With Six Strikes having been implemented this week, I've been on the lookout for VPN reviews from actual customers. I didn't see much (or maybe I was looking in the wrong place)
and thought this would be a good place to start a thread.
A brief primer: A consortium (Center for Copyright Information (CCI)) made up of five major American ISPs (AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, Cablevision, Time Warner) and copyright holders (Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA)) is implementing a system called Six Strikes
, whereby broadband customers who download copyrighted media can be detected, warned, and after "six strikes" have their internet access slowed.
A VPN service can circumvent the detection process by routing all your internet transfers through remote locations and encrypting traffic. In order to be fully secure, a VPN service you use for this purpose should retain minimal or zero (preferably) traffic logs.Funny bit: Charlie Douglas, a Comcast spokesperson, was asked to confirm that six strikes would not be able to see a potential violation if the user was using a VPN, and he responded: "I think you're right." --»arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2013···ks-like/
I bit the bullet myself on »www.privateinternetaccess.com
so I'll get the ball rolling with that one. It's the cheapest VPN I found ($40/year) that claims zero logging. I've been using it for a few days now and am pretty happy.
Speeds have been interesting. I'm on Verizon FiOS 25Mbit/5Mbit, and I get occasional slowdowns with smaller downloads. With larger browser and torrent downloads, after a few seconds, the speed increases to practically full, 23Mbit average. They might have some sort of system for providing more bandwidth when you need it.
Downloads within proprietary programs have been very slow though. Luckily I don't need to use them often, but, I tested the Yahoo instant messenger installation program, which retrieves the bulk of its program files from the internet during the install, and it was crawling at a snail's pace. After 5 minutes I gave up. I tried again after deactivated the VPN and it completed in three seconds. Edit: I've also now experienced this issue with the internal updaters of Avast! Antivirus (free version) and Logmein / Logmein Ignition, as well as Java's online installer, whose downloads slowed until they actually failed. No such issues with Windows Update (Win7x64), Filezilla updater, or Chrome updater.
The VPN client is very easy to use and instantly (after connecting, which takes about 5 seconds) switches all your computer's traffic over to the VPN, without tangling with Windows standard networking dialogs. You can also choose the remote geographic location where you're spoofing from with a couple of clicks, with 8 US locations, 2 Canada, 2 UK, Switzerland, Netherlands, Germany, France, Sweden, and Romania.
I've only been using it for a few days, so take this for what it's worth, but I haven't gotten any warnings from my ISP so far, despite um, possibly maybe having had several reasons to receive them. Time will tell of course.
Also want to stress that speed test sites apparently do not work for VPNs (at least not for this one). I consistently got very low download results and impossibly high upload results (12Mbits/s! when my ISP only provides 5Mbits) from all the major (and even the minor) speed test sites, including speedtest.net and speakeasy.net.
Please post your experiences!