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Personal VPN Service For Windows, Android, Mac, Linux, And Ios
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Personal VPN Service For Windows, Android, Mac, Linux, And Ios

Signing up for a personal VPN service can be confusing in the beginning. I've now got a couple years experience under my belt (after living abroad, in internet censored countries), and even have a couple blogs about privacy software, so I have a pretty good idea of what's going on. Not long ago however, I had not idea what a VPN was and what I needed to get started. To fully understand how a VPN works or even how to troubleshoot one, one needs those years of experience. To start using a personal VPN service on the most common operating systems - Windows, Android, Mac, Linux, and iOS - doesn't take much skill level at all.

Most VPN services are going to carry three or four different VPN protocols. The top three are going to be PPTP, L2TP, and OpenVPN. Some may have SSTP, which I will get into in a bit. But for the first three, you can count on them being an option at most services. So what the heck are they?

PPTP is like the grandfather of VPNs. It was the original, and is still popular today. It doesn't have some of the high-tech security features of some of the more modern versions of VPNs, which is going to make connecting and running in on your computer faster than more heavily encrypted versions of the VPN. There are some security loopholes in the outdated PPP encryption, but not all VPN service users are in it for the privacy. Some just want to use it to access websites like Netflix and Hulu outside The USA, or to bypass firewalls at work and access Facebook when the boss isn't looking. For these tasks, it will work fine. PPTP can be used on all the operating systems mentioned above, and some services even offer this protocol at a discounted price.

L2TP is like an upgrade of the PPTP. Again, it can be used on Android and iOS systems, as well as Windows, Mac, and Linux systems. It has better encryption, called IPSec, which itself is sometimes used to connect to VPN servers (rather than using the L2TP tunneling). Aside from those tech details, I would suggest this. IF you want privacy and security on your phone, go with L2TP, If you're looking for privacy and security on a laptop or desktop, then use OpenVPN.

You computer is not going to come ready to use OpenVPN because its a third part VPN software, but downloading the OpenVPN client for your computer is free, and included in any VPN package at any VPN site. OpenVPN is the most securely encrypted VPN protocol, using a system of certificates and keys for user verification. The standard 128-bit encryption is used to protect your credit card when you shop online, so it's pretty hardcore. If that's not good enough, encryption goes up to 2048 -bit or even 4096-bit, which is stuff the military uses. You should be aware the more encryption you use the more risk you run of slowing down your internet connection. In most cases, using the standard personal VPN service 128-bit encryption is going to be sufficient. That is, unless your name is Neo.

Some sites may offer SSTP. SSTP is a Microsoft product and for the time being, is only compatible with Vista and Win 7. It uses SSL encryption as well (same as OpenVPN), so is very secure. I would say if you're on Vista or Win 7, you can use SSTP, but if the VPN service of you choice doesn't offer it, don't cry about it. OpenVPN is just as good. If for some reason you don't have Vista or Win 7 and really want SSTP, there's no reason you should feel that way.


Street Talk

Rodders, Thanks for sharing the various flavors! Fabulous photo. blessings, Cynthia

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Yes, these are the most common operating systems, so 99% of VPN services support them. There are some people using Nokia or other types of smartphones, in which VPN setup and installation will vary, but it's a very small minority.

Reply
  about 7 years ago
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