Setting Up Your Own VPN Server
As Woz commented on my previous VPN article before the Senate debacle, you could be running your own VPN server:
But if you cant trust your home connection or you have a slow upload speed on your home connection, its not really practical.
I played around with Algo VPN, a set of scripts that let you set up a VPN in the cloud in very little time, even if you dont know much about development. Ive got to say that I was quite impressed with Trail of Bits approach.
Algo VPN automates the VPN installation process so that you dont have to establish an SSH connection with a server and run complicated command lines.
It takes three command lines to install the dependencies on your computer. After that, you should sign up to a cloud provider like DigitalOcean and run the Algo VPN setup wizard in your terminal. Im not going to detail the installation process as it can change after I publish this post, but everything is explained on the official GitHub repository.
On DigitalOcean, you dont have to create and configure your own server. Algo VPN takes care of that for you as it uses DigitalOceans API to create a server and install everything.
So heres a quick recap:
Creating Your Own VPN
There are many projects out there that let you create your own secure tunnel, and one of the best and most popular is Algo VPN. Basically, its a set of scripts that enables you to set up an encrypted connection to a cloud server.
Algo VPN was designed by the folks at Trail of Bits, and its meant to be easy to use while at the same time offering maximum security. One great thing about Algo is that you can use it to create a disposable VPN.
Still, there are other options like Streisand, which even helps you set up an integrated Tor bridge among a few other privacy-focused features. For this guide, we will however stick with Algo VPN as its widely accepted as the best and most secure.
Apart from Algo, you will also need to have a cloud server that you will install your VPN on. You can choose one of the following cloud services that Algo supports:
Why Do People Use VPNs
Many people use VPNs as a way to add extra levels of security while online. They are particularly popular with journalists, lawyers, and activists. However, more and more regular people are using VPNs as a way to safeguard their information and activities while online. VPNs are also commonly used for people to gain access to their favorite streaming services while overseas . Connecting to a public Wi-Fi network via a VPN will provide you with extra security and protect you from anyone trying to spy on your activity.
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Whats The Difference Between A VPN Server And A VPN Client
The VPN client and the VPN server are the two ends of an encrypted VPN tunnel. A VPN client is the device on which you want to use a VPN connection . A VPN server hosts and delivers the VPN service to your device. To put that into context, ExpressVPN lets you choose from thousands of different IP addresses because it has thousands of servers. Youre kept completely anonymous while connected to its servers. If youre connecting to your home VPN server, youll only be given the IP address of your home network, so youre not as protected. However, if youre using public WiFi, youll be kept anonymous since itll look like youre actually online at home.
Set Up A VPN Server On Your Router
This method involves replacing your routers operating system with advanced firmware. The most popular firmware is DD-WRT, while Tomato and OpenWRT are also prominent. This process is called flashing and it lets you create and host a VPN server on a router. Just note that this method can be quite time-consuming, so you may want to skip the manual set up and try ExpressVPN instead.
Since theres more room for mistakes, this method is pretty risky, so be warned. Also, make sure your router can support the firmware first, or else it might break your router. If youre unsure, then you can check the supported routers database for each firmware. Doing the background research here is crucial.
To flash your router, follow these steps:
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Is It Free To Set Up A Home VPN Server
Its possible to set up your own VPN server for free, but it depends on how you set up the VPN server.
If you want to set up a home-made VPN server on a router you might need to buy new hardware if your current router doesnt support OpenVPN.
Routers with built-in VPN server capabilities can cost upwards of $100.
Its a similar story for cloud-based servers. Youll have to pay a monthly cost to rent them from a third-party provider.
However, if you want to set up a VPN server on a router or device you already own, such as a Windows computer, its completely free.
If youre not comfortable setting up a VPN server at home its a pretty tricky process and you dont want to spend money on a commercial VPN, take a look at the best free VPN services.
Setting Up A VPN In Windows 10
The first step is to create a VPN profile which youll fill this out with details from your particular VPN service.
- In the fields on the page, select Windows for your VPN provider. Give your VPN a name under Connection name. Enter the server name or address, the VPN type, and the type of sign-in info.
- Add a user name and password for extra security . You can choose to have the computer remember your sign-in info.
- To connect to your VPN, go back to Settings > Network & Internet > VPN. Click on your VPN name.
- If you want, at this point you can select Advanced Options to edit the connection properties, clear your sign-in info, or set up a VPN proxy.
- Select Connect and enter a password if youve set one.
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Enforce Zero Trust Access
Verify device and user identity of on-site and remote users to access resources. Apply access controls with high granularity to enforce least-privilege access and eliminate lateral movement.
Prevent malware, phishing, and other threats by restricting access to only authorized and trusted internet destinations.
Can I Set Up Your Own VPN Server On Android Iphone Mac Windows 10 And Linux
Yes, you can set up your own VPN server on Android, iPhone, Mac, Windows 10, and Linux devices.All of them have different configuration instructions and involve some degree of technical knowledge.
However, If you dont want to get your hands dirty, Id recommend trying out ExpressVPN because its much easier to set up. Its also compatible with all of these devices and is a highly trusted service. Youre protected with its zero-logs policy, robust security measures, and the fact it undergoes independent audits regularly.
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Finding Free Openvpn Servers
While the OpenVPN client is running, proceed by visiting VPNBOOK. This is a tool that provides you with twenty certified servers from Europe and US for completely free and anonymous navigation.
After downloading all certified bundles from VPNBOOK, extract them into the following OpenVPN client directory:
Next, right-click on the OpenVPN icon located on the system tray and select one of the European or American servers that are displayed, then click on Connect.
You will see that the connection process will start immediately. After a while, you will be asked for the passwords, which can be found in VPNBOOKs website. It is a good idea to add that page in your favorites, since the passwords change quite often.
So, copy-paste the username and password, check the save password option, and click OK.
The yellow OpenVPN icon will turn green. This means that your free personal VPN just started, with absolutely anonymous browsing and no data limitations. You will also be notified of your new IP address with a balloon tip.
You can change server anytime, and select any of the European or US-based ones.
Is It Free To Set Up My Own VPN Server
It depends on which method you use, but most methods are free. Buying a VPN router will cost you anywhere between $100-$300 while flashing your existing router is free. Another free method is by hosting a VPN server on another device you already own, such as a smartphone or computer.
The last method, setting up a VPN server on a cloud, can go either way. Most cloud platforms charge a monthly subscription fee, which is around the same as a reliable VPN service. However, some of them have free versions like Amazon Web Services.
If you want to protect yourself without complicated setups then its better to ExpressVPN is pretty affordable if you go to its website right now, youll find a subscription plan for as low as $6.67/month.
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What You Will Need
A VPS server with CentOS 6 installed, and a minimum of 218MB RAM. We may review suitable VPS services in the future, but for this tutorial, we have chosen VPSCheap.net – mainly because it offers VPS plans from $1.99 per month. If you want a more rounded approach, take a look at these comprehensive tips on selecting a VPS hosting provider.
An SSH client – macOS and Linux users have one already, in the form of Terminal. Windows users can the excellent PuTTy .
Connecting To Your VPN Server
To connect to the VPN server, you will need your computers public IP address or its dynamic DNS address, if you set up a dynamic DNS service.
In whatever version of Windows youre using on the machine doing the connecting, you can just hit Start, type vpn, and then select the option that appears. In Windows 10, it will be named Change Virtual Private Networks . In Windows 7, its named Set up a virtual private network connection.
When asked, provide a name for the connection and the Internet address .
For more instructions on connectingincluding some of the advanced options you can choosecheck out our full guide on how to connect to a VPN on Windows.
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Why Does Your Business Need A VPN
At their most basic, VPNs protect businesses and users and their confidential data. Here are other reasons why your business could benefit from a VPN:
VPNs are a convenient way to give employees, including remote workers, easy access to your business network without having to be physically presentwhile maintaining the security of private networks and business resources.
Communication with a VPN connection provides a higher level of security compared to other methods of remote communication, keeping private networks closed to people who dont have authorized access. The actual geographic locations of users are protected and not exposed to public or shared networks like the Internet.
Its easy to add new users or groups of users to networks using flexible VPN software tools. That’s good for businesses that are growing faster than their budgets since it means you can often expand network footprints without adding new components or building complicated network configurations.
Make Your Own VPN Server Today
Making your own VPN server at home is a great option if you dont mind the technical challenge. It can be a cheaper alternative to a commercial VPN service, has some privacy benefits, and gives you remote access to your local network. But because its quite time-consuming and requires extensive technical knowledge, its not for everyone.
If youre short on time or not very tech-savvy, I recommend using a reputable VPN service like ExpressVPN. Its easy and quick to set up so its great for beginners. It also protects your privacy, has super-fast speeds, and offers access to geo-restricted content. It even comes with a money-back guarantee, so you can test it out completely risk-free. If youre not impressed you have 30 days to claim a full refund.
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Setting Up A VPN In Android
Like iOS, setting up a VPN on an Android device shouldnt be too difficult. Heres the manual process if youre not letting an app automatically configure things for you.
- Head into Settings > Network & Internet > Advanced > VPN . If you dont see Network & Internet in the Settings menu , then do a search within Settings for VPN. Press the Add button.
- If you happen to be setting this up on a new phone, or if you havent yet set a screen lock or password, Google will prompt you to first set one for your phone. Do so.
- Now create your VPN profile. Add the VPN name, type, and Server address. Click on Save.
- Youll be taken back to the VPN screen, where you should now see the name of your VPN. Tap on it, and put in your name and password. You can also choose to save your account information, and you can make the VPN always on. Click on Connect.
- Enter the VPN name, type, server address, username, and password.
- Then, save. Youre done!
Once youve got your VPN up and running, you might notice web browsing isnt as fast as it used to be, especially if youve configured traffic to go through another country. Stronger encryption, or more users connected to one VPN, can also slow down your internet speeds. Downloads might slow to snail speed and your League of Legends screen lag might be absurd. But thats not a big problem compared to the security that youve added.
How To Create A VPN Server
To create or self-host a VPN, we choose a reliable VPS service. In this tutorial, we’ll be using Vultr to create a VPS. I’ve been using their service for the past few years to host my websites and I have never faced any issues.
Step 1: Create an account on Vultr and log in to your account.
Step 2: Click on the + icon in the dashboard to create a new VPS Instance.
On this page, you can customize the VPS instance by choosing a preferred location, OS, memory, storage, and vCPU. To host our VPN, we do not require a powerful server.
Step 3: Choose the location where you want to host the VPS. It is better to pick a location nearest to you to reduce latency.
Step 4: In the Server Type section, select Marketplace Apps and search Pritunl. Pritunl is an open-source software to create and manage VPN servers.
Step 5: Fron the server size section, select the $5 per month plan.
Vultr also offers a $3.5 per month plan VPS with 0.5 Gigs of RAM. But you have to manually install Pritunl.
Step 6: Choose a server hostname and label.
Step 7: Click the Deploy Now button. Vultr will now spin up the instance for you.
After deploying the server, you will be taken to the services list page where you can see a list of services that you are using. The status of the newly created server will be updated as Running after a while.
Step 8: Once the server starts to run, click on the server name to see additional details of the server.
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Turbo VPN Unlimited Free
Turbo VPN is the simplest app of all three. It has the same features as the previous apps and has many server choices as well. No data restrictions are present either.
Once you open the app, tap on the carrot icon. The relevant connection notifications will appear.
Then, by tapping on the flag icon located at the top right corner of the screen you can view a list of the available servers, filtered by country.
Video streaming with Turbo VPN was quite fast, and so was normal browsing. This is undoubtedly a very simple and effective VPN application for Android.
If you have any thoughts or suggestions, let us know in the comments section below!
How To Choose The Right VPN
Which VPN to choose depends on the needs of the user. When choosing a VPN, there are some simple questions to ask:
- How many devices will connect to the VPN? Most VPNs have device caps, so be sure the service can include all the devices within your network comfortably.
- How much will the VPN impact internet speed? All VPNs slow down internet speeds to varying degrees because instead of going directly to the router, data moves through an encrypted tunnel. Look at what our VPN comparison says about slowdowns with different VPN services to get a better idea.
- Do you need a VPN with torrent capability? If so, make sure the VPN service allows torrenting.
- Where is the VPN service located? Depending on where the VPN service has their headquarters, they will have to obey certain data retention laws. Before signing up for a service, check what user data they have to provide their host government. Through communications and data sharing alliances, your user data might be shared with your own governments intelligence agencies, if part of the same alliance. The biggest alliances among western countries are called Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, and Fourteen Eyes.
- Five Eyes: U.S., U.K., Australia, New Zealand, Canada
- Nine Eyes: Five Eyes nations and France, Netherlands, Norway, Denmark
- Fourteen Eyes: Nine Eyes nations and Germany, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Sweden
Note:Free VPN trials are a great way to learn about what to expect from different services.
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