How a VPN Stops Bandwidth Throttling

Categories VPN

Does your internet slow to a crawl when downloading files or watching streaming video? If so, your internet service provider (ISP) could be throttling your connection. Known as bandwidth throttling, it’s a common practice among ISPs. Thankfully, though, there’s a simple way to protect and preserve your internet connection: a virtual private network (VPN).

Why ISPs Throttle Connections

Before we explain how a VPN can protect against throttling, let’s first discuss why ISPs throttle customers’ connections. Throttling is typically done to limit the amount of data a customer uses. ISPs have a finite amount of bandwidth that they can provide. To stay within this limit, they use a combination of monthly data caps and throttling. If a customer uses a significant amount of a data, the ISP may slow down his or her connection.

However, an ISP may also throttle a customer’s connection if it doesn’t agree with the website or service he or she is accessing. Comcast, for example, has been known to throttle customers’ connections while watching Netflix. Since Comcast offers a cable TV service, it doesn’t want customers watching streaming video.

Unfortunately, throttling will only become more prevalent with the repeal of net neutrality. This legislation previously required ISPs to treat all data the same, meaning they couldn’t throttle or otherwise disrupt a customer’s connection based on the website or web service he or she was using. In December 2017, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to end net neutrality rules, signaling a new era of unregulated Internet service in the United States.

Protecting Your Connection With a VPN

Investing in a VPN can protect your Internet connection from throttling. It works by creating an encrypted tunnel through which your online data is transmitted and received. It won’t prevent your ISP from seeing how much data you consume, but it does prevent them from seeing the websites and web services that you use. Though free VPNs have certain issues, you should know that even those services will work in this situation.

When connected to a VPN, your Internet activity is essentially hidden from other users, including your ISP. Only the website or service to which you are connected can see it. This fact means you can download files, watch Netflix or use any other web service without fear of your ISP throttling your connection. Even if your ISP has a beef with a web service that you use, it can’t reduce your Internet speeds because it won’t know that you are using the service.

By using one of several protocol options, VPNs use encryption algorithms to turn all online data that you send and receive into a scrambled mix of characters. If your ISP looks at your usage logs, it will see encrypted data rather than actual website URLs and Internet Protocol (IP) addresses.

Protection from bandwidth throttling is just one benefit of using a VPN. It also reduces the risk of cyber attacks and personal identity theft. Start using a VPN when connecting to the Internet. Doing so has many benefits.

Which VPN Protocol to Use

Categories VPN

L2TP/IPsec, PPTP, OpenVPN, and SSTP are the most used VPN protocols today. Every one has its weaknesses and strengths. As such, it is often difficult to choose which one can best satisfy your particular needs.

The main factors that you need to consider in choosing a protocol are ease of use, security, reliability, and performance. It is good to note that most of these VPN protocols will support each other. Also remember to check with protocols are available when picking a provider to ensure the one you want is there.

How VPNs and Protocols Interact

You may not know what VPN means. A VPN or virtual private network allows users to receive and send data across public or shared networks. This network extension works as if the user’s devices were connected directly to it. Applications which utilize the VPN will enjoy the advantages of management, security, and functionality of the private network. Here is, in greater detail, how VPNs work.

Protocol, on the other hand, refers to the set of regulations utilized in electronic communication. To send and receive data, following this set of rules is a must. This system was set in place to cut the time necessary for the exchange of data. It also negates the need for the end-users to intrude at both ends of the communication.

VPN Protocols

To use a VPN you need to pick a protocol To help you select the best one for your needs, here are the pros and cons the most popular implementations.


L2TP is usually encapsulated with IPSec. It is one of the tunneling protocols that do not inherently using any encryption. This fact enables this VPN protocol to offer more security. Behind the scenes, it is a PPP protocol extension, and just like L2F and PPTP uses the double encryption encapsulation method.

Over time, L2TP became more popular in security circuits than PPTP because of this feature. The first encapsulation creates a connection to PPP towards a remote host. The second contains IPSec.


  • Set up is easy
  • It can improve performance due to multithreading
  • Almost all platforms support it
  • It is relatively secure


  • Firewalls can easily block it
  • The NSA can deliberately compromise it, according to John Gilmore
  • It is slower than OpenVPN because of its double encapsulation


PPTP bases its protocols on PPP negotiation, encryption, and authentication. It is simple in that it just needs a server, password, and username to create a reliable connection. Most modern gadgets include support for it.

Since setting up is relatively easy, many VPN companies prefer it over alternatives. It also has a low encryption level, making it among the fastest VPN protocols around. This speed advantage is the primary reason why it is popular among those who want to circumvent geo-restricted content.


  • Setting it up and using it is relatively easy
  • Almost all platforms support it
  • It is among the VPN fastest protocols


  • It can be blocked easily by firewalls
  • It offers a low level of security
  • There is no support for Perfect Forward Secrecy


Since entering the market, OpenVPN has become one of the most well-received and most-used protocols. While it may be just an Open Source VPN protocol, it offers excellent security and very high stability. It is also GNU General Public License (GPL) published.

OpenVPN utilizes different ways and protocols in maintaining safe communications. These include shared keys, HMAC authentication, and OpenSSL. This protocol also supports a vast array of cryptographic algorithms, including 3DES, Blowfish, and AES (the cryptographic algorithm’s gold standard).


  • OpenVPN can bypass firewalls
  • Being open source, it is free and easily vetted
  • It offers high security
  • It supports many cryptographic algorithms
  • Supports Perfect Forward Secrecy
  • It is highly configurable


  • At times, OpenVPN may be difficult to configure
  • Setting it up requires third-party software


Developed by Microsoft, Secure Socket Tunneling Protocol or SSTP launched in Windows Vista. This VPN protocol utilizes SSL v3, and in doing so, it can provide many of the same advantages given by OpenVPN. In particular, it can bypass nearly all types of firewalls by using TCP 443.


  • Using SSTP is very easy
  • Full integration with the Windows operation system
  • SSTP supports a wide array of cryptographic algorithms
  • Support for Perfect Forward Secrecy


  • It works very well with Windows, but not so well with other OSs
  • No independent audit has ever been conducted on SSTP

How a Consumer VPN Works

Categories VPN

More and more internet users are tunneling their traffic through a consumer virtual private network (VPN). It’s a simple and effective way to safeguard data sent and received over the Internet from prying eyes. If you’re thinking about getting a VPN, though, you might be wondering precisely how it works.

Overview of VPN Technology and How It Works

A VPN creates a secure private network on a public Internet connection. Usually, data transferred over the Internet is vulnerable to interception. If you provide a website with your personal information, for instance, a tech-savvy criminal may steal your data and sell it on the black market. A VPN prevents this from happening by tunneling your traffic through an encrypted private network.

You still need regular Internet service when using a VPN. The VPN merely is applied over your Internet service. Once you are connected, it tunnels your traffic through the provider’s secure private network, thus offering a higher level of security.

There are different types of VPNs, including corporate and consumer. Also known as a remote access VPN, the corporate flavor allows a company’s workers to access a secure private Intranet from a remote location. A consumer VPN, on the other hand, connects the user to a secure private network which tunnels his or her Internet traffic.

Benefits of Using a Consumer VPN


The most significant benefit of using a consumer VPN is privacy. According to a Statista online privacy study, only 12 percent of the U.S. adult population is confident in the federal government’s ability to protect their personal information. When you use the Internet, it opens the doors to a world of privacy concerns.

Cybercriminals can intercept anything you type and submit to a website online. They can also easily capture any data a site sends you. Thankfully, a VPN ensures that no one other than you and the website you are visiting can read this data. VPN traffic is encrypted using protocols like PPTP, L2TP, SSDTP, and OpenVPN. So, even if a cybercriminal hacks your connection, he or she can’t read the data you tunnel through a VPN.

Wi-Fi Security

A VPN is particularly useful when connecting to public Wi-Fi hotspots. Whether you’re at a local coffee shop, mall, hotel or airport, Wi-Fi hotspots are notorious for their lack of security. Hackers can connect to the hotspot while snooping on the activities of other users. With a consumer VPN, you can enjoy a secure Internet connection on these otherwise vulnerable networks.

Preventing Geo-blocking

In addition to increased security and privacy, a VPN can also bypass internet protocol (IP) address restrictions. Many websites, apps, and online services employ these. Netflix, for example, shows different content in different regions. A consumer VPN allows you to mask your real IP address by displaying the provider’s IP address instead. If an online service is blocking content or features because of your region, a VPN may allow you to bypass this restriction.

Consumer VPNs are also surprisingly affordable. Depending on the provider, you’re looking at a small fee every month to use the service. For the most part, free services should be avoided. If you decide you no longer want or need the VPN, you just cancel it.

Unless you’ve used one before, you may assume that VPNs are challenging to set up and use. The truth, however, is that it takes just a few minutes to connect. Every provider supplies their version of client software, which is as simple to install as any other application. These are but a few reasons to use a consumer VPN.

The Problem with Free VPNs

Categories VPN

The Internet has taught us many things, but it has also trained people to expect something for nothing. Although there indeed is nothing wrong with getting a thing for free when it is of high quality, and there are no strings attached, most of us have come to realize that is very rarely the case.

One of the things that many people look for at no cost is a VPN. I’m sure you have seen offerings for a virtual private network that promise everything a pay service does for free. Call me skeptical, but how can that be the case?

Now before I go any further, I will say there are at least a couple free VPNs that I know are legitimate and open about how they pay for their infrastructure costs: CyberGhost and TunnelBear. There may be a few others too that I haven’t yet discovered. So you can assume anything I say for the remainder of this article does not apply to these.

A free VPN has downsides

That said, in general, using a free VPN is opening your device and your entire network up for a wide variety of problems. Providers may offer you the service at no cost, but in the background, many scary things may be happening. And before people realize what’s going on (if they ever do at all), it is often too late. The following are some of the issues involved with using a free virtual private network.

Potential Issues With a Free VPN

  • Tracking – In most cases, a free VPN is going to keep tabs on all of your online activities, and they may do so for some pretty shady reasons. Some providers can run multiple tracking libraries. This may result in any data that passes through to be stolen, including your passwords, credit card numbers and anything else that you enter while connected (assuming an HTTPS connection is present). Even though these services claim that they are protecting your security and privacy, that is typically far from being the case.
  • Malware – Another severe issue typically associated with a no-cost VPN is malware. In fact, the majority of those providers tend to contain it. And as I’m sure you know, after your device is infected, it can a challenge to clean. Once the malware is installed on your device, all your information is subject to scrutiny from outside sources. Those sources can target you with specific ads and emails. They can also go as far as hijacking your accounts, stealing your money, and locking you out of your device and demanding a ransom.

    Device infection is a free VPN risk

  • Bandwidth – Depending on the service you end up using, it may be possible that your bandwidth is being stolen and used by others. Some companies even operate secondary companies that are used to sell the bandwidth they steal from their users. This business model is how services like Hola operate.
  • Fraud – Perhaps one of the more severe problems associated with a virtual private network offered free of charge is the potential for fraudulent behavior. When you enter your credit card information while connected to the network (again, assuming no HTTPS), you might just find that all of a sudden there are thousands of dollars worth of charges on your card showing up out of nowhere. It is complicated tracking this type of activity, but it has been reported in more than one case.
  • Hijacking – One other way that a free VPN may make their money back, even though they claim to offer their service for free, is by hijacking your browser. When you try to go to one website, you can end up automatically transferred to a different site which is a partner of the VPN. That isn’t even to mention the pop-ups and other sneaky redirects that may occur as you browse the Internet.

The bottom line is, it may seem beneficial to save by using a free VPN, but they are risky (minus the aforementioned CyberGhost, TunnelBear et al.). The best way to protect your online privacy is to get a good, high-quality paid service. Some cost as little per month as a single cup of coffee, and it will be money well spent.

The Art of Picking a Good VPN Provider

Categories VPN

When it comes to VPN providers, there are many out there pick from. That is both good and bad. It’s good since as a consumer, you have a choice. It’s bad because out of all those providers, you somehow have to settle on one. And if you don’t know what you’re looking for exactly, your head can start to spin very quickly.

There are checkboxes every decent VPN provider should hit. Among others, they should have a good selection of protocols, a whole lot of servers to choose from, the right security and privacy features, and offer good bang for the buck. We will talk in greater detail about these important aspects below, and we will help you make the right choice.

Selecting the fastest VPN service


A VPN protocol is a bit like a language that your computer uses to talk to a VPN server. Some of the more common options include OpenVPN, PPTP, L2TP, and IPSec. The primary purpose of these protocols is to provide you with a secure and encrypted connection.

Each protocol has its advantages and disadvantages. These include issues like security, speed, and easy of use. Most VPN providers will provide you with several choices.

We recommend using OpenVPN whenever possible. It is by far the most secure protocol of the bunch and will keep your data safe in situations where other protocols may not. While not native to most operating systems, OpenVPN is widely supported and easy to use.


VPN providers maintain servers in many parts of the world. Some may offer servers in 3 or 4 countries, while for others, that number can be 60.

Before you pick a provider, you should know which countries you would like to connect to. For example, if you’re keen on watching the BBC’s streaming service, then servers in the UK are a must.

The other aspect to consider is server speed. No matter what purpose you’re getting a VPN for, fast performance is a must. As part of your selection process, take a look at several high speed VPN tests to make sure you don’t end up with a service that’s frustratingly slow to use.


Your primary reason for using a VPN service could be privacy. If that is the case, the first thing you should check with each provider is their logging policy.

Using a VPN will hide your online activities from outside onlookers. However, the VPN vendor can always know what you’re up to. They can easily figure out when you connect to which site and what resources you access.

If the VPN service keeps logs, then there exists a history of your activities that can be turned over to third parties. On the other hand, if there are no logs then even if the provider were required by law to turn over your data, there would be nothing for them to give.

VPNs help improve online privacy


Because a VPN uses encryption, it protects your data transmission from eavesdroppers. However, this will not protect you from things like malware.

If you’re confident in your abilities to navigate the web without getting into virus trouble, you have nothing to worry about. However, if you’re even a little unsure, opt for a VPN provider that includes anti-malware scanners and NAT firewalls as part of their service. These features will keep you safe.


There are several free VPN providers, but we recommend you stay away from them. Their features will never be as complete as the pay services, and free providers cannot be trusted to keep your data private.

The good news is that there are pay vendors for any budget. Typically, the more you pay, the better the service will be. But even the cheapest of the bunch will still be a much better choice than a free VPN.

If you find a VPN provider you’re happy with, remember that most offer significant discounts if you commit for a longer period. The price may sometimes drop as much as 50% when you compare paying month to month with prepaying for an entire year.

These tips should make your VPN selection process a little easier. Just remember that if you end up with a provider you are not happy with, you can always cancel and go with someone else. Don’t worry too much about making the absolute perfect selection the first time you try.