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  1. #1
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    Virtual Private Network (VPN) Choices

    Several Months Ago (that's a guess), Susan Bradley (in a Windows Secrets newsletter) said she was studying alternative Virtual Private Networks. But with all of the confusion about Windows 8 versions (I'm happy to be running Win7sp1), and what at least seems to be a rise in malware attacks which continually generate large quantities of Windows updates, I think she was swamped and never had time to make any VPN recommendations.

    But it is possible that she may have made VPN recommendations that I have somehow overlooked. If so, I would appreciate knowing how to access her recommendations.

    Meanwhile, I have been doing my own search for the "Best" Virtual Private Network. I did some searching at Windows Lounge (my search term was " Virtual, Private, Network" without the quotes), and found the following "Setting up a Virtual Private Network" at http://windowssecrets.com/forums/sho...rivate+Network.

    At the end of that 2012 thread (given that the thread was ancient, I could not post this message in it), there was a message by me, including the following sites that I found useful:
    http://lifehacker.com/5940565/why-yo...for-your-needs
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtual_private_network
    http://computer.howstuffworks.com/vpn.htm

    When using Windows 2000 and XP, my VPN was WiFiConsulting's http://hotspotvpn.com/, and it provided excellent protection. But I found it impossible for me to install on my new Windows7 sp1 64-bit laptop, because my requests for assistance got incomplete and/or generalized answers that weren't specific enough for a non-geek economist (me). So I gave up. I am now beginning to consider other VPN providers.

    I tried installing WiTopia VPN, but their system of emails (some didn't arrive) left me totally confused so I gave up my attempt to finish the installation. But from what I understood about the program, once it is installed it apparently is very well done. Congratulations to anyone who has been able to install it.

    Meanwhile, after doing a lot of my own wandering around the internet, and evaluating alternatives, I found three that I am considering:

    0) Express VPN (https://www.express-vpn.com/?a_aid=zpeti). There is a very enthusiastic review of it at ExpressVPN Review 2014 (https://www.bestvpn.com/blog/9405/expressvpn_review/).

    1) PrivateInternetAccess (https://www.privateinternetaccess.co.../how-it-works/). Two reviews are at (http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2414799,00.asp) and (http://freedomhacker.net/private-int...ss-vpn-review/).

    2) VikingVPN (https://vikingvpn.com/). A very favorable review is at (http://freedomhacker.net/vikingvpn-review/).

    Unfortunately, I got sidetracked with other projects --- which didn't require travel, and my home setup is all wired rather than wireless, so I think (but am not sure) that with a wired setup a VPN is not really useful --- and have not yet made a decision about which of the three VPNs to install.

    So I would appreciate any comments, suggestions, or other help in deciding which of those three (or any others) that would be useful for a 64-bit Win7sp1 laptop.

    R.N. (Roger) Folsom
    Last edited by RNFolsom; 2014-08-07 at 19:04.

  2. #2
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    From personal experience, I can recommend both PrivateInternet Access and Express VPN; I haven't tried Viking, but it seems expensive.

    PIA is the best value and works well for me, but Express has a more pleasing interface and some 'bells-and-whistles"

    Express offers a free trial and PIA is cheap enough to try for a month to help you find which best suits you.

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    RNFolsom (2014-08-09)

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    Regarding the usefulness of a VPN for wired access, it's probably the same as it is with wireless access, if you can trust the network that you are using and the wireless network uses WPA2. In either case, a VPN will add encryption to whatever you send through the network, so you need to make the call whether the added encryption and security is something you would like.

    If you have no specific reason to use a VPN (like connecting to a specific private network) or use an unsecured wireless network (unsecured in the sense that you don't know who owns it and whether they are eavesdropping your traffic), it's up to you to decide whether you want to use it or not, and face the potential disadvantages, which may also depend on the VPN provider you choose - I am thinking about throughput limitations, for example).
    Rui
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trev View Post
    From personal experience, I can recommend both PrivateInternet Access and Express VPN; I haven't tried Viking, but it seems expensive.

    PIA is the best value and works well for me, but Express has a more pleasing interface and some 'bells-and-whistles"

    Express offers a free trial and PIA is cheap enough to try for a month to help you find which best suits you.
    Trev:
    Thanks for your opinions. I probably will go with PIA because it works. Express works with an impressive set of choices, but since I am an ancient person (a friend points out that if this were 1914 instead of 2014, I would still be riding a horse despite those newfangled gadgets that were called cars) I don't need the multiple devices that Express has. My cellphone lives in the car and is used only for talking.

    I'll take another look at the Viking's cost.

    Thanks for your reply.

    R.N. (Roger) Folsom

  7. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by ruirib View Post
    Regarding the usefulness of a VPN for wired access, it's probably the same as it is with wireless access, if you can trust the network that you are using and the wireless network uses WPA2. In either case, a VPN will add encryption to whatever you send through the network, so you need to make the call whether the added encryption and security is something you would like.

    If you have no specific reason to use a VPN (like connecting to a specific private network) or use an unsecured wireless network (unsecured in the sense that you don't know who owns it and whether they are eavesdropping your traffic), it's up to you to decide whether you want to use it or not, and face the potential disadvantages, which may also depend on the VPN provider you choose - I am thinking about throughput limitations, for example).
    ruirib

    Thanks for clarifying the usefulness of VPN for wired access. I haven't been using it for my totally wired home office (nothing is Wireless), and haven't had any problems, but malware apparently is expanding so I have now decided to get VPN. And I do travel (although not frequently), and for that I should have wireless protection --- I can't count on a hotel's or airport's wireless setup to be safe.

    You mentioned "throughput limitations." If you have some way of testing a VPNs wireless throughput limitations (especially for the VPNs I am considering --- Express VPN, PrivateInternetAccess, and VikingVPN), or estimating its limitations, please let me know. Meanwhile I will do a Google search and see what I can find out.

    Thanks for your response.

    R.N. (Roger) Folsom

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    The limitations I was thinking are related to VPN providers and they depend on the provider. It's common to find bandwidth limitations, both in terms of rate and overall amount of data transferred in a given time period. Whether these will affect you will depend on the provider you choose and the what you will the use the VPN for.

    I think using wireless networks outside any location you consider safe (like your home or corporate networks) requires a VPN, even for such mundane things as reading email. So, in terms of limitations, I was more thinking of using one when your devices are in your wired network. I confess I don't see the requirement to use a VPN in such a scenario as bringing up many advantages. If your devices are safe, probably your wired network won't be the weakest link and the VPN use won't bring much added safety. If they aren't safe, the VPN won't bring any advantages either. Just MHO.
    Rui
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