Do I Need A VPN At Home
Compared to public Wi-Fi hotspots, our home networks are, for the most part, safer from hackers looking to steal our data. However, hackers arent the only ones who are after our internet traffic. The U.S. Congress has given Internet Service Providers the go-ahead to sell the browsing data of their consumers. Right this very moment, your internet provider could be sniffing through your browsing history, looking for data to sell. While a VPN wont be able to stop your ISP from doing that, it will make it much harder for anyone to tie your internet traffic back to you and your devices. So to answer the question, a VPN is necessary even at home if you want better privacy from the prying eyes of ISPs.
VPNs have another useful application at home: entertainment. You can use some VPNs to access websites blocked in your country as well as digital content not available in your region. Watching shows from foreign Netflix libraries is a popular example, which brings us to the next question.
What Are The Different VPN Protocols
What is a VPN protocol?
A VPN protocol is a set of instructions to establish a secure and encrypted connection between your device and a VPN server for the transmission of data.
Most commercial VPN services offer a variety of different VPN protocols that you can use within the VPN client. For example, the screenshot below comes from the ExpressVPN review and shows the different protocols available. Note that ExpressVPN now offers a self-developed protocol called Lightway, which is similar to WireGuard.
Now we will take a closer look at various VPN protocols.
How We Set Up The Best VPN Network
Weve bought our own servers. Were now simply renting the racks to store our servers in colocation centers. This is why were referring to them as colocated servers.
Our fleet is not entirely colocated yet. Were still in the process of buying servers in more locations, but its not always an easy process, as it depends on local laws, vendors, and other factors. Well continue to lease servers in the most secure way possible, but well prioritize colocation in the future.
To put it simply, colocated servers are the servers we own. For the long story, lets backtrack and have a look at the different types of servers used by VPNs.
Recommended Reading: Expressvpn Smart TV
Final Words On VPN Protocols
If you want to get the best VPN service for your business, check the protocol it is using. We have explored the top five VPN protocols to consider in your search, and weve outlined their capabilities. So, you can decide on the best one depending on the nature of your business.
OpenVPN is very secure and can protect your data from cybercriminals. It may not be the fastest, but you can rely on it. However, if you want a mobile-friendly and fast protocol for easy downloads and uploads, IKEv2 is your go-to VPN Protocol.
But as we said earlier, PPTP should be your last choice if you cant use the others, which is unlikely. It has developed lots of vulnerabilities over the years.
Featured image: Pixabay
Which VPN Is Most Secure
Don’t Miss: 911 For Macbook
Personal VPNs Vs Business VPNs
VPNs are used both by individuals and organizations for different use-cases.
People use a VPN to:
Businesses typically use a VPN to:
When & Why Should You Use Sstp
Overall, SSTP is still a reliable VPN protocol, and we recommend using it. Still, it’s not open source, which is always a reason for concern. So, if you are a little skeptical of SSTP, then dont despair! There is another protocol that offers many of the same advantages as SSTP, but without the Microsoft baggage: OpenVPN.
Read Also: What Does Bitdefender VPN Do
Whats The Difference Between A Business VPN And A Personal VPN
In short, personal VPNs protect individuals who are typically consumers. Theyre cheaper and sometimes free. People usually use them to browse the internet safely and access websites or streaming content only available in certain countries.
Business VPNs protect the interests of the companies, not the employees. For instance, if youre using a business VPN, your online behavior is protected for external threats, but the administrator of the business VPN may track how you are using it. Business VPNs typically have some sort of user management dashboard and are also more expensive.
For smaller teams, solopreneurs and freelancers, a business tier VPN may not be necessary. Our list above looks at personal VPNs that have multiple uses.
Wireguard A Newer VPN Protocol With Great Performance
WireGuard is a newer VPN protocol that seeks to provide better performance and more security over existing protocols. It was officially released from beta in 2020 and continues to gain popularity due to better performance in comparison legacy protocols.
As we covered in the main WireGuard VPN guide, the protocol has some great benefits, mainly with better performance, a smaller code base, and upgraded security.
There are also a few drawbacks with WireGuard. By default, WireGuard stores user IP addresses on the server and does not assign IP addresses dynamically. However, many VPNs have found good solutions to these problems that ensure WireGuard does not undermine privacy.
For example, NordVPN implements a double-NAT system to ensure user IP addresses are never stored on the VPN server. This effectively solves the inherent privacy issues with WireGuard. And as we covered in the NordVPN review, they call their implementation of WireGuard NordLynx.
Setup: WireGuard is not included in any operating system. This will likely change over time when it is included in the kernel for Linux, Mac OS, and perhaps with some mobile operating systems. A limited number of VPNs support WireGuard check with the provider for setup instructions.
Verdict: Recommended with select VPN services
Read Also: Download Socks 911
How Personal VPNs Work
Heres how it works:
Install software from your VPN service provider onto your device.
Personal VPN apps are available on all sorts of devices, including smartphones. Alternatively, you can install the software on your router to protect all the devices that connect to it.
Connect to a server in your VPN providers network.
Personal VPNs tend to have large server networks to choose from. If you just want to protect your privacy, you should connect to a local server for the fastest speeds. If you want to unblock streaming content, you need to choose a server in the country where that content is accessible.
Browse the internet like normal.
While connected to the VPN, all your internet traffic goes through the service providers server. Your connection is encrypted, your IP address is hidden, and you can access geographically restricted content from other countries.
EXPERT TIP: There are lots of protocols available for encrypting the connection. One of the most popular and most secure protocols is OpenVPN. Emerging protocols such as WireGuard and ExpressVPNs proprietary Lightway protocol can be faster, and also work well.
We would advise against using PPTP , L2TP/IPSec , and SSTP .
Will A VPN Slow Down Internet Speed
All VPNs will impact speed in some way. You can expect a 30% drop from even the best VPN systems in the world.
Really, it all boils down to what VPN youre using. Some of them only slow you down a little, while some absolutely gut your speeds.
Why is this?
Think about it this way:
Sure, theyre adding another layer of security. However, that also means theyre adding more hoops for your traffic to jump through.
Those additional speed bumps mean you can always expect a slowdown of some sort.
The key is to find a VPN that doesnt completely derail your traffic, either.
We repeat the same speed test for each VPN we review.
First, we get the benchmark reading without a VPN so we can compare.
Then, we connect to a few different servers to try and compile an unbiased, combined rating.
Throughout this process, weve seen some that might only dock your connection a few percentage points. Chances are, you wouldnt even notice it.
But weve also seen some awful ones, too.
Some of the providers weve reviewed have slowed our connection down by over 100%!
That would make streaming content virtually impossible. Even answering emails would be a struggle.
Weve ranked each VPN from first to the last place. So reference the ranking on each if youre concerned.
Recommended Reading: Use VPN With Apple TV
What Are Proprietary VPN Protocols
Some of the best VPN providers have custom protocols of their own.
These are usually fast and very secure , but there are down sides, too. Although Lightway is open source, NordLynx and Catapult Hydra are not, so there’s no way for experts to verify how they work. And because these are proprietary protocols, they’re not supported by other providers or device manufacturers. You can only use them via the provider’s own apps and hardware.
How A VPN Protocol Affects You
This may sound a little abstract, but it affects you directly: A good protocol will be a lot faster and a lot more secure than a bad one. Some protocols are slow because they need more steps when sending information, while others are less secure because they contain a flaw or use an encryption key that has a known weakness.
To help you pick the best VPN protocol for youand by extension the best VPN, periodwere going to go over the protocols weve come across the most, as well as some proprietary ones. Well start with the best ones out there, OpenVPN and WireGuard, and work our way down from there.
Recommended Reading: VPN For Cellular Data
Are VPNs Safe For Torrenting
Yes, VPNs can keep your connection safe and anonymous when youre torrenting or using P2P connections.
Weve compiled the best VPNs for torrenting and found that most fall in one of four categories:
Torrenting connects you to peer-to-peer file sharing to download massive files at lightning speeds. Without a VPN, you leave yourself exposed from the other people on that same connection.
The problem is that torrenting is most well known for bypassing copyright laws to illegally download content.
And many VPN companies shy away from the potential blowback from authorities.
Can A VPN Help With Isp Throttling
Typically, a VPN is capable of helping you with ISP throttling.
This occurs when your Internet Service Provider throttles your connection in an attempt to intentionally slow your connection speed.
While this shouldnt be legal, it absolutely is.
If youre using a ton of bandwidth, streaming HBO or Netflix, they might purposefully slow down your connection to indirectly force you to stop.
Using these services mean two things:
Many times, theyll use sophisticated methods like peering to basically spy on your traffic data.
The problem is that its not always possible to escape throttling.
A VPN can help, though. It will encrypt your device, and help hide it from these peering-type activities.
Its not foolproof. But it can help hide data packets buried below the surface that would identify you.
You May Like: Is Mcafee A VPN
How Can Nordlayer Help
NordLayer provides a synthesis between remote access virtual private networks and site-to-site solutions. With it, you can create unified networks without deploying anything on-premises and allowing your users to connect from home. In this sense, NordLayer solves the main drawbacks of both VPN setup types that we discussed earlier.
The whole setup consists only of an application that the users can install on their devices, allowing the network administrator to monitor network activities in real-time. Itâs pushing the security towards and beyond the endpoints and protects the companyâs resources against unauthorized access and increasing Internet security.
L2tp/ipsec: Slow And Not Worth Using
- Possibly compromised by the NSA
- Slower than other VPN protocols
- Susceptible to Man-in-the-Middle attacks
Created in 1999 as a successor to PPTP, Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol is an easy-to-use protocol that is natively supported by most VPN services, on most devices.
Like IKEv2, L2TP combines with IPSec to form a hybrid L2TP/IPSec VPN protocol. Unfortunately, this means it is susceptible to the same privacy concerns raised by Edward Snowden that IPSec has been compromised by the NSA.
There is also a separate security flaw with L2TP. This issue arises when it is used with a VPN service that uses pre-shared keys.
If the VPNs encryption keys are available to download online, it opens the possibility for attackers to falsify authentication credentials, impersonate your VPN server, and eavesdrop on your connection. This is known as a man-in-the-middle attack.
L2TP does offer a double encapsulation feature, which wraps your data in two layers of protection. While this improves the security of the protocol, it also slows it down considerably.
L2TP/IPSec is the slowest VPN protocol on this list.
When to use L2TP/IPSec:
- We recommend not using L2TP/IPSec at all.
When not to use L2TP/IPSec:
- Dont use L2TP if youre revealing personal information, concerned about NSA surveillance, or using a VPN that publicly shares its encryption keys online.
Also Check: How To Setup VPN On Xbox One
Is Ikev2 Easy To Install & Configure
Generally, IKEv2 is pretty easy to set up. Its natively supported on a number of platforms, including Windows 7+, macOS 10.11+, and most mobile systems . However, if you want to set up an IKEv2 server on your own, things get a bit more complicated. IPSec is a rather complex protocol , so it will require some extra configuration.
Whats L2tp/ipsec Best Suited For
L2TP/IPSec does a lot of things well, but there are VPN protocols that do it better. OpenVPN and WireGuard are both faster and require less computing power. If you want to build your own VPN, its a better option than PPTP. However, bypassing NAT firewalls requires further configuration, which can complicate the process significantly.
Don’t Miss: Are VPN Legal In Usa
VPN Protocols: Are You Using The Right One
The internet can be a scary place.
Because of this, we often turn toward a Virtual Private Network, otherwise known as a , to provide a safe, secure, and fast connection to all of what the world wide web brings to our fingertips.
When choosing a VPN provider, we often make note of which VPN protocols they have to offer, which can set one VPN apart from the other. But what exactly is a VPN protocol?
How To Use A VPN
The majority of todays VPNs are exceptionally easy to use. Once youve created an account with the provider, all you need to do is download the VPN app on your computer or smartphone. Once youve signed in with your account, you typically choose from a list of remote servers located around the world. Click on the one youd like, and the system should automatically connect you. Once you get confirmation that youre connected, you can use your device as you normally would without your VPN. You can disconnect or change your server from your apps home screen.
Also Check: Do VPNs Work For Pokemon Go
Should I Choose Udp Or Tcp For My VPN
Some VPN apps dont let you pick which protocol to use, which can be frustrating. Alternatively you might find separate TCP and UDP versions of each protocol, but whatever the case then there are pros and cons to each protocol.
UDP is better for speed, so is the one to select if youre trying to stream video.
TCP is better for reliability as, unlike UDP, it guarantees that every packet of data will be delivered. However, in the real world, its rare that youll experience problems with UDP.
Is A VPN Safe For Banking
As long as you know what youre doing, a VPN is perfectly safe when banking.
Typically, VPN use can only improve your online security, and who wouldnt want an added layer of security in place when youre dealing with your financial information?
The only issue you might encounter would be the banks security system, especially if youre connected to the VPN through a server located in another country. That would show up as suspicious activity and might get flagged in the banks system. This could cause a temporary hold to be placed on your account.
But if you connect to a server thats in your general area, the added encryption can be a great boost to your online security.
Read Also: How To Get A VPN On Xbox Free
Network Vs Service: The Main Difference
Often times, youll see the VPN abbreviation refer to a service provider that offers virtual private networks to its users.
However, its important to make the difference between VPN services and VPN technology. This can be a little confusing for newcomers, so well try to give you a short and clear explanation.
Simply put, a virtual private network by itself is the secure, private connection between your device and the endpoint or your destination. It utilizes a certain VPN protocol to encrypt and mask your traffic. This is the VPN technology working to keep your data safe.
By contrast, VPN services can be viewed as a package that may include several types of VPN technology, along with additional benefits from ease of use to extra help .
In other words, think of your VPN service as your virtual toolbox that improves and reinforces your internet connection. It has a bunch of useful devices and gadgets that come in handy during your browsing sessions these range from VPN protocols and security features, to auto-connect settings and real-time live chat support.
The term VPN has become synonymous with VPN service, and for good reason. With that in mind, in this article well be looking at the various types of VPN services available to the common user but remember that, depending on context, this abbreviation can refer to something more specific as well. For more information on the technology behind virtual private networks, check out our guide to VPN tunneling.