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Question Which VPN do you guys use, and how well do you like it?

myocardia

Diamond Member
Jun 21, 2003
9,291
30
91
So, I'd like to start using a VPN, but have no idea which one of the seemingly hundreds available I should use. I'm not that worried about cost, within reason, of course. I will need to be able to use more than one device at a time, though. A minimum of three, if including my phone, and preferably four. Which one(s) do you guys and/or girls recommend? Any I should just flat-out avoid?

edit: It seems I made a big mistake by not reading all of NordVPNs terms of service, specifically that they sell 107 different companies any and all data that they have about either you or your use of their services, i.e. which websites you visit, for how long, etc. Oh, and they hold themselves 100% not responsible for what these companies do with the data, which is 100% not okay with me. Link here: https://my.nordaccount.com/legal/terms-of-service/?utm_source=Campaign&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=ToS-Update_N

Does Private Internet Access do something similar? I'm still well within the period in which I can get a refund from Nord. I have no qualms paying more to a company who isn't selling data pertaining to me to anyone with a checkbook.
 
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Muadib

Lifer
May 30, 2000
16,821
440
126
I used to have Private Internet Access, which was great. They got bought last year though, by Kape Technologies. Kape had done some fishy things with their own VPNs companies, so I quit PIA, and went to NordVPN. Nord was hacked just before I joined, but they have been good since I've used them. Here is a comparison of the two:

 

mindless1

Diamond Member
Aug 11, 2001
6,130
714
126
I considered Nord but the differences between them and PIA didn't justify the higher price. Right now PIA has a year (+2 free months) for $2.85/mo.... lower price, but also with a shorter commitment than the 2-3 year Nord bundles. If you get into a chat with one of PIA's reps, you might be able to get a 1 week trial to see if it suits your needs, though Nord does offer 30 days money back so effectively a 30 day trial for paying up front which PIA doesn't require for the week trial.
 

myocardia

Diamond Member
Jun 21, 2003
9,291
30
91
Thanks for the answers so far, guys. Will all of these let me use them on multiple devices, or will I have to buy them for each individual computer? The reason I ask is because I get the feeling that I won't find out that type of thing, until after I have already paid for a full year, at which point it would be way too late to pick another company.

edit:
Mullvad FAQ
When a customer connects to a VPN server, the server asks the central service to validate the account number, whether or not the account has any remaining time, if the account has reached its allowed number of connections, and so on. Everything is performed in temporary memory only; none of this information is permanently stored to disk.
I find nowhere in their FAQ what their maximum number of connections happens to be.
edit #2: I have sent Mullvad an email asking about their maximum number of connections, so will know by Monday, I'm sure.
 
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KMFJD

Lifer
Aug 11, 2005
22,439
23,818
136
If you scroll down to getting started , under #3 downloading it states up to 5 devices per account

3. Download Mullvad and you're set
Download the Mullvad VPN app, enter your account number, and you're ready to roll. Use your account on up to 5 devices.
 

Muadib

Lifer
May 30, 2000
16,821
440
126
Thanks for the answers so far, guys. Will all of these let me use them on multiple devices, or will I have to buy them for each individual computer? The reason I ask is because I get the feeling that I won't find out that type of thing, until after I have already paid for a full year, at which point it would be way too late to pick another company.
Nord gives you 6 devices, PIA gives you 10.
 

VirtualLarry

No Lifer
Aug 25, 2001
51,300
6,553
126
How does the device limit work, if you put your VPN info into a router, specifically for VPN usage, preferably running 3rd-party (VPN-enabled) firmware? Since you can then connect any PC (or any number of PCs, really, more-or-less) to that router, and it will route / NAT over that VPN connection?

I actually recommend doing that, though I have no personal experienced doing so. That way, if you want to use a VPN, just plug your PC in, or switch Wifi SSIDs to the VPN router, and otherwise, connect to your "normal" router.
 

myocardia

Diamond Member
Jun 21, 2003
9,291
30
91
How does the device limit work, if you put your VPN info into a router, specifically for VPN usage, preferably running 3rd-party (VPN-enabled) firmware? Since you can then connect any PC (or any number of PCs, really, more-or-less) to that router, and it will route / NAT over that VPN connection?

I actually recommend doing that, though I have no personal experienced doing so. That way, if you want to use a VPN, just plug your PC in, or switch Wifi SSIDs to the VPN router, and otherwise, connect to your "normal" router.
That sounds absolutely brilliant, although it sounds fairly complicated. I have decades of experience working with and configuring hardware, but none when it comes to networking. I have to use the router provided by my DSL provider, although I have bought two gigabit switches to use with it. The provided router is gigabit or better wired, and is 802.11 AC or AX.

I ended up choosing NordVPN, since it had up to 6 concurrent devices, and had the lowest price as well. It was only slightly over $83 for 2 years. If I end up not being happy with it, I will try out PIA. For anyone wondering, it has to be shutdown before being able to use Steam for gaming. I'm okay with that, since I play exactly zero multiplayer games, and have no intentions to start playing any.
 

myocardia

Diamond Member
Jun 21, 2003
9,291
30
91
It seems I made a big mistake by not reading all of NordVPNs terms of service, specifically that they sell 107 different companies any and all data that they have about either you or your use of their services, i.e. which websites you visit, for how long, etc. Oh, and they hold themselves 100% not responsible for what these companies do with the data, which is 100% not okay with me. Link here: https://my.nordaccount.com/legal/terms-of-service/?utm_source=Campaign&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=ToS-Update_N

Does Private Internet Access do something similar? I'm still well within the period in which I can get a refund from Nord. I have no qualms paying more to a company who isn't selling data pertaining to me to anyone with a checkbook.
 

Chiefcrowe

Diamond Member
Sep 15, 2008
4,922
116
116
I looked through their terms but so far I didn't see where they said they sell 107 companies user data. Where exactly is that?

It seems I made a big mistake by not reading all of NordVPNs terms of service, specifically that they sell 107 different companies any and all data that they have about either you or your use of their services, i.e. which websites you visit, for how long, etc. Oh, and they hold themselves 100% not responsible for what these companies do with the data, which is 100% not okay with me. Link here: https://my.nordaccount.com/legal/terms-of-service/?utm_source=Campaign&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=ToS-Update_N

Does Private Internet Access do something similar? I'm still well within the period in which I can get a refund from Nord. I have no qualms paying more to a company who isn't selling data pertaining to me to anyone with a checkbook.
 

KeithP

Diamond Member
Jun 15, 2000
5,631
178
106
Once my current subscription runs out i will be switching to

I just found out about these guys myself. They accept cash payments and don't require any identifiable information, i.e. email address, phone number, name, etc.

-KeithP
 

LikeLinus

Lifer
Jul 25, 2001
11,171
493
126
It seems I made a big mistake by not reading all of NordVPNs terms of service, specifically that they sell 107 different companies any and all data that they have about either you or your use of their services, i.e. which websites you visit, for how long, etc. Oh, and they hold themselves 100% not responsible for what these companies do with the data, which is 100% not okay with me. Link here: https://my.nordaccount.com/legal/terms-of-service/?utm_source=Campaign&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=ToS-Update_N

Does Private Internet Access do something similar? I'm still well within the period in which I can get a refund from Nord. I have no qualms paying more to a company who isn't selling data pertaining to me to anyone with a checkbook.
Just saw this thread. I use NordVPN for the past few years with no issues. Where exactly do you see this in their TOS?
 

UsandThem

Elite Member
Super Moderator
May 4, 2000
14,723
5,368
146
I finally got around to trying the Norton VPN (included in their 360 security suite), and it's pretty slow.

I have a 1 gigabyte service with AT&T, and my download speeds are around 240 Mbps, and upload speeds are only 72 Mbps.

They apparently don't have any servers in the southeast, so they connect me to their servers in New Jersey or Los Angeles. So naturally that increases my ping times quite a bit, and browsing various sites I notice a delay.

Sometime this month, I will likely test out one of the companies with closer servers that seem to be rated highly in most reviews (ExpressVPN or Surfshark) and see how their service is. Surfshark seems to offer 2 years for $48, so I'll likely start with that one since it is much less expensive.
 
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UsandThem

Elite Member
Super Moderator
May 4, 2000
14,723
5,368
146
After moving on from Norton's VPN, I tried ProtonVPN. I signed up for their free option, and it gave a me a week to try out their "Plus" option. Unlike most of the competition, they don't require you pay for subscription up-front, forcing a person to request a refund within a certain amount of time.

The connections were always fast, and they had multiple servers down in the southeast region. Honestly, I was really satisfied with their product, but at $96 per year it's one of the most expensive options. A person could always go with their "Basic" option for $4/month, but you lose too many of features and probably would be better served using their free option. After my trial was over, when I connect to their free servers, the server was located in California, so the ping times (and speed) were significantly worse.
 

GibbyPruchesi

Member
Jan 18, 2019
32
5
16
So, I'd like to start using a VPN, but have no idea which one of the seemingly hundreds available I should use. I'm not that worried about cost, within reason, of course. I will need to be able to use more than one device at a time, though. A minimum of three, if including my phone, and preferably four. Which one(s) do you guys and/or girls recommend? Any I should just flat-out avoid?

edit: It seems I made a big mistake by not reading all of NordVPNs terms of service, specifically that they sell 107 different companies any and all data that they have about either you or your use of their services, i.e. which websites you visit, for how long, etc. Oh, and they hold themselves 100% not responsible for what these companies do with the data, which is 100% not okay with me. Link here: https://my.nordaccount.com/legal/terms-of-service/?utm_source=Campaign&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=ToS-Update_N

Does Private Internet Access do something similar? I'm still well within the period in which I can get a refund from Nord. I have no qualms paying more to a company who isn't selling data pertaining to me to anyone with a checkbook.
That's not true, NordVPN is very strict about their no logs policy, they even do 3rd party audits to ensure they are compliant. I think Nord is a decent choice, it's one of the market leaders for a reason.
 

UsandThem

Elite Member
Super Moderator
May 4, 2000
14,723
5,368
146
Since my last post, I've tried out TunnelBear and SurfShark.

TunnelBear was good, but their app is really basic. There's not much you can change or configure in there.

I then tried SurfShark, and they have good speeds and more configuration options (such as split tunneling). Their app is good, but not as good as ProtonVPN. They also have a solid amount of servers, and the price for two years is just a little over $40. I went ahead and signed up, and they offer a 30 day money back guarantee. One thing I don't like with their service is you are automatically enrolled in auto-renewal, and you have to contact their customer service to opt out of that. I really wish they had the option to let the user opt out of that in their account.
 
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UsandThem

Elite Member
Super Moderator
May 4, 2000
14,723
5,368
146
Surfshark updated their Windows app (version2.7.3) today, and the connection time improved quite a bit.

I've been using them for around a month now, and so far I'm pretty satisfied with their service. While the latest app updated helped with speed, the setting layout/options aren't the easiest to see, and almost feel hidden while looking around (such as my settings for route via VPN settings). With the ProtonVPN app, it's easy to see the options and to configure them, and I know where to go to change any particular setting.

Hopefully they work on that next, and make everything more streamlined.
 

BarkingGhostar

Diamond Member
Nov 20, 2009
9,462
2,268
136
A1.pngA2.png

The difference between these two Speedtest.Net measurements this morning is the left is native and the right if on VPNac. And to reiterate, I have AT&T Gigabit Fiber for Internet.
 

amrnuke

Golden Member
Apr 24, 2019
1,160
1,729
106
Long post incoming:

I have been a user of PIA for several years and previously have had nothing but good things to say about it. Connections are fast, you have a wide variety of servers to choose from locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally. They're fairly cheap too.

But I'll probably be jumping ship.

On the negative side

Kape's acquisition of PIA. Kape was formerly an advertising company before 2018. Well, to be clear, they were a malware company, the opposite of their purported current focus. They were called Crossrider, and engaged in browser hijacking and malware bundling. I think in 2017 or 2018 they bought a Romanian VPN and a German VPN and say they have since pivoted to cybersecurity.

PIA executives (as expected) said that there will be no changes to their policy of putting customers' privacy first. But they're no longer in control of how that policy is enforced, and it will likely change significantly based on how CyberGhost's policy changed after Kape bought them.

Anyway, given the lies on which Crossrider (which became Kape, which will now change names to Private Internet) was built, it's hard to trust anything they say or put out. Kape's owner, Teddy Sagi, is a multibillionaire investor/real estate magnate. He and many business affiliates have close ties to the Israeli intelligence community and IDF. Sagi is a criminal (insider trading, fraud, bribery), and some of his other business ventures are involved in development of gambling software and credit card payment systems for said gambling software. He also owns at three other companies participating in the internet/mobile/ecommerce advertising space (Stucco Media, Glispa, and Mobfox).

Additionally, CyberGhost used to be a fair Romanian VPN. Then Kape acquired them. Then their ToS changed to allow them to share data for the purposes of investigation transgressions, criminal activity, or for tracking e.g. Facebook, Google and so on as referenced above. That's ABSURD to pay for a VPN that permits that. I don't want the IDF or CIA snooping on my data in connection with some unrelated "transgression." Period.

PIA's representative on Reddit said: "Kape’s commitment to adopting and upholding these principles, which has been the centerpiece of our fight since our creation, is the reason we ultimately decided to move forward. I understand the concerns being expressed in this thread and others, but please know, as a company and team, we would never make a deal that jeopardizes our users or our reputation without guarantees."

Unfortunately, a guarantee means nothing. If Kape decides they want to monetize or snoop, what's the penalty for breaking the guarantee? So despite what PIA says about their privacy policy, they no longer get to control that. Kape does.

Also: ycombinator link

Also: PIA recently hired Mark Karpeles (of Mt Gox dis-fame) as their CTO before being acquired by Kape.

On the positive side

They are moving the desktop client to open source to allow people to see what they're doing and how.

They also claim to be moving to an internal roadmap where no one - not even Private Internet - has access to the servers through which the VPN flows.

Closing

I'll follow my grandmother on this one: "Hear what they say, but only trust what they do."

They can talk all they want about how they're still going to be focused on privacy. I hear them. But I'm not trusting them. I'll watch their actions and if they prove their worth, I may come back. But I suspect they'll fall into the same issues that CyberGhost did. PIA is now part of a group of companies owned by a criminal (bribery, fraud, insider trading) who runs gambling sites and credit card payment companies and advertising companies who purports to now care about "privacy." He and Kape are associated with / have ties to intelligence communities and military groups. The writing, to me, is on the wall.

I'm going to take a break from PIA for now, and try out Mullvad or something while others sort out whether PIA will continue to be reputable.

As one exchange on Reddit went:

PIAMichael (PIA CS Staff):
u/MrMayhem85,
Unfortunately, I'm unfamiliar with CyberGhost's policies regarding the collection or sharing of data, beyond what I've seen here. I do know this isn't nor has it ever been a PIA policy.
(link)

phraun:
The issue is that you no longer have the ability to enforce your policy. It's not up to you. You're not in control anymore. Maybe nothing changes for six months, or a year, but it's now only a matter of time.
This isn't something that PR fixes. The fact that this acquisition was on the table at all means that, even were it to be cancelled, I'm now in a position where I feel like I can't trust the leadership at PIA any longer.
Not interested. Hope it was worth it.
 

SKORPI0

Lifer
Jan 18, 2000
17,124
1,235
126
Just signed up for Surfshark (27 months, $56.xx). Not sure why the NewYork ISP is banned here. London UK, Frankfurt Germany, Chicago.IL works. :frowning:
 

UsandThem

Elite Member
Super Moderator
May 4, 2000
14,723
5,368
146
After using SurfShark for several months, I decided to go with ProtonVPN because their app and privacy are top notch.

I ended up having to contact SurfShark's customer service to cancel the auto renew, and they responded to the ticket within a few hours. They disabled the auto renew, and asked if I was unhappy with the service and offered to help me if I was having issues and whatnot. So their customer service is pretty good for what you usually deal with when contacting any company's support department.

Since I paid for two years of service with them, I'll probably tinker with it some more in the future (maybe even just let my kids use it on their PCs). I personally just really like the control Proton gives users with their app. The connection speeds are also pretty good, but I really just use their service to maintain some privacy and not being tracked with everything I look at (just shopping and accessing accounts, not weird porn or anything illegal :p ).
 

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