Private Internet Access: What is a VPN?

What is a VPN?

A Virtual Private Network – or VPN – allows you to send and receive data via the internet using a public network as if you were connected to a private network. In other words, it is a system that allow you to connect to a public network (a hotspot, for example) but acts as if you were connected to your company’s host computer. This makes it difficult to be located and greatly improves the security of your connection. But let’s not get too technical. Below you’ll find the principal uses of a VPN:

  • Access to services that are only available in some countries, principally audiovisual content (such as television shows, series or podcasts). For example, if you want to watch your favorite programs on Netflix or Hulu, but you are not in the United States, you can’t. Unless you use a VPN to access those website from a US server!
  • To send sensitive data (such as banking information) via an encrypted connection. Many people use these systems to protect their banking and personal information from being robbed by third parties when connected to public networks, and/or to maintain anonymity.
  • To create your own VPN and allow your employees to access your company’s private network, including if they are not physically connected to it.

Read more

Astrill VPN Review

Astrill VPN was founded in 2009 in Seychelles and has strived to achieve a global mark for itself in the recent years in China. It has 323 servers in 53 countries ideal for unblocking restricted sites. It provides 3 types of services i.e. Personal VPNs, VPN routers, and solutions in the form of business VPN. It provides both Windows Client software as well as Android one. The Windows client has different encryption choices along with IPv6 leak protection, a kill switch feature, and DNS leak protection among many. This signifies excellent quality and pushes Astrill to be top notch VPN.

The windows client used most of the settings as the default option. The website is quite simple, easy to navigate, and self-explanatory for first time users. Astrill has client software for all the popular platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS.

Astrill also has a knowledge-base on its website through which you can solve many queries. A quick search helps you get access to your solution. Their customer support is provided via a ticket system, emails and a 24/7 live chat systems.

Features

  1. Encryption protocols: Astrill VPN provides a wide range of encryption protocols like OpenVPN, OpenWeb, L2TP, PPTP, Cisco IPSec, StealthVPN, SSTP and IKEv2.
  2. It has mainly four various types of encryption protocols which are as below:

    • PPTP provides a 128 bit basic encryption. It has got the fastest speed among all as the encryption level is low and the setting it up is an easy task. But it is not much secure as other encryptions because it uses low level of encryption. This also makes the connection sometimes unstable.
    • L2TP provides 256 bit encryption and checks for data integrity, but the connection speed is little low due to additional security. It has the ability to bypass the restrictions on various networks. As it has high level of encryption sometimes it results into low speed connection.
    • OpenVPN provides a 256 bit encryption which is highly secure and uses digital certificates for authenticating data. It suits to needs of every network like mobile, wired or WLAN providing most stable connection across all. As it has got a high speed and stable connection it can bypass almost every firewall and networks.
    • Astrill offers a lot of cipher options to choose from such as: Blowfish 128-bit, AES 128-bit, CAST 128-bit and Camellia 128-bit.
  3. Astrill helps a user to have 2 simultaneous connections. So, you can use this VPN service only for desktop and mobile in standard plan keeping in mind that maximum it can create 2 connections simultaneously for you. You can also get up to 5 connections in Home Plan with an additional $5 a month.
  4. It covers a total of 53 countries across the world having a total of 323 servers. Moreover; you can get access to both East and West coast of United States, with a server count of 27 servers in the US.
  5. It provides a total of 3000+ different IP addresses from 53 different countries many with P2P support to which you can connect.
  6. It allows unlimited server switches and you can easily switch from one server to another server instantly any number of times.
  7. Astrill can be configured on different platforms such as Windows, Mac, and Linux. In addition to desktop application, it also provides mobile app for Android and iOS devices.
  8. They have an extensive 24/7 customer support team. They work round the corner offering ticketing system to its users. You can also solve your queries through live chat. Astrill has a knowledge base called as Astrill Wiki on its website. It has answers to many common problems which users can quickly search in order to get answers. It also has a support forum which can be used to post questions and get answers from the community experts.
  9. It offers a 7-day trial period to try out its services for free. Well, that’s a plus point which cannot be missed. But now, before signing up you can have a look at its services and another few days to decide whether you need it or not.
  10. Special features: It provides an important feature of kill switch and DNS Leak Protection to its Windows client. It also provides private IP addresses to the users.
  11. Company ubicated under which jurisdiction: Astrill is based in the Seychelles, East Africa which means that the firm isn’t under the jurisdiction of any neighboring governments which enhances its privacy features.

Prices and Plans

In comparison to other VPN service providers, Astrill is a little expensive.

Overall they offer four different pricing plans to their customers:

Firstly, a 3 month plan costing you $9.98 per month.

Secondly, a 6 month plan costing you $6.66 per month.

Then there are annual and bi-annual subscriptions costing you $5.83 and $7.06 per month.

The biggest drawback of their pricing plan is absence of any monthly plan. They offer you minimum purchase of 3 months which costs you $9.98 per month. If you choose a yearly subscription you can avail a price of $5.83 per month.

Moreover, there is no free trial period unless you adamantly ask the customer support for it. Also, their refund policy is little bit ambiguous and they follow their own rules for the same without following any pre defined criteria.

Though all pricing plans are fairly well except one loophole that they don’t offer a monthly plan. This is a big no –no for many prospective customers. So, atleast you have to choose a minimum period of 3 months for using its services.

If you want to use it for a long period of time then opt for a yearly plan which also gives you a special offer of add on i.e. Stealth VPN for PC/Mac/Linux. Moreover, payment options are diverse and easy. They accept various payment options such as Credit card, Debit card, Bit coin, Union Pay, MasterCard, Alipay, PayPal etc.

Pros

  1. User-friendly interface with just enough features available: They offer a really good interface which eases the usage of Astrill for the customers. It has a very simple design with buttons placed at perfect places for the users so that they don’t have to spend the time looking for buttons they want to use.
  2. Support for all major encryption protocols: It supports major encryption protocols including OpenVPN, OpenWeb, L2TP, PPTP, Cisco IPSec, StealthVPN, SSTP and IKEv2. This makes it a highly secured VPN and at the same time does not compromise the security. Moreover, it offers customization options like type of encryption protocol, IPv6 leak protection, Kill switch, and DNS security.
  3. Good amount of payment options available: They offer numerous payment options like Credit card, Debit card, PayPal, Bit coin, Union Pay, MasterCard, Alipay etc.
  4. Excellent customer support: They have well structured FAQ page and manual. They have an extensive 24/7 customer support team. They offer ticketing systems to its users, answer queries through live chat option. They offer excellent support tools to solve the queries of their users.
  5. Good browsing and torrent download speeds: The speed tests were really satisfactory. They were far better while using OpenWeb technology compared to OpenVPN usage.

Cons

  1. High price: Though the prices for the service offered by Astrill are fair, but they amount to an exorbitant amount if you choose some extra services. Overall, they charge quite high price compared to many of their counterparts.
  2. No monthly plan: They don’t offer any monthly plan which is really a negative point if you are first time user and want to check their services. A minimum period of 3 months is necessary to use its services and there is no free trial available unless you adamantly request it from customer support
  3. Only 2 simultaneous connections: The biggest disadvantage of using Astrill is that it you can use only desktop/laptop along with a mobile connection. So, this limits its usage to only 2 connections while many other service providers provide upto 5 connections. More simultaneous connections require a family or business plan which is charged extra.
  4. Privacy policy: They don’t offer a transparent approach while seeking information related to personal data. Their support team generally tries to avoid this question. They don’t even provide security details about the proprietary VPN protocols.

Recommended Uses

Astrill software is very popular in China as it bypasses its geographical restrictions and help users to access blocked sites such as Netflix and Hulu easily.

Along with multiple protocol support it also offers two unique features like StealthVPN and OpenWeb technology. StealthVPN works in countries like China and UAE which offer strong censorship. But, you have to pay an extra amount of $2 per month for it or as a free service in case of an annual plan.

It also has other add-ons like Crypto Plus and VIP which help you achieve better speed and latency with network congestions in country like China. It has one big disadvantage as it provide only 2 simultaneous connections which can be increased only by shifting to Home Plan from the Basic Plan.

It supports all major operating systems and has got a dedicated iOS and Android app available for its customers. They also support routers which run DD-WRT firmware. Its rate is competitive considering the fact that it supports strong encryption protocols which makes it very secure and reliable all over the world.

The customer support is outstanding as they have a well maintained customer support and a FAQ section. You can contact them via live chat, ticketing system, support forum, email and phone call. They are available 24*7 for support.

Overall, it is an expensive VPN but as far as unlocking censored sites in countries like China, it is committed to fulfill its service satisfactorily.Astrill VPN was founded in 2009 in Seychelles and has strived to achieve a global mark for itself in the recent years in China. It has 323 servers in 53 countries ideal for unblocking restricted sites. It provides 3 types of services i.e. Personal VPNs, VPN routers, and solutions in the form of business VPN. It provides both Windows Client software as well as Android one. The Windows client has different encryption choices along with IPv6 leak protection, a kill switch feature, and DNS leak protection among many. This signifies excellent quality and pushes Astrill to be top notch VPN.

The windows client used most of the settings as the default option. The website is quite simple, easy to navigate, and self-explanatory for first time users. Astrill has client software for all the popular platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS.

Astrill also has a knowledge-base on its website through which you can solve many queries. A quick search helps you get access to your solution. Their customer support is provided via a ticket system, emails and a 24/7 live chat systems.

TorGuard VPN Review

TorGuard presents itself as one of the robust VPN providers. It boasts of more than 20,000 IP addresses, making sure that your IP address and your online security are given maximum protection. TorGuard has a well refined and engineered Stealth connections, which are well accustomed to by-pass Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) firewalls and thus ensure an Invisible VPN accessibility. This VPN connection also features an increased validation of encrypted protocols making it one of the most secured VPN experience amidst its customers. It also offers a Smart DNS, encrypted email and, of course, log-free browsing.
Read more

VPN Indonesia: Surf the net secure and without restrictions

With fourth largest population in the world 41% people use VPN in Indonesia to access restricted information. Although Indonesian government holds a progressive approach towards use of internet in economic development it is very cautious over information filtering and blocking of offensive content. In this regard cyber laws are great savior.

Cyber laws help in preventing information leakage and providing safe transactions. It strictly blocks anti-Islamic and pornographic content. To achieve this objective, it has set up an extensive regulatory and legal framework and linked up with ISPs and cafes. VPN is a safeguard in this matter.

Why I need a VPN in Indonesia?

VPN is the software which will assign you a different virtual IP address which will protect your identity. It works by making a layer of protection by encrypting your data and assigning you an IP address of different geographical region.

Read more

How to Browse the Web Anonymously: Protect your Privacy

In today’s world of internet where everyone’s life is virtually in the open, anonymity and privacy have become one of the major concerns. One never knows when one’s activities are being tracked on the web. There are many reasons behind your choice of browsing the web anonymously, but usually, the main reason is because you want to keep your privacy safe.

Be it the local internet cafe, or using someone else’s computer, browsing the web anonymously has hence become a huge hassle. If you want to do some research and you don’t want other people to find out about it because at the end, it’s a matter of confidentiality and safety. When we mention privacy, it includes a big range of things that you might want to hide, but basically, you want to hide from other people you don’t know or from the web itself.

So here are some of the tricks using which you can easily browse the web without the fear of being identified or tracked because scam messages and hackers are everywhere, and probably, you don’t want to be hacked or get a virus from the web.

Read more

VPN Vietnam: Access the net secure and without restrictions

Whenever it comes to the internet security, the first thing comes in mind is cyber laws, the laws imposed and facilitated by the government of a particular nation, in this case Vietnam. This cyber laws plays an important role in preventing information leaks, security in information exchanging and providing safe transactions. As government plays an important role here so it also can surpass the some internet rights in the name of the cyber laws. Many of the social sites are blocked in Vietnam and also the government is keeping a trace over the emails. The government also put some bloggers behind the bars on expressing their views on political and religious agendas.

Also, according to a recent report of Kaspersky, a software firm, Vietnam is at high risk of cyber attacks

Now the question arises, what if you are in Vietnam and working on a very important and sensitive project, in which the accessibility of blocked site is essential and at the same time you have to deal with the security concerns?
Well the answers to all your concerns is VPN (Virtual Private Network)
Read more

Review of PureVPN

purevpn reviewPureVPN uses a comprehensive approach of data encryption over internet providing freedom without compromising on data security and privacy of user. You are left with no worries about what you are doing online or who is keeping a check of your data activity. PureVPN protects your online browsing activities and keeps your identity anonymous as it encrypts the transmitted data and then re-routes it from its own remote servers. Thus, it helps you to access restricted websites from any location without the information getting intercepted and keeping your network location completely hidden.

PureVPN leaves a mark for itself with great speed, comprehensive installation and guidelines of its software. Despite some loopholes like absence of “Zero Logging” it caters the needs of majority of its users. You can get fastest streaming over all devices with excellent placing of servers worldwide. You can extend your business by securing digital media via hidden IPs and encrypting the communication channel used by the personnel. It has a wide global network coverage having 500 VPN servers which are located in 141 countries.

PureVPN Features

Read more

Best VPN for China

What is a VPN and why do I need one in China

VPN or Virtual private network is a technology to use publicly available networks in a secured and safe environment provided by a private network. A VPN transmits your encrypted data through remote servers making it appear as if you are logging from that location only and thus keeps your total log activity and your IP identity confidential as well as private.

A person travelling to China faces censorship issues and anything which is not approved by Chinese government is blocked by the Great Firewall.

Near about 20,000 sites are blocked by Chinese government which are world’s top discussed sites. Unavailability of direct peering and high peer costs leads to slower speeds and low bandwidth for internet connection. Tampering with speed and network congestions are other associated bottlenecks for people around China. By blocking sites like Google, Facebook, and Twitter they are promoting their mainland sites and blocking any sort of external touch with the world.

Read more

Types of VPN Encryption Protocols

Encryption Protocols

A VPN provides a way for data transmission over internet through a public or shared network in such a way that the computing device seems to be actually connected to a private network. This is achieved by creating virtual tunneling protocols, dedicated connections, or encrypting the traffic. As a user you can enjoy many benefits of VPN such as managing network, providing security and hiding your identity on any network.

A VPN relies on encryption of data for safely and securely achieving the wireless transactions performed by a user. This can be done by encrypting the transmitted data at one end of the tunnel and then decrypting it at other end of the tunnel. This is where encryption protocols comes handy as only pair of keys can’t be used for a completely secured encryption.

If a user is outside office and he wants to access office intranet then the employee can securely access it using virtual private network. Even if an organization faces issues of having offices in various countries, then the distance can be reduced giving rise to a cohesive and coordinated network. This solves many issues faced due to remote locations. Any individual making wireless transactions can safely and securely achieve it through VPNs. Users can circumvent censorship, prohibited accesses to particular sites and many geographically restricted sites. In case of identity protection and location hideout connection using proxy servers can really help.

PTTP

The Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP) is one of the encryption protocols used for implementing virtual private networks. Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol was founded by Microsoft using the idea of VPN over dialup networks. It has been a standard protocol for internal business since a long time. PPTP uses TCP and GRE tunnels to allow PPP packets to pass through them.
Read more

Review of Hide My Ass VPN

hide my ass vpnA VPN provides a secured network connection on the internet for connecting to a private network through a public network for transmitting and receiving data. The private network could be any network like an organization’s internal network, Bank websites and Government agency portals. A VPN protects your online browsing activities and keeps your identity anonymous as it encrypts the transmitted data and then re-routes it from its own remote servers. Thus, it helps you to access restricted websites from any location without the information getting intercepted and keeping your network location completely hidden.

VPN is designed in such a way that it acts as a secure and encrypted tunnel for transmitting data. The information gets transmitted through encrypted tunnel and nobody else can intercept or read the information in between. Also, the encryption mechanism makes sure that only the authorized user is able to access the transmitted information over the network. A VPN comes handy when you are accessing internet through public Wi-Fi hotspots as the wireless connection is not secure enough and can lead to information being compromised over the internet. Also, VPN would help you to access blocked websites over public Wi-Fi connection and prevent data theft.

HideMyAss VPN is a go to ready tool for anyone who wants to surf the web freely, privately, securely and with no restrictions. It brings you an important privacy tool which has high grade encryption as that of banks, business and government organizations. It has a wide global network coverage having 935 VPN servers which are located in 352 locations across 221 countries. It gives access to more than 120000 IP addresses.
Read more

What is a proxy? All you need to know about using a Proxy

What is a Proxy?

Proxy is basically a purposeful computer which serves as an intermediary hub between the endpoint device, like a computer or laptop, and the server which is being used to request a service from the user. All the internet requests gets processed through proxy servers. By letting the user to connect via one of these servers, the host computer can send the user requests to proxy server which in turn processes the request and finally returns the required result to the user which he wanted. So, in this manner proxy is actually serving as an intermediate between the user machine and all the remaining computers over the internet. These servers are generally located at user’s own system, or between destination servers on the internet and user’s system.

Proxy server remains invisible to the user. All requests sent over internet and their returned responses to the user appears to be associated with addressed Internet server. A proxy can exist as a firewall server on the same machine or it can be configured on an entirely different server, which in turn can forward the requests via firewall.

Read more