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The Down and Dirty Guide to Personal VPNs

The Down and Dirty Guide to Personal VPNs

Security is one of the more overlooked things in home networks. With all the NSA buzz we now know thanks to the Snowden articles, privacy is jumping on the home network insecurity train. Sometimes there are sketchy wifi that you have no clue if it might be monitored (FaceNiff anyone?). ISP's don't like torrent traffic at all, and will love nothing more than to throttle your bandwidth to fucking dial-up speeds for getting the new Game of Thrones episode. Get lubed up for the RIAA to send you a subpena for the new Drake album. You downloaded it didn't you. Absolutely disgusting. Anyways, if any of these hit a nerve, then you may want a little layer of protection, then a VPN may be right up your alley. What we'll go into in this very basic guide is what they are, why you would use them, and how to get one.


VPN or Virtual Private Network were created for people outside of a business network to be able to connect from anywhere outside the network (like from home or away from the office) securely. For example- A guy is on vacation in Hawaii and his asshole boss is spamming his phone, inbox, and texts needing something updated. Guy in Hawaii could be a dick and order his fifth Mai Thai, but decides to fire up his laptop in the hotel room and crank out five minutes of work buzzed so he can hurry back to boring the cute bartender with how interesting he is. He can't really connect to his office computer from this network, so the first thing he does is connect to the VPN. The VPN securely connects him to the work network like he is right at the office, so he updates the file, gives his boss the heads up, then disconnects the VPN. Now he can go back to failing miserably at impressing the bartender, gets drunk off of cute cocktails, and returns to his laptop for an evening of even sadder midget pornography while secretly wishing he was at dead.


“Why the fuck do I want to connect to work? It's Saturday, asshole.”

Connecting to a VPN is essentially creating a secure and encrypted (What you bitches got on my L2PT/IPSec protocols?) connection to another network. It creates this with a “tunneling” protocol that creates that connection. Now that you are connected to the remote network, the rest of the internet will only see the traffic from the VPN and not your connection since it is encrypted. Long story short, your internet address becomes the VPN and not where your computer is physically at. The most important aspect of this is now your ISP doesn't know what the fuck you are doing other than your IP address is now connected to Romania and the bandwidth you are using.

“It's Saturday, asshole. Get to the point.”

Okay. Okay. If your ISP throttles your traffic due to torrents or Netflix, it is no longer a problem. If you want the latest Drake album, FUCK YOU THE KING OF ROMANIA DOES WHAT HE WANTS. THE KING OF ROMANIA DEMANDS DRAKE'S NEW ALBUM. You're stuck in a hotel and the wifi security is WEP and the password is 12345. Shit. FUCK YOU WEAK ASS SECURITY. THE KING OF ROMANIA HAS ENCRYPTION. FUCK YOU. I GOOGLE FART PORN WHENEVER I WANT. Need to bypass region locked content? FUCK YOU THE KING OF ROMANIA WATCHES ALL THE CANADIAN SHOWS.

The King of Romania is fucking weird.

Getting a VPN service is simple and easy to setup due to many companies having their own install packaging configuring it for you. Picking one is a little more difficult as you are putting a lot of trust in a company for keeping you safe. While there are free services available, you get what you pay for and a free service may not have an incentive to protect you as much as a paid one. They are pretty cheap though and well worth the cost. Here are three of the best we recommend.

Private Internet Access- ($6.95 / month or $39.95 / year)- This is one of the best and have been personally using this for over a year. This has a ton of networks that you can connect to, extremely easy setup, and provides ways for you to pay anonymously for the ultra paranoid. Private Internet Access also claims that there are no connection logs and no monitoring of sessions.

BTGuard- ($9.95 / month)- This is a VPN service that specializes in torrent trafficing. They also claim that they don't use log files and accept anonymous payment. They are based in Canada.

TorGuard- ($5.95 / month or $46.95 / year)- They offer a slew of features with instant setup on Windows/ Mac/ and Linux. TorGuard claims they don't store IP addresses on any of their server. Clients use a shared IP configuration making it almost impossible to single our a user.



Writer's note-

Under no circumstances should you consider this a catch all to security. Always have a solid anti-virus software (Avast, Malwarebytes), don't download sketchy files or go to sketchy websites, and just use common-sense on the internet. That being said, using VPN's goes a long way to protecting yourself. I glossed over free options, but are not necessarily bad if you are strapped for cash. Just do you research when picking one out. I also didn't mention Tor which really does deserve it's own article. For those that want to completely stay off the grid and need anonymity, consider picking up the Live CD Tails where you can pop it into the computer and have it automatically configured with privacy and security in mind.