Monday, March 20, 2023

Do You Pay For VPN

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The Risks Of Using Free VPNs

How to Pay for a VPN Anonymously

You might be wondering, Why buy a VPN when you can get one for absolutely free? Though you have countless free VPNs to choose from, the truth is they offer more cons than pros as opposed to subscription-based VPNs.

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The majority of them place caps on bandwidth usage and slow down your connection speeds when exceeded, so they cant be relied upon if youre into streaming or downloading. Its also important to understand how free VPNs earn money without charging you anything for their services.

They do this by serving you pesky pop-up ads or collecting and selling your data off to interested entities. Lastly, free solutions also lack the protection of their paid counterparts, which leaves you susceptible to tracking and theft.

What Are The Two Main Types Of VPNs

Most of us are familiar with the concept of a LAN, a local area network. That’s the private network inside one physical location — be it a home, a corporate building, or a campus. But many businesses don’t run out of one location. They have branch offices, departments, and divisions that are geographically dispersed.

In many cases, each of these offices also has LANs. But how do the LANs connect? For some very specialized solutions, companies lease private lines to connect the offices. That can be very expensive. Instead, most companies opt to connect separated private LANs over the public internet geographically. To protect their data, they set up VPNs between offices, encrypting the data as it traverses the public internet.

This is a corporate or enterprise VPN, and it’s characterized by the same organization controlling both endpoints of the VPN. If your company controls the originating point and the endpoint , you can be quite well assured that your data is securely transmitted.

The second type of VPN is a consumer VPN. This is for those of you who compute in hotels or at coffee shops and connect to web applications like social networks, email, banks, or shopping sites. Consumer VPN services help ensure that those communications are protected.

An Extensive Server Network

NordVPN operates more than 5200 servers in 60 countries, so you can hop on the server closest to your location to get the best speed available. It also has servers dedicated to different purposes:

  • P2P servers for smooth and secure file sharing.
  • Obfuscated servers to bypass internet restrictions in authoritarian countries.
  • Onion Over VPN securely accessing .onion sites.
  • Double VPN for extra security, your traffic is redirected through two servers instead of one.
  • Dedicated IP exclusive servers for users who purchased dedicated IPs.

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Other VPNs In The Mix

Below you’ll find some additional VPNs. We’re in the process of re-evaluating them in the coming months.

PureVPN does not log connection information. The company joined the “no log” movement in 2018, which was recently verified via a third-party audit by Althius IT .

We like that PureVPN offers a 31-day refund policy and supports Bitcoin payments, to further extend anonymous browsing. We also like that PureVPN has both Kodi and Chromebook solutions available. In addition, PureVPN was the first VPN service we noted to fully implement the GDPR.

StrongVPN blasts onto our favorites list with excellent infrastructure and decent price performance. As with our other favorites, StrongVPN has a strong no-logging policy. Since VPN is all about protecting your privacy, that’s a place the savvy VPN providers can pick up points.

Strong also picks up kudos for its large base of IP addresses, which also helps protect your anonymity. It has a solid collection of servers and worldwide locations. For those of you who need a dedicated IP, you can get one from the company, but you’ll need to contact support to get help setting it up.

StrongVPN’s regular monthly price of $10 is in the middle of the pack, but its yearly price of $70 is among the lowest of our contenders.

Why Should I Choose Expressvpn Over Other VPN Providers

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ExpressVPN runs a premium VPN network optimized for high speed and reliability. Enjoy unlimited bandwidth and your choice of servers in dozens of countries around the world. ExpressVPN has built the best network and VPN apps in the industry. Still not convinced? ExpressVPN comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee on all plans, so you can try the best VPN service available with zero risk.

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Trial Or Refund Policy

The minimum: email support, with responses sent within 24 business hours robust help sectionThe best: email, chat support during business hours, quick response to weekend tickets

If you cant set up or reliably use your VPN, you wont use itthereby eliminating all of the benefits. An extensive help section on the website can resolve many problems. Although we consider online-chat support to be the gold standard, quick and clear responses to emails can be equally helpful.

You Want A Kill Switch

Even if youre using a VPN thats safe in every other aspect, theres still one big problem:

If your computer drops its connection to the VPN server, you might continue browsing without noticing and, as such, expose your real IP address.

To fix this, a lot of the safer VPN services build in something called a kill switch.

Essentially, this feature will automatically stop your Internet access if your connection to the VPN server drops for some reason. This ensures that you dont accidentally keep browsing while exposing your real IP address.

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Are VPNs Safe To Use What To Look For In A Safe VPN

As a technology, VPNs are safe to usebut not all VPN services are safe.

Basically, if you choose correctly, using a VPN is 100% safe, but just because a service calls itself a VPN does not automatically mean that the service is safe.

To understand whether or not a VPN is safe to use, we need to quickly run over whats actually happening when you use a VPN.

Essentially, a VPN acts as a middle-man between you and the websites or services that you visit. When you visit a website, your VPN encrypts that data before it goes to the website . In addition to a lot of other benefits, this makes it safer to log into WordPress.

In turn, that website or service sees the VPNs IP address instead of your actual IP address, which gives you anonymity.

If you pick a safe service, thats all there is to it. But there are some specific things you need to look for when choosing a quality VPN:

VPNs Might Slow Down Your Connection

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You might find that your online connection is sluggish when you log onto the internet through a free VPN service.

Many free services also offer premium VPN protection which charge either a monthly or annual subscription fee. These providers might slow down your online speeds on purpose as a way to encourage users to sign up for their paid versions.

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What VPN Providers Accept Cryptocurrency

Surfshark is a top-rated VPN that follows a strict no-log protocol and advanced leak protection and camouflage mode. They utilize AES-256-GCM encryption and provide a kill switch that prevents your sensitive information from being exposed by internet lapses.

Cryptocurrency accepted: Bitcoin, Ripple, and Etherium.

NordVPN offers a high-speed connection with industry-leading encryption and hundreds of P2P servers. With over 5500 servers in 59 countries, Nord has established itself as a high performance, high privacy VPN.

Cryptocurrency Accepted: Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, and most other cryptocurrencies.

One of the top-rated unblocking geo-restricted media offers military-grade 2048-bit that is one of the fastest and most secure encryptions around. PrivateVPN makes use of Swedish privacy laws to back their zero data logging policy.

Cryptocurrency Accepted: Bitcoin.

One of the worlds top VPNs boasts 5,700 servers and lightning-fast connections, CyberGhost uses 256-bit military-grade encryption and has a strict zero log policy. They provide VPN apps across all digital spectrums, including Linux, Amazon FireStick, and even routers.

Cryptocurrency Accepted: Bitcoin

Free Vs Paid VPNs: Which Should You Choose

Using the best VPN service when connecting to the Internet has long been recommended as a way to keep data private and secure. And, as concerns over data collection and government surveillance increase seemingly by the day, it’s now more important to take action than it ever has been.

‘While VPNs have always been appropriate for untrusted networks, like unsecured Wi-Fi at places like coffee shops and airports, this change now means that we must all think about our home network connections as untrusted as well,’ said Jarret Raim, head of strategy and operations for Rackspace Managed Security in San Antonio, Texas.

With this in mind, more people than ever are looking for VPN service providers, and a quick search through Google Play or the Apple App Store will bring up a lot of free VPN options. We won’t lie: free always looks like the more attractive option.

But are the free services as reliable and trustworthy as a paid VPN, or do you really get what you pay for? What are the pros and cons of free versus paid VPNs?

Here, we’ll run down all the key similarities and differences including security, general quality of service, and all-important streaming performance.

NB: The interviews with Jarret Raim and Adnan Raja referenced in this article were undertaken in 2017.

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Different Applications Used With A Free VPN

Free VPN for Kodi

When it comes to streaming on Kodi, many free VPNs will fall short, mostly because they are in some way restricted, usually in terms of bandwidth. This is why the best free VPN for Kodi has to be ExpressVPN. Although it has a 30-day restriction, at least you will be able to access Kodi without any trouble for a whole month. For more best free VPNs for Kodi, check out our list here.

Free VPN for Mac

If you want to keep your online movements protected while using your Mac, you can always go with ProtonVPN as there is no bandwidth restrictions. You will not be able to stream your favorite shows as your speed is limited, but you can check your emails and perform simple tasks securely.

Free VPN for iPhone

Windscribe is great for your iPhone or iOS devices when looking at free VPNs. It cannot compete with ExpressVPN, so if youre looking to keep your iPhone secure and access Netflix from your device, you will want to make use of the 30-day money-back guarantee.

Free VPN for Torrenting

Again, when it comes to torrenting, you will need to use a VPN service that comes without bandwidth restrictions as well as fast speeds. ExpressVPN is the best option for this.

Free VPN for Firestick

ExpressVPN comes with a 99.9% uptime guarantee as well as constant customer service support. If you have any issues installing ExpressVPN on your Firestick you can contact the team which will help you out, night or day.

Using Other Retailer Gift Cards

How to Get Paid VPN Free?how can you use Paid VPN for free

There are three providers worth recommending that let you pay with gift cards issued by major retailers.

1. PureVPN

Launched in 2006, PureVPN is one of the oldest VPN services in the market. Still going strong after all those years is a testament to the many things this provider does right.

PureVPNs server list is as inclusive as they come. It currently offers 6535 servers in 92 locations around the world. Performance is top-notch too, as evidenced by these excellent speed test results.

An independently verified zero-log provider, PureVPN takes privacy seriously. And military-grade encryption and features like a kill-switch and DNS leak protection keep your data safe and secure.

Theyre also a great choice for P2P, and all your out of market streaming needs Netflix, Hulu, BBC, plus many others work flawlessly.

How to pay anonymously for PureVPN with a gift card is not necessarily obvious because the option is not clearly marked but it is possible.

Go to the PureVPN discount page and click through to get their best deal. Then, on the Select Your Payment Method step of the checkout process and select PaymentWall. Among others, youll be able to pay with gift cards.

2. PIA

Private Internet Access or PIA as theyre also commonly known has been for years and continues to be a very popular VPN choice. And there are good reasons why that is.

3. TorGuard

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How Does VPN Work

Let’s start with the basic idea of internet communication. Suppose you’re at your desk and you want to access a website like ZDNet. To do this, your computer initiates a request by sending some packets. If you’re in an office, those packets often travel through switches and routers on your LAN before they are transferred to the public internet through a router.

Once on the public internet, those packets travel through a bunch of computers. A separate request is made to a series of name servers to translate the DNS name to an IP address. That information is sent back to your browser, which then sends the request again through many computers on the public internet. Eventually, it reaches the ZDNet infrastructure, which also routes those packets, grabs a web page , and sends all that back to you.

Each internet request usually results in a whole series of communication events between multiple points. The way a VPN works is by encrypting those packets at the originating point, often hiding the data and the information about your originating IP address. The VPN software on your end then sends those packets to the VPN server at some destination point, decrypting that information.

One of the most important issues in understanding the limits of VPNs is understanding where the endpoint of the VPN server resides. We’ll talk about that next.

The Best VPN Right Now

Let’s look at each of our VPN vendors below in more depth. Keep in mind that this is an evolving list: It’s constantly being updated. We’re actively working on more VPN testing and research, so expect this guide to change throughout the year as our VPN use continues and we put each option through its paces.

The list below presents our favorites in an overall ranking if you want to see each top VPN judged by more specific criteria, check out the links below.

ExpressVPN tells us its network is powered by TrustedServer technology, which ExpressVPN built to ensure that there are never any logs of users’ online activities. In the privacy world, ExpressVPN has a strong track record, having experienced a server seizure by authorities which proved its zero-log policy true at the time. We also like the quality of the VPN’s setup guides and the detailed information in its FAQ.

While its speeds consistently compete with heavy-hitting competitors, our 2020 speed tests saw ExpressVPN produce a 52% overall loss of our normal internet speeds, representing a significant slowdown compared with its 2019 score of 2% speed loss.

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How Do I Choose The Right VPN For Me

We’re keeping a close eye on how each VPN provider stands compared with its competitors, as well as any new VPN services that may become available. We’ve cataloged our most recommended VPN services to date — and listed some less viable VPN selections, too, based on our testing. We’ll be regularly updating this VPN guide as new contenders hit the market.

That said, the VPN landscape can be confusing and mystifying. Here are some quick tips, each of which link to a more in-depth discussion.

Don’t use free VPN services: You’ll find only paid VPN options below because they’re the only ones we can recommend.

Look for a no-logs VPN, but understand the caveats: The best VPNs keep as few logs as possible and make them as anonymous as possible, so there’s little data to provide should authorities come knocking. But even “no-logs” VPNs aren’t 100% anonymous.

VPN transparency is important, but warrant canaries are only the beginning: Many services use “warrant canaries” as a way to passively note to the public as to whether or not they’ve been subpoenaed by a government entity, as many investigations from national security agencies can’t be actively disclosed by law. But — like the no-logging issue — warrant canaries aren’t always as straightforward as they seem. You should spend more time investigating whether your prospective VPN has cooperated with authorities in the past — and how and when it’s disclosed that fact.

More VPNs To Consider

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There are plenty of other VPN services out there. Heres our selection of a few that have merits but havent quite made it onto this months recommended list.

Avira Phantom VPN: German antivirus firm Avira has built its own VPN infrastructure from the ground up. Its modest, with just 36 servers across 34 counties and isnt great for streaming video beyond Netflix, but its European endpoint performance is generally decent when connecting from the UK. Free Phantom VPN users get 500MB of data every month if you dont register. This is increased to 1GB if you create an Avira account, but the lack of a registration requirement makes it a great option if you just need a VPN in a hurry for Windows, Android and iOS.

F-Secure FREEDOME: Unlike most anti-virus firms who dabble in the world VPNs, Finlands F-Secure has fully committed to setting up its own infrastructure, rather than using someone elses. Performance is generally good, especially in Europe, but its not built for region shifting, and only supports Windows, macOS, Android and iOS. Theres a great 5-day, unlimited, registration-free trial on offer, though, and a reasonably priced three-device entry-level subscription tier.

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