policy. There are thousands of servers available and 60 of them are in Poland. Its speeds are decent and it offers unlimited bandwidth. CyberGhost has no trouble getting into streaming services, such as Netflix.

It’s compatible with Windows, macOS, Android and iOS. Plus, it’s one of our best VPNs for multiple devices, because you can connect up to seven at a time. There’s a seven-day trial, so you can test it before buying. If you’re still not sure, there’s a money-back guarantee. Take a peek at our CyberGhost review for more details.

NordVPN

NordVPN is another good choice. Its security is top-notch and your privacy isn’t at stake because it doesn’t keep a record of your activity. It has 47 servers in Poland, giving you plenty to choose from. Though it can be slow over long distances, its speeds are good and there are no bandwidth caps. It’s a great choice for getting into Netflix and other streaming services, too.

NordVPNs easy-to-use clients are available on Windows, macOS, Android and iOS. There’s a 30-day refund window in case you don’t like it. Our NordVPN review goes into more detail.

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Dangers of Using a Polish IP Address

While there isn’t any danger in changing your IP address to a Polish one, there are a few things you should know before you do. Some online activities can land you in a lot of trouble in certain countries, so it’s best to educate yourself.

Online speech can result in punishment in Poland. Libel is a criminal offense and there are laws against insult. For example, blasphemy is punishable by up to two years imprisonment and insulting the president notches it up to three years. You should be careful about what you post online.

Many governments engage in surveillance and Poland is one of them. Its counter-terrorism and surveillance laws have broad definitions that allow the government to secretly monitor anybody it likes.

There’s also the risk of cybercrime. You can be vulnerable to it at any time, but using public WiFi puts you at a higher risk. A VPN will help you stay safe, but it’s also a good idea to install a decent antivirus.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, you now know how to get a Polish IP address easily and safely. Just like in our other VPN articles, we recommend you use a VPN to protect yourself from online dangers.

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ExpressVPN is the best choice for getting a Polish IP address. It has servers there, it’s fast, it’s secure and it’ll get you into streaming services. Plus, with its 30-day money-back guarantee, there’s nothing to lose.

If you have any tips for getting a Polish IP address, let us know in the comment section. Thank you for reading.

The post How to Get a Polish IP Address in 2019: Wandering Warsaw appeared first on Cloudwards.

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If you’re trying to access a website or service while traveling, but all you’re getting is an error message or a different version, well, you’ve just been welcomed into the wonderful world of geoblocks. Have no fear, though, because you can get around them by changing your IP address. In this article, we’re going to show you how to get a Czech IP address.

Your IP address is crammed with information, including your location. When you visit a website or use a service, it tells them where you are. If the website or service is only available in a particular country and you’re not there, you won’t be able to access it. You can spoof your location by changing your IP address, though.

Let’s use Netflix as an example of geoblocking. Its library is different in every country. Some shows are available everywhere, while others are only available in one or two countries. The U.S. version has the largest library in the world. Because of copyright restrictions and different languages or cultures, it isn’t practical to make all shows available in all countries.

Perhaps you’re missing your favorite shows from the Czech library. Well, if you’re not there, you’re going to need a Czech IP address to access them. For more information, read our piece on the Netflix ban. You can also check out our best VPN for Netflix guide for dedicated recommendations.

You may also want to access Czech streaming services such as Česká televize or Prima televize. Whichever you want, you’ll need a Czech IP address to view it.

There are other reasons you might need a Czech IP address, too. Some financial services, such as online banking, only allow users to log in from their home country. It’s frustrating, but the restrictions are there to help combat fraud and keep your identity safe. Just change your IP address and you’ll be able to log in as usual.

How to Get a Czech IP Address

The easiest way to change your IP address to a Czech one is through a proxy. Many people use them, but we don’t recommend them. They can be unreliable and no security features are included, which leaves you and your IP address vulnerable. Our VPN vs. proxy vs. Tor comparison goes into more detail.

We recommend using a virtual private network. A VPN will allow you to change your IP address while also protecting you with its built-in security. It’ll also shield your IP address so nothing can be traced back to you. Most of our best VPNs list include no-logs policies, too, which means your online activities are kept a secret.

Though you could just choose an option from our VPN reviews, you need to make sure it’s suitable for the Czech Republic. Server networks vary by VPN provider, so you need to check that there are servers in the Czech Republic, otherwise, there’s no point in using it.

Plus, Netflix has one of the best VPN detection systems in the world, so you’ll need one that can get past it. Read our piece on the Netflix proxy error to learn more.

ExpressVPN

We recommend ExpressVPN for getting a Czech IP address. It has Czech servers in its massive network and you’ll be protected by its excellent security. Plus, there’s a solid no-logs policy, meaning your activities are kept private. It also has the fastest speeds, unlimited bandwidth and gets into Netflix easily, which is why it’s our best VPN for streaming.

It supports the major operating systems and has one of the easiest clients to use, so it’s great for beginners. There’s a 30-day money-back guarantee included, giving you plenty of time to make sure you like it. Read our ExpressVPN review for a more in-depth look.

NordVPN

You can also use NordVPN to get a Czech IP address because 45 of its servers are there. You’ll be protected by some of the best security on the market, and it respects your privacy with a no-logging policy. It has good speeds, but it can slow down over long distances, and there’s no limit to bandwidth. It can get into Netflix and other streaming services, too.

You can install its easy-to-use clients on Windows, macOS, Android and iOS. NordVPN comes with a 30-day refund window, so you should have enough time to try it. Check out our NordVPN review for more details. CyberGhost

CyberGhost is another good choice for getting a Czech IP address. It has 40 servers there, which is plenty. Its security is good and it doesn’t keep a log of your online activities. Its speeds are decent and you’ll benefit from unlimited bandwidth. You’ll be able to get into Netflix and other streaming services, as well.

You can use it on Windows, macOS, Android and iOS. Plus, you can connect up to seven devices at the same time, which is why it’s one of our best VPNs for multiple devices. You can make use of the seven-day trial to make sure you like it. If you’re still not sure, there’s a money-back guarantee to fall back on, as well. Read our CyberGhost review to learn more.

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Dangers of Using a Czech IP Address

It’s not particularly dangerous to change your IP address, but online actions can get you in trouble in some countries. It’s best to be aware of anything that’s illegal or dangerous online, as many of our VPN articles show.

Many governments around the world engage in widespread surveillance, and though there are no credible reports that the Czech government does, we don’t know what it can do. Using a VPN will ensure that you stay anonymous.

Cybercrime is on the rise in the Czech Republic, and it’s more prevalent with public WiFi. Because hotspots are becoming more popular, you should make sure you’re protected with a good VPN and antivirus when using them.

Final Thoughts

We hope you now understand how to get a Czech IP address the safest way. The best method for changing your IP address is to use a VPN because you’ll be protected by its many security features.

We recommend using ExpressVPN to get a Czech IP address. It has servers there and it’ll keep you protected with its great security. Plus, it’s fast and can get you into streaming services. You’ve got nothing to lose because of its 30-day money-back guarantee, so give it a try.

If you have experience getting a Czech IP address, tell us about it in the comments section below. Thank you for reading.

The post How to Get a Czech IP Address in 2019: Pathway to Prague appeared first on Cloudwards.

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The easiest way to hide your IP address when you want to, for example, circumvent geoblocks, is to use a proxy. A proxy masks your IP address, the digits that tell the internet where you’re from, with its own and fools the receiving server into thinking you’re somewhere else. In this article, we’ll help you spoof your location using the best free proxies we could find.

Note, though, that we said the easiest way to hide your IP, not the best. As we explain in our VPN vs. proxy vs. Tor article, proxies are inherently insecure and shouldn’t be used for anything except spoofing your location, which you might want to do when, for instance, you’re trying to unblock YouTube while at school or unblocking Youku from outside of China.

If you’re trying to do something more substantial, such as, say, breaking out of the Great Firewall or dodging surveillance, using a proxy to hide what you’re doing is like building body armor out of paper. It’ll be wasted effort, and the results will be painful.

VPN vs. Proxy

As we show in our best VPN for Russia and best VPN for Iran articles, to name but two, some countries don’t believe their citizens have the right to do whatever they want on the internet and have developed proxy-busting tech that’ll reveal you in a millisecond. In those cases, you should use a virtual private network rather than a proxy.

As we explain in our VPN security piece, a VPN doesn’t just fake an IP address, it actually reroutes your traffic through a secure tunnel — an encrypted connection —  and onto a proprietary server owned by the provider. That’s a much safer way of doing things that’ll actually hide you from prying eyes.

An additional upside is that VPNs can do another thing proxies can’t: get you into streaming websites such as Netflix. As we explain in our piece on the Netflix VPN ban, the service has made it hard to spoof your location to get into another country’s version of it. Few VPNs can get in, let alone proxies, which will almost always result in a proxy error.

Choosing the Best Free Proxy

That’s not to say proxies are useless, though. They’re perfect for accessing websites such as YouTube while you’re at school or work, and they’ll usually unblock Instagram, too. It’s best to think of them as the smaller, weaker siblings of VPNs. They’re no good for the heavy lifting, but they do fine for smaller stuff.

You could use one of our best free VPN services instead, but proxies have the upside of never having bandwidth caps or reducing your speed too much. Plus, most free VPNs advertised in the Google and Apple stores are just glorified proxies anyway. That said, if you decide to go with a free VPN over a free proxy, read our list or you may end up with a scam service such as Hola VPN that’ll enslave your devices for a botnet.

Dire warnings aside, the Cloudwards.net team dove into the world of proxies and chose the following services for your enjoyment. We based our selection on ease of use and connection speed because claims of security and the like are no more than hot air. Without further ado, let’s get started.

The Best Free Proxies

We tested 15 proxies, based on recommendations from readers and some judicious Google searches. We were able to discard five proxies straight away because of broken websites or unintelligible instructions, leaving us with 10 contenders. Proxies are hit and miss, so we only recommend the first five entries.

The Best Free Proxy: HideMyAss Proxy

Many of the proxies we were able to test are owned by VPN services, most likely piggybacking on the existing network. The best of the lot is HideMyAss’s proxy, which is fast and straightforward to use. It offers several servers and security options, all of which can be accessed easily and pleasantly. It also runs at the speed of lightning, a rarity among proxies.

Once connected, the “try free VPN” button on the address bar is rather prominent, but that’s the price of free. Another minor niggle is having to agree to HideMyAss’s privacy policy, which isn’t too hot. Read our full HideMyAss review for the details on that.

Hide.me Proxy

Hide.me’s proxy is also an extension of the company’s VPN service, which we weren’t too impressed with when we were writing our Hide.me review. That said, its free plan ranked third among our best free VPNs, so there’s some dedication to providing a decent free service to consumers without disposable income.

That dedication shows in the proxy, too. It’s one of the better ones we encountered during our search, with a lot of handy security options and even a choice of servers. It’s only three countries, but at least you know where you’re connecting to. It’s also fast and easy to use, but the fact that you need to enter a complete URL takes away from the experience.

4everproxy

4everproxy has the slickest presentation of the list. The website loads fast and lets you choose the server and IP address locations, meaning it probably routes your connection twice. Though we have our doubts about how well that works, it worked on some locations. We got a Spanish Google page and a U.S. YouTube offering when using corresponding servers.

It’s also fast, occasionally even loading quicker than Hide.me’s or HideMyAss’s proxies. That said, its speed wasn’t consistent, and we didn’t always get to the version of the website we selected. Overall, though, you could do a lot worse than 4everproxy.

Zend2

Zend2’s website is basic, offering just an address bar and a quick explanation below it. We’re not too thrilled that it puts VPNs and proxies on equal footing, but it’s a decent summary.

When we tested Zend2, not all websites worked and we built up a small collection of apologetic messages. That said, when it did work, it was the fastest proxy on the list by far, so it may be worth looking into it in some cases.

ProxFree

ProxFree is a nice proxy because it gives you a lot more choices than its competition. For example, you can pick from 11 server locations and the same number of IP addresses. Below the address bar on the website, you also get several toggles that’ll help speed up your web browsing experience or otherwise optimize it.

Messing with it, we could load YouTube without hassle, but we were annoyed that we had to return to the homepage each time we wanted to surf to a new website. One thing we didn’t like, though, was that we got a 404 when we tried to access ProxFree’s terms and conditions page.

Whoer Proxy

Whoer is a new VPN service that seems to be offering its proxy as a bonus, but the free version only gives you access to one server, and it’s in the Netherlands. Paying for a proxy is silly because you can get a VPN for the same money, so we rank Whoer low here, unless you need a Dutch IP address.

As with most services in this ranking, using Whoer is an exercise in patience. Websites take forever to load, so using YouTube is out. Another way in which Whoer raises our doubts is by only working as a browser extension, which makes it easy for the company to act in bad faith and hoover up your data. We found no evidence of that, but it’s something to keep in mind.

ProxySite.com

ProxySite.com looks good when you first access it. It goes with the same address bar most proxies do, but in a larger format and it has a clear server switch button. It boasts 25 servers scattered throughout the U.S. and the EU, which is nice, but it’d be improved if we knew where in those massive areas the servers are located.

That said, when you use ProxySite.com, you’re in for a really long wait. We tried several of the quick links over the address bar, but none loaded. We just got the bar at the top, which has a few security options and an ad for NordVPN (read our NordVPN review), showing the faith ProxySite.com puts in its own service, and a gray screen that didn’t go anywhere.

Hidester Proxy

Hidester offers VPN and proxy services, but after spending a few minutes with it, we gave up in disgust. Any website entered in the search bar took forever to load, with YouTube not loading at all, even after giving it a few minutes.

This experience made us dread reviewing Hidester’s VPN because life is hard enough without testing subpar software. That said, it’ll eventually show up in our VPN reviews — we’re completionists here at Cloudwards.net — just not any time soon.

KProxy

KProxy seems nice at first. The website’s layout is clear and it loads websites quickly. That said, a second glance shows there are problems. Though there are 10 servers available, it doesn’t mention their locations. That means you have no idea where you’re surfing from, which is annoying at best and dangerous at worst.

Those might be forgivable sins for some, but we take exception to KProxy’s claim that its service is better than that of a VPN because those protocols are “easy to block and slow.” That’s not true and a sleazy way to herd people toward buying KProxy’s paid plans.

Anonymouse

Anonymouse is an interesting service in that it explains what it does and why you should use it in a, let’s call it unique, manner. We’ll let the webpage speak for itself in the below screenshot.

Though that’s a reductionist way of explaining how it works, we guess it’ll do. What won’t do is that the service doesn’t support HTTPS, which is vital in this age of cybercrime. When you finally get a website to work without it, it’s slow as hell, so we don’t recommend using it. We guess using “yahoo.com” as an example was a giveaway that Anonymouse isn’t with the times.

Final Thoughts

While proxies shouldn’t be the go-to to keep yourself secure online, they’re a handy way to circumvent simple blocks, such as those put in place by school administrators and the like. That said, as you can see above, most proxies are just terrible. If they even work, they’re slow as molasses and there’s no guarantee your connection will be spoofed.

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What do you think of proxies? Did we miss any during our tests? Do you agree with us that VPNs are a far better option? Let us know in the comments below and, as always, thank you for reading.

The post Best Free Proxy of 2019: Rerouting Your Traffic, the Easy Way appeared first on Cloudwards.

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As the misfit, outcast X-Men of the DC universe, Doom Patrol brings together the most unlikely of heroes under extreme circumstances. It’s also one of the first shows to air on the DC Universe streaming platform, alongside Titans and Krypton.

In this guide on how to watch Doom Patrol, we’re going to show you every way to stream the show online. Though we’ll cover the legitimate ways to stream it, we’ll also talk about ways you can stream or download the show for free.

Watch Doom Patrol Online

As mentioned, Doom Patrol is available exclusively through the DC Universe streaming platform. In addition to the small lineup of shows it has, DC Universe includes exclusive merchandise, modern graphic novels, classic comics and DC animated shows from a bygone era. That said, it’s expensive.

Though some DC fans may be okay paying the $80 annual price tag, the platform is pricey. Plus, it’s only available in the U.S., except for Titans, which is distributed through Netflix outside of the U.S. and China (read our best VPN for Netflix guide).

There are ways to stream DC Universe if you’re not in the U.S., though. Using a virtual private network, you can appear as though you’re anywhere in the world virtually. That’s done by connecting to a remote server before going to the open internet, replacing your IP address and geolocation information with that of the server.

In function, VPNs sound similar to proxies, but as you can read in our VPN vs. proxy vs. Tor guide, that isn’t the case. Proxies can usually be detected by streaming platforms — read our how to beat the Netflix VPN ban guide to see that in action — so a VPN is a safer bet.

That’s because VPNs encrypt your initial connection. Through the use of VPN protocols, the software scrambles the requests you’re sending, effectively masking who you are and what you’re doing online. Unlike proxies, VPNs can’t be traced back to you. Read our VPN security guide for the specifics on that process.

There are a lot of choices when tunneling to the U.S., too. Our best VPN and best VPN for the U.S. guides are a good place to start looking for one, but ExpressVPN wins in both. If you don’t care for shopping, you can go directly to our ExpressVPN review.

Watch Doom Patrol for Free

Even with a VPN, you’ll need to pay the price of admission to stream on DC Universe. Thankfully, though, there are ways to watch Doom Patrol for free. Glancing online, we found streams on Couchtuner and Europix for all episodes available at the time of writing. There are likely other platforms that are no more than a Google search away, too.

Though most of those streaming platforms are available around the world — unless you live in a country with strict censorship — you should still use a VPN when streaming on them. Platforms such as Couchtuner and Europix are begging for cybercrime, so an unsecured connection could lead to snooping or, worse, malware.

Our most secure VPN guide lists the providers that can keep you most protected, but a VPN is only one piece of the puzzle. You should also protect your machine with our best antivirus software. Though snooping is always a concern, a local attack, say, from ransomware, is concerning, too.

Bitdefender Antivirus is our go-to antivirus software, not only for its easy to use interface and abundance of features, but also for its excellent protection results. You can learn more about it in our Bitdefender Antivirus review.

Watch Doom Patrol on Kodi

If you want to watch Doom Patrol on your couch, there’s Kodi. As you can read in our Kodi guide, it’s a front-end interface for media centers that allows you to organize your TV shows, movies, music and more without leaving your couch. Though there’s a DC Universe app for Kodi, we’re going to talk about the other ways to stream Doom Patrol on the platform.

Kodi is a front-end interface, but it can be expanded with add-ons. As the name implies, add-ons allow you to widen the functionality of Kodi, which, in this case, means more streaming. Our best Kodi add-ons guide can walk you through how to install add-ons on Kodi and provides a short list of our go-to recommendations.

Essentially, streaming add-ons scrub websites such as Couchtuner and Europix and compile the streams on your Kodi device. You’ll still be streaming from whatever website it finds, but you’ll do so from your TV instead of your monitor.

Because of that, you’ll still need to be protected. As we talk about in our is Kodi legal guide, there’s some gray area when it comes to streaming with the platform. A VPN is key because it can hide your IP address and requests to watch a particular show.

Our best VPN for Kodi lists some of our favorites, but CyberGhost is a safe pick. It’s one of our best VPNs for streaming, fit with a low price tag and long list of servers dedicated to streaming on over 50 platforms around the web. You can read our CyberGhost review to learn more.

Watch Doom Patrol Torrent

If you don’t want to stream Doom Patrol, you can torrent it. Torrenting is the process of downloading a file through a peer-to-peer connection. Usually, there are multiple computers in the connection that are delivering small chunks of the file to you, which assembles on your machine through a torrent client.

Looking at popular torrent websites, we found multiple files for Doom Patrol, including 720p and 1080p rips. That said, aw with the other ways to watch Doom Patrol for free, you’re going to want a VPN and antivirus before downloading anything.

We explain why in our is torrenting illegal guide, but the short of it is that downloading copyrighted content is generally a no-no. Fret not, though, our best VPN for torrenting guide can get you set on the right path.

NordVPN ranks at the top of the list thanks to its excellent security and large server network. It also has dedicated torrenting servers that can handle the massive data transfer that P2P connections require. You can learn more about NordVPN and its long list of features in our NordVPN review.

Final Thoughts

Doom Patrol is worth a watch, especially with a 95 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. Thankfully, the options to watch it are plenty, from streaming it through DC Universe to downloading a torrent to watch it locally. No matter how you watch it, though, make sure to protect yourself with a VPN and antivirus software.

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If you want to read more guides like this one, check out our streaming archive. We recently published how to watch American Horror Story and how to watch Brooklyn Nine-Nine, so read those if you’re interested.

How are you watching Doom Patrol? Let us know in the comments below and, as always, thanks for reading.  

The post How to Watch Doom Patrol in 2019: Going to DC appeared first on Cloudwards.

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Project management tools come in all shapes and sizes, both good and bad. We’re comparing one of the best with a more targeted platform in this Monday.com vs. Jira comparison.

Monday.com launched in 2014, but it already has over 50,000 clients, including Philips, DHL and the Discovery channel. In our Monday.com review, we praised it for its outstanding interface and its versatile feature set, but we found it to be strong in all areas. It’s a hot contender here, being the top-rated tool in our list of the best project management software.

It’s also undefeated in our comparisons, scoring wins in our Monday.com vs. Asana and Monday.com vs. Wrike face-offs.

Jira has been around much longer, launching in 2002, and has over 75,000 clients. They include Skype, Twitter and NASA. Last time we checked, we liked its feature set and thought it was a good choice for developers and those who want to get set up on their own server. Read more about what we thought in our Jira review.

It is suffering in our comparisons, though, with defeats in our Wrike vs. Jira and Asana vs. Jira fights.

Setting Up a Fight: Monday.com vs. Jira

We’ll look at these tools over four rounds and declare a winner in each one, with the contest going to whichever wins the most. If it’s a tie, the winner will be the one that wins its rounds more convincingly.

We’re going to examine features first to see which tool does the most. Then, we’ll look at price and compare them on value. In the “ease of use” round, we’ll look at which is the most user-friendly and problem-free software. Finally, we’ll see which has the better security and privacy for keeping your information safe.

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Features

First, we’ll look at features and compare the capabilities of the two platforms. We’re going to see how the core task management works, as well as file storage, communication and integrations with other platforms.

Unusual features that make a platform stand out will also score points here. Take a look at our Airtable review for a good example of a tool that has them.

Monday.com

Monday.com is based around “pulses,” which we’d call tasks, but it doesn’t have subtasks or dependencies. It claims that’s a deliberate choice, though, and we agree that in some tools subtasks can get lost because no one looks inside the parent tasks to spot them.

Though its basic task structure is simple, Monday.com offers you all sorts of ways to view your projects. There’s a kanban view, activity log, timeline, time tracking and others.

It allows you to customize what each item contains, which can get complicated if you don’t exercise restraint. There are multiple field types and you can add many of them, giving you flexibility in how you set things up.

You can add colored labels, too, which can be customized and used as a quick way to sort things visually. It also lets you add custom headers to your menus.

Storage space varies by plan, with 5GB at the Basic level and as much as you like on the Enterprise tier. There’s a 500MB file size limit, which will be fine for most people, but might be too little if you want to work with video or disk images, for example. Our best cloud storage for large files article offers solutions if that’s what you’re doing.

Android and iOS apps are available, so you can use it outside the office.

Jira

Jira’s projects are based around “issues,” which can be categorized as “tasks” or “bugs.” There are also “stories” and “epics” to use as structural building blocks when planning your projects. It can handle time tracking, along with issue management, and is a good choice if you’re working on a software project.

Unlike Monday.com, it includes subtasks and dependencies, but setting them up is clunky. Take a look at our TeamGantt review to learn about a tool that makes dependency management easy and intuitive.

There are over 3,000 apps available to increase its functionality, though they cost extra. Jira also works well with its Atlassian siblings — HipChat and Bitbucket. You can connect it to your Github account, too, which is another plus for developers.

It uses Atlassian’s Confluence for communication. That’s separate software with its own pricing system though.

It has custom emoji, which is a nice personalization touch. You can also change your logo, website icon and color scheme.

There’s a healthy 250GB of storage space, which will be more than enough for most. If you’re self-hosting, storage will be up to you, so take a look at our best cloud storage roundup for tips.

It has an excellent report generator that lets you create bar and pie charts, as well as issue tracking reports. If called on to create a slide presentation, Jira users have plenty of options.

It also has apps for the two major mobile platforms, so, like Monday.com, it can be used anywhere.

Round One Thoughts

Monday.com has a lot of views and allows you to customize the content of its basic items. That makes it a powerful tool for managers.

Jira offers plenty, too, but many of its features didn’t work as well as they could have. It has a few things, such as dependency management, that Monday.com lacks, but not the best implementation of them that we’ve seen.

Jira also feels disconnected and lacks cohesion. There are lots of extras, but moving between them doesn’t feel fluid. With Monday.com, the elements of the interface fit together perfectly.

Everything Monday.com has, it does well, and as a result it narrowly wins this round.

Round: Features Point for Monday.com
2
Price

Next, we’re going to look at price to see which tool is the best value. In addition to comparing them on what they charge, we like to see free trials, as well as a variety of plan and payment options options and payment methods. Both tools are good value, so this should be a close round.

If you want to save money, though, check out our Freedcamp review to learn about a tool that barely costs a thing.

Monday.com

Though most platforms bill you on a per-user basis, Monday.com charges you for groups of five. That’s not ideal if there’s just one or two of you, but the Basic plan starts at $25 — or $5 per user — so it isn’t going to break the bank. It’s also great value for medium to large teams.

Moving beyond the Basic plan, prices increase steadily as more features are rolled out. It compares favorably to many similar tools, though, and $118 per month for five Enterprise users is cheap compared to what some platforms charge.

Its Basic plan gives you the activity log and kanban board, with most views rolling out on the Standard plan. Additional views and charts are available on the Pro plan. The most advanced security features are reserved for Enterprise users. The top plan also includes one-on-one training and a customer success manager to help you get the most out of the platform.

It has a free 14-day trial, which is a great way to test it. It lacks a free plan, but it’s cheap in any case.

Jira

Jira has two pricing systems: one for users who install it on their own servers and one for those who use it on the cloud. The latter is more comparable to the tools in our other project management software reviews.

The prices for cloud use begin at $10 per user per month and drop steadily to $1 as your team size increases. That makes it great value for large teams. On the other hand, its many apps usually charge per user and some of its features come through other Atlassian platforms that have their own pricing.

If you decide to self-host, you pay a one-off fee. For teams of 10 or less, it’s only $10, but once you hit 25 users, you have to pay $2,500. That might sound like a lot, but it works out cheaper than cloud-based plans after a year if you have 20 users or so.

If you self-host, you’ll have to worry about your own server costs. Our best web hosting article explores a few options for getting your own website online.

It also offers a good selection of payment options. In addition to credit card and PayPal, those on an annual plan can pay via check or bank transfer.

There’s a free seven-day trial, too. That’s not as long as Monday.com’s, but it should give you time to check it out.

Round Two Thoughts

We like the way Jira gets cheaper as you add more users, as well as its self-hosting option, which, despite the large upfront cost, can save you a lot of money over the long term. Its cloud plans are also straightforward. You don’t have to worry about picking a tier.

Monday.com is also good value, so neither tool is likely to stretch your budget too much. If used effectively, they should save you time and the money saved can go well beyond the price.

Monday.com has a longer free trial, but Jira has a better selection of payment options. Overall, though, Jira’s versatility and bigger savings as your team grows outweigh the benefits of Monday.com’s system, despite the latter being excellent value, too.

Neither tool offers a free plan, but both are good value despite that. If you want to try something with a free tier, check out our Wrike review to read about an alternative that’s one of the best platforms around.

Round: Price Point for Jira
3
Ease of Use

We’ll look at ease of use next to see which platform does the most to make itself accessible. Helping you get started with tutorials, help pop-ups and templates is good, but the most important thing is an intuitive, readable interface that does what you expect and doesn’t go wrong.

Strong help options, such as a knowledgebase and support community, are also pluses, particularly if the software is complicated.

A platform that’s easy to use will make life better for your team, especially at first. Getting people on board quickly translates to savings, so it’s important to get things right in this area.

Monday.com

Almost everything in Monday.com works the way you’d expect it to and the interface does a great job of making your options clear.

Animation and color are used to steer you around the buttons and controls. Monday.com gets plenty on the screen but keeps things comfortable and intuitive thanks to its clever design. Frequent pop-up text helps, too.

There are over 70 templates to help you get started, and Monday.com gives you plenty of guidance in choosing the correct one. That can be hit and miss in other tools.

The designers have thought about the user’s needs in every situation and made sure you’re never left wondering what to do.

If usability matters to you, read about another tool that gets it right in our Asana review. Our Asana beginner’s guide will help you get started with it, too.

Jira

Signing up to Jira was irritating because its CAPTCHA didn’t work on our first attempt. After you make it past that, there’s a brief tour at the beginning to help you settle in and show you how things work.

Like Monday.com, Jira offers several templates, including some that’ll interest software developers, such as “bug tracking” and “Scrum.” There’s also a kanban template if you want to keep things simple. If all you need is a kanban board, take a look at our Trello beginner’s guide for a good example of one.

We experienced long waits when using Jira, with delays of 10 seconds when clicking some links. We also encountered bugs in the interface and messages telling us things weren’t available, which then appeared later. Its navigation also got us lost a few times.

Most areas work well, but moving around and figuring out how things fit together takes time. We had to consult the help section frequently.

On the plus side, there’s plenty of help in its knowledgebase and the Jira community is active, with support coming quickly if you reach out to it.

Round Three Thoughts

Jira has its merits, but with a few minor missteps, usability isn’t its strongest area. It takes getting used to, but it includes plenty of advanced features. It’s a complex, evolving tool that has good help options.

Monday.com goes out of its way to make itself accessible, while still offering a lot of power and ways to change the way your projects are structured. It’s the clear winner in this round, as well as the strongest project management tool in this area overall.

Round: Ease of Use Point for Monday.com
4
Security & Privacy

For the last round, we’re going to take a look at security and privacy to see what steps these platforms take to protect your business information. There are many perils online, as discussed in our five things you need to know about cybercrime article. Fortunately, there’s plenty you can do to stay out of danger.

Both platforms offer many safety features, including encryption, certifications and customizable security settings. Let’s look closer to see which is better.

Monday.com

Monday.com uses Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud to deliver its services, which are highly developed platforms with state of the art security.

Monday.com has an impressive set of certifications, including SOC2 Type II and two ISO certificates. It also complies with the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield and General Data Protection Regulation.

It uses TLS v1.2 to encrypt data in transit and AES 256-bit for storage, making it virtually impossible for hackers to read your files. It also makes regular backups, so you get protection from data loss, too.

It has two-factor authentication, which you can learn about in our what is two-factor authentication article. Basically, it gives you an extra measure if protection if someone figures out your password.

There are several extras in the settings that you can use to further improve your security, including domain-restricted sign ups, SAML and password policy settings for administrators to adjust. Our best password manager article will help if you’re struggling to manage all those credentials.

Jira

Jira gives you all sorts of features and information regarding security. Its website goes into more detail than most, explaining what Jira does to protect your data.

It shares a lot with users, including past security issues and details about the audits and testing programs it uses.

Data in transit is protected with TLS v1.2. Our description of encryption article explains more about the subject for those of you who are interested.

Jira has plenty of independent verification of its services, with SOC Type II, PCI DSS, ISO 27001 and ISO 27018 certifications..

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Entrepreneurship is hard, especially if you don’t know how to promote your business properly. No matter how good your product or service is, if you don’t know how to sell it, your business will flop. Period. On the other hand, customers are flooded with ads nowadays. As someone who’s not really into marketing, how do you manage to advertise your company attractively in this marketing jungle?

One possibility is Google Ads. With Google Ads you don’t just reach the people you’re looking for, you can use Google’s huge data pool to promote and grow your business the right way.

In this article, we will show you what Google Ads is and what advantages this platform offers. Then we’ll give you a hands-on tutorial and some expert tips so that you can set up and launch your first Google Ads campaigns today. Let’s get started.

What Is Google Ads

Google Ads, which you may still know it as Google Adwords (it was rebranded in 2018), is a marketing platform that works with a variety of Google products. The goal is to support the online marketer in their marketing campaigns.

However, Google Ads doesn’t only do search engine advertising. You can use the platform to place different types of advertising, like display advertising (Google AdSense), video advertising (via YouTube) and Google Shopping.

Google Shopping results look like this:

Google SEA, on the other hand, like this:

Especially in those two areas, Google uses a so-called bidding system. We’ll explain how it works in detail in the next section.

How the Google Ads Bidding System Works

Google Ads auctions work a little differently than many people think. You, as an online marketer, place your bid on certain keywords. When someone enters the keyword into Google, the Google Ads algorithm evaluates the bids. Besides the amount of the bid, the so-called “quality score” is important to the system.

The quality score is a metric created by Google that is used to determine the quality and relevance of an advertisement for a specific keyword. In addition to relevance, benefits and customer focus play an important role, too.

It’s important to note that Google uses three things to determine the quality score: the ad, the keyword you are bidding for and the landing page you want the ad to link to. That’s why it’s not enough just to optimize your ads. The landing page should also be optimized.

If you achieve a good quality score with your ads, you can bid less than other users in the auction and still win.

Benefits of Google Ads

Before we get into the tutorial, we’re going to give you good reasons to use Google Ads.

A/B Testing

Google Ads comes with many built-in capabilities to perform A/B tests. A/B tests are experiments where you want to investigate the effects of your ads. You have state A and state B which differ only in one detail.

For example changing gender is a common way of performing A/B tests: in group A you test the advertising on a purely male target group while group B is a purely female target group. This makes it easier to determine the effect or rather impact of your ad on a certain target group.

Because the platform has a lot of measuring and settings possibilities, it’s easy to play with them. For another easy way to perform A/B testing, check out our how to use Instapage article.

Return On Investment

At Google Ads, you only pay for results. If you know how the pay-per-click billing model works, then you know that your bid is a fixed amount that you’ll pay for each click on your ad. If your goal is to generate clicks, then the return on investment of your marketing campaign is easy to track.

That said, Google has other features that make it easy to measure the ROI for more complex constellations.

Fast

With Google Ads, you can quickly set up and evaluate your marketing campaigns. It takes a lot of work away, meaning you can be up and running within a few hours, rather than taking days to figure out stuff yourself.

Multifunctional and Flexible

With the ads platform, Google brought a tool for the modern marketer onto the market that’s versatile in its range of functions and flexible in its payment. There’s practically no minimum investment. You can start and test with just a few bucks.

Large Audience

Google is huge and reaches more people — there are 3.8 billion searches per day — than Facebook or Instagram. Another advantage of Google Ads is timing. With it, you can reach people while they’re researching (googling is an intuitive process), so you’ll get access to potentially interested parties in the early stages of information retrieval.

Remarketing

There are more than 250 Google products. It’s easy to track potential customers and your audience across multiple channels and record them with advertising. If you have issues with other Google products, have a look at our other articles on Google products, like what is Google drive and how does it work and our Google Keep review.

Google Ads vs. Facebook Ads

If you’re wondering which platform is better, Google Ads or Facebook ads, we have to disappoint you. There’s no ultimate answer to that question.

Compare Facebook with Google and you’ll find that your marketing strategy is key. It’s simply not possible to say that Facebook is generally better than Google. You have to look at it from scenario to scenario.

In some situations, Google Ads is better than Facebook ads, and vice versa. No matter which channel is better for you at any given time, you need to do a lot of A/B testing on each to find out the cause and impact of your marketing strategy.

How to Use Google Ads

First things first: Google’s offering a coupon that you should use. You’ll get $100 in advertising budget if you spend $50 on the Google Ads platform. We’ll secure that in the first step. Go to the following link and enter the Gmail address you want to use to place the advertisement.

Once you’ve entered your email address, you’ll receive an email with the coupon code that you can redeem at Google Ads. Now we’re going to show you how to use Google Ads to get the best results.

First, open the Google Ads menu.

Click “campaigns” and hit the blue “+” button to create a new campaign.

That’ll open a window in which you can set the goals for your marketing campaign. There, you can distinguish between the following goals:

  • Sales
  • Leads
  • Website traffic
  • Product and brand consideration
  • Brand awareness and reach
  • App promotion

You can also create a campaign without a target, but we advise beginners not to.

Depending on which target you choose, different campaign types will be available to you. For example, you can only use the campaign type “search” if you select the targets “sales,” “leads” or “website traffic.”

When you start, it can be useful to build trust. Especially if you are selling a product or service, it can be strategically wiser to start one or two campaigns for brand awareness and product consideration before you generate your leads and sales.

In our tutorial, we’re trying to get traffic to our website, which is why we’ve chosen the target “website traffic” with the campaign type “search.”

Then, a new field pops up in which you have to enter the URL of your website. Once you do, press “continue.”

The next step is to enter more information about your campaign. Name your campaign and choose between the networks you want to target with your ads. In our scenario, we’ll have the search network and the display network at our disposal.

Under “show more settings” you can set the period, campaign URL options and dynamic search ads. If you scroll further, you’ll get to the section “targeting and audiences.”

That’s where the magic happens. There, you have to enter the geographical location and languages. The “audiences” area is especially important. There, you can define your target group under “browse.” Take more time and test it, especially if you don’t know your target group yet.

After you’ve narrowed down your target group, Google generates suggestions for you, which you can find in the “ideas” tab.

Scroll until you come to the section “budget and bidding.” That’s about how high you want your bid to be in the virtual auctions. Again, play with different sums and figure out which one works best for you.

We recommend leaving the delivery method at “standard,” especially for beginners.

After you’ve set your daily budget, the next step is to set your auction target. That’s the metric Google uses to optimize your bid. You can bet on conversions, conversion value (advanced) and clicks. You can also set the bidding strategy manually, but again, if you’re new to Google Ads, don’t.

Now, click “save and continue” to go on.

The next step is to define the ad groups. Again, Google supports you with keyword ideas derived from the URL you entered at the beginning. It can be worthwhile to take a URL from a competitor that’s in a similar market segment to you.

Alternatively, you can do keyword research with tools such as Ahrefs or SEMrush.

Now, add the selected keywords to the ad group by clicking the “+” next to the keyword on the right.

Last but not least, you have to set the ad trigger. An ad trigger determines when your keyword is relevant for an auction and when it isn’t. Google distinguishes between the following ad triggers:

  • Broad match: here, you simply write down the keyword you want to target without special symbols. A broad match is the keyword and variations of it, including spelling mistakes, synonyms and related keywords.
  • Broad match modifier: with the broad match modifier, you write a “+” in front of the keyword. You must have at least two such keywords because Google uses them to generate combined keywords. It makes sense if you want to use Google’s keyword generator, but still want to steer it in a certain direction.
  • Phrase match: phrase match triggers any auctions for search terms that contain the exact phrase, but have other search terms before or after them. To add a phrase match to your ad group, you have to put the keywords in quotation marks.
  • Exact match: here you write the keyword in square brackets. Exact match means that your ads will be considered for keywords that are exact or very similar.

For more information, check out Google’s official documentation.

Don’t forget: A/B testing is also important. Play with different keyword sizes, different ad triggers and much more. Just because a keyword has a lot of traffic doesn’t mean you have a chance, especially if the niche is competitive.

We advise you to compete with at least three ad groups. You can find out if a niche is competitive by dividing the keywords into low-volume, mid-size and high-volume.

After you’ve finished with the keywords and triggers, click “save and continue” to continue.

The third and final step is to create the ads.

First, fill in the “final URL” field with the URL that people who click on your ad should be directed to. Then, type in the headlines and description. To the right of the input fields, you can see what your ad looks like in preview mode.

A lot of skill is required here because a catchy headline and description are important to the decision a prospective customer makes to click the ad or not.

Because of that, Google has created example ads for you, which you can view by clicking the black “+,” as we show in this screenshot.

Click “save and continue” to finish your campaign.

Review your campaign again in the overview and click “continue to campaign” to go to the next step. You should see the campaign we just created in your dashboard.

Bidding, (re-)targeting, keywords, research, target groups, landing page optimization, A/B testing, ad triggers – things can go wrong quickly. You have to know what you’re doing and try a lot. You can burn a lot of money if you don’t know what you’re doing. That’s why we want you to have a look at Adzooma.

Having Adzooma Do the Work For You

Adzooma is a company dedicated to helping other entrepreneurs who’ve never been involved in online marketing enter the world of online marketing. The company focuses on Google Ads.

Adzooma offers three different packages for Google ads. First up is the pay-per-click health check, where Adzooma analyzes your Google Ads marketing campaigns in a few minutes and sends you a report with useful improvements.

A bit more hands-on is the Google Ads management platform. Adzooma provides software that’ll help you improve your Google Ads campaigns on your own. The software will show you tips, evaluate your steps and improve your ad performance.

Lastly, there’s a full-service option. With this, you get Google Ads as managed service. You just sign up, and Adzooma starts working. The service is especially good for companies that haven’t started using Google Ads yet or have little experience in the field.

We tried out Adzooma for ourselves very quickly ad overall enjoyed the experience. It’s only $19,00 per month and so is far cheaper than any marketing agency or salesperson, especially because the company focuses on your results and not just its own. It’s also really fast, there’s no meetings or anything, you just get what you need straightaway.

Final Thoughts

Online marketing is anything but easy, especially if you’ve never worked in the area. Fortunately, there are modern solutions, such as Google Ads and Facebook ads, that make it easier for you to enter the world of marketing. That said, you have to know what you’re doing or try a lot of things. Otherwise, you can burn a lot of money.

After taking a close look at Adzooma, we noticed you’re getting quite a lot of service for little money. If you don’t want to go to Fiverr, Adzooma is a refreshing alternative for companies that have never been involved with online marketing and Google Ads.

What do you think of Adzooma? Have you used the service? Please let us know in the comments, and thank you for reading.

The post How To Promote Your Business in 2019 with Google Ads appeared first on Cloudwards.

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If you’ve laid hands on Shopify — if you haven’t, read our Shopify beginner’s guide — you’ve probably encountered some bug or problem that the usual channels can’t help you with. It could be an app that’s acting funny, or some kind of functionality that nobody has ever thought of before. Getting Shopify to work right in these cases can be a real pain.

Those scenarios are frustrating, but sadly, they’re the sore truth if you’re working in the Shopify environment. Don’t worry, though, Cloudwards.net is here to help.

In this advanced guide to Shopify, we’re going to run you through more advanced things about Shopify. We’ll explain how to pick the right theme and how to customize its structure and design. On top of that, we’ll show you how to handle products the right way and which apps you should consider installing. Let’s get started.

How to Pick the Right Theme for Shopify

First, we’re going to explain to you what a theme is. Think of it as the facade of your store. You won’t decide what your shop will look like based on your theme, but you’ll guide it in a certain direction.

It’s important that you think about the theme you’ll be using before you start building your shop because doing so will save you time and money later. For example, if a theme comes with a built-in sidebar functionality, you don’t need to customize that later because you can add it to your store with no effort.

At Cloudwards.net, we’ve created a handy checklist that makes it easy for you to choose the right theme.

Theme Criterion 1: Business Requirements

As banal as it sounds, your business’s requirements are important when choosing a theme. As we said in our article on how to build a website from scratch, everything starts with a draft.

Think about your requirements first and make a list of things you think are necessary for your shop. Here’s a short list of questions we suggest asking when considering Shopify themes:

  • How do you want your customers to navigate through your store
  • Should there be a search function
  • Would you like to have a sidebar with navigation
  • Do you need a mega menu
  • How large is your product portfolio
  • How would you like to promote your shop later
  • Do you need a top-page slider
  • Should the shop be equipped with a blog

The product portfolio point is especially important. Depending on how many products you want to display in your store, your theme should support you and not block or hinder you. Basically, there are three portfolio sizes in the Shopify world: single-product, small catalog and large catalog.

You can find themes in the Shopify Theme Store, and if you look, you can find their respective features, including the product portfolio size, in the description of each theme.

If you like a theme that doesn’t cover all your requirements, prioritize. It’s unlikely that one theme will meet all your needs.

Theme Criterion 2: Search Engine Optimization

Because you may not want to place paid ads all the time, you should also think long-term about organic marketing. It makes sense to check some of the most important technical search engine optimization criteria in advance, such as:

  • First-view loading time
  • Page speed mobile
  • Page speed desktop
  • Cross-browser compatibility

You can test the page speed with PageSpeedInsights from Google. That said, because this is time-consuming and may not be possible for all themes — you have to buy some of them — you can do research on the internet in advance.

Theme Criterion 3: Price

Unfortunately, money doesn’t grow on trees, and as an entrepreneur, you have to keep an eye on your costs. That’s why the old question arises: free or buy?

We could advise you to work with paid themes, but that’d only be half the truth. Most paid themes are better in terms of functionality. Period. You’ll have to decide for yourself whether it’s worth purchasing a paid theme based on what you plan to do with your store.

If you’re leaning toward a free design, that’s fine, too. That said, you should ask yourself how many apps, which are similar to plugins in WordPress, you’ll have to install afterward because most cost money and worsen the loading time of your store. Maybe it makes more sense to start with a paid theme than with a free one that you have to equip with apps.

A best practice, especially for beginners, is to stick with free themes because it’s easier to get support from Shopify than from third-parties. We’ll explain what that means ahead.

Theme Criterion 4: Support

Support and documentation are an important criterion for choosing the optimal Shopify theme. Shopify offers support for the following themes:

  • Boundless
  • Minimal
  • Jumpstart
  • Supply
  • Pop
  • Debut
  • Simple
  • Venture
  • Brooklyn
  • Narrative

If you choose a theme other than the ones listed, you’ll be dependent on third-party developers. That means Shopify can’t provide much support when it comes to the details of the theme.

That said, you need to check how much support Shopify provides in general. Usually, when it comes to technical issues and profound customizing, which is quickly the case with Shopify, the service, like third-party providers, will charge you or forward you to a third-party provider, which, again, will let you pay for its work.

Documentation is also important. Have a look at how documented the themes are. You’ll be surprised how diverse the quality of theme documentation is. Especially with paid themes, quality varies a lot. You can find the link to each theme’s documentation in the Shopify Theme Store.

Theme Criterion 5: Reviews

Last but not least: trust the crowd. You’re not the first to open a Shopify store. Take your time and read the reviews.

Don’t let bad reviews discourage you too much from using a certain theme, though. In many cases, users’ comments are ignorant or an expression of frustration that’s dropped in the review section, as we can see in the screenshot below.

“Swagger Boutique” complains about the Debut theme. The statement that the pictures don’t adapt on the phone is nonsense. All Shopify themes are responsive to current standards. That’s why you should follow our advice and take a closer look at the reviews before you make your decision.

Customization: Pushing Pixels with Liquid

Now that you’ve chosen the theme you want, we’re going to tell you how you can use Liquid to customize it to suit your needs. It’s important to note that if you start customizing, you should stick with your theme because any changes, customization and design work you’ve done will be lost when you switch themes.

Simply put, you’d have to do the development work again. Try to only use one theme from the beginning and make it password-protected.

Important advice: be sure to make multiple copies of your theme. Ideally, you should make regular backups and name them accordingly, especially if you install apps.

To save you from a potential disaster, we’re going to show you how to develop in Shopify using Liquid. In the next few sections, we’ll take a closer look at the most important components of the Shopify development environment.

If you need more information on Liquid coding, take a look at the official Liquid reference or contact a developer.

The Basics of Customizing

Let’s kick it off with some basics.

To access the customizing menu of your store, click “online store.” A menu should appear with the following items: “themes,” “blog posts,” “pages,” “navigation,” “domains” and “preferences.” Click “themes” to proceed.

On the right side of the screen, you’ll see two large areas: “current theme” and “more themes.” In the “current theme” area, you’ll find, well, the currently active theme. The other area shows the themes you’ve downloaded from the theme store.

To the right of the theme is “customize.” Click it to access the customizing menu.

You’re now in the customizing menu, where you can make the desired changes to your theme. On the left side, you’ll see your control panel, with which you can edit the individual sections of the active page.

Next to “sections,” you;ll find the “theme settings” area, where you can adjust the general settings for the theme, such as font, colors and icons.

That’s also where you’ll find the documentation for your theme and the contact details for support.

You can also dive into the theme’s Liquid code under “theme actions” > “edit code” for deeper customizing. We’ll talk more about that later.

In the top bar, you can see the name of the theme you’re editing. You’ll see a menu where you can jump between the pages you want to customize.

Next to that menu, you can choose between the desktop version and the mobile version.

It’s important to note that if you’re in the process of customizing, digging through the documentation and realizing you did everything right, but the feature still doesn’t work, that may be because some features in Shopify, especially apps, only work if the theme is published.

Sections: Piece by Piece to a Beautiful Shop

“Sections” are reusable building blocks that you can use to build and design your Shopify homepage. There’s no way to use them on pages other than the landing page, though. To learn how important a landing page is, read our guide on how to use Instapage.

Basically, Shopify distinguishes between static and dynamic sections. Static sections are, as the name suggests, statically built into the theme. The header and footer are good examples of static sections. They can’t be added in the customizing menu. You can only insert them through programming.

Dynamic sections, on the other hand, are the building blocks that you can dynamically add in the customizing editor. You do so by selecting “add section.”

After that, you should see a list of the available sections for your theme.

Don’t be surprised if your list looks different than ours. There are sections that most themes have in common, but many also have their own special sections.

Choose the right section and select it. An “add” button should appear next to the name. The section is also displayed in the preview function.

If you want to insert the section, hit the “add” button.

The question is why Shopify differentiates between static and dynamic sections if we can only use sections on the homepage. We suspect that Shopify is working on using the section functionality on other pages, as well.

Theme.scss.liquid: The Heart of Your Look and Feel

Now that you know how to change the structure of your landing page, we’re going to show you how to modify its appearance. To do so, click “theme actions,” then select “edit code.”

After that, you should see the following interface:

There, you can see a lot of files divided into seven large folders:

  • Layout
  • Templates
  • Sections
  • Snippets
  • Assets
  • Config
  • Locales

The “assets” folder is especially interesting for us.

Open the “theme.scss.liquid” file.

In most cases, the file is several thousand lines of code long. In our example, there are 7,098 lines of code. That’s because all the styling is done in it. If you want to make CSS changes, do yourself a favor and do it there.

Shopify Products: Handling Products Like a Pro

Now that you know how to change the look of your shop, we’re going to talk about what’s inside of it: products. We explained how to create products in our beginner’s guide. Now, we’re going to go deeper and talk about variants and options.

All products can have variants, though they don’t have to. Each variant has different options, otherwise the variants wouldn’t make sense. A common example is the color variant:

As you can see in the screenshot above, you can equip the same product with different colors without having to create a new product for each one, which is handy.

How to Import Products in Shopify

If you have a store with a large number of products, you may not want to add each product individually to your shop. That’s why Shopify offers a bulk import feature.

In the main menu of Shopify, click the “products” tab on the left to enter the product menu.

Hit “import.”

You should see a window where you can download a .csv file template for the import. Fill it with your products and upload it again. Because the fields in the template are confusing, we recommend that you use the official Shopify explanation while filling it out.

Here are more expert tips to make your import work easier:

  • If you import a lot of products, first upload the product images to Shopify. That’ll ensure that the images already have a Shopify URL, which..
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