{Suppport} Want to Hide Yourself and Be Anonymous?

Discussion in 'Player Guides, Tips and Tricks' started by finch_rocks_1, Nov 14, 2015.

  1. Hey EMC,

    I am making this thread as over the last few years, Internet has not become that safe anymore.

    I Strongly Encourage Everyone to use a VPN to keep you safe, you never know who could be watching!

    You may know what a VPN, or Virtual Private Network, is; you probably don't use one. You really should be using a VPN, and even if you don't think so now, at some point in the future you may consider it as important as your internet connection.

    When we took at look at your five favorite VPN service providers, we noticed a few things. First, being the "best" is big business for VPN providers, and they'll fight dirty to be one of them. Second, there are so many VPN providers that it's difficult to choose a really good one. VPNs are not all created equally, and in this post, we're going to look at what a VPN is, why you want one, and how to pick the best one for you. Let's get started.

    What Is a VPN?

    Put simply, a Virtual Private Network, or VPN, is a group of computers (or discrete networks) networked together over a public network—namely, the internet. Businesses use VPNs to connect remote data centers, and individuals can use VPNs to get access to network resources when they're not physically on the same LAN (local area network), or as a method for securing and encrypting their communications when they're using an untrusted public network. Photo by Pavel Ignatov (Shutterstock).

    When you connect to a VPN, you usually launch a VPN client on your computer (or click a link on a special website), log in with your credentials, and your computer exchanges trusted keys with a far away server. Once both computers have verified each other as authentic, all of your internet communication is encrypted and secured from eavesdropping.

    The most important thing you need to know about a VPN: It secures your computer's internet connection to guarantee that all of the data you're sending and receiving is encrypted and secured from prying eyes.

    Whether the VPNs you're familiar with are the ones offered by your school or business to help you work or stay connected when you're traveling or the ones you pay to get you watch your favorite shows in another country as they air, they're all doing the same thing.

    Why You Need a VPN, or How You Can Benefit from Using One

    A VPN alone is just a way to bolster your security and access resources on a network you're not physically connected to. What you choose to do with a VPN is a different story. Usually, VPN users fall into a few separate categories:
    • The student/worker. This person has responsibilities to attend to, and uses a VPN provided by their school or company to access resources on their network when they're at home or traveling. In most cases, this person already has a free VPN service provided to them, so they're not exactly shopping around. Also, if they're worried about security, they can always fire up their VPN when using airport or cafe WI-Fi to ensure no one's snooping on their connection. Photo by Ed Yourdon.
    • The downloader. Whether they're downloading legally or illegally, this person doesn't want on some company's witch-hunt list just because they have a torrenting app installed on their computer. VPNs are the only way to stay safe when using something like BitTorrent—everything else is just a false sense of security. Better safe than trying to defend yourself in court or paying a massive fine for something you may or may not have even done, right?
    • The privacy minded and security advocate. Whether they're a in a strictly monitored environment or a completely free and open one, this person uses VPN services to keep their communications secure and encrypted and away from prying eyes whether they're at home or abroad. To them, unsecured connections mean someone's reading what you say.
    • The globetrotter. This person wants to watch the Olympics live as they happen, without dealing with their crummy local networks. They want to check out their favorite TV shows as they air instead of waiting for translations or re-broadcasts (or watch the versions aired in other countries,) listen to location-restricted streaming internet radio, or want to use a new web service or application that looks great but for some reason is limited to a specific country or region.
    • Some combination of the above. Odds are, even if you're not one of these people more often than not, you're some mix of them depending on what you're doing. In all of these cases, a VPN service can be helpful, whether it's just a matter of protecting yourself when you're out and about, whether you handle sensitive data for your job and don't want to get fired, or you're just covering your own ass from the MPAA.
    Even if none of the above really sound right to you, you can still benefit from using a VPN. You should definitely use one when you travel or work on an untrusted network (read: a network you don't own, manage, or trust who manages.) That means opening your laptop at the coffee shop and logging in to Facebook or using your phone's Wi-Fi to check your email at the airport can all potentially put you at risk.
  2. Which VPNs Are The Best?

    When we ran our recent Hive Five on VPN service providers, we heard from VPN providers begging to be included, angry CEOs who claimed their company was maliciously left out, and others accusing some of the contenders of illegal or unethical behavior. We took at look at the poll and the claims, and while there's no definitive proof the poll was gamed, we decided to come up with our own top five, based on our own research rather than reader feedback, that are great whether you're the privacy advocate, the student, or the downloader.

    Private Internet Access

    Supports: Windows, OS X, Linux, iOS, Android
    Protocols: SSL, PPTP, IPSec, and L2TP. You can also configure Private Internet Access to work on your DD-WRT or Tomato router (via SSL/OpenVPN) for constant security.
    Home Country: United States, and has exit servers in the US, Canada, the UK, Switzerland, Romania, and the Netherlands.
    Logging Policies: The service keeps no logs of your activity whatsoever (in fact, the only things they do keep are your email address and payment information,) uses shared IPs, and has committed to keeping your data private. Price: Pricing starts at $7/mo to $40/yr, and you can read more about their plans and pricing here.


    Supports: Windows, OS X, iOS
    Protocols: SSL, PPTP.
    Home Country: United States, with exit servers in the US, The Netherlands, Singapore, and the UK.
    Logging Policies: proXPN keeps minimal logs of your activity. proXPN collects your email address, payment information (if you're a premium user,) bandwidth usage, connection duration, and login/logout times. They've committed to only keeping those logs for 14 days or less, and promise to never share their logs with anyone, period.
    Price: proXPN has a free plan, which limits your transfer speeds to 300kpbs and restricts you to one exit location (Miami) in the United States. Premium accounts unlock support for PPTP (if you want to connect a mobile device or a router,) remove the transfer cap, and allows you to choose from any of the company's other exit locations. Premium plans start at $10/mo, and you can read more about their pricing and plans here.


    Supports: Windows, OS X, Linux, iOS, Android
    Protocols: SSL (they often refer to it as OpenVPN), PPTP, and full SSH tunneling.
    Home Country: Hungary, with exit servers in Hungary.
    Logging Policies: The service doesn't log your connection aside from bandwidth usage to compare against your quota, and your payment details. They also are committed to your privacy, and specifically say they won't surrender their data without a Hungarian court order.
    Price: Free TorVPN users are limited to 1GB/mo downloaded before they're cut off, and Premium accounts start at 5 EUR/mo ($7mo) for 5GB/mo and go up to 30 EUR/mo ($38/mo) for 100GB. Keep in mind they have a no-refunds policy, and that even though you ride the Tor network, they're a separate entity from the Tor Project. You can read more about their pricing and plans here.


    Supports: Windows, OS X, Linux, and iOS and Android via built-in VPN
    Protocols: SSL (OpenVPN), PPTP, and L2TP, (with 256 bit security)
    Home Country: Panama, with exit servers in The Netherlands, Romania, Ukraine and Panama.
    Logging Policies: TorGuard wholeheartedly supports privacy, so you can feel a bit more secure that your connection is secure and anonymous. They purge their logs daily, and only keep payment information and registration info. They don't even keep login/logout times.
    Price: Depending on whether you're the privacy advocate, the downloader, or a combination of the two, TorGuard offers plans specifically for anonymity (starting at $6/mo), for torrenting (starting at $5/mo), or for overall VPN services ($10/mo). You can read more about TorGuard's pricing and plans here.


    Supports: Windows, OS X, Linux, iOS, Android, webOS, Chromebooks.
    Protocols: SSL, PPTP, IPSec, and L2TP (with 256 bit security)
    Home Country: United States, with exit servers in 10 US cities, and countries in Latin and South America, Asia, Australia, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East—way too many to list here.
    Logging Policies: WiTopia does not log information that can be attributable to individual users, purges logs weekly, and only saves registration information and payment details when you sign up.
    Price: $50/yr to $70/yr depending on the level of encryption and protocols you need. They also sell a VPN router you can take with you when you travel. You can read more about WiTopia's pricing and plans here.
    Alternatively, Roll Your Own VPN

    We've shown you how to roll your own VPN using Hamachi, and even how to set up Privoxy to secure your web browsing once you have your personal VPN set up. Hamachi isn't the only option: you can also download and configure OpenVPN (a free SSL VPN) on your own home server,, or if you have a router that supports it, enable OpenVPN on your home router so you can connect back to it when you're abroad. Combined with Privoxy, you get the privacy and anonymity benefits of a VPN without spending a dime.

    Keliris likes this.
  3. CyberGhost is free, however adds quite a bit of latency.
  4. yea, but free ones logs you and sells that to Ad's for Profit.
    xHaro_Der likes this.
  5. Just a word of warning, if you use anything based on Tor, you'll be on government watch lists.
    ShelLuser and finch_rocks_1 like this.
  6. This is true. They do at least discard personal information from it so your browsing data is anonymous, they just collect your browsing data. That's no substitute from true anonymity, but at least your personal stuff isn't attached to it. Semi defeats the purpose of a VPN, however if you don't mind the things you browse to be submitted anonymously it's not much of an issue. Latency isn't too big of a deal for websites but it'll be horrible for gaming. Obviously getting a premium VPN is much better such as any of the ones you listed. However if you can't afford one then it's an option. Not a very good one but it's an option.
  7. Correct,

    I myself use PIA, Love it and always use it.
  8. I believe that's only if its based off of the Tor Project. The Tor Project is the main browser used to access the Tor protocols for (very) illegal stuff. I think the Tor network itself though like this VPN is wouldn't be a problem though since the traffic will just get rerouted back and doesn't actually access the protocol. I could be wrong though.

    EDIT - I think I'm wrong then.
  9. Might want to remove those "see picture or credits to pictures" but I agree with everything stated, a vpn is good.
  10. Nice read but there's one section which isn't fully correct:

    That part could be a little bit misleading because although the data to and from the VPN will be encrypted, that does not give you any guarantees for data which travels beyond the VPN. For example: if you would use a VPN to connect to the EMC website from a remote location then the data would travel from your computer to the VPN (this part is encrypted) but then continues from the VPN to the EMC website. And that part won't be encrypted.

    The reason I'm mentioning this is because many VPN's make it seem as if things will be "more secure" and "more safe" because "a VPN uses encryption"while totally ignoring whatever happens when you're using the VPN as a mere relay.

    Simply put: if you're sitting at home and your Internet connection is provided by an ISP then it won't make too much difference where data security is concerned if you're using a VPN or not. The encryption part is marketing at best because it does not provide extra "Internet security". What the VPN does do is hide your real location and that can be a pro. For example: if you're accessing "weird" websites then they won't be able to obtain your IP address, thus they can't attack your computer directly (which is normally hard anyway, especially if you're using an Internet router).

    Of course... Most attacks aren't done directly in the first place anyway but instead by trying to affect your browser (think malware) or tricking you into running software. And a VPN obviously can't protect against that part either.