Virtual Private Network (VPN) - What is it? Why should I have one?

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Virtual Private Network (VPN) - What is it? Why should I have one?

Community Legend

Hey everyone! 

 

You may have heard about the latest NSA scandal regarding Edward Snowden and ISPs throttling websites (sometimes even charging the websites to have a "fast lane.") Now how do you protect yourself and get the speed you paid for? By using a virtual private network (VPN ). 

What is a VPN? A VPN is a virtual tunnel between your device and a VPN provider's servers with your data being sent and received encrypted. This data cannot be tracked by anyone, including your ISP. 

 

Why should I use a VPN? For Spotify duh! If your work, school, even your house blocks Spotify, a VPN can get pass those blocks so you'll be free to stream whatever you want, even without the ISP or anyone else knowing. Plus since that data being sent and received is encrypted, you will be protected against "sniffers" and hackers on a hotspot or Wi-Fi. 

 

There is a ton of VPN providers to choose from, who do I go with? It all depends on your price range and what you want (or need). Some VPN providers log information about you, which can be later used against you. If you want more privacy, go with a VPN provider that has little to no logging. Personally, I use CyberGhostThey're cheap, fast, and they don't log. 

 

The best part about CyberGhost is they have free servers. Although, your speeds are limited a max of 1Mbps (depending on how well the server is doing, you may get faster speeds.) 1Mbps is just enough to stream Spotify and do a little browsing. If you want to upgrade, right now they have a deal where you get servers in 5 countries (US, Germany, Romania, Czech Republic, and Netherlands) for $9.99USD for 365 days. That's the cheapest I've seen around. 

 

With VPNs, you most likely will experience a reduction in internet, but with CyberGhost, I see an increase. Yes, an increase. I  pay my ISP for seeds 50Mbps/10Mbps and as we all know, you don't always get the highest speed. I see speeds around 130Mbps/10Mbps with CyberGhost. At first I didn't believe it, but after doing some downloading and looking at my networks stats it was true. 

 

 

Do you guys use a VPN? If so, let me know in the comments! If not, feel free to comment anything! 😄

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Re: Virtual Private Network (VPN) - What is it? Why should I have one?

user-removed
Not applicable

I used Cyber Ghost years ago when it had a free VPN offering. Currently I do not use a VPN, so far I have been the lucky one with an ISP broad band service that is not at this moment using throttling practices, but that will probable change as the push to stop illegal sharing of music, movies and TV shows keep growing for a way to prevent or slow down connections to these sources grows.

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Re: Virtual Private Network (VPN) - What is it? Why should I have one?

Community Legend
Interested to hear more about your speed increase. Seems weird because technically your traffic still has to go via your ISP before it gets to the VPN (they just can't read it).

Also worth noting, using a VPN to bypass network restrictions in work and school is normally a breach of your IT departments terms and conditions of use, so I would exercise some caution on that front.

Speeds aside, the whole Snowdon thing was a total non-news story for me. I couldn't believe anyone was really shocked that the US and UK governments had all of this going on - it is one of those things anyone into computers knows goes on, Snowdon just brought it into the public eye.

Peter
Spotify Community Mentor and Troubleshooter

Spotify Last.FM Twitter LinkedIn Meet Peter Rock Star Jam 2014


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Re: Virtual Private Network (VPN) - What is it? Why should I have one?

Community Legend
Hi.
As Peter correctly points out, speed is never increased above what your isp allows. If you pay for a certain bandwidth, that's what you'll get.
Apart from what Pete writes about breaching network restrictions, it is also worth to notice that a few vpn-solutions use uncommon ports that sometimes are blocked.
CyberGhost may be a service that works for some, but because of its history with dns-leaks, I wouldn't recommend this to someone who isn't familiar with how to circumvent this.

For mobile devices note that vpn will drain your battery quite a bit faster.

Me? Yeah, I use vpn all the time.
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Re: Virtual Private Network (VPN) - What is it? Why should I have one?

Music Fan

I think I read in another thread that you wanted to join the USAF in the cyber field OP. I'm currently being processed for entry into the AF, previous to this I spent nearly half a decade in college studying computer science.

 

In the cyber fields of the AF, you need to pass the highest level of national security clearance to do so, and utilizing things like VPNs (for things other than business use, which is clearly not what you're doing here) and Tor will not put you in a very positive light while you're under review, even if your only intention is to have some semblence of privacy. Even if you don't join the military, it's well known that the NSA spends more time with the spotlight on encrypted connections since they view them as having something to hide. 

 

I can assure you, in the military the idea of using such services can get you in trouble, especially the tech heavy AF. Get used to using the internet like a normal person if you're still going to join, especially since you're just using the internet "enough to stream Spotify and do a little browsing". Somehow I doubt the NSA or any other national security agency will flag you for such things. 😉

 

Frankly, even with VPNs and Tor you're subject to man in the middle attacks among other things; point being, if an entity (like Uncle Sam) wants to gain access to your network traffic and they have the resources to do so, well...they will. If you really want to use a VPN though, well, I'm sure you will anyways. 😛

 

Tor is easier to use (less throttling of speed as well) and gets the same result though, and it's free. Tails is a Linux based OS that you can use to further isolate your internet footprint. Food for thought. In the end, I agree with a previous poster in that I'm not surprised at the activities of the three-letter agencies. 

 

 

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Re: Virtual Private Network (VPN) - What is it? Why should I have one?

Community Legend
GCHQ (UK Intelligence) is 4 letters, just pointing this out in-case they are listening and think "yes we got away with it" haha.

Peter
Spotify Community Mentor and Troubleshooter

Spotify Last.FM Twitter LinkedIn Meet Peter Rock Star Jam 2014


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