A VPN (Virtual Private Network) is a technology that creates a safe and encrypted connection over a less secure network, such as the internet. VPN technology was developed as a way to allow remote users and branch offices to securely access corporate applications and other resources. Nowadays VPNs are widely used to encrypt and secure an otherwise insecure connection (such as a public wifi access point – an eavesdropper can see everything you do over McDonalds’s wifi if it isn’t encrypted!); some people use VPN service to access restricted online service – eg if you live in the UK you won’t be able to use the US Netflix service as that is geographically restricted to users in the USA. But if you use a VPN server based in the USA, Netflix won’t be able to tell that you’re not in the USA yourself – all Netflix can see is that your traffic is coming and going from that US-based server. This feature also lends some anonymity to the internet connection, which is another reason some people use a VPN.
And it’s not just geographical restrictions that VPN use can help you circumvent: some work and school networks stop users accessing some sites like Youtube for instance (your employer may want you to work rather than look at cat videos) or hacker sites (schools tend to block sites with crime-related content, and as so many people associate hacking with crime, anything containing the word “hacker” gets banned). So, the local network won’t let you view what you want? Use a VPN, and all the local net can see is data going to/coming from the VPN server. It knows nothing about goddamn cat memes or how to crack Facebook accounts!
For the past few years I have been using ibVPN (“Invisible Browsing”), run by Romanian-based service provider Amplusnet. It’s not the fastest service out there, but it is competitively-priced and has global availability. ibVPN boasts of more than 180 servers in 47 countries across the globe. And there are 4 different service plans:
- Ultimate, at $4.83 per month – “Great for strong privacy and security, heavy streaming, unblocking restricted websites, torrents & p2p activity. The most complete package”
- Standard, at $3.08 per month – “Great for regular usage, streaming, unblocking restricted websites, privacy protection. Includes access to VPN and Extensions. No SmartDNS.”
- Torrent, also $3.08 per month – “Special package for those looking to protect their identity while downloading torrents. Privacy protection. No SmartDNS or Proxy.”
- IBDNS/SmartDNS, also $3.08 per month – “Special package designed for unblocking restricted websitesand heavy streaming. Includes SmartDNS and access to browser extensions. No VPN.”
Their All-In-One client software/apps is available for Windows, Apple MacOS and iOS, and Android devices, and the services are also compatible with Linux, most routers, smart TVs and gaming consoles. The interface is clean and efficient (see below).
If you’re thinking of going with ibVPN but want to try before you buy, they offer a 6 hour free trial period. And they have a 15 day money back guarantee if you’re not satisfied by the service. This shows they have confidence in the quality of their product.
The speed of some servers/connections is not always great, but it is rarely appalling and the price is excellent. All in all, a good service – I’ve been using it for some years now, which is the greatest praise any product could get – if I keep paying for something it’s because it’s the best!! 😉