#Security Your Internet

#Security Your Internet


How to unblock and watch Sky Go abroad with a VPN

Posted: 18 Jan 2019 04:26 AM PST

Best VPNs for sky go
Sky Go is free to existing customers with cable or satellite subscriptions that include Sky channels. Sky does not offer a standalone internet-only subscription or pay-per-view content, so cord cutters will have to look elsewhere.

Unfortunately, Sky Go is only available from inside the UK and Ireland. If you’re traveling or living abroad, you’ll receive an error message saying:

sky go error message

“Sky Go is only available to users connecting from within the UK or Republic of Ireland, unfortunately we cannot confirm that you are within these territories at the moment. Please retry later.”

How to watch Sky Go abroad with a VPN

Luckily, if you are in Europe, the US or any other country outside of the UK and Ireland and want to access Sky Go, you can still access the service with a VPN. Short for Virtual Private Network, a VPN encrypts all of a device’s internet traffic and routes it through an intermediary server in a location of your choosing. By connecting to such a server in the UK, you will be assigned a UK IP address and be able to access geo-locked content in the country, including Sky Go.

Here’s how to unblock Sky Go from abroad with a VPN:

  1. First, sign up for one of the VPNs listed below. We particularly recommend ExpressVPN.
  2. Download and install the VPN software on your device or configure your router to use the VPN.
  3. Run the VPN, choose a server in the UK, and connect.
  4. Clear your cookies and refresh the page with the video you want to watch.
  5. Enjoy the show!

Best VPNs for Sky Go

When deciding on the best VPN for Sky Go we consider the following criteria:

  • Servers in the UK that can unblock Sky Go
  • Fast and reliable speeds for uninterrupted, high-quality streams
  • Strong security and privacy policy
  • Quick and responsive customer support
  • Easy to use apps for multiple types of devices

Below is our list of the best VPNs for Sky Go. All of these VPN providers meet most, if not all, of the above criteria.

1. ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN pricing

ExpressVPN tops our list as the best VPN for Sky Go. It optimizes all of its servers for maximum speed and stability, offering subscribers unlimited bandwidth and data. It operates servers in several locations in the UK, and connecting is quick and easy thanks to its well-designed apps. Encryption standards are as strong as you’ll find on any VPN, namely 256-bit AES encryption (often dubbed military-grade encryption) and perfect forward secrecy. The company doesn’t log any of its customers activity nor their IP addresses, opting only to gather non-identifying metadata. Live customer support is available through the websites 24 hours per day, seven days per week.

Apps are available for Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, and Linux (command line). If you watch Sky Go on a device that doesn’t support VPNs, you can opt to either use ExpressVPN’s DNS proxy service MediaStreamer, which is included with every subscription. You can also install ExpressVPN’s customer router firmware on comptabile wifi routers, or purchase a pre-configured router directly from the company. This will route internet traffic of any devices connected to your wifi router through the VPN server, which is ideal for game consoles and smart TVs.

ExpressVPN can also unblock US and UK Netflix, Hulu, HBO Now, and BBC iPlayer, among many others.

BEST VPN FOR SKY GO:ExpressVPN is our #1 Choice. Reliably unblocks Sky Go as well as many other streaming services. Exceptional speeds for buffer-free HD viewing along with total security and privacy. Try it risk-free with the 30-day money back guarantee.

Read our full ExpressVPN review.

2. NordVPN

NordVPN review Nov

NordVPN is another excellent choice for a Sky Go VPN. It is a master of unblocking streaming services, and Sky Go is no different. Just connect to one of the dozens of UK servers available in its network and you can start streaming Sky Go right away. Speeds are adequate and connections rarely drop, so streaming your favorite shows in HD won’t be a problem. This VPN service is backed by a true zero logs policy and uncrackable encryption. Live chat support is available on the website. Automatic wi-fi protection will ensure you’re always secure while using public wi-fi networks.

VPN software is available for Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android. Pre-configured routers can be purchased through Flashrouters if you use a device that doesn’t support VPNs natively. A single NordVPN subscription allows subscribers to connect up to six devices at the same time, making NordVPN a great value.

NordVPN also unblocks Netflix content in several countries including the US and UK, Hulu, HBO Now, and BBC iPlayer, among others.

BEST BUDGET VPN:NordVPN is great on value. A great value option which works well with Sky Go. Allows up to 6 simultaneous connected devices. Great privacy and security credentials. 30-day money back guarantee.

Read our full NordVPN review.

3. IPVanish

IPVanish discounted plans

IPVanish operates a huge network of servers in over 60 countries, the UK being just one of them. Subscribers can take advantage of unlimited bandwidth and no data caps to stream to their hearts delight. The company owns, rather than rents, its servers, ensuring a high quality stream with minimal buffering. Top-notch encryption standards are combined with a no logs policy to keep your ISP and other snoopers out of your hair. An internet kill switch, DNS leak protection, and an obfuscation (scramble) feature are all built into the app.

Apps are available for Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android. If your device isn’t VPN-compatible, consider purchasing a router pre-configured with all of IPV’s servers from Flashrouters.

This VPN service is also a favorite among Kodi users thanks to an easy to install and use app and the ability to work with any Kodi add-on.

LARGE SERVER NETWORK:IPVanish works with up to 10 connected devices. Fast connections, lightweight easy to use apps, good multi-platform support. Reliable with Sky Go but can't unblock as many other streaming services as some of its rivals.

Read our full IPVanish review.

4. PrivateVPN

privatevpn dealPrivateVPN is the new kid on the block, but it’s making a big splash despite its small size. Although it only has just over 100 servers in its network compared to the 1,000+ of others on this list, speeds are excellent and the service has no problem unblocking Sky Go. PrivateVPN doesn’t skimp on the security side of things either, utilizing powerful encryption and adhering to a no logs policy. The apps come with DNS leak protection and a kill switch.

Apps are available for Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android. You can connect up to five devices at the same time.

PrivateVPN also unblocks Netflix in several countries including the US and UK, plus a handful of other streaming services like BBC iPlayer and HBO Now.

GREAT SPEEDS:PrivateVPN is a good family choice. Unblocks Sky Go and allows up to 6 devices on the same account. Small network of servers but fast connections. 30-day money back guarantee.

Read our full PrivateVPN review.

5. VyprVPN

VyprVPN is a veteran of the VPN space and remains a top choice for users around the world, including those looking for a Sky Go VPN. The company owns and operates its own servers and even entire data centers in dozens of countries, including the UK. This VPN service offers excellent speeds and you should have no problem streaming live and on-demand video from Sky Go. The company does log users’ real IP addresses, but no details of your online activity are recorded.

Apps are available for Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android. Pre-flashed routers that come configured with all of VyprVPN’s servers are available for sale as well–useful if you prefer to stream Sky Go through a game console, smart TV, or set-top box.

VyprVPN can also unblock Hulu and US Netflix.

GOOD ALL-ROUNDER:VyprVPN is user friendly. Works well with Sky Go and most popular streaming services. Good all-rounder but a bit pricey. 30-day money-back guarantee.

Read our full VyprVPN review.

Can I use a free VPN to watch Sky Go

We’ve discussed some quality paid options for Sky Go VPN providers, but there are also a ton of free VPNs available. These seem like attractive choices but we recommend steering clear as these services are typically plagued with issues.

A free VPN provider will often have too many users and a limited number of servers. This results in long wait times for servers and slow, unreliable connections. And that’s not the worst part. Many of these service use shady business tactics to make money. They might track user activity and sell customer profiles to advertisers, and have even been known to steal users’ idle bandwidth.

It’s definitely worth a few dollars a month to know you’re being served and protected by a reputable VPN provider.

How do VPNs unblock Sky Go?

A VPN, or virtual private network, is a tool that encrypts all of a device’s internet traffic and routes it through an intermediary server in a location of the user’s choosing. In this case, you would connect to a server in the UK. This changes the user’s IP address to that of the VPN server and thus makes it look to Sky Go as if you are accessing the service from inside the UK. This is a perfectly legal and very popular means of accessing Sky Go abroad.

Plus, the fact that a Sky Go VPN encrypts your traffic ensures your data is always secure, even while using public wi-fi.

VPN not working with Sky Go? Try this…

If you’re connected to one of the VPNs we recommend above but are still unable to watch Sky Go abroad, make sure you meet the rest of Sky Go’s technical requirements:

  • System settings must be set to the English language
  • Time zone must be set to UK time (UTC +0)
  • You need a browser that supports Microsoft Silverlight, which means Internet Explorer (not Edge) for Windows users and Safari for Mac users. Firefox and Chrome have both ended support for Silverlight.
  • If you tried accessing a video and were blocked prior to using a VPN or DNS proxy, it’s probably a good idea to clear your browser cookies and cache before making another attempt.
  • Sky Go is not supported on rooted Android devices

How to watch Sky Go using a smart DNS proxy

A smart DNS proxy accomplishes the same result as a VPN in regards to Sky Go, but it works a bit differently. Instead of encrypting all of a device’s traffic and routing it through a remote server, only the DNS requests are redirected.

DNS, or domain name system, is like a phone book for the internet. But instead of matching phone numbers with people, DNS matches web domains (like “www.comparitech.com”) with IP addresses. Every time you access a different website, you first send a DNS request to find the matching IP.

By changing the location of where these DNS requests are sent to–the UK, in this instance–you can make it appear as though you are accessing Sky Go from within the country.

Setting up DNS servers is a bit trickier than setting up a VPN, but you usually don’t need to install any extra software. DNS settings can be adjusted using your device’s built-in settings.

  1. Sign up with a smart DNS proxy provider, our recommendation is Overplay.
  2. Validate your device’s current IP address on the provider’s website.
  3. Input the primary and alternate DNS server addresses into your system’s internet settings (exact process differs depending on your operating system)
  4. Save changes and restart your device
  5. Navigate to the Sky Go webpage or open the Sky Go app and enjoy!

Sky Go channels

sky go westworld
Sky Go is an online television service from UK broadcaster Sky that was first launched in 2006. It was previously known as Sky Player, Sky Anytime PC, and Sky By Broadband. The service allows subscribers to watch live and on-demand video on multiple internet connected devices including Windows PC, Mac OSX, iOS, Android, and game consoles. That includes some HBO original content like Westworld and Last Week Tonight and a wide range of sport including live English Premier League soccer, cricket, golf and Formula 1 to name a few.

Similar to BBC iPlayer, the content on Sky Go is only available for a limited amount of time after it first airs on TV. Don’t let the latest episodes of Westworld and Last Week Tonight sit for too long! Which channels you can access depends on your cable subscription, but up to 72 are available:

5 USA, 5*, Alibi, Animal Planet, Boomerang, Cartoon Network, Cartoonito, Channel 4, Channel 5, CITV, Comedy Central, Crime Investigation, Dave, Discovery, Disney Channel, Disney Junior, Disney XD, E!, E4, Eden, Eurosport, Eurosport 2, Film 4, FOX, Good Food, History, Home, ITV Be, ITV Encore, ITV2, ITV3, ITV4, Lifetime, More4, MTV, Nat Geo, Nat Geo Wild, News HQ, Nick Junior, Nickelodeon, Sky Arts 1, Sky Atlantic, Sky Living, Sky Living It, Sky Movies Action, Sky Movies Christmas, Sky Movies Comedy, Sky Movies Crime & Thriller, Sky Movies Disney, Sky Movies Drama, Sky Movies Family, Sky Movies Greats, Sky Movies Premiere, Sky Movies Sci-Fi & Horror, Sky Movies Select, Sky Movies Showcase, Sky News, Sky Sports, Sky Sports 1, Sky Sports 2, Sky Sports 3, Sky Sports 4, Sky Sports 5, Sky Sports F1, Sky1, Star Plus, STV, Syfy, TLC, Universal, Watch, ITV

Sky cable subscriptions start at 20 GBP per month with a minimum 1-year contract.

Subscribers can watch videos on up to two simultaneous devices by default, and up to four are available for an extra fee as part of the Sky Go Extra package. If you have used two devices in the past and want to use a third, you must remove an existing registered device before you can register another.

Sky Go Extra also allows users to download content to their local devices so they can watch offline. The content is DRM protected, which means it can’t be copied, distributed, or watched after the expiration date. Files are deleted 48 hours after viewing starts or no later than 30 days after download.

L'article How to unblock and watch Sky Go abroad with a VPN est apparu en premier sur Comparitech.

5 Best VPNs for Mac users and some to avoid in 2019

Posted: 18 Jan 2019 03:24 AM PST

5 Best VPNs for Mac Users

VPNs are becoming a necessity for Mac users who value their privacy and online freedom or who want to access geo-blocked content. Macs may be less susceptible to malware than PCs, but they’re just as much at risk when it comes to online threats and obstacles:

  • Spying on your online activity by governments, corporations, and hackers
  • Attacks that intercept, modify, or divert your internet connection
  • Geo-locked content such as videos that can only be watched from certain countries
  • Websites and apps that track your location and device address
  • Web censorship by governments and corporations

Short for Virtual Private Network, a VPN encrypts all of a device’s internet traffic and routes it through an intermediary server in a location of your choosing. In this article, we’ll look at the all-around best VPNs for Mac users. That means they’re suitable for bypassing censorship, securing public wifi, unblocking geo-locked websites and apps, torrenting, and using Kodi. They’ll work on any type of Macbook, Macbook Air, Macbook Retina, or Macbook Pro. Older versions of MacOS and OSX should all be supported.

For those of you that take the security of your Mac seriously, we’ve sifted through what’s on offer to find the best options available. We’ve selected our favorite VPNs for MacOS and OSX based on the following criteria:

  • A MacOS/OSX app is available from the provider
  • Tested and working on all common Mac operating systems including Mojave, High Sierra and El Capitan
  • Strong encryption and a no-logs privacy policy
  • Fast connections with unlimited bandwidth and no data caps
  • A large, global network of servers to unblock geo-locked content (Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime etc)

5 Best VPNs for Mac

Mac users are spoiled for choice when picking a VPN. Pretty much all VPN providers make an app for MacOS, but only a few of them are worth your time and money. Not all that claim to be the best VPN for Mac offer the level of speed, security, and privacy expected by users. Even fewer can unblock popular streaming services like Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and Netflix. Many people also need a Mac VPN that can bypass censorship, such as residents of China, which only a handful of VPNs are capable of.

Here is our list of the best VPNs for Mac:

1. ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN Mac

ExpressVPN is our top pick for the all-round best VPN for Mac. Fast speeds and unlimited bandwidth ensure you can stream in HD and download large files quickly.  It operates upwards of 1,500 servers in 94 countries. 256-bit AES encryption pairs with perfect forward secrecy for best-in-class security. ExpressVPN keeps no logs of your activity or IP address. A kill switch, dubbed “network lock”, and bulletproof leak protection come built in. ExpressVPN’s Mac app includes a split tunneling feature that allows you to choose which apps are tunneled through the VPN and which use the normal, unencrypted internet connection.

ExpressVPN is a capable and reliable unblocker of sites like Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Amazon Prime Video, and BBC iPlayer. Not all servers can get the job done, though, so contact the 24/7 live chat support to ask which ones work with your favorite streaming site.

Apps are also available for Windows, iOS, Android, Linux, certain wifi routers, and Amazon Fire TV Stick.

BEST VPN FOR MAC USERS:ExpressVPN is our #1 choice. A fast and reliable choice which unblocks all major streaming services. Best-in-class security and privacy with 256-bit AES encryption, keep no browser logs, kill switch and leak protection. Try it risk-free with the 30-day money back guarantee.

Read our full review of ExpressVPN.

2. NordVPN

NordVPN mac

NordVPN offers almost 2,000 servers in 56 countries, with nearly half of them located in the United States. The VPN keeps no logs about your connection or your activity and is protected with military-grade encryption. Live customer support is available on the website. A app-specific kill switch, full kill switch, and DNS leak protection come built in. You are allowed up to six simultaneous connections.

NordVPN has specialized servers for a number of different tasks, including anti-DDoS, double-hop VPN, Tor over VPN, ultra-fast streaming, and more. These are all laid out in the app’s server list. NordVPN also unblocks several popular geo-locked streaming sites including Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and Amazon Prime Video. Not all servers will unblock these sites and apps, but you can usually look up which ones to connect to in the NordVPN knowledge base.

NordVPN actually has two different MacOS apps available at the time of writing. One is available for download from NordVPN’s official website and uses the OpenVPN protocol. NordVPN calls this its “legacy” app, and instead recommends MacOS users get the other NordVPN app available on the Apple App Store. This version uses IKEv2 instead of OpenVPN, which isn’t open source but is generally considered a fast and secure protocol. The IKEv2 NordVPN app is a bit more secure than its OpenVPN counterpart, but choose what works best for you.

Apps are also available for Windows, iOS, and Android.

BEST BUDGET VPN:NordVPN offers great value. A great value option which works reliably with streaming. Connects up to 6 devices simultaneously. App doesn’t offer server switching choice. 30-day money back guarantee.

Read our review of NordVPN.

3. CyberGhost

cyberghost mac

CyberGhost allows you to choose a server not only by country, but according to how you plan to use it. For example, you can opt for a server that unblocks US Netflix or one to use for P2P filesharing. The Romania-headquartered provider upped its game recently, expanding both its server network and its unblocking capabilities. It scored well above average in our speed tests. CyberGhost now operates more than 1,000 servers in over 30 countries. It can unblock Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and BBC iPlayer, among others.

The company stores no logs of users data and 256-bit encryption protects all internet traffic to and from your Macbook. Additional features include malware and ad blocking, anti-tracking, and automatic HTTPS redirect.

Apps are also available for Windows, Android, and iOS.

BEGINNERS CHOICE:CyberGhost is easy to use. A budget choice. Good on privacy. Streams HD video reliably. Hit and miss connections with popular streaming sites. 45-day money back guarantee.

Read our full review of Cyberghost.

4. IPVanish

IPVanish discounted plans

IPVanish is a veteran provider that operates over 850 servers in more than 60 countries. Speeds are fast and connections are reliable. Security boasts 256-bit AES encryption and perfect forward secrecy. A kill switch, traffic obfuscation, DNS leak protection, and IPv6 leak protection can all be toggled in the settings. You can also set your IP address to change at a specified interval. IPVanish stores zero logs about users’ activity and connection details.

IPVanish isn’t as great for unblocking streaming services as the other VPN providers on this list, but it’s great for P2P traffic and Kodi. Kodi users with Android-based devices will have no problem setting up and using IPVanish thanks to a simple, lightweight app and remote control-friendly interface. IPVanish works with all of the Kodi addons we’ve tested.

Apps are also available for Windows, iOS, Android, and Amazon Fire TV Stick.

UP TO 10 DEVICES:IPVanish is great for families and multiple connections. Easy to use with Kodi and prefered by users who need high standards of privacy. Can't unblock as many streaming services as some of its rivals. 7-day money-back guarantee.

Read our full IPVanish review.

5. PrivateVPN

privatevpn deal

PrivateVPN is an up-and-coming provider making a strong first impression thanks to its speed, security, and ability to bypass geographic restrictions. Despite its smaller server network, it performed well above average in our speed tests. Security standards are on par with what you would expect from a much larger provider, including 256-bit encryption and perfect forward secrecy. A kill switch and DNS leak protection are included. PrivateVPN is completely logless.

PrivateVPN is great for unblocking geo-locked sites like Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and Amazon Prime Video. A basic plan allows you to simultaneously connect up to six devices. Live chat is available on the website during business hours.

Apps are also available for Windows, iOS, and Android.

GREAT SPEEDS:PrivateVPN is consistently reliable. Good for general purpose use and HD Streaming. Could do with having more servers and lacks 24/7 support. 30-day money back guarantee.

Read our full PrivateVPN review.

Should I use a free VPN with MacOS?

We recommend against using so-called “free” VPN services for a number of reasons. First of all, they’re slow or limit downloads. Most free VPNs cap data transfers and implement bandwidth limits that are too restrictive for anything but basic web surfing.

Second, free VPNs tend to have poor privacy practices. They may use outdated encryption or keep logs on your activity, for example. Some even inject tracking cookies and advertisements into your browser and sell your browsing data to third parties. That’s the opposite of what VPNs are meant for.

Finally, free VPNs often carry malware that will infect your Macbook once installed. Stick to paid VPN services with good reputations and strict privacy policies.

The problem with free Mac VPNs

GoVPN claims to be a free VPN for Mac and iOS devices. It is currently not known what this app does, but connecting to a VPN service is not on the list. It will claim to be connected to a VPN, but your computer’s IP address is still visible to any site on the internet. Avoid at all costs.

Fresh VPN offers a free trial for connecting to their service. Unfortunately, the free trial is considerably less than ExpressVPN’s 30 days. It only lasts five minutes. Seriously. That’s all their going to give someone to test out and evaluate their service on a Mac. Not enough time for a real evaluation, and only shows what little faith the vendor has in the product on offer.

If you open the Mac app store and search for “VPN” you’ll get a long list of apps, including several that claim to be free. Most of those free VPNs include “In-App Purchases”, non-functioning connections or even blatant malware of some form or another. Even some of the paid-for VPNs have advertising embedded in their free, or trial version apps. Expect to encounter download caps, bandwidth limits, and waiting queues.

Why Mac owners should use VPNs

MacOS is generally considered a fairly secure operating system, but there are still a number of reasons for Mac owners to employ VPNs.

The first is to improve privacy. Your Mac’s security and privacy only extend to the data that is stored on your Macbook. Once data is passed over the internet, it may no longer be secure or private. Your internet service provider or a hacker on a public wi-fi network could snoop on your online activity. This information could be used against you in a number of ways, such as your ISP throttling your bandwidth as punishment for using P2P applications, or the hacker conducting a man-in-the-middle attack to dump a malware payload onto your computer.

Besides the obvious privacy and security benefits, VPNs are extremely useful for accessing geo-locked content. If you want to watch a video or access an app that’s only available to users in a specific country, for example, you can simply set your VPN server location to that country and connect to it to unblock the content. This works whether it’s the government, your ISP, or the website itself doing the blocking.

Some apps and websites have caught onto VPN users, such as Netflix and Hulu, which prevent VPN users from watching videos from abroad. A handful of Mac VPNs, however, have figured out a workaround so their users can bypass the VPN ban and watch from anywhere in the world. ExpressVPN and NordVPN, for example, both unblock Netflix and Hulu on certain servers.

Mac Security

For those of you that remember the Mac vs PC ads that plagued television several years ago, you may recall that the Mac was touted as being more secure and less virus prone. In some ways, this claim was true, because MS Windows PCs accounted for over 90 percent of the computers on the internet at the time. Not many viruses targeted Macs simply because there weren’t enough Macs online to make it worthwhile.

Over the past several years, the popularity of Apple’s products has gone up considerably. So much so, that exploits and vulnerabilities are now being taken advantage of in malicious code online. There was even quite a bit of outrage in the Mac community recently toward a security researcher who announced two rather critical flaws in the Mac OS without notifying Apple first, thereby putting every Mac user potentially at risk of these zero day vulnerabilities.

Any vulnerability in an operating system that the manufacturer of that OS is unaware of is called a “zero-day” vulnerability, kind of like patient zero in an epidemic. Once the manufacturer becomes aware of the flaw, it starts a race against time to patch the hole before too many of its users get hit by an exploit using this flaw. As you can imagine, any zero day vulnerability in an operating system is music to the ears of anyone who writes any kind of malware. The system is basically wide open to them until the vendor finds out about it and gets a patch in place to plug the hole.

A Mac VPN adds a significant layer of protection against zero-day vulnerabilities that we might not know about yet. An encrypted tunnel and masked IP address go a long ways toward mitigating these kinds of threats.

How to manually configure a VPN on a Mac

Our preferred VPN protocol is OpenVPN, but Macs don’t come with built-in support for it. You could configure an OpenVPN client using some third-party software, but this typically requires you to manually configure individual servers, a tedious process. It’s much easier to install a provider’s custom app that comes pre-configured with all the OpenVPN servers you’ll need, plus other benefits like a kill switch and DNS leak protection.

If your VPN provider doesn’t make an app or you just prefer not to use third-party VPN software, Mac users have a few options for manually configuring a VPN. We’ll explain how to set up three of the most popular:

  • Built-in VPN support (L2TP)
  • Tunnelblick (OpenVPN)
  • Viscosity (OpenVPN)

How to set up an L2TP VPN connection on macOS

L2TP/IPSec is a VPN protocol with built-in support on Macs that offers comparable speed and security to OpenVPN. To set up a VPN connection that uses the L2TP protocol, you’ll need the following information from your VPN provider:

  • Your VPN provider account credentials (username or email and password)
  • The VPN server addresses for each location you want to connect to
  • VPN provider’s shared secret OR certificate

With that information in hand, follow these instructions:

  1. Go to Apple menu > System Preferences > Network icon
  2. Click + in the bottom left corner to create a new network interface
  3. Click the Interface drop-down list and choose VPN
  4. Click the VPN Type drop-down list and choose L2TP over IPSec
  5. In the Service Name field, type a name for this VPN connection (can be anything you like)
  6. Click Create and the VPN settings will appear
  7. Using the default configuration, in the Server Address field, type the VPN server address
  8. In the Account Name field, type your VPN account username
  9. Click Authentication Settings
  10. In the Password field, type your VPN account password
  11. If using a shared secret, select Shared Secret and type the pre-shared key (a.k.a. shared secret or secret key)
  12. If using a certificate, select Certificate, then Select and find the VPN provider’s certificate
  13. Click Apply to save changes
  14. The VPN is now set up, you just need to connect. Go to the Apple menu > System Preferences > Network icon
  15. Choose the VPN connection you created in the Network box
  16. Click Connect

How to set up a VPN with Tunnelblick on a Mac

Tunnelblick is a VPN client for Mac that works well with the OpenVPN protocol. You’ll need the OpenVPN configuration file for each server location you wish to connect to (.ovpn) from your VPN provider to get started, and possibly your VPN account username and password.

Tunnelblick can be downloaded for free here. Once downloaded, double-click the .dmg file and then on the Tunnelblick icon to install it. You may need to confirm and enter your Mac login credentials.

  1. Launch Tunnelblick and click the button that says “I have configuration files”
  2. Go to where you downloaded your .ovpn files and double-click them. You’ll be prompted to install the configurations for all users or just you. Choose whichever you like.
  3. Once the configuration is installed, click the Tunnelblick icon in the top right corner of your screen and choose Connect
  4. Enter your VPN username and password if prompted
  5. A notification will appear to let you know the connection is established

How to set up a VPN with Viscosity on macOS

Viscosity is a paid VPN client for OSX that works well with the OpenVPN protocol. A 30-day free trial is available, after which the software costs $9. You can download the client here. Install it by clicking on the .dmg file and then dragging the app to your Applications folder. You may need to confirm and enter your Mac login credentials.

To set up OpenVPN with Viscosity, you’ll need an OpenVPN configuration file (.ovpn) for each server you wish to connect to, and possibly your VPN account username and password.

  1. Click the Viscosity icon in the top right corner of your screen and choose Preferences…
  2. Click the + sign in the bottom left corner of the window that appears and choose Import connection > From file…
  3. Navigate to and select the .ovpn file you downloaded from you VPN provider
  4. Click the Viscosity icon in the top right corner again, and the VPN connection should be listed. Click it to connect

L'article 5 Best VPNs for Mac users and some to avoid in 2019 est apparu en premier sur Comparitech.

Best free VPNs for torrenting (and the risks of using them)

Posted: 18 Jan 2019 03:23 AM PST

If you want a free VPN for torrenting, you face several hurdles. Getting high speeds and strong encryption in a VPN service costs the providing company a lot of money. So, it is almost impossible to find a free torrenting VPN with all of the qualities needed for protection.

When looking for a free VPN for torrenting, you can adopt one of the following strategies:

  • Use the free trial or refund periods of paid VPN services
  • Find a free VPN for P2P downloading with high speeds and strong encryption
  • Look for the free versions of reputable VPNs that don’t have service restrictions

How to get a paid VPN for free

You will discover later in this guide that free VPNs are beset by shortcomings that for one reason or another makes them unsuitable for BitTorrent file sharing. So, we will examine the easiest strategy for getting torrent protection for free: to make use of the refund periods of the best VPNs on the market.

ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN torrent

Despite topping our list as the best VPN for torrenting on the market, ExpressVPN allows customers to use its services for free. One problem, however, is that you have to subscribe for the paid service and then cancel it later. You get all of your money back, so effectively you have used the service at no cost. Think of it like getting your deposit back.

The VPN operates a no-quibble money-back guarantee. This refund period lasts for 30 days. That means you can sign up for the service, use it for 30 days, cancel it, and then get all of your money back. They don’t put up a fight when you cancel your subscription. You just have to notify the help desk to get a refund.

ExpressVPN ticks all the boxes for torrenting. It has very good speeds, completely protects all of traffic from detection, and is available as a system-wide app that covers your torrent client.

You can get a browser extension for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari. However, these extensions are controllers for the Desktop app, so it will cover your torrent client as well. A feature called “split tunneling” allows you to specify what apps route their internet traffic through the VPN tunnel. If you set the option to operate a split include policy, you can nominate your torrent clients for coverage and leave all of your other internet traffic outside the tunnel.

The split tunneling option is only available for the Mac OS X/Mac OS version of the app. There are apps for Windows, Android, iOS, and Linux as well. You can install ExpressVPN's custom firmware on a compatible wifi router, will covers all of the devices in your home.

The company allows each customer to connect to the service three times all at once. That means three devices can run active VPN connections at the same time. If you install the VPN on your router that counts, as one connection even though it covers all of the devices in your house.

ExpressVPN places no data limit on its service, so you can download as much as you want without hitting a cap.

You don’t have to connect all of your devices to the same server. ExpressVPN operates servers in 94 countries around the globe. The company itself is based in the British Virgin Islands, which has no data retention laws.

The company does not keep activity logs and so it cannot be forced to hand over records to the courts. The encryption system of ExpressVPN is very strong. When connected through the default OpenVPN protocol, it uses a 4096-bit key RSA cipher to cover session establishment. This is the highest level available in the industry. The strength of the first phase of encryption is important because it protects the distribution of the cipher key for the main session. Data is protected by a 256-bit key AES cipher.

The help desk of ExpressVPN is very good and is staffed around the clock every day of the year. You can access a support technician through a live chat window on the ExpressVPN website. If you have problems coordinating the VPN with your torrent client, you don’t need to be coy about talking with support; the company is fine with customers using its VPN for torrenting.

BEST VPN FOR TORRENTING:ExpressVPN is our Top Choice and a pleasure to use for torrenting. It has a vast server network that is optimized for high-speed connections. User-friendly apps for all operating systems. Hard to beat on privacy and security. There is a 30-day no-quibbles money-back guarantee so you can try it risk-free.

Read our full review of ExpressVPN.

Free versions of good VPNs

There are many paid VPN services that offer free versions. These are great, but they aren’t exactly the same as the original version. The provider has to make the free version inferior so people will pay for the premium version.

Recommended free versions of good VPNs

Fortunately, we have managed to find a few good VPNs that offer really good free versions. In each case, the free version is not quite as good as the paid version. These companies place service restrictions or inconveniences in their free VPNs to encourage users to upgrade to the paid version. However, in the cases below, those restrictions are not irksome.

Installing any of these VPNs will provide full VPN protection for all of your torrent downloads.

Best Free VPNs for torrenting

1. CyberGhost Free Service

Free CyberGhost optons

CyberGhost is one of the recommended paid services listed above in this guide. However, its free version is also really good and probably your best option when looking for a totally free VPN.

As you would expect, this free service is not quite as good as the paid VPN. For starters, when you connect to a server, the app shows an advert for the paid VPN while queueing. The queue often starts in the thousands, so you have to wait quite a while before connecting. This can be especially annoying if you accidentally select the wrong server.

Speeds are reduced on the free version, but this VPN is so fast that even the impaired speed of the free VPN is faster than a lot of the paid VPNs on the market. There are no data limits, but the torrenting and video streaming optimization options are turned off in the free version.

The paid version of CyberGhost gives you access to servers in 60 countries, but with the free CyberGhost you get a choice of servers in 11 countries. These are:

  •         Czech Republic
  •         Finland
  •         France
  •         Germany
  •         Italy
  •         Netherlands
  •         Poland
  •         Romania
  •         Spain
  •         United Kingdom
  •         United States

You don’t need to identify yourself at all in order to download and use this app. As with the paid version, you get the protection of CyberGhost’s no-logs policy. You can only run the free VPN on one device. However, as you don’t need to identify yourself to get the app, that restriction can’t be enforced. The ad and tracker blocking features of CyberGhost are not included in the free version, nor is the data compression feature.

2. Windscribe

windscribe homepage

Windscribe is based in Canada, in which the proportion of torrenters to the general population is higher than anywhere in the world. Windscribe is OK with you using the VPN for torrent protection. The company deletes all connection records three minutes after a session is terminated. However, it does record the amount of data consumed by each free account.

This is an excellent paid VPN, and its free version is almost as good. With the paid subscription, you can access servers in 52 countries. The free version just gives you access to servers in 11 countries:

  •         United States                
  •         Canada         
  •         United Kingdom                           
  •         Hong Kong                     
  •         France          
  •         Germany                      
  •         Luxembourg                  
  •         Netherlands   
  •         Switzerland
  •         Romania
  •         Norway

Windscribe doesn't place speed restrictions on the free service, but there is a data cap of 10 GB, which is a lot for a free VPN. The allowance is reset on the same day of the month that you sign up on.

Windscribe is available as both an app and a browser extension. The browser extension is available for Chrome, Firefox, and Opera — it won’t cover your torrent client. The app is available for Windows, Mac OS X, macOS, and Android. You connect to the VPN through a third-party app on iOS and you can install the VPN manually on Linux and routers.

The encryption offered by the Windscribe app is very strong. It uses RSA with a 4096-bit key for session establishment and the main data encryption cipher is AES with a 256-bit key.

3. Hide.me

hide me website ss

Hide.me is based in Malaysia, which is a good location for a VPN and the legal landscape there allows this VPN company to operate under a no-logs policy. You get speeds of at least 3 Mbps with this free VPN and the company gives free users a data allowance of 2GB per month.

The VPN app can be installed on Windows, Mac OS X, macOS, iOS, and Android. You can install the VPN manually on Linux computers and routers. The company avoids logging user activity against any personally identifiable information — including the IP address.

The paid version can use the OpenVPN, SoftEther, IKEv2, SSTP, and PPTP protocols. With the free version, you can’t access OpenVPN or SoftEther, so we recommend IKEv2, which includes AES encryption with a 256-bit key.

The free version allows P2P activity and gives you access to servers in three countries:

  •         Netherlands
  •         Canada
  •         Singapore

If you sign up for the paid version, you can cancel and get your money back within 14-days.

4. SurfEasy

SurfEasy screenshot

SurfEasy is owned by Symantec, which gives it an excellent reputation. This VPN is based in Canada, which means it is subject to the same liberal jurisdiction as Windscribe. There are two paid plans for this VPN: the Total and the Ultra packages. The Ultra pack includes extra protection for torrenting. However, P2P activities are not specifically banned with the Total or the free Basic plans.

Both the Basic and Total plans get access to servers in 16 countries. These are:

  •         Australia
  •         Brazil
  •         Canada
  •         France
  •         Germany
  •         Italy
  •         Japan
  •         Netherlands
  •         Norway
  •         Poland
  •         Romania
  •         Singapore
  •         Spain
  •         Ukraine
  •         United Kingdom
  •         United States

The Ultra package gives access to servers in 15 more countries.

The company offers a 7-day money-back guarantee, so this VPN probably wouldn’t be a good choice for the “sign up and cancel” strategy.

SurfEasy apps are available for Windows, Mac OS X, macOS, Android, and iOS, plus a browser extension for Chrome and Opera. Each account gets an allowance of five simultaneous connections — even the free plan.

Surfeasy limits monthly data throughput. This is initially set at 600 MB, which is not much. However, by completing certain tasks, such as installing both the app and the browser extension, registering your email, or following the service on Twitter, you can easily get the allowance up over 1 GB per month.

Free versions of VPNs that are not quite good enough

Although there are some great free versions of excellent VPNs to try out, in most cases, the impairments imposed on them makes them useless for torrenting. Here are a few examples:

TunnelBear

TunnelBear screenshot

TunnelBear is a great VPN with a cute, simple design. Amazingly, this fantastic VPN has a free version. You would think this would be perfect for use when torrenting. However:

  •         The free version only allows a data throughput of 500 MB per month
  •         The company doesn’t allow its VPN to be used for torrenting

So, TunnelBear would be great for low data volume browsing, but it is not a feasible choice for torrenters.

ProtonVPN

ProtonVPN screenshot

Proton is a Swiss company that produces a fantastic secure email system. The company has used its expertise to produce a really good VPN service. The billing structure of ProtonVPN is a little odd. The company produces both a paid and a free VPN. Proton claims that both versions are exactly the same.  Subscribers to the paid version fund the free version. You might think this is the perfect free VPN, but:

  •         Torrenting is not allowed

SaferVPN

SaferVPN is an excellent service that we frequently recommend at Comparitech. You can try out the service on a 24-hour free trial and you also get a 14-day money-back guarantee. So, you could use this VPN for free for a day, sign up, and then cancel after two weeks and get your money back.

The free version of SaferVPN is available once you have completed the free trial if you choose not to subscribe. However:

  •         You only get a monthly data allowance of 500 MB
  •         Only available as a browser extension and won’t cover your torrent client

SecurityKISS

SecurityKISS screenshot

SecurityKISS is a low-priced VPN service that is also available for free. The company is based in the Republic of Ireland. This VPN service declares that it keeps “minimum logs.” You don’t need to give any information about yourself at all in order to use the free VPN. You don’t even need to set up a username and password.

The app uses OpenVPN in its Windows and Mac OS X/macOS versions. This is the best VPN protocol available. L2TP is available for Windows, Mac OS X, macOS, Android, iOS, and Linux. The free version of the VPN is the lowest of five tiers. The most expensive plan gives access to servers in 16 countries and the free VPN has access to servers in four countries.

However, you wouldn’t want to use the paid version of this VPN for torrenting because those minimum logs include your IP address and timestamps of your sessions. Other reasons why SecurityKiss is not suitable for torrenting include:

  •         Crackable 1024-bit RSA encryption for session establishment
  •         Data throughput limit of 300 MB per day
  •         Terms of Service ban torrenting

ProXPN

ProXPN screenshot

ProXPN allows torrenting and includes OpenVPN protection. The VPN is headquartered in the USA, which is not an ideal location for a privacy service because it makes it vulnerable to government pressure and legal challenges. The paid version of the VPN offers servers in the USA, the UK, the Netherlands, and Singapore. However, the free version only gives access to servers in the USA.

You can sign up for the Premium (paid) service and get a 30-day refund period. This would be better than using the free version because:

  •         Torrenting is not allowed
  •         Data transfer speeds are limited to 300 Kbps

Free VPNs to avoid

There are some very bad free VPNs that should be avoided at all costs, and not just for torrenting. These VPNs make the blacklist either by providing terrible service, compromising user security, or just by being plain, downright and shamelessly dishonest. So, no matter how much their advertising may tempt you, do not, under any circumstances, install the following VPNs.

Hola!

Hola! is a free service that purports to be a VPN, but it isn’t. The system emulates the Tor network in that it uses the connections of members to pass through the connections of other users. This is presented very much like a mutually beneficial setup serving a community. However, the organization that runs Hola! also owns a business that sells access to the network. So, free users allow other users to pass their connections through their system in exchange for the same service in return. However, paid users don’t have to accept anyone else’s traffic.

Essentially, Hola! is selling the bandwidth of gullible free members. It gets worse. Hola! is advertised as a privacy service and yet its free version doesn’t include any encryption at all. The operating methodology of Hola! sends your traffic through other people’s internet connections. If you happen to be an exit point — a designation that occurs randomly — a lot of other people’s internet traffic has your IP address on it.

The sister company that sells access to the network is called Luminati. The company makes no effort to screen customers. So, it is very attractive to criminal elements and hackers who need cover for illegal activities on the internet. As a free user, you have no control over who passes their traffic through your internet connection. If someone performs a criminal act, traceable to your IP address, you could get into a lot of trouble.

The Tor-like routing of Hola! introduces a performance flaw. The Hola! network doesn’t carry your traffic all the way to its destination. Instead, your traffic bounces around the world through several different nodes and the exit point could be anywhere. Your traffic then has to continue over the internet unprotected. This final journey could well be from one side of the globe to the other. So, Hola! results in very slow transfer speeds and is useless for downloading.

Hotspot Shield

Hotspot Shield was a star of a CSIRO study into bad VPNs (PDF) and features prominently within the research group’s warnings. Researchers discovered the VPN reroutes member access to certain sites through an affiliate program, so the VPN’s parent company, AnchorFree, earns a commission on everything those users buy at those sites. So, the VPN might redirect you to Overstock.com, where AnchorFree earns percentage of everything you pay at that site. This also happens if you are running the VPN and make a purchase at AliBaba, eBay, NewEgg, Macy’s, Best Buy, or Target.

The AnchorFree marketing arm reportedly sells advertising space on the websites that you visit. You may think that the adverts you see are part of the original websites. However, Hotspot injects the ads into web pages. So, while other VPNs offer an extra ad blocking service, Hotspot Shield can add extra adverts in or replaces existing ones.

If you have a Netflix subscription, Hotspot Shield will block your access to the Netflix site and put up a warning page instead, which tells you to buy the paid version of the VPN, Hotspot Shield Elite.  

Download speeds through the Hotspot Shield servers in the USA are capped at 1.4 Mbps and so it will slow your connection down.

See also: Hotspot Shield review

Betternet

Betternet is another VPN owned by AnchorFree. The CSIRO researchers found this free VPN contains malware, adware, and tracking codes. In fact, it includes 14 different tracking codes, which is way more than most dodgy VPNs. The CSIRO also discovered 13 instances of malware in the Betternet app.

Betternet's Terms of Service give the VPN the right to grant third-party companies access to your computer. In the same document, the service absolves itself of any responsibility for the actions of those third-parties.

The free version of the VPN only gives you access to a server in the United States, so users are vulnerable to copyright trolls and ISP penalties.

The Betternet VPN drags down your transfer speeds. In the author's experience, a transatlantic connection to the New York server reduced download rate to about 20 percent of its unprotected speed.

Cheap VPNs suitable for torrenting

The VPN market is full of great deals on good VPNs. For under $3 per month you can subscribe to a VPN service far superior to a free VPN that will allow you to torrent privately and without speed issues. Here are three great VPNs for under $3 a month.

CyberGhost

Cyberghost Torrenting

CyberGhost offers very good speeds. This is an excellent service that you will read more about in a later section of this guide. The company is based in Romania, where the High Court consistently throws out laws that impose data retention requirements on service providers. So, your identity is very well protected by CyberGhost.

The company doesn’t keep any identifiable information on its customers. All they have on you is an account number. A separate company based in a different country collects payment and then notifies CyberGhost that account XYZ has credit until a particular date. CyberGhost keeps no activity logs, so you will be impossible to trace.

The company operates servers in 60 countries, giving you plenty of options to find a location close to you. The home screen gives lets you specify what you plan to use the VPN for. Torrenting is one of those options. When you select that option, the app adjusts all of its settings to optimize downloading and selects a server specially configured to facilitate P2P file sharing.

CyberGhost can block ads and tracking cookies and added data compression is great for speeding up downloads.

There are no data limits on the paid version of CyberGhost. You can connect up to seven devices at once. The slick CyberGhost app is available on Windows, Mac OS X, macOS, Android, and iOS devices. The service can be manually installed on Linux and wifi routers. A router installation covers all of the devices in your home, but counts as only one of your seven simultaneous connections.

The CyberGhost app contains two split tunneling options. The first of these lets you nominate an internet address to which the VPN tunnel will not be applied. This option won’t be of much interest to you as a torrenter. Second, you can set the VPN to only protect specified applications, so it can just protect your torrent client without affecting other apps.

CyberGhost matches the high security of ExpressVPN. It uses a 4096-bit key RSA cipher for session establishment and key exchange protection. The data channel is protected by 256-bit key AES encryption.

CyberGhost offers live support during European business hours. You can also contact them via a web form, or through a page in the app. You can also get hold of them by email. Note that a help desk call requires you to give an email address where you can be contacted, and that breaks all of the excellent anonymity features that CyberGhost has put in place. Instead, you could find a solution to your problem by searching through the knowledge base on the website, which is very comprehensive.

CyberGhost gives you a 30-day money-back guarantee and they don’t put up a fight when you ask to cancel the service.

GOOD BUDGET VPN:CyberGhost is a great value choice. Strong on privacy, fast speeds and reliable for torrenting. We found it easy to set up and use. Works well with most streaming sites but not Amazon Prime. 45-day money back guarantee.

Read our full Cyberghost review.

PrivateVPN

privatevpn deal

PrivateVPN was set up by torrenters and the founders still campaign for the right to internet freedom. So, the support staff won't judge you for torrenting. The support technicians are available via a live chat popup at the website and they can use remote control software to take over your computer with your permission. This enables them to explore problems and fix them for you. They won’t shop you to the cops if the problem relates to your torrent client.

As this VPN was set up for downloading, it has no data limits and offers excellent speeds. The server count of this VPN is very low when compared to other leading VPNs. However, the company spread its servers around the world, which means it offers locations in 56 countries.

The company is based in Sweden and it is adamant that it keeps no logs at all. The data retention situation in Sweden has been a battlefield in the past few years. This is due to the country’s membership of the EU, which keeps trying to impose record keeping on digital service providers in its member states. A few other Swedish VPN companies have moved to Mauritius just to be on the safe side. However, the leaders of PrivateVPN prefer to stand and fight. This policy paid off at the end of 2016 when Swedish privacy activists managed to convince the European Courts of Justice to invalidate all data retention laws in Europe.

This service’s session establishment encryption isn’t quite as strong as that of CyberGhost and ExpressVPN because its RSA implementation uses a 2048-bit key, but that's still considered un-crackable. The 256-bit key AES cipher is same high standard as the above two VPNs. Alternatively, 128-bit Blowfish is an alternative encryption system available within the app.

PrivateVPN employs the same account privacy policies as CyberGhost. In fact, it uses the same payment collection company — Cleverbridge — to protect the identity of its customers. You are only identified by an account number on the PrivateVPN system.

PrivateVPN allows six simultaneous connections and you can install it on your router to cover all of the devices in your home under a single connection. The PrivateVPN app can be installed on Windows, Mac OS X, macOS, Android, and iOS. You can also install the service manually on Linux computers.

PrivateVPN offers five months use for free, but you have to pay for a one-year subscription in order to get that and you lose those free months if you cancel the service. The money-back guarantee of PrivateVPN lasts for 30 days. So, you can use it for a month, cancel it, and get all of your money back. The cancelation process is straightforward and quick.

GREAT FOR SPEED:PrivateVPN is consistently reliable. Good for general purpose use and Torrenting. Speeds were surprisingly good at this end of the market. Could do with having more servers and lacks 24/7 support. 30-day money back guarantee.

Read our full review of PrivateVPN

NordVPN

NordVPN torrenting

NordVPN is another top VPN that offers a 30-day refund guarantee. You can sign up, use the service for a month, cancel it, and then get all of your money back. The company presents no problems when faced with a refund request — we’ve tested the process anonymously.

The company is based in Panama. NordVPN doesn’t have any servers in Panama and it keeps no logs on their customers’ activities, so torrenters are sufficiently protected by this service.

The data encryption offered by NordVPN uses a 256-bit key AES cipher. The distribution of the AES key is protected by a 2048-bit key RSA encryption. Other interesting security measures offered by NordVPN are double-hop VPN, which places two layers of encryption on your connections and routes through two servers in different countries. Also, you have the option of connecting through the VPN to the Tor network. Although these two services will protect your identity really thoroughly while torrenting, the extra routing will slow down your connection. You may prefer to pass on those extra-strength systems in order to speed up downloads.

The customer support team is accessible via a ticket submission form on the NordVPN website or via email. Although these channels are not as immediate as live chat, the help desk team responds to queries very quickly. The company is fine about customers using the system for torrenting, so you can speak freely when you need to contact customer support with a torrent-related problem.

You can install the NordVPN app on Windows, Mac OS X, macOS, Android, and iOS. You can also set up the VPN manually on Linux computers and wifi routers. You get an allowance of six simultaneous connections and a router installation counts as just one of those even though it covers all of the devices in your home.

The server pool of NordVPN is very large. It runs 3,657 servers spread across 62 countries as of time of writing. This gives you a better chance of finding a server close to you. The server selection list includes the ping return time from your location and the load of each server to help you choose a fast route for your torrent downloads.

AFFORDABLE CHOICE:NordVPN is a good all-rounder. A great value option which works reliably with torrenting. Connects up to 6 devices simultaneously. App doesn’t offer server switching choice. 30-day money back guarantee.

Read our full review of NordVPN.

Why you need a VPN for torrenting

Peer-to-Peer protocols, notably BitTorrent, are innovative file storage and transfer methodologies, but most implementations of this amazing technology focus on illegal downloading of copyrighted files.

Although paid systems can use torrents for file distribution, they aren’t as popular as the sites and groups that get you free stuff. Comparitech doesn’t condone copyright infringement, and so this article focuses on subscription media distribution systems that employ the BitTorrent protocol to let you get entertainment legally.

Given that BitTorrent is frequently used for illegal downloading, ISPs look out for torrenting traffic. Even if you use the torrenting system for legal purposes, your internet service provider might still flag you. In this case, you could be penalized for downloading and get caught up in a legal tangle even if you did nothing wrong. ISPs often use Sandvine or a similar system that identifies torrenting traffic and sends RESET commands to the peer. This results in your connections constantly dropping, making it impossible to download anything.

In order to avoid the problems that can arise from your ISP detecting your torrent activities, it is just better to mask your internet traffic. This is a service that VPNs perform well. However, there are a few issues to take into consideration when choosing a VPN for torrenting. You need to find a service that has all of the following attributes:

  •         Fast speeds for quick downloads
  •         Unlimited bandwidth
  •         Large server network
  •         No logs
  •         Strong encryption to block deep packet inspection
  •         Comprehensive address masking
  •         Port forwarding to assist torrenting
  •         Unlimited data
  •         System-wide coverage (not just browser)

The list of requirements for a torrent VPN makes the right service very difficult to find.

VPN address substitution and privacy

A couple of issues raised in the descriptions of the VPNs above need to be explained further. When looking for a free VPN for torrenting, you need to make sure that it replaces your IP address. This is because anyone in a torrent swarm can see the IP addresses of peers. This info has been used by copyright law firms to trace downloaders and hit them with settlement letters demanding compensation. In other instances, torrent services have been forced to hand over the records of all the addresses that visited the site.

So, you have to be sure that your real IP address is not visible on the internet. For this reason, you should scrutinize a free VPN and test it out before connecting to a torrent swarm. Not all VPNs sufficiently hide your address, and so could expose you to bad actors.

The issue of data retention is vitally important when choosing a VPN. If a VPN replaces your IP address, that protection is no use if they then tell copyright lawyers or law enforcement which user was represented by an IP address at a certain time. The issue of whether a VPN service purposefully gives out this information is immaterial. When presented with a court order, the staff and owners of a VPN company have three choices: hand over all of their records; go to jail and have their company’s door kicked in and all of their records seized while they are away; or go to jail, get banned from operating a business, and have all of their records seized. So, the only defense they can offer is to keep no records. If there are no logs of user activity or identifiable information, third parties can't request, steal, or coerce such information out of the VPN provider.

The VPN industry is very crowded and competition is fierce. All VPN companies know about the importance of privacy to users. Many keep logs that identify users despite claims to the contrary. Some companies dance around the definition of what a log is and will stretch the definition of personally identifiable information. Some outright lie and say they don’t keep logs when they actually do.

The location of the VPN provider's headquarters is also important. Some countries are very strong on copyright enforcement. If a VPN company is based in a country that has strong copyright laws, the owners of that company can be threatened with imprisonment or fines if they fail to cooperate with law enforcement agencies. That threat can be enough to sacrifice you your anonymity.

Choosing a VPN server for torrenting

As a general rule of thumb, it is better to connect to a VPN server as close as possible to the source of the data you are accessing. This is because VPNs divert your internet traffic through the VPN server. If you are in Turkey and connecting to a web server in Germany, for example, diverting all of your traffic through a VPN located in Hong Kong would create extra distance for each piece of data to travel and slow the download.

When torrenting, you are likely to connect to peers all over the globe simultaneously, so it isn’t feasible to connect to a VPN server close to the source. An alternative VPN server selection strategy is to connect to a server close to you. In order to complicate the legal process that might occur should anyone try to trace your activities, you would also be better off connecting to a server location just outside your own country. So, if you are in the UK, connect through the Netherlands, or France.

The top VPNs have servers in a lot of countries. If you are in Europe, you likely get plenty of choice from any VPN service. However, many free VPN services only offer one VPN location, which is often in the USA.

Should you Avoid "free" VPNs?

You won’t find any really good free VPNs that allow torrenting, have high speeds, and provide strong encryption. The costs involved in running a quality service just make it impossible for free services to be provided profitably.

Although there are hundreds of VPNs on the market, surprisingly few of them offer adequate privacy protection. The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization discovered that 18 per cent of VPNs on the market don’t include any encryption at all (PDF). That study took place at the end of 2016 and examined a total of 283 VPN services. Without encryption, the protocol details of your connections are visible to your ISP. Then you face the dangers of activity logging and Sandvine intervention.

The CSIRO paper highlights that just picking a service out of a search engine results page is a risky strategy. You could be wasting your time installing a VPN that doesn’t include encryption, because without encryption, a VPN offers no protection from your ISP

Free services often work as a loss leader. Companies produce free VPNs in order to funnel customers to other profit centers. For example, the CSIRO found that 75 percent of the VPNs in the study contained tracking libraries. Programming those features into the VPN software costs money, and it doesn’t enhance the service for the customer. So, why do they do it? These free VPN services earn money by tracking the activities of customers and selling that information to advertisers. So, while people install VPNs to disguise their online habits, the free VPN they chose is likely to record and share their information rather than keep it secret.

Other free VPNs earn money by displaying advertisements to users, either in the app or injected into web pages as they get loaded into browsers.

The Tor network is an interesting option for those seeking privacy protection. This is a free service run by volunteers that works sort of like a VPN by routing traffic randomly through several relays, or nodes. Unfortunately, Tor is not suitable for torrenting. Transfers bounce all around the world and then have to cross the internet all over again once it exits the network. This makes downloading large files very slow and places a strain on the Tor network as a whole.

Conclusion

As you can see from our research, picking a free VPN at random is not an advisable strategy when you are looking for torrenting protection. You are already taking a lot of risks by using P2P networks, so you need to be very, very sure that your VPN provides cast iron protection.

Unfortunately, the quality of free VPNs ranges from “bad” to “criminal.” So, you really should give up on the dream of getting adequate protection for free. A few free services in our list are stablemates of reputable and excellent VPNs and you should focus on that list if you are really determined not to pay out anything at all.

See also:
VPN Reviews
6 best VPNs for torrenting & P2P for 2018

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Best VPNs for Amazon Fire Stick and Fire TV

Posted: 18 Jan 2019 03:10 AM PST

5 Best VPNs for Amazon Fire Stick and Fire TV

The Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick are great portable, plug-and-play devices that make it easy to stream your favorite media on your television. It gives you on-demand access to thousands of hours of video from Amazon Prime, Netflix, Hulu, and more. The Android-based Fire TV operating system is also a favorite among Kodi users.

Unfortunately, much of that content is geo-locked, meaning you can’t access channels on the Firestick while abroad. Video libraries are limited due to content licensing agreements, and local sporting events are blacked out due to exclusive broadcast rights. Kodi users streaming from popular add-ons might need a way to hide their activity from their internet service provider.

The solution to all of these issues is to add a VPN to Fire Stick. Short for virtual private network, a VPN service encrypts the Fire TV’s internet connection and routes it through an intermediary server in a location of the user’s choosing. This can change your IP address, and thus your perceived location, to access geo-locked content from Canada, the UK, Australia, or anywhere else in the world. The encryption vastly improves your privacy and masks your activity from snooping ISPs.

Criteria for selecting VPNs

To help choose an Amazon Fire TV VPN, we’ve narrowed down our 2018 list of the best VPNs for Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick based on the following criteria:

  • VPN app available on Fire TV app store or Android APK available for direct download (makes installing much easier)
  • A lightweight app that won’t drag down performance
  • Fast streaming speed and reliable performance
  • Compatible with all Kodi add-ons
  • Bonus points for unblocking geo-restricted content such as Netflix and Hulu

Note that not every VPN service on this list can unblock Amazon Prime Video from abroad. We’ve got a separate article for Amazon Prime VPNs, some of which also appear on this list.

6 Best VPNs for Amazon Fire Stick and Fire TV

Here is our list of the best VPNs for Fire Stick and Fire TV:

1. IPVanish

IPVanish firesticktv 69 percent

IPVanish VPN is a favorite among Kodi users, and for good reason. It offers unlimited bandwidth and data for HD video streaming. Strong encryption and a no-logging policy hide your activity from your internet service provider. IPVanish has a huge network of servers around the world, so unblocking content shouldn’t be a problem as long as VPN connections aren’t blocked. Subscribers can connect up to five simultaneous devices. The app interface is particularly well-suited for Fire TV and can be used with the Fire TV remote.

IPVanish has created an app specifically for Firestick, which is now available directly from Amazon’s official app store on your Fire TV. Just search for IPVanish and it will pop up. The app is fully compatible with your remote control and very easy to use.

BEST VPN FOR FIRE TV STICK:IPVanish is our top choice. Has an app designed specifically for use with the Fire TV or Fire Stick. Own network of super-fast servers and score top marks for privacy and security. A favorite with Kodi users and torrenters. 7-day money back guarantee.

Read our full IPVanish review.

2. ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN Firetv

ExpressVPN boasts the highest standards when it comes to speed and security. It has servers in over 90 countries and is one of the few VPNs capable of unblocking American Netflix and Hulu from outside the US. Recently, ExpressVPN created a version of its app specifically for Fire TV, which is now available through the official app store on your Firestick. You can easily install it and control the VPN with your stock remote control.

If you have a first-generation Fire TV Stick and want to set up ExpressVPN on your wifi router, ExpressVPN makes custom router firmware you can flash to certain router models, or you can purchase a pre-configured router directly from the company. ExpressVPN subscriptions also come with a smart DNS proxy solution called MediaStreamer, which you can also use to unblock geo-locked content. MediaStreamer can be set up in the Fire TV’s settings without the need to install an app.

GREAT ALL-ROUNDER:ExpressVPN holds its own .A fast and reliable choice which confidently unblocks all major streaming services with ease including Netflix, Hulu, Amzon Prime, BBC and others. Comes with a Fire TV specific app. Great privacy features and keeps no logs. One of the few VPNs to work in China and UAE. Try it risk-free with the 30-day money back guarantee.

Read our full ExpressVPN review.

3. CyberGhost

cyberghost firetv

CyberGhost has just put out the Fire TV version of its app, which you can find and download via the search function on your Firestick or Fire TV Cube. Cyberghost allows you to choose a server according to the streaming service you want to unblock, rather than forcing you to choose a location and hope for the best. This makes it extremely easy to unblock Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and many more. Get the Cyberghost App on Amazon.

Speeds are great–plenty fast enough for you to stream high-quality video without buffering. CyberGhost has excellent security policies and practices and adheres to a no-logs policy. It operates thousands of servers in more than 60 countries.

Apps are also available for Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android.

BUDGET CHOICE:CyberGhost is great for beginners. A budget choice that works well with Amazon Fire Stick and provide a Fire TV version of its app. Stores no internet activity logs and stream HD video reliably. Can struggle with unblocking some popular streaming sites. 45-day money back guarantee.

Read our full CyberGhost review.

4. NordVPN

NordVPN Firetv

NordVPN recently released an official Fire TV app, so you can download it right from Amazon on the Firestick or the Fire TV Cube. Just search for NordVPN and it should be the first option.

NordVPN has servers optimized for ultra-fast streaming and can unblock US Netflix and Hulu from the Android app. The Panama-based provider holds to a true zero-logs policy and maintains strong security standards. A single subscription nets you six simultaneous connections. Tutorials for a wide range of router firmware are available on its website as well.

The NordVPN Android APK is available here (direct download link).

GREAT VALUE:NordVPN is a solid all-rounder. Works well with Amazon Fire TV Stick and has a compatible app. Solid security and privacy performer. Some servers can be unreliable and you can’t specify servers. Includes a 30-day money back guarantee.

Read our full NordVPN review.

5. PrivateVPN

privatevpn deal

PrivateVPN recently launched a Fire TV version of its app, which you can download and install directly from the official Amazon app store on your Firestick with no workarounds or hacks. PrivateVPN, not to be confused with Private Internet Access, is a fresh up-and-comer in the VPN industry. While it has a smaller VPN server network than the other options on this list, it performs just as well when it comes to unblocking geo-locked content like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and BBC iPlayer.

PrivateVPN also uses encryption standards on par with its veteran counterparts. It boasts a no-logging policy and allows up to six simultaneous connections.

GOOD SPEEDS:PrivateVPN is a good family choice. Comes with a specific Fire TV version of the app. Good for HD Streaming. Allows up to 6 devices on the same account. Could do with having more servers and lacks 24/7 support. 30-day money back guarantee.

Read our full PrivateVPN review.

6. Windscribe

windscribe homepage

Windscribe makes a dedicated app for Firestick users available on the Fire TV app store. It’s super easy to install without tweaking any settings and doesn’t require any third-party apps to control. A Windscribe subscription nets you fast speeds, unlimited simultaneous connections, and strong security. It unblocks US Netflix as well as a handful of other streaming video sites from abroad.

Windscribe works in China and allows torrenting. It keeps no logs of user activity.

In addition to Fire TV, apps are available for Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, along with browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Opera.

ABLE CONTENDER:Windscribe hits good speeds. Has a dedicated app for Firestick. Above standard for security and privacy. Lacks true 24/7 support. 3-day money back guarantee.

Read our full Windscribe review.

How to use a Firestick VPN

If your VPN provider makes its app available on the Amazon Fire TV app store, getting set up is easy. Just sign up, install, sign in, and connect. In our list, ExpressVPN, IPVanish, PrivateVPN, NordVPN, CyberGhost, and Windscribe all make great Firestick VPN apps.

Most VPNs, however, don’t have apps on Amazon’s Fire TV app store. Adding a VPN to an Amazon Fire Stick from a third-party source isn’t hard, but it is a bit trickier than installing one on a desktop, laptop, or smartphone. Because Fire TV doesn’t have access to Google Play, you’ll have to manually download the Android app APK file or sideload the app from another Google Play-connected Android device. We’ve got detailed instructions for several different solutions in our Amazon Fire TV VPN setup guide, as well as a Fire TV Kodi setup tutorial.

Note that the first-edition Fire TV Stick is not compatible with VPN apps. If you’re using this older version, the VPN will have to configured on your wifi router instead of on the device itself. Alternatively, you can connect to the VPN on your Android smartphone and cast streaming video to your Fire Stick. Fire TV and 2nd generation Fire TV Sticks and later should all support VPN apps.

Controlling mouse input on Firestick

Some VPN apps don’t work well with the Fire TV remote and require at least a mouse to use. The obvious solution is to connect a Bluetooth mouse, which is supported by newer versions of the Fire TV and Fire TV Stick.

Another option is to use Mouse Toggle, an app available for iOS and Android. Mouse toggle turns your smartphone into a mouse that can be used to control your Fire TV. It costs $2.99, which is cheaper than buying a physical mouse. You will need to enable ADB Debugging in your Fire TV settings. Instructions are included with the app, and you can be up and running in about five minutes.

Check out our video tutorial on how to install and control an Android VPN app that isn’t available from Amazon’s Fire TV app store. This example uses NordVPN’s old app for demonstration:

Other tips for geo-unblocking on Fire TV

Once you have a VPN enabled on your Fire TV, your newly assigned IP address should allow you to unblock most geographically restricted content. However, certain apps and streaming sources might require a few more steps.

Change DNS settings on Fire TV

Some users, particularly those using their Fire TV devices with a VPN set up on a virtual or physical router, have had issues with changing their location to unblocked geo-locked content. This is possibly due to the Fire TV sending DNS requests outside of the VPN tunnel.

The solution is to change your Fire TV’s DNS settings. Check with your VPN provider to see if they have a DNS address you can use. If not, we recommend finding a DNS address for your desired country from OpenNIC.

You will need the IP address of your wifi router. This is usually 192.168.0.1 or 192.168.1.1.

With the DNS address and router IP in hand, do the following:

  1. When you connect to your wifi network for the first time (use the Forget Network function if you’ve connected previously), on the menu where you enter your wifi password, click on Advanced.
  2. Enter your router IP address, but change the last digit. It can be anything that isn’t already assigned between 2 and 255. An example would be 192.168.1.100
  3. Under Gateway, enter your router IP address.
  4. Under Network Prefix Length, enter 24
  5. Under DNS1 and DNS2, enter your primary and alternative DNS addresses
  6. Click Connect

Change your time zone on Fire TV

To access some geo-locked content, your device’s time zone might need to align with the country from which you’re streaming video. To change your time zone on a Fire TV, do the following:

  1. From the Home menu, scroll down and select Settings
  2. Select System > Time Zone
  3. Select Time Zone and choose the time zone for your desired country

Change your Amazon account to desired country

For some content, such as Amazon Prime Video and Amazon Instant Video, you may need to change your Amazon account to the US or another country. To do this, log into your Amazon account in a web browser and do the following:

  1. Click Your Account > Manage your content and devices
  2. Click the Settings tab
  3. Under Country settings, click the Change button
  4. Enter your US address. If you don’t have one, just Google the address of a hotel or something
  5. Click Update

L'article Best VPNs for Amazon Fire Stick and Fire TV est apparu en premier sur Comparitech.

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