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Comparing popular VPNs? People on Reddit have some ideas.

Comparing popular VPNs? People on Reddit have some ideas.


Slow WiFi and exposed Google history are avid internet users’ worst nightmares, and Obama-era rules protecting against these attacks have been under attack since 2017. Hopes for change were dashed when a vote in late 2020 confirmed the FCC’s commitment to erase net neutrality. Squashing this protection essentially gives ISPs the green light to unfairly treat certain web traffic β€” such as restricting a Netflix connection or charging extra fees for using a particular social media platform. And don’t get us started on how this affects smaller sites with smaller budgets.

Discussions about the government’s right to spy on your digital habits without a warrant don’t make anyone feel confident either.

See also: California net neutrality law a reality. This is what it means.

Whatever the reason, people are becoming more and more paranoid about their poor internet use (that, or they’re really sick of American Netflix). In turn, Google is filled with VPN reviews and lists of the best VPNs according to experts, technology publishers, and regular consumers alike. But if you want a more refined experience of your everyday VPN experience than regular folks (people who don’t have any filter at all), there’s only one place to go: Reddit.

What is the use of a VPN?

The bottom line is simple: people don’t want other people watching what they’re doing online, even if they’ve done nothing wrong.

A VPN (Virtual Private Network) is an internet security subscription that basically allows you to set your own internet rules. It acts as a bodyguard between you and your ISP (and hackers and other outside strangers) by emptying the personal anonymity tunnel through which you perform all your internet activities. A VPN’s job is to fill in loopholes that could leave your data vulnerable to nefarious eyeballs, such as crawling crawling public WiFi networks looking for personal information that can be used to steal your identity. VPNs are wise in terms of precautions like antivirus software or a password manager (yes, that applies to Macs too).

Hackers love free WiFi for the same reason you do: Internet connection doesn’t require any authentication. This network is filled with unlocked devices, oftentimes belonging to working professionals with bank accounts and business credentials that put scammers in their mouths. Often the easiest thing for hackers to do is slip between your device and the hotspot. Putting the man in the middle is like eavesdropping, but in emails, credit card information, and work recordings. Other hackers use public WiFi to launch malware to all intruders who are using the network without protection.

Many people avoid the dangers of public WiFi by employing their phone’s hotspot. But on the flip side, cellular data limits can be an issue – setting up a situation where both your laptop and phone need VPN protection. Several Reddit users are suggesting to use something like EasyTether to share a VPN connection. Just download and enable a proxy app on your phone, configure it on your laptop and you can enjoy some kind of hotspot reverse VPN style.

Does a VPN help with streaming?

The comfort factor also plays a big role. VPNs also provide a way for people to get around roadblocks and Internet censorship. These could be site-based or about blocks of specific sites assigned by your school, for example.

All decent VPNs offer a wide range of servers based in multiple geographic locations. Picking one of those basic tricks for your ISP to believe your device is there, maneuvering around geo-blocking and opening the door to international content, like another country’s Netflix library or BBC iPlayer.

VPN standards, as Redditors made *very clear*

It’s easy to narrow down the specifications Reddit users are interested in in a VPN when it’s the same (or many people are wondering about lack of the same feature) appear in countless subreddits throughout the year. Here are the most mentioned:

Stream reliability is a given. Many people would like a VPN to only watch content from other countries, so a VPN’s ability to fake geo-blocks and overcome streaming site VPN bans is crucial. The speed at which the content is streamed is also important (a fast VPN should be able to upgrade to HD without delay). connection speed And Site spoofing depends on Number of servers Where are they located – more servers means fewer people taking up the capacity of a single server, and different locations means more streaming libraries from all over the world. (Free VPNs usually don’t have the funds to support a strong list of servers.)

For obvious reasons, most of the big streaming services don’t care about the idea of ​​using a VPN and will probably mention it in their terms and conditions. If they happen to sniff out your IP address shredding the VPN, you’re not necessarily upset. The most likely repercussions would be the inability to access the streaming platform (even if it was up and running the day before), but there have been instances of Steam services ending subscriptions associated with plagiarism.

split tunneling It can help with traffic jams as well. Split tunneling VPNs allow you to route some of your traffic through an encrypted VPN tunnel while other traffic bounces back across the Internet. One may choose to separate less demanding but high security activities such as web browsing from high bandwidth and low security activities such as streaming or playing video games. Advantages include reduced traffic on corporate networks, better speeds and reduced latency for selected tasks, and more personalized privacy. If you are looking for tunneling to specific applications, look no further than SSL VPN.

No DNS leak It is a good test of VPN reliability. Think of DNS (Domain Name Service) as the phonebook of the Internet: it’s the service that transmits hostnames for humans to understand (like to IP addresses for computers to understand. The leaked DNS essentially dumps your browsing history for anyone viewing it on the other end – thus completely defeating the purpose of the VPN.

See also: It turns out that intentionally messing with your targeted ads isn’t a good idea

Lock key It cuts off your internet connection if your VPN secure connection drops without warning. This is less likely on a high-quality VPN with a huge list of servers that can balance the traffic of millions of users, but it is far from impossible. By default, your device will return your personal IP address, or worse yet, a public address. The quick final action of the kill switch ensures that you are not unknowingly operating on a weak IP address. Some kill switches act as a firewall.

Jurisdiction – or the country in which the VPN is based – will dictate the privacy laws the VPN must follow. Some places are more curious than others, and it mostly depends on their information-sharing alliance membership (or not): The Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, and Fourteen Eyes are all completely guaranteed to appear in any sub-forum about a particular VPN’s privacy policy. Countries in these groups have agreements regarding third party participation and may follow strict data retention laws, depending on their legal jurisdiction. (Suppose the VPN is officially based in the US but has an office in Switzerland. The company can decide to follow Swiss legal obligations to avoid loopholes that make user data vulnerable.)

Not all VPNs work equally on every device, so Application compatibility It can make or break your VPN experience. Before signing up, make sure that your chosen VPN app does not have major bugs in your operating system. For example, some mobile VPN apps don’t work well on iPhone like Android, or the app may keep getting killed depending on other apps sucking up your phone’s battery.

Are Free VPNs the Move?

Reddit has strong feelings about it. It’s summed up frankly here in response to a query about “best free VPN”:

credit: reddit / screenshot

Reddit users will let you know that comparing free VPNs to paid VPNs does not make sense. It’s like comparing apples to oranges, and you’ll definitely fail some important features by opting out of paying. Evidence isn’t always given, but many Redditors are convinced that free VPNs don’t have a true no-logging policy or sell your data to third parties. Sometimes “Free” is synonymous with “slow” due to the small number of servers in fewer locations.

There seems to be a general consensus of using a free VPN just to test the waters, and then get credit card info (or Paypal, Bitcoin, or Visa gift cards from your grandmother). Most of the time, this can be done through a reliable paid VPN that has a free tier to try, or via a free trial offered by many services. In a rare turn of events, Reddit is aggressively supporting the free Windscribe service. However, free VPNs can measure up to the job for more temporary endeavors β€” like accessing streaming services in your home country while traveling abroad for a semester or keeping up with a specific sport for a season. Since paid VPNs only get reasonable prices when you meet a one- or two-year subscription, it might not make sense to pay $10 or $12 per month for the few months you need a VPN.

Wireguard vs OpenVPN Controversy: Which VPN Protocol is Best?

If you know you should check Reddit for VPN advice, you probably already have some general knowledge about VPN protocols. But here’s a breakdown if you need a refresher: The protocol is the rulebook that dictates how the VPN client talks to the VPN server and creates a tunnel, ultimately playing a role in security and vulnerabilities. Old and popular protocols like L2TP/IPSec and PPTP, two more modern protocols often appear in a Reddit conversation: Wireguard and OpenVPN.

Both are open source, giving anyone in the community access to the source code to conduct their own investigations into potential security flaws β€” and Reddit users appreciate the ability to take matters into their own hands. Wireguard’s simpler codebase is a bit easier to crack and offers tech perks like better encryption and connection times, but it’s not as polished as OpenVPN. On the other hand, OpenVPN is the perfect solution for streams and gamers.

Get subreddits Much Beyond that in the weeds, TechRadar does a great job of dumping it all.

Here are the VPNs Reddit users recommend the most in 2021:

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