Choosing VPN service

I know it’s not really a software related question, but it can be considered so related. So I have two question:

  1. Which VPN service are you using?
  2. How often are you using it? Is it always on VPN or just on public Wifi.

This is a controversial subject, so it would be great to mention your rational.

  1. My router (AVM Fritzbox 7590, for the European market as far as I know) has a built-in VPN service so that I do not need a dedicated external service. If I need to connect to my network from work or when I am on a trip I use this VPN. If I want to access the internet from untrusted networks I also use this VPN to accomplish that.

  2. I ALWAYS use the VPN from public Wifi. Usually, I do not use it when I am online via LTE. I do use the VPN on LTE though if I am doing sensitive stuff like banking so that I have a second layer of encryption.

In the past, I have tried TunnelBear and was fine with it.

Have used TunnelBear without any issues.

Changed about a year back to TigerVPN as got a deal, not had any problems.

Use in the house permanently on a second router for location based TV.

Out and about I use on public WiFi when I remember!

I use encrypt.me but only buy a 1-week subscription on the occasions where I’m traveling.

I tried to set up PiVPN/OpenVPN on the Raspberry Pi sitting in my basement but couldn’t get it to connect properly. Probably ought to give that another go.

I bought Private Internet Access for a year, and liked it so much then around renewal time I jumped on a 3-year, $90 deal (via StackSocial, I think).

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There are two distinctive ways to use VPN.

The first, the traditional use, is make your remote computer appear to be on your LAN. Thus “Virtual Private Network”. Commonly used by businesses to allow employees to access their work networks from home or on the road. Can also be used to access home network while on the road. This use is entirely noncontroversial.

All communication is encrypted, which is important for businesses. In addition all traffic can be routed through the work/home LAN, so all communication is protected from snooping when using a public Wifi, although snooping is still possible from the the work/home LAN going outward through the ISP. This gives the same public Wifi protection one gets with VPN services at essentially no cost.

Now days most mentions of VPN is for services which gives encrypted communication to the VPN service provider and, frankly, unknown protection beyond that. Potentially more convenient but more costly than running a home VPN server. Depending on your paranoia level you might want to use the VPN service at home if you suspect your ISP is watching your traffic (as some apparently do!). Note that it’s not stealth – the ISP will know you are using a VPN service.

Note that some internet services (such as HTTPS, ssh, most cloud services) are already safe. Email is about as safe as a postcard even if the connection to the server is encrypted.

That said, I don’t send anything of importance without an encrypted service, and I use a home VPN to access the home network when away. I personally don’t see a need for a VPN service.

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I mostly use VPN on my MacBook Air & I use the free tier of Hide.me & only on public / free WiFi.
The speed is decent for a free tier VPN service whether using the iOS app or the macOS network settings.

Mostly, though, I just use WiFi tethering from my iPhone since I have a 1Tb data plan included in my mobile subscription, so the 1 connection 2Gb data transfer is more than enough for my needs.

I’ve used Encrypt.me for many years, but recently I installed and started using Synology VPN Plus Server on my Synology Router, and it’s been working great. Only thing I miss is the automatic connection of encrypt.me, but I had been running into more networks not connecting with automatic turned on. I haven’t seen a degradation of network speed since switching either.

I use VPN in all public networks, I use it at work when accessing personal finance sites, or getting to my NAS at home. I’ve turned it on when using it to access personal finance on my phone as well. Finally, if I am away from on Apple pre-order day I always connect to VPN because I had an issue once with payment processing on a conference center network.

I definitely recommend a VPN and if you already have a Synology router or NAS then you can install either the VPN Plus server or VPN Server.

I use vyprvpn. They are the fastest I’ve found and work well with cable services abroad, as well as flawlessly in China. Be warned though, they do not allow torrenting or illegal downloads.

I have been using NordVPN for a few years without any trouble, but I recently switched to ProtonVPN by the folks who make ProtonMail. They have a much better business model (as in they don’t do the kind of affiliate marketing that dominates the VPN industry), and their overall mission makes them more trustworthy in my eyes.

WireGuard is intriguing if you want to dig into the weeds a little. Or another self-hosted option is Algo.

I have Nord on iphone, ipad and two macs and so far so good. I opened a proton mail account as soon as I found out about them and so my question is … what’s your verdict on ProtonVPN itself? (beyond the business model) fast? flexible? lots of options and settings?

I use my hotspot most of the times, so I didn’t see the need for a VPN yet. But from time to time my data is used up or whatever and I need to use a public wifi with my iPad. To be honest, I just went for it.
But I am alerted. As I really don’t know: What is the worst thing that could happen if a bad guy is on that Wifi? I would of course never do banking or something like this on a public wifi. I‘ll google some stuff and sync my Scrivener database via Dropbox. Can someone get my Dropbox password? What can they do?

I few years ago, I checked my email on a public network (in a cafe) and a hacker managed to get the password for my gmail. I’ve no idea how they achieved this.

They then used this to access my PayPal and take money from my bank. Thankfully my bank instantly refunded the stolen money, I was lucky.

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I have recently had a few occasions while using a paid wifi network I was unable to connect to my VPN.

Okay, so that’s really a worst case. Thanks for sharing. I‘ll have to look into a VPN. As I need it so rarely: Are there solutions without a subscription? Like one day passes or whatever?

ProtonVPN is my prefered service, in combination with ProtonMail, and finally I am running their iOS beta - no issue seen - missing only the option yet to disable the VPN on trusted WiFi points.

Passepartout (currently in beta) might help with that: https://passepartoutvpn.app

How do you set your phone to use this protection when you are at the “coffee shop?”

Many home routers support VPN.

Currertiy use Encript.me’s limited plan. Have used TunnelBear for simple coffee shop protection… dont fake my location.

With iOS’ “VPN on Demand” feature you can configure the VPN to only enable on non-trusted networks (like the coffee shop Wi-Fi), similar to what Encrypt.me does.

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I have a VPN profile set up on my iPhone. When I need to use the VPN I turn it on manually.

A more elegant solution would be to have it connect automatically using a custom profile (I guess that is the “VPN On Demand” solution that was mentioned above by @rob). But I have not tried that yet.

If anybody is interested: