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Need a Cheap VPN? What Kind? From Who? Let's Sort It!

VPNDo you need a VPN?

In 2021, probably.

A VPN (Virtual Private Network) creates a private, encrypted tunnel between your PC, tablet, or phone and an endpoint.

For example, let’s say you’re staying in a hotel in Anaheim, California, USA.  You connect to the hotel’s wifi, and then connect to a VPN in Los Angeles.  Once connected, all traffic between your device and the VPN is encrypted.  This has numerous benefits:

  1. Any weaknesses in wifi security are handled because you’re only transmitting already encrypted data over the network.
  2. Your IP is hidden.
  3. Your ISP can’t spy on what you’re doing, throttle your traffic based on what you’re doing, etc.
  4. If you want to appear as if you are in Los Angeles, this is one way to do it because you’ll appear to have the VPN’s IP.
  5. Some VPNs have integrated ad blocking, malicious site blocking, etc.
  6. If you live in a country more prone to, shall we say, proactive investigation, you may find the privacy benefits of avoiding Big Brother helpful.  Then again, if you’re using a VPN, it will be obvious so they may just come with a rubber hose.

Self-Hosted vs. VPN Service

A VPN is pretty easy to spin up on your own.  We have a tutorial on this.  You only need a small VPS – even a 128MB is more than plenty.  Obviously what you want is a lot of bandwidth.

But do you want to run your own VPN?

You do gain many of the benefits but there are drawbacks:

  • The providers’ network may not be optimized for this kind of activity, or the experience may be uneven.  The only way to know is to test.
  • Sometimes a 128MB or 512MB VPS will not have enough bandwidth, forcing you to buy a more expensive plan just to add bandwidth.
  • Since you’re always connecting to the same VPN endpoint, your privacy is reduced.  Instead of coming from your home ISP, now you’re always appearing on the Internet as your VPN’s IP.
  • There’s the usual security work, patching, VPS administration, etc.

VPN Services

An alternative is a VPN service.  Some of the benefits of these services include:

  • They’re cheap!  Cheap VPN services abound and are competitive with self-hosted.
  • They typically have many servers in each geography, which enhances privacy.  One night you’re appearing from this Chicago IP and a few hours later from that Minneapolis IP, etc.
  • If you travel, they likely have a VPN endpoint near you so no latency issues.
  • They’re handling all the admin work- you just connect and enjoy.

Any Recommendations?

Why, since you asked…yes!

ExpressVPN: They have 3,000+ servers in 160 locations in 94 countries – wow!  Apps for all the major platforms plus televisions, etc., and they unblock streaming services (Disney+, Hulu, HBO Max, BBC iPlayer, ITV, Sky Go and more).  As they put it, “Actually works with Netflix”.  Their interface supports 16 different languages and you can connect up to 5 devices concurrently.  And it’s a cheap VPN!  $6.67/month, billed as $99.95 for the first 15 months and every 12 months thereafter.  Less than $7/month!

As of this article, their Black Friday/Cyber Monday special is still live!

In the interest of full disclosure, LowEndBox earns a referral bonus for orders placed through links associated with this article.

3 Comments

  1. Vick:

    VPN EUA = Not Secure

    November 30, 2021 @ 9:23 pm | Reply
  2. Cobra NA:

    Trying dVPN service such as mysterium VPN instead of those centralized VPN providers.

    December 2, 2021 @ 12:41 am | Reply

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