VPN for someone w/minimal IT skills?
September 29, 2012 5:06 AM   Subscribe

Secure VPN for a novice?

Hivemind: I'm looking for - and willing to pay a modest amount to use - a secure, relatively idiot-proof VPN. What do you recommend?

NOTE: I have access to riseup.net's, but so far haven't been able to configure it correctly (opening the Open VPN GUI doesn't yield a login prompt, and once the GUI is open, there is no way to shut it down short of removing the program.) Suggestions RE: this are welcome, too.
posted by ryanshepard to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
I used IPVanish during the Olympics. It seemed pretty idiot proof to me - but then I'm a nerd.
posted by COD at 5:27 AM on September 29, 2012

Best answer: Lifehacker recently did an article with some recommendations 'Why You Should Start Using a VPN (and How to Choose the Best One for Your Needs)' and a while back Torrentfreak did a roundup of 'Which VPN Providers Really Take Anonymity Seriously?'
posted by Z303 at 6:27 AM on September 29, 2012 [2 favorites]

I really like Spotflux - it's free, fast, and has no ads. It seemed a little too good to be true at first, but I've been using it for several months with no problems.
posted by coraline at 9:01 AM on September 29, 2012 [2 favorites]

I went with the TunnelBear also during the Olympics and am now addicted to British television. You can download a free lite version of the Bear, or pay summat like $50 a year which I did. Definitely worth doing, whichever one you go with.
posted by henry scobie at 3:23 PM on September 29, 2012

What do you mean by "secure"? What are you defending against?
posted by hattifattener at 4:01 PM on September 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

Thank you coraline. That is an awesome little piece of software. Works great on my Win7 netbook. And now I can watch Project Runway again (thank you IP dependent sites /sarcasm).
posted by kathrynm at 6:11 PM on September 29, 2012

Response by poster: What do you mean by "secure"? What are you defending against?

To clarify: honest about not keeping logs, high-quality encryption.
posted by ryanshepard at 6:57 PM on September 29, 2012

Best answer: Some great suggestions here. I'd only like to add: If anonymity is a top concern, the Tor Project could also be something worth looking into. It has become a go-to technology for Chinese internet users when they need to get around their government's firewall safely. While communication is encrypted, Tor does differ from a VPN as the endpoint client's location could vary greately (eg. you could get served Google pages in Russian for example, if the last client in the chain is located in Russia).

VPNs on the other hand will commonly be limited to fewer endpoints that are owned by the company you're dealing with. So making sure they're respecting your privacy is a good concern to have. Regardless of their privacy claims, they can (and sometimes do) get subpoenaed for investigations regarding illegal activities (normally the more severe crimes, so probably not something to worry about if just downloading music or movies). Ideally however, what you want to look for are good free VPN services, or ones that have other payment methods than credit card. One I found that is free and looks good is ProXPN. They keep user identifiable information for a maximum of 14-days in the event of a subpoena. Which is shorter than most. Many VPNs operating within the U.S. will be required to do this. But even if the idea of logging is still a concern, this thread on torrentfreaks might be worth a good read. It has excerps of privacy policies from various VPN providers claiming to take anonymity seriously.

Good luck!
posted by samsara at 11:30 AM on September 30, 2012

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