5 things to consider when choosing a VPN

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/08/16/5-things-to-consider-when-choo.html

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I second PIA. It just works and works smoothly. I use Linux and it was easy as pie to set up. Couldn’t be happier.


While PIA is currently a reputable company, there are drawbacks to a VPN. It pays to know in advance how some things work differently, or not at all, when using a VPN. Thanks for posting this though. The more people using VPNs, the better. Just know what you can and can’t do is all.


What is “your providers range”? Surely that doesn’t matter that much right?

I would be weary of a VPN service that provides a exit node in nearly all countries, did they find a reputable hosting company to take care of this server for them? Do they maintain all those nodes personally? The more geographically you’re spread out the easier it will be for one or more of your endpoints to become compromised.

I use PIA, and I’m generally happy with it, although in the last few months it seems to slow things down more than previously.

Ironically, BoingBoing will not let me log in when I’m using it, at least from the Toronto server.

I use PIA too!

Mostly happy, I have passed all the “Do I Leak” tests, and the speeds are reasonable.

My only problem are the sites that are allowed to block VPN traffic prima facie. If more of the Internet goes down this road, things are gunna suck hard.

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I use PIA, and I generally like it, but I find the phone app to be finicky. Often I find my phone internet doesn’t work at all until I refresh the connection, and this happens at least once a day. Might have something to do with my phone though.

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  1. Use a VPN company not based in the USA.

Because mass surveillance (esp. if you’re a subhuman i.e. foreigner).

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I’ve used PIA in the past, and generally liked it. Now I’m using BlackVPN, which I’ve found to be highly reliable and it checks off all of the items in the list above. It is a bit more expensive at $10 per month, but it’s not US based and therefore not as susceptible to NSA/FBI snooping. It uses OpenVPN, so it works on my Linux and Android devices.

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I dumped PIA after a year of going back and forth between them and my ISP because I couldn’t connect to my email server while using my VPN. There were no logs which told me somewhere, something was stopping the connection. But I never resolved it nor was my ISP or PIA willing to help. In the end, I found TorGuard had all the features of PIA without this hassle and they “just work”. Also, I think they’re based outside the US, so Justice Department subpoenas just get ignored.

The security and privacy are obviously the most important thing to evaluate when choosing a VPN. I haven’t had a problem with security in those VPNs I have used. However, it’s not easy to compare which has the best security.

When it comes to privacy, however, there is an easy way to check. I always look if they accept bitcoin payments as that is a good sign that they take their privacy seriously. If not I will not trust their privacy and there’s no reason to chose their service. Here is a good page describing why Bitcoin VPNs are favorable and should be prioritized: https://cryptorunner.com/bitcoin-services/

This quote says it all “Bitcoin along with a VPN service creates almost complete anonymity on the web.”. The choice is a no brainer. However, many VPNs now accept bitcoin as payment. I use ExpressVPN for the moment but have not used it for long. Please let me know of other VPNs accepting bitcoin that you like.

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