VPN: The Definitive Guide
We know how to open borders and stay invisible.
It’s hard to find more useful and multifunctional network technology than VPN. It helps to bypass restrictions, provides full anonymity and protects data in a reliable way. A VPN allows you to create protected networks of any complexity, while it can be installed in just three minutes on any computer or smartphone.
Here you can see the updated guide to VPN technology.
Here you will find everything you need to know about VPN:
- operation principles with detailed explanations,
- ways of configuring for practical use,
- tips on fast VPN setup,
- important peculiarities.
We tried to set forward theories as clearly as possible and prove it by useful tips. It will help you to proceed to action - choose and start using a VPN. On Best VPN Zone you’ll find everything you need for it!
What is a VPN and its meaning?
In 2019, there were 4.02 billion Internet users, which is a 7% increase from 2018. And everyone needs protection.
Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a virtual network created over the existing network (for example, Internet) with the aid of special software and that connects the other devices of the network via a virtual channel (tunnel). Access to this tunnel is either impossible from the parent network or administered by the settings of the virtual network.
VPN consists of at least two devices (primarily connected to the parent network) and one of them is usually a server.
The VPN definition describes the main principle that allows you to create an independent network that applies standard protocols of the parent network for its operation. At that, those who are connected to the parent network but aren’t the members of the virtual network can’t define what information is transferred and its destination. That’s why this virtual network is called private.
The data transferred through these networks are located in different ranges of IP addresses, as if two (or more) different networks were used, which also allows you to apply standard network technologies for a virtual network.
Initially, such tunnels didn’t hide the data transferred but only restricted access to them.
That’s why today the data is protected with encryption to add an additional function to the use of VPN.
A VPN server is not only the network core, but it is also used as a gateway between a virtual network and the Internet. It also allows you to use it for faking real IP addresses of the network’s computers (IP masking).
95% of businesses have their data in the cloud so quality security and privacy are paramount.
However, data protection and an opportunity of IP masking led to the mass use of VPN not only by companies but also by common users of the Internet.
So what does a VPN mean?
The meaning of a VPN is its incredible opportunities that are open when you combine data protection with IP masking. What’s more, there’s no difference in how many countries are between a client and a server and what distance is between them. A VPN is efficient for all parts of the Internet.
Opportunities of VPN:
- Changing your real IP address into a virtual one. The virtual IP address is the IP of the VPN server you use. All sites visited by a VPN user will see it.
- Bypassing blocked sites. In case some sites are blocked in your network or country, VPN will help to gain access to them. An encrypted tunnel leads not to the site you want to visit but to a VPN server. That’s why a network filter doesn’t identify a user visiting a blocked site and doesn’t block it.
- Data protection. 1/3 of Internet users say they stopped engaging in certain online activities because of privacy concerns. With a VPN, any inbound or outbound traffic, including the IPs of sites visited are protected. That’s possible because all data is encrypted and goes through the tunnel. Today’s encryption standards are unbreakable even by supercomputers.
- Bypassing geo-restrictions. Thanks to changing an IP, you can gain access to geo-restricted content, for example, unblocking Netflix for any region.
- Safe torrenting. It is no secret that torrenting is banned in many countries. A VPN can hide your network activities, including P2P connections.
- Creating independent private networks of any complexity.
- Providing connections between private networks, including other VPNs.
How does a VPN work?
VPN connection setup is a complicated technological process which is impossible without special VPN software. VPN technology is implemented with this software on the device you choose.
This software can be of three types:
- An app developed by a VPN service provider
- Third-party all-round VPN client
- Built-in system functions
We arranged the types of VPN software from the most complicated in use to the easiest one, but all of them work according to the same principle that will be described further.
VPN software creates a virtual tunnel between your device and a VPN server. Access to this tunnel is administered by special authentication algorithms.
While using a VPN service, a virtual network consists of two devices – a server and a user’s computer (smartphone or another device). For each user, a separate independent network is created.
Access to this network is possible only if authentication is successful. Certificate authentication is often applied. They are given by a provider along with configuration files or automatically downloaded by a VPN app.
Before your traffic goes through the tunnel, it is encrypted with a special pre-configured algorithm. Then going out of your device, the encrypted traffic goes via the tunnel to a VPN server.
The server contacts the requested Internet resource, traffic is decrypted and reaches the resource in an unencrypted way.
The same way it goes backward: the traffic from the website is unencrypted, then it gets encrypted and transferred via the tunnel to you where it is decrypted.
The process takes instantaneously, and in most cases, you won’t notice any loss of internet speed (of course, if you use a good fast Nord VPN).
For example, you are in the public Wi-Fi zone and use VPN. Thus, you create a VPN tunnel between you and a VPN server.
Let’s say a criminal is going to intercept your logins and passwords using the vulnerability of public Wi-Fi. He gets access to your traffic, but it happens on the encrypted part of the connection, that’s why nothing can be done by the criminal. The traffic is encrypted in a reliable way and is useless for the criminal.
How to start using VPN?
Let’s move from theory to action.
There are two ways to start using VPN. You can create your own VPN server and configure all the necessary devices by connecting them together or simply use a VPN service.
You’ll be able to configure your own VPN if you have a dedicated server and experience of its configuring. You will need the technologies of NAT, routing, and firewall.
Still, it is easier to start using a VPN service online. For this, you won’t need any configurations on your server or device (especially, if you want to use a VPN on Mac or Windows 10).
Good VPN providers offer apps compatible with PC, Mac, Android, iOS, and Linux, router configurations and other devices. Their setup process is quite easy. Besides, you’ll be able to use 3 and more devices simultaneously.
Set up a VPN app offered by the VPN provider you chose and start using VPN in one click.
What’s more, following the detailed instructions, you’ll be able to configure VPN even on ps4.
Prefer VPNs with lots of positive expert and user reviews.
Everything mentioned above mostly relates to services with a paid subscription.
A VPN without a paid subscription also offers a set of basic and sometimes extended functions. But still, they have huge restrictions. In the following table, we’ll provide the main differences between paid and free services.
Approximate comparison of real opportunities of different types of VPN:
|Paid VPN||Free VPN with unlimited traffic||Free VPN “unlimited”|
|Traffic per month||Unlimited||0.5-10 Gb||Unlimited|
|Speed||Average and high||0.1 - 50 Mbps||Very low|
|Choice of countries||Up to 94||Up to ~30||Less than ~5|
It’s a very approximate comparison. In practice, the quality and level of services offered by providers within one group are very different. Sometimes a paid provider is worse than a free one (it’s better to say ‘’a provider with a free plan’’) as in most cases a free VPN is a free version of a traditional paid VPN service.
It’s hard enough to choose a service that works in your conditions. It’s connected with the fact that VPNs have not only a lot of visible but also certain non-obvious peculiarities.
Here’s an example. Recently a user who couldn’t unblock a site has contacted us. Earlier he tried to use VPN which he found on Google Play Market, but it didn’t work, though the reviews were positive. It turned out that UDP was blocked in the user network, and the VPN he used didn’t allow another protocol. We recommended him to choose the VPN that supports various protocols and just in case use a VPN with a free trial version. He managed to find such a service in the “Free Trial VPN: options, nuances, advice” review.
Besides, there’s a real danger of using the first VPN you’ll find on the Internet.
A wrong VPN provider could eavesdrop on a user’s online activity and sensitive information, sell this information on the dark web to adverting agencies, or to intelligence agencies. Using a poorly secured VPN service can expose users to a lot more damage than using no VPN at all” – the LiveMint resource cited what Ritesh Chopra (country manager Symantec) said.
Use our practical guides and comparison reviews to choose a safe VPN. There we collected the best providers tested by us in different conditions for solving various tasks.
Here are a few of the articles:
- BEST VPN: Complete Guide & Top 10
- FREE VPN SERVICES: New review (Top 10)
- Cheap VPN providers for 2020
Find the full list of articles on our Sitemap.
After choosing a service, you will need a few minutes to register, download and launch a VPN app. In case you’ll choose a service without VPN software, use the configurations offered by the provider.
Thus, to start using a VPN you need to:
- Choose a VPN service.
- Subscribe for it (register).
- Download and install special software (full-fledged or third-party VPN client and configure it).
- Choose a VPN location and connect to it.
No matter what type of VPN you’ve chosen (full-fledged, configurations for a third-party client or operating system configurations), you need to know some standards and parameters of VPN technology.
In this chapter, we’ll provide examples and recommendations that will help you to understand the most widespread parameters of a VPN connection.
- VPN protocols
- UDP vs TCP
- VPN port
Besides, you need to know what DNS is and why it’s important for a VPN.
Let’s start with the basic term – VPN protocols.
A VPN protocol is a technology that allows you to create a protected virtual tunnel between devices within the existing network and use it to share encrypted information. In other words, a virtual network is created by means of that protocol.
What are VPN protocols?
- P2P VPN protocols
- Custom protocols
Comparison of VPN protocols:
What is OpenVPN?
It seems that OpenVPN is the best protocol today. It’s implemеnted on the basis of OpenVPN software and many virtual networks are based on it. It’s commercial open-source software developed by James Yonan according to a free GPL license.
OpenVPN allows you to apply the latest encryption standards, three types of authenеntication, hardware acceleration, data contraction, it works with computers located out of NAT, supports TCP and UDP transport, and etc.
OpenVPN is easy to be launched on any port that allows masking it, for instance, for https traffic. Many VPN services using this protocol allow choosing TCP or UDP and a port that will be used to connect a device.
Thanks to an easy VPN setup and configuration of the server part, it’s considered that public VPN services based on OpenVPN are safer than the ones using other protocols that require more advanced skills.
What are the specialties of OpenVPN?
- High efficiency;
- While using VPN services, the highest possible number of locations is available (PPTP and L2TP can be not on all servers);
- Support of almost all data protection standards (encryption) as it applies the OpenSSL library. Further, we’ll tell about data encryption in details;
- An opportunity to be installed on most Internet-enabled devices (many routers have a built-in feature of OpenVPN support);
- Due to an open-source nature, all vulnerabilities are eliminated.
- In most cases, additional software is required for its work (it is not built in Windows, macOS, or Linux. It’s not a disadvantage while using VPN services that offer their VPN apps with the built-in OpenVPN software.
Due to its easy setup, multitasking, flexibility, reliability and opportunity to create its own protocols, OpenVPN is a good choice for a modern VPN.
IPsec is a set of protocols and authentication methods developed for data protection just at the dawn of the Internet. It is often used on the basis of the built-in functions of operating systems.
It has a lot of modifications. Today the IKEv2 protocol, which is IPSec with the definite set of key exchange algorithms according to Diffie-Hellman, is widespread.
IPsec/IKEv2 is considered to be fast, modern (developed in 2005, updated in 2014) and with correct configurations, it is a VPN protocol with good protection. It’s believed that IKEv2 doesn’t overload a processor too much that’s why it is good for mobile devices.
Still, a great number of parameters makes it is more difficult to configure the security of IPsec/IKE than of OpenVPN. It’s a hidden risk of using VPN with IPSec.
IPSec is available on all platforms even without additional software.
What are the specialties of IPsec?
- High efficiency;
- IPsec is available on all platforms without additional software;
- Support of modern encryption standards;
- The processor is used efficiently.
- IKEv2 is not supported by iOS <9 versions, and IKEv1, which is supported by them, is considered to be out of date;
- Works only with UDP which can be blocked by an ISP/administrator;
- Doesn’t have an open source, so it’s not used for creating ‘’invisible’’ custom protocols.
Thus, IPsec is a modern multifunctional set of protocols applied in VPN as encryption and IKE key exchange algorithm technologies in the tunneling mode on the network level. It’s a non-commercial product that’s why it’s built in all operating systems. It’s efficient for a processor but used only with UDP.
IPSec is widespread on Apple devices.
What is PPTP?
PPTP is a standard VPN protocol of the Point-to-Point type which was developed by Microsoft and primarily used on PC and Android.
The distinctive feature of PPTP is its simplicity which is good for its speed and processor load.
It’s believed that PPTP is vulnerable. In 1999 it was hacked for 2 hours, and in 2019 it was for 23 hours. Even Microsoft recommends using another VPN protocol.
What are the specialties of PPTP?
- Major distribution;
- High-speed performance;
- Low requirements for processors.
- Numerous vulnerabilities detected;
- Apple devices don’t support it.
The use of PPTP is reasonable when the data you transfer doesn’t require reliable protection. The protocol is fast and doesn’t require strong computational performance.
PPTP is not built in iOS and Mac that’s why it is not used for them.
What is L2TP?
One of the first protocols that were used for virtual private networks was L2TP. It’s based on PPTP and has no disadvantages as PPTP has. Still, the structure of L2TP is more complicated and it requires two simultaneous connections on different ports (one connection is managed by another which serves for data transmission. What is more, one of the ports is permanent, which makes L2TP easier to detect and block.
L2TP can work in the IP, ATM, Frame Relay and X.25 networks. It’s believed that the use of L2TP in commo VPNs of the client-server type is not reasonable as it doesn’t work at capacity and its efficiency and security are worse than it is with OpenVPN and IPsec/IKEv2.
L2TP doesn’t encrypt the data transferred that’s why it’s used along with IPsec. This increases the processor load and makes it hard to implement.
Two simultaneous ports and compatibility with IPSec require additional ways to protect the process of authentication and synchronization. That’s why it’s more vulnerable than other protocols.
What are the specialties of L2TP? (for a common VPN)
- Built in major operating systems;
- Requires more computational performance than OpenVPN or IKEv2;
- Uses two simultaneous connections on two different ports;
- Port used;
- Considered to be very secure.
The use of L2TP is reasonable when you need to implement a complicated structure of interaction of some networks and a client with each other or the Internet. It’s not recommended to use it for a common VPN because of the vulnerabilities detected.
WireGuard is a new protocol that has amazing capacity and simple configurations.
WireGuard as OpenVPN is a free commercial product published according to the GPL license. It was developed as OpenVPN and IPsec are too complicated for using them for a traditional client-server VPN.
The developers of WireGuard managed to implement the functionality in 4000 lines. OpenVPN and IPsec have 100 times more lines.
The distinctive feature of WireGuard is the operation in the Linux server. Combined with a simple code, it has fantastic speeds and minimal processor load.
Today such providers as Mullvad, AzireVPN, VPN.AC, IVPN, and WireVPN apply it.
What are the specialties of WireGuard?
- High efficiency;
- Maximum speed;
- Simple in use.
- Rarely offered by;
- No final secure version which is proven.
As it is not widespread, WireGuard is considered to be invisible for most filters (for example, the Chinese firewall). Still, there is no final version of this protocol and its full security is not proven.
P2P VPN protocols
If the VPN is not implemented as a network of several computers and it doesn’t have access to the Internet, you don’t need a server.
There is a technology that allows you to create an encrypted network between two devices directly. This VPN is based on Peer-To-Peer (P2P) sharing.
Standard protocols can’t be used for these task as you need a server which is used to route the traffic within the network.
For these tasks, there are protocols that can work both with a server (if you need Internet access via VPN and vice versa or you need to control the network nodes, collect statistics) and without it.
Here are some examples of P2P VPN protocols:
FreeLAN Secure Channel Protocol
Using it for IP masking and other tasks connected with the Internet is not reasonable as they aren’t used for protected connections of computers. Besides, they have no apps and you need to be experienced in network administration.
Sometimes your network administrator or provider on the authority level blocks not only UDP and ports, which are usually used by VPN, but also using special devices, they detect and block VPN protocols by its distinctive features.
How to bypass VPN being blocked?
Today one of the most efficient ways to bypass VPN bans is to use VPN with WireGuard or software that offers obfuscation (changing) of the OpenVPN protocol.
The group of protocols based on OpenVPN can be called custom protocols. Each VPN provider that offers traffic obfuscation solves this task in a different way. It’s a licensed solution that is not used by several VPNs simultaneously. As a rule, they have their own names and are available only for one VPN provider.
The VPNs offering custom protocols are reviewed in detail in the article “8 Best VPNs for CHINA (Tested in February 2020): 5 Paid & 3 Free”.
TCP vs UDP
We have mentioned TCP and UDP several times.
What are they and how are they connected with VPN?
What’s the difference between UDP and TCP and what to use with VPN?
We’ll answer these questions in the chapter.
TCP and UDP protocols are used for data transmission on the Internet.
TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) is a protocol used to transmit data through the Internet. It operates in the following way:
- A connection is created.
- The data is transferred.
- The data integrity is checked.
- In case of inconsistency data request, receiving and verification are repeated.
Besides TCP avoids data duplication.
Due to this functionality, the data is transmitted in a reliable way. Still, verification and additional data transmission decrease the speed.
UDP (User Datagram Protocol) is a protocol used for data transmission through the Internet without prior communications (‘’handshaking’’), checksums for data integrity and retransmission of packages. That’s why it works faster than TCP, the application is ‘’responsible’’ for error correction.
UDP is convenient to use when little data is transmitted/received and the risk of errors is minimal.
It’s easier to explain how TCP and UDP work via the example:
If you visit a site, a domain name is used. Then it is converted into an IP address with the aid of a fast DNS request (read more about DNS in the next chapter). Data communication with DNS occurs via UDP.
Besides, media content and voice traffic are transmitted via UDP and it’s used in many games.
After the site receives an IP address, the web-browser communicates with it via TCP and you see the content on your monitor. Due to the fact that an IP packet is checked for integrity, you see the exact display of the page.
Network protocol and VPN
As VPN transmits and receives data, it has to use one of the network protocols - TCP or UDP.
All their advantages and disadvantages are equally related to VPN:
- VPN performance is slow with TCP.
- More firewalls (filters) can be configured via TCP and consequently, traffic observation is stronger.
- UDP works fast, but checksums for integrity require additional processing power.
- In some networks, UDP may be blocked on all ports, but not including 53 (DNS), but VPN providers rarely offer port 53.
At the same time, not all VPN protocols offer the choice of ‘’transmission’’. In fact, only OpenVPN offers TCP or UDP. Besides, not all VPN providers allow you to choose the OpenVPN network protocol. That’s why using TCP is often unavailable.
Thus, what to choose? UDP or TCP? The answer is UDP. This protocol provides faster data transmission speed. What’s more, in most cases you won’t have the opportunity to choose - only UDP will be available. Still, when UDP doesn’t work, use OpenVPN with TCP.
Briefly about DNS
DNS (Domain Name System) is a decentralized system of receiving data about domain names and servers associated with those domains.
It is often used for receiving the IP address of the server that hosts the requested domain.
Initially, there were no domain names on the Internet. Access was performed via IP addresses. DNS, created for the sake of convenience, ‘’visualized’’ the Internet and made it the way we know it now.
DNS requests are sent special servers which are often provided by an ISP (Internet Service Provider) and inserted in the settings of a network connection. It’s especially widespread in 3G/4G modems.
In this context, even with VPN, these requests will be sent to your provider which makes confidentiality weaker. What’s more, many sites are able to define DNS, which may lead to unsuccessful attempts to hide your geo-location.
Brian Krebs, one of the leading IT security specialists, mentioned about possible data thefts when DNS interception occurs:
… DNS hijacks also paved the way for the attackers to obtain SSL encryption certificates for the targeted domains (e.g. webmail.finance.gov.lb), which allowed them to decrypt the intercepted email and VPN credentials and view them in plain text”, - says Brian Krebs in the article “A Deep Dive on the Recent Widespread DNS Hijacking Attacks”
To avoid it, VPN software has to be able to change DNS in network settings and send DNS requests to independent or their own server (perfect option).
In our reviews on Best VPN Zone, we pay attention to this issue and offer VPN services with DNS protection.
What is a port?
Each device can be connected with one or several devices. Ports were created in order to use a few simultaneous connections (the network can’t exist without them). They aren’t sockets but a counting numeral recorded in the headline of a network protocol.
An outgoing and remote port used to perform a connection are recorded. Thus, the system receives the information in one datastream, but it divides it by distributing it to different processors (it depends on the port number).
There are fixed ports for particular protocols, for instance, port 80 for http and 443 for https.
There are also fixed ports for VPN protocols, but in most cases, you can reconfigure them. For example, port 443 is often used for VPN connections. It guarantees to bypass the majority of ‘’not smart’’ VPN blocking situations
Easy setup of VPN
We’ll answer the question “How to set up a VPN?” throughout this chapter. The most obvious and efficient method is to make use of a VPN service. Or you can try another method – build your own VPN with OpenVPN.
If the only aim to configure your own VPN on Android or Mac is to save on VPN subscription, don’t do it. You’ll require a dedicated server, which is 10-100 times more expensive as compared with the average VPN service price in 2020. In so doing, you’ll have only one VPN location. You’ll need a new dedicated server for each location.
When opting for services, you’ll start using VPN in 1-3 minutes. Apart from it, you’ll get access to several hundred servers all over the world. Besides, you have an opportunity to use several gadgets at once.h
We recommend using VPN services. It’s more convenient, simpler and safer, in general than a VPN configured on your own.
To set up a VPN, you are to download and install the app/soft of the chosen VPN service and launch it (good VPN providers offer soft for PC, macOS, Android, iOS and Linux). Done! You’ll manage to connect/disconnect to/from the VPN, choose a location and use many other additional services.h
Want to study an example of a VPN setup?
No problem! Look through the setup procedure for Hoxx VPN.
Don’t use VPN services that do not provide ready-made apps for mobile platforms. It’s inconvenient, and as a rule, such services are of poor quality.
If you still want to configure your own VPN, read here.
How to hide your IP address?
One of the most frequently asked questions is how to hide my IP address. There are several ways to hide your IP:
- Use VPN
- Use proxy/socks
- Use SSH-tunnel
VPN uses technology due to which your real IP will be masked by an IP address of a VPN server. That applies to all the apps launched on your device.
Proxy/socks mask your IP as well, but it’s possible to fix your country by means of DNS queries.
SSH tunnel – restricted alternative to VPN. To create an SSH tunnel, you’ll need SSH access to the server on the Internet, SSH client on your device and knowledge in networking technology.
TOR is similar to a VPN but possesses a limited number of servers through which you can open websites. Many web resources that focus on security block such servers. It is concerned with the fact that criminals often use TOR. Besides, a customized web-browser should be installed to use it.
We advise using a VPN to hide IP address. It is a one-size-fits-all approach. It doesn’t require a permanent settings change, skills to configure network connection manually, it doesn’t equate you with the fraudsters, it serves to hide IP not only when using a browser, but for all apps as well.
VPN to unblock sites
Blocked for some regions sites are a common issue. Besides, the site itself can restrict or block access for particular regions. How to unblock sites in both cases? The answer is to use a VPN.
If there are sites unavailable through a standard Internet connection in your country (or the country you want to visit), you should bypass the blocking using a VPN tunnel to the server located in the country where network traffic is not monitored. In such a manner, your traffic will go round the blocker.
If the sites you want to open are available but restrict access to them from particular regions, VPN will help you to hide your IP, replacing it with the IP of a chosen server. This server should be located in the country without any strings attached. As a result, this site will identify you as a user for whom there are no restrictions/locks (for example, VPN for Roku service is necessary in some regions).
In so doing, you can make use of all the power of the Internet, even when being located in the countries where it is impossible when using a direct connection.
Watching Netflix from other countries
Would you like to watch a serial screening of which is restricted in your region? It’s possible with a VPN. However, not every VPN service is appropriate for it. Netflix knows about this method and actively combats VPN services, blocking their IPs.
That is why only major VPN services cope with their IPs blocking. Before the registration procedure, take a look at an up-to-date VPN for Netflix review in order to know what VPNs manage to unblock Netflix and which ones don’t cope with it notwithstanding the fact it is stated they do on their site.
Don’t use free VPNs to unblock Netflix. Only the best VPN services possess sufficient speed to stream HD video content and servers which provide access to Netflix. Among them, you’ll find either paid or free trial VPN providers.
Find good variants in our ‘‘Best VPN for Netflix’’ rating.
VPN for routers
A router is a device that delivers internet service to end-users. Generally, it is a WiFi point of access in one’s house or in a public place.
Basically, it is a compact computer that only has one piece of software installed. The software controls the routing processes between all the users.
Because of that, it is usually possible to install a VPN on a router. If you do so, all the devices connected to a router either via Wi-Fi or with wires will automatically access the Internet via a VPN.
Why do you need a VPN on your router?
Why do we install a VPN on our devices? Most often our goal is to hide our IP or bypass geo-restrictions. That is why it makes sense to set up a VPN on the router.
Having installed it on your router, you won’t have to install VPN software on every single one of your PCs and mobile devices. The most convenient thing, though, is the fact that SmartTV, as well as gaming consoles and everything connected to the Internet, will use all the advantages of VPN.
What are the pros and cons of using a VPN on your router?
+ you get the VPN on all your devices at once.
+ your VPN connection is always active.
- The more devices you connect, the slower your internet access is. The router processor is generally not very powerful and can’t handle such a huge strain. A really powerful router will cost you $500 or more.
- If the VPN server is inaccessible for whatever reason, you won’t be able to access the Internet.
- Some routers only allow fast protocols such as PPTP and L2TP. These protocols are easy to block and are not secure enough.
- The VPN setup can be difficult.
- It is impossible to set up the VPN obfuscation on the router, so this variant is not suitable for China and other countries that block VPN.
Therefore, there are less-than-obvious but serious downsides. Can they be made up for by the convenience of usage? Here is some advice you may find useful:
- Try to use a more powerful router.
- If that is not possible and you only need to connect some devices to the VPN server, you can install two interlinked routers. You can set up the VPN on one of them. This way, you will have two Wi-Fi networks, one with the common access to the Internet and the other with the VPN.
- Use the routers that support the OpenVPN protocol.
- Do not use free VPN services. They have speed and traffic restrictions, and their servers are often overloaded so the connection may break off.
- Use the VPNs that provide apps or comprehensive manuals on the router setup. 24/7 customer support is a big plus.
So does installing such a VPN make sense? If you need a VPN for devices it is impossible or problematic to install a VPN on, then the answer is yes. It is also true if you have many devices or often change your devices.
Otherwise, it is recommended to install the VPN software on each of the devices. Moreover, good VPN services offer 6 or more connections per subscription.
How does one test the VPN? To make sure everything is working as intended (the IP is concealed and there are no leaks to see the user’s locations through), you can conduct a number of tests. It is really easy!
Now I will describe how to check your VPN with the help of web services step-by-step:
- find your IP.
- test the VPN for leaks.
- determine the speed.
Those are the most vital attributes of the VPN’s quality.
There are hundreds of websites that provide determining the IP and the related info (location and ISP). My personal favorite is myip.com.
To check your IP, you only need to connect to the site.
The example of determining IP and other data
IP leaks test
Now use the ipleak.net website. You’ll see the info on DNS, WebRTC and IPv6 on its main page.
To identify how well your VPN passed this test you need to analyze this data. I’ll tell about it with examples.
Let’s start with the WebRTC:
If in this line you don’t observe your real IP, then the WebRTC leak test is successfully passed. In this case, the 10.118.32.83 IP is the internal IP of my VPN, and it reveals no data.
Now let’s proceed to the DNS:
The service has found 75 DNS-addresses based in a country that isn’t my native one. This means the test is successful.
The IPv6 leak test:
If you see the following message:
It means that you are susceptible to an IPv6 leak. IPv4 is a standard internet addressing which has almost completely burned through its address base. This is the reason why the IPv6 addressing (aka long addresses) was implemented. It is expected to be enough for the rest of the eternity or near enough. The problem is these two address spheres work independently of each other and are able to work simultaneously. The VPN, however, can’t work with two addresses at the same time. Because of that, the unused address may give away your location.
In my case, IPv6 doesn’t work, so it’s all fine:
The speed test
To determine your connection speed, the Speedtest by Ookla service is the most convenient.
This test speaks for itself, so no commentary is necessary.
To conclude, you can test your VPN on a professional level with completely free web services.
Is VPN legal?
Taking into account fantastic opportunities of virtual private network technology, the question arises if VPNs are legal for using by ordinary users.
That’s incredible but it is! VPN is absolutely legal in all countries. But you need to know about this important information.
Not all VPN services are legal in the following countries:
In fact, these and a few other countries have strict censorship. Actually, the technology of virtual networks itself is necessary for many companies and it’s impossible to ban it. But the authorities try to restrict its use because of political and religious reasons.
That’s why local (absolutely legal) VPNs were created for purposes which aren’t related to bypassing censorship. These VPN services are under control of the government and don’t allow them to unblock banned sites. But using of a commercial independent VPN is either forbidden or monitored and blocked by special devices.
Still, you need to know that there’s no direct danger of using foreign VPNs in those countries. Every day millions of people use independent VPN services. It’s not the VPN technology that is illegal but visiting of banned sites. That’s why if you will:
- follow the precautionary measures,
- not claim you use a virtual network,
- choose awithand obfuscation,
- not share your opinion against the religion and government,
the authorities won’t turn onto you.
Well, we deal with technology which can solve many serious problems encountering when using the Internet. It seems to be fantastic, especially given the fact that VPN is reasonable, but it does work!
- VPN technology is used more extensively. Especially in the countries where the control over internet activities of their citizens is being increased.
- VPN makes the internet use anonymous and safe, allows bypassing blockage and secures relevant information.
- Currently, handy and user-friendly VPN apps arise. And so you can make use of VPN not only on Windows and Mac but on your Android and iPhone as well.`
- VPN is legal in the supreme number of countries of the world. In the countries where VPN legally forbidden people still use this technology as there are barely cases of prosecution for the people who don’t commit a crime by means of VPNs.
- Watch any video streaming content without regional restrictions (for example, Avast VPN provider serves to go round such troubles).
- Establish corporate and home networks based on VPN, and therefore improve online security and promote opportunities of the Internet.
Try to use a VPN on all your devices all the time. It’ll secure you against identity theft, eavesdropping, and will make the Internet open and safe.