What the heck is a VPN, and what is it good for? It’s a Virtual Private Network; a private, encrypted connection over public internet. It’s also often referred to as a tunnel, which is a pretty good description. They’re used by government and corporate employees when doing remote work. It allows them to securely connect to the corporate network just like if they were in their office. You can use it to keep strangers from eavesdropping on what you’re doing online, like paying bills, connecting to your bank, checking your email, etc.
VPNs are becoming very popular these days. Looking at a deal site I saw more than 20 offers for different VPN services offered. Here’s my take on 3 good ones.
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Encrypt.Me (was Cloak)
If you have a Mac or an iPod or iPhone, I really like the way encrypt.me “just works.”
Just need one occasionally?encrypt.me has Passes ($3.99/week, $9.99/month) which are perfect for trips, vacations, conferences, that sort of thing.
The have subscriptions ($9.99/month unlimited data, $99.99/year. Also a 5GB mini-plan for $2.99/month). I’ve used the Mini plan for a couple years now. I’m usually on my home or work WiFi, but I find that 5GB is handy to have for trips to the coffee shop, library, home-improvement store, weekend trips using hotel WiFi, the WiFi on trains, you name it.
Good support. Really simple, it turns on when you join WiFi you haven’t marked as secure. It can even block your browser from sending any information until the secured connection is established.
Pop up from your tunnel in any of 9 supported countries.
Runs on MacOS, iOS, Android, Windows, Kindle.
Free version with ads. Paid plans start at $11.95/month for unlimited data. Discounts if you sign up for 6 months for $19.99 ($3.33/month), 1 year for $29.95 ($2.50/month), or 2 years for $49.95 ($2.08/month). They offer a Lifetime option for $99.95.
Also allows you to pop out of your tunnel in 9 different countries.
Runs on MacOS, iOS, Windows, Android, linux, some SmartTVs, and several home routers.
Made by Golden Frog, a US company with all equipment located in Switzerland. They’ve been around since 1994 and are very big on security, freedom and privacy, doing lots of education and privacy support work with groups like the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). They even run their own DNS service for the VPNs to add another layer of privacy to your internet usage.
3-day free trial. [EDIT: they changed their plans and pricing a few days after we recorded our podcast. Here are the new plans and rates] Basic: $9.99/month or $5.00/month for annual billing, unlimited data on 3 connections. Premier: $12.95/month or $6.67/month annual billing, unlimited data, 5 connections and adds Chameleon, which scrambles the VPN data to disguise that you’re using a VPN.
Allows you to exit the tunnel in any of multiple cities in 66 countries. 66, that’s massive!
Links from the Show
Hotspot Shield – https://www.hotspotshield.com
VyperVPN – www.goldenfrog.com/vyprvpn