Virtual Private Network (VPN) Service Recommendations?

Virtual Private Network (VPN) Service Recommendations?
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#1

Anyone here using a commercial VPN service? If so, would you please share experiences/recommendations?

Seems like a good idea from an overall privacy standpoint, but I also struggle with the idea of putting my trust in the providers.

Thanks in advance for your input!


#2

I used to use privateinternetaccess.com for the proxy server, but never used the VPN service. Like you, I was not really into putting my computer on a VPN. It was cheap though…


#3

Have you considered setting up your own VPN? You can do this with many routers or an old PC.


#4

@gremln007 - yes, I have and it’s a decent idea, but I’m also looking at it from the perspective of keeping my business private from my ISP as well. I don’t think that type of solution would offer the same privacy - but I also don’t claim to be an expert at this stuff.

It’s my understanding that if you use PIA (as Jaytrader mentioned), NordVPN, or IPVanish VPN services, essential all your ISP will be able to see/log is your connection to the VPN service. After that all your traffic is encrypted and going through whatever proxy you select - so it also affords a higher level of security in that the sites you connect to only see VPN IPs and not yours.

This may be one of those things with no good answer…I appreciate your input!


#5

If it’s torrents, you can use PIA’s proxy, via configuration in your bit torrent client. If it’s just browsing, well you need to ask yourself if you really care that your ISP may see you going to frugaldeal.com. I understand the principle of it all but there are better things I’d rather spend thought cycles on. But that’s me, and you’re not me, so whatever floats your boat.


#6

He’s not asking because he needs to secure a connection between two computers. He’s asking because he wants his internet connection to be secure.

Maybe you should rephrase your title and question @mikk1 to maybe say “VPN service recommendations” or something like that.


#7

Rolling your own is probably the cheapest. But there is some value in the paid services since you can choose and change your country origin IP for cheating at Netflix/BBC, etc.


#8

Am I missing something or are people misunderstanding OP’s question? You can’t roll your own VPN – it is technologically impossible to do so for free if the entire purpose is to remove the association between your name and your IP address.


#9

These guy’s have my vote too. Price is reasonable, good selection of geographic locations, good speed, etc.

Also, an added bonus is that this company is committed to an open Internet. Whenever there are threats, they put their money where their mouth is and shell out cash to fight for an open Internet.

If I were so inclined to Torrent, I would run both the proxy and VPN. If I were to do something like that.


#10

Sort of depends what OP is looking for in privacy. For example, there are times I’m on public WiFi when I want the privacy/security of full encryption on all of my traffic to and from that WiFi point. In that case, I just use my home-rolled VPN so that no one can see into the stream between the public WiFi and my home router. This has the added benefit of avoiding tripping overzealous security measures at banks (OMG he’s using a new IP address!!!)


#11

Some people just need an ip from a certain country/region, and aren’t necessarily doing anything nefarious. For instance, I’m in Asia this week and realized certain sites I use block ips ex-US, or go into crazy fraud alert mode, so I just need a us ip, but if doesn’t have to be secret or anonymous. A diy one on my home router/computer would suffice, although I didn’t have it setup and went with a paid one.

That’s when I discovered Netflix serves different content to different regions, as does Hulu. So there’s some functionality to pick vpn ips from various countries on demand rather then just tunneling through a us one.


#12

Personally, I see no value in using a VPN and a proxy config for bit torrent. The proxy is all you need. It’s the same thing as a VPN, meaning your ISP sees traffic from/to you to the proxy server. A VPN on top of that would just potentially reduce bandwidth. The point of the VPN is so all of your traffic goes through that network, eliminating the need to configure each application with a proxy, especially useful when an application doesn’t allow for a proxy config. However, I believe almost all modern bit torrent clients (including the one on my NAS) allow for a proxy config.


#13

PIA is good, and you can routinely see good deals on the 2-year plans on SD


#14

@scripta - thanks, edited title and content.

Thanks to all for your input - I’m not into torrenting, just looking at this from a privacy/security standpoint. Actually, it was the news about what happened with SIS at FW that got me thinking about it again. What if FW hadn’t done the right thing? IPs could have been used to beat a path right to his door, whereas a VPN service (might) afford an additional level of protection.

Also don’t especially care for the idea of my ISP being able to reference/monetize everything I’ve done online - nothing nefarious, but do I really need my ISP knowing when I’m shopping for a mortgage, looking for a house, or doing research on a medical condition?


#15

Slightly tangential, but make sure to go through your providers’ CPNI opt-out.


#16

You can roll your own and not have it be associated with you if you lease third party server space and install your VPN set up on that server. For example, Amazon Web Service - pay for some of the bandwidth and you have your own computer in the cloud to serve as your exit point. You will then VPN into that leased server and have all of your outbound traffic exit from that AWS server.

You would have to lease the virtual server using a pseudonym and pay for it anonymously (privacy.com, prepaid cards, etc).

I do not recommend this route, even if you are very experienced, because you’ll be responsible for patching the virtual server and maintaining it. Although if you already had the skills to do it, you wouldn’t be asking how to do it. It’s much cheaper to drop $40/year or less on PIA and be done with it.


#17

You’re absolutely right and this is the reason I use a VPN the last few years. Privacy is one of those things that you have to dedicate yourself to before you need it, like car insurance. You can’t buy car insurance after the accident. Once some crazy event happens that puts you in the media spotlight (like the dentist who big game hunted in Africa) or into a legal spotlight (like SIS on FWF), it’s too late and you’re screwed. Everyone already knows where you live and all your personal information.


#18

So, when I re-register as Mikk2…

Thanks for the input - PIA and NordVPN seem to be the highest regarded among “real people” I’ve asked, so I’ll likely make that the short list. Also like the idea of being able to secure my mobile traffic when on public wifi - that way I don’t have to remember to refrain from doing anything personal/sensitive.


#19

I assumed his use case was on a coffee shop wifi or at an airport. Looking back at the question, it could have been several things.

Great discussion on this post either way! :slight_smile:


#20

I think as far as which one has the best connection speeds, it might be based on your location. I used to use Avast Secureline but after moving to Thailand, I use ExpressVPN since “that’s what everyone uses here.” Unfortunately, I cannot stream Netflix or play xbox live with it though… the speeds get cut back so much that it’s only good for web browsing type stuff. FWIW, my normal speed is excellent at 150mbps with no issues streaming whatsoever. Not sure that helped or not but that’s what I use.