Virtual Private Network (VPN)

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A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a technology that creates a safe and encrypted connection over a less secure network, such as the internet. [1][2].
VPN technology was developed as a way to allow remote users and branch offices to securely access corporate applications and other resources.

Introduction[edit]

Pros and cons of using a VPN[edit]

The benefit of using a secure VPN is it ensures the appropriate level of security to the connected systems when the underlying network infrastructure alone cannot provide it.
The justification for using VPN access instead of a private network usually boils down to cost and feasibility: It is either not feasible to have a private network -- e.g., for a traveling sales rep -- or it is too costly to do so.
So:

  • Provide privacy by hiding your internet activity from your ISP.
  • Allow you to evade censorship (by school, work, your ISP.
  • Allow you to “geo-spoof” your location in order to access services unfairly denied to you based on your geographical location (or when you are on holiday).
  • Protect you against hackers when using a public WiFi hotspot.
  • Allow you to P2P download in safety.

VPN performance can be affected by a variety of factors, among them the

  • Speed of users' internet connections,
  • Types of protocols an internet service provider may use and the type of encryption the VPN uses.
  • Performance can also be affected by poor quality of service and conditions that are outside the control of IT.

Why using[edit]

You really should be using a VPN, and even if you don’t think so now, at some point in the future you may consider it as important as your internet connection. [3]

The most important thing you need to know about a VPN: It secures your computer’s internet connection to guarantee that all of the data you’re sending and receiving is encrypted and secured from prying eyes.

Usage examples[edit]

Watching Formula 1[edit]

If you want to look at the broadcast of the Formula 1 in the Netherlands you need access to a paid service (Ziggo Sports).
But Great Britain and Germany deliver this for free on Channel 4 and RTL.
A VPN connection with an IP-Address of Great Britain or Germany hides your real IP-Address (in the Netherlands).

Watching Dutch Television[edit]

When in Germany and having a satellite for viewing Dutch television you need a Canal Digitaal subscription.
On the Internet Canal Digitaal has an App to view the broadcasts on mobile devices (i.e. iPhone, iPads etc).
In the Netherlands no problem, but abroad you need to have a VPN with access in the Netherlands.

Costs[edit]

In order to use VPN you must first signup for a VPN service, which typically cost between €5 – €10 a month (with reductions for buying 6 months or a year at a time).
A contract with a VPN service is required to use VPN.

Free VPN services do exist, but these are almost severely limited in some way, or cannot be trusted not to just sell your data.
Running a VPN service is not cheap, so you have to ask yourself how a free service can afford to operate.
As the old saying goes, if you don’t pay for a product, then you are the product!

Is it legal ?[edit]

Yes. In most countries citizens have a legal right to privacy, and as far as I know simply using a VPN service is illegal pretty much nowhere.

Comparison of VPN providers[edit]

Provider Connections Speed Traffic Servers Live Chat DNS Server Uptime Kill Switch Ranking Remarks
NordVPN 6 D:110 Mb/s
U: 85 Mb/s
Unlimited 1000+ Servers
100 locations
57 countries
24/7 Own server 99.99% uptime Yes 9.8 BBC+HBO+NetFlix
ExpressVPN 3 D;59Mb/s
U:42Mb/s
Unlimited 1700 Servers
Worldwide
24/7 Own server 99.50% Yes 8.2 BBC+HBO+NetFlix
Hide my Ass 2 D: 63Mb/s
U: 49Mb/s
Unlimited 720+ Servers
Wordwide
24/7 3rd party 99.50% Yes 8.1 BBC (No HBO, no Netflix)
Zenmate 6 D:61Mb/s
U:45Mb/s
Unlimited Servers in
40 countries
247 Mixed Server 99.50% Yes 8.0 BBC+HBO+Netflix
  1. Connections: The number of simultaneous connected devices.
  2. Speed: Download (D) and Upload (U) speed in Mb/s.
  3. Traffic: Is there a limitation in using the VPN connection.
  4. Servers: Important are number of servers and the countries.
  5. Live Char: Customer support availability
  6. Uptime: The guaranteed time the server are available.
  7. Kill Switch: Internet kill switch in case the VPN is not available to disconnect from the internet,

See also[edit]

top

  • Dynamic DNS, or Dynamic Domain Name System or DynDNS is often used in combination with a VPN.

Reference[edit]

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  1. Express VPN, What is a VPN.
  2. Best VPN, VPNs for beginners
  3. Lifhacker, Whu you should start using a VPN.