How to VPN while traveling
November 24, 2014 2:10 AM   Subscribe

I'm going to be traveling a fair amount over the holidays which means I'll likely be on public WiFi a lot more than usual, and with all of the various security and privacy issues that have popped up in the news recently, I figure the time is ripe to figure out a VPN strategy (since not everything I do is over SSL/HTTPS).

Thanks to this lifehacker post I've successfully set up a Hamachi VPN between my laptop and my home desktop and configured my browser to use Privoxy to connect to HTTP sites. But, what I'd really like to be able to do is to route all traffic over a VPN, and I'm not exactly sure how to accomplish this. Any pointers? Keep in mind that both machines run Windows (7 for the desktop, 8.1.1 for the laptop) and I do have an Asus RT-N16 running TomatoUSB, so I'd prefer something that works in that environment. It does not necessarily have to involve using Hamachi, but bonus points for solutions that don't cost a lot of money or require new hardware purchases.
posted by Aleyn to Computers & Internet (11 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
1. mullvad.

2. install their client

3. automatically route everything over it

problem solved.

And for bonus points, you don't have to deal with the potential slow or high latency process of routing through your home connection. And i mean, it's only $6 a month.

Another bonus is that you don't have to leave a system running at home farting along to run that stuff, and you aren't SOL if that system hangs, or any of those apps crap up, or anything. Nor will you be using teamviewer or something to try and reboot them when you just want to do stuff for a minute and get back to your vacation.
posted by emptythought at 2:29 AM on November 24, 2014

emptythought: does mullvad's client handle blocking traffic during the time that you are connected to untrusted wifi but not yet connected to the vpn?
posted by devnull at 4:05 AM on November 24, 2014

There's a "block internet on connection failure" checkbox in the settings for the client, which accomplishes exactly that :3

it really should be on by default, but i'm sure it's not just because they'd get a ton of dumb "U BROK MAI CUNNECHUN" support emails from people having some auth issue or something.

You also don't have to use their client, but it's a perfectly fine one and that specific feature raises it above most of the available cheap VPN services that have some sort of autoconfig installer script or client.
posted by emptythought at 5:08 AM on November 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

Best answer: You can do this on TomatoUSB if you are willing to use the Unix command line. Try this tutorial.

You can also use TunnelBear. If you're not going to be browsing much, you can send an advertising Tweet and get 1.5GB of traffic for free for a month.
posted by fireoyster at 6:36 AM on November 24, 2014

Best answer: I highly recommend Vypr VPN. Unlike many other VPN providers who only have a marketing front end and loose control over the data stream behind it. They own all the servers. I don't notice any delay in my internet experience. It has a NAT firewall. And a internet kill switch witch will prevent your computer from going online when not connected to the vpn...
posted by Mac-Expert at 6:38 AM on November 24, 2014

When I used TunnelBear last year, they were blocking BitTorrent traffic and weren't particularly fast. I've been happy with Private Internet Access.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 8:09 AM on November 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

posted by yoyo_nyc at 8:23 AM on November 24, 2014

uhm no, Astrill is not worth recommending. Out of all the paid VPN providers they love upcharging the most and their servers go down frequently. Do a reddit search.
posted by krautland at 9:19 AM on November 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

I was JUST looking into this exact thing for my upcoming trip. So far I'm considering making my own vpn on an Amazon EC2 instance. It would easily stay in the free-for-a-year Amazon AWS limits, I think.

I have more to read, but it's looking attractive so far.
posted by ctmf at 12:01 PM on November 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Update: I just did the VPN on EC2 and it's working.

For the benefit of anyone who is interested in doing the same thing, I followed the instructions I linked, except the /etc/ipsec.conf it gave me needed to be edited for format to get rid of syntax errors. (All the key=value lines need to be indented with whitespace, and they weren't.) After that, "ipsec start" did the trick, and my mac uses it no problem.
posted by ctmf at 11:19 PM on November 25, 2014

Response by poster: Vypr VPN is what I ended up going with, but thank you for all the suggestions! :)
posted by Aleyn at 6:37 PM on December 24, 2014

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