VPN, or Virtual Private Network, is a secure network between a client and a server. VPNs have typically been used to provide remote offices or remote employees secure connections back to the primary office in order to access anything on that internal network. In recent years however, VPNs have seen greater use by home users for a variety of purposes.
For example, if you live outside the United States and you want to watch a video on a site that doesn’t allow anyone outside the US to view it, you can purchase a VPN service that has a server inside the United States and watch the video through that connection instead. Another reason you might want to use a VPN service is if you often use public Wi-Fi hotspots.
Public hotspots can be very insecure, so if you’re doing anything sensitive, you might be setting yourself up for problems. Using a VPN while on a public hotspot will encrypt all of your traffic between you and the VPN server you’re using. You could of course setup a VPN on your own computer for that purpose, but most home connections don’t offer enough upload to make that feasible. Some people use VPN to disguise their IP address when downloading copyrighted content or other activities. I do not recommend that however because there’s always logs. Even if they say no logs, there’s always logs.
Setting up a VPN connection on your computer is extremely easy as most if not all modern operating systems have the ability built in. In Windows 7, search in the start menu for “VPN” and click on setup a new VPN connection. That should bring you to this screen.
From there, type in the IP address of your VPN server (given by your VPN provider) and click next. If you want for other users on your machine to use this VPN connection, enable that option at this screen. The next screen will simply ask for you username and password (also given by your VPN provider). Fill those two in and click finish to create the VPN connection.
Once it is setup, you can access and connect to it by clicking on the network icon in the bottom right taskbar and choose your VPN connection, whatever you named it. You can see the one I created here as the default name “VPN Connection”. Other operating systems are just as easy to setup. A simple Google search will give you further instructions for OS X, Linux, etc.
VPN Service ProvidersBoxVPNwww.boxpn.com
Price: $9/month with many optional upgrades
BoxVPN is one the larger VPN providers with a claimed 220Gbit network capacity and up to 50Mbit per VPN connection. Of course, results may vary, and my measly 3Mbit DSL connection wasn’t able to test that claim. For the $9 per month, they offer unlimited bandwidth, and if you prepay for an entire year, you can get the monthly price down to $6 per month. They offer several upgrades in addition to the base VPN service. They offer an antimalware service for you VPN connection for an additional $1 per month, and if you want to use your iOS or Android smartphone, they offer you an additional account at a highly discounted $2 per month. There will be always be additional latency when using a VPN connection, but when doing standard web browsing I did not notice, and when I tried streaming a few videos from YouTube, they seemed to play just as well as without the VPN connection active. All in all, a very good service with a good price.SuperbVPN
Price: Starting from $6/month with more advanced plans
SuperbVPN is another good VPN service provider. They seem to specialize more in more multimedia and heavier web usage as opposed to BoxVPN. That’s not to say that BoxVPN performs poorly in those areas, but if you are buying a VPN service for specifically those purposes, it might be better to go with a company that works with and focuses on that. They offer several different types of plans, the base plans that are PPTP connect in the way explained earlier in the article, but the other two tiers of plans use something called OpenVPN. When you order one of those plans, SuperbVPN will help you get setup with that.
The difference between the Standard and Deluxe plans is 100Mbit servers and 1Gbit servers. I would suggest this service to anyone wanting to stream video, use VoIP, or any other heavy web usage that would benefit from a company that is expecting you to do those things.StrongVPN
Price: Starting from $7/month
StrongVPN offers a HUGE amount of servers in different countries. Similar to SuperbVPN, they offer both PPTP plans as well as OpenVPN plans. StrongVPN offers a multitude of plans, but where they really shine is offering a plan (at $30 a month) that allows you to connect to VPNs in a variety of countries ranging from the United States to Luxemburg. The plans can get a little complicated, but they have a very easy to read comparison table here
. This VPN service provider I would recommend to people who need to have a VPN connection to another country beyond the United States/Canada/UK.This article is part of an effort to solicit paid content from the Broadband Reports community. If you'd like to participate, please contact us