How do I setup a VPN that also hides my IP address on a local PC?
Question by Chris G /

How do I setup a multi-platform (windows-linux-mac) DIY open source (free!) VPN that will also hide my IP address and give me total privacy? I want to use it for torrent downloads and basically everything else. I primarily run windows 7 64 bit however we own a MacBook and I am slowly learning Linux on an old pc. I also just purchased a Buffalo LS-QVL NAS. I would love to be able to run it off my NAS box. I also have a Billion 7800nl router with VPN passthrough if that helps?

I am after a detailed guide or answer, I am an intermediate PC user. I dont want to use free services like Hotspot shield as they are too slow most of the time, TOR is good for browsing but slow and not allowed for p2p torrents! I want to make the most of my ISP bandwidth 20 m/bits, any answers would be greatly appreciated, this would make a great guide to add to MakeUseOf’s already extensive collection! Please note I prefer open source as it seems to be more reliable and also has great community support.

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Answers (8)
  • Jessica Joe

    For P2P download, I use BTGuard premium VPN.
    For web browsing, I use free VPNs listed on http://www.vpnsurfing.com

  • James Bruce

    I think you’re misunderstanding what a VPN is, so let me explain it. A VPN requires 2 machines – one to act as a server, and one to act as the client. The server IP is publicly known – there’s no way to prevent that. The client IP however is hidden, which is what you want to accomplish. However, you can’t just “download a open source VPN” – you need the remote server somewhere, run by someone who will delete all access records should the feds come knocking (or in another country). You download torrents via their remote IP, basically, and any records that you used the service are not kept. 

    Once you have this remote server that will act as a gateway for you, you don’t actually need any additional (open source or otherwise) software – every OS has built-in capabilities to connect to a VPN. The router VPN functionality you mention either means it has the ability to let all local traffic be routed via the VPN (as opposed to a single machine), or that it has the ability to accept VPN connections as a server. Neither is useful for your case. The only option is to PAY for a VPN service, like BTGuard or VPNTunnel.se – defininately go for one that’s specifically ok with torrents. 

  • Mike

    Here is the problem:

    If you set it up yourself – your own VPN server and connect to it – it won’t fulfill the desired purpose. All clients connected to your VPN server will use your public IP address you got from your provider.

    Assuming that your clients are all on the same network this would be… well, pointless because they already share that same public IP address.

    If you want to hide your own IP you either have to use one of the “slow” free services, pay for VPN service or get some root- or virtual private server at a hosting company that allow you to host your own VPN server (which will probably cost you more than the second option).

  • Jeff Fabish

    Chris,

    I use HideMyAss and BT Guard. BTGuard specializes in P2P-based private networking, whereas HideMyAss just isn’t an option in that area (see below for details). Neither are open source, though HideMyAss’s VPN does implement an open source protocol, OpenVPN. (If you decide to get both, simply uncheck your BitTorrent application from HideMyAss’s interface and use BTGuard instead) You can use the OpenVPN client as a stand alone, however. I’ve also heard good things about StrongVPN and Vpn4All.

    VPN’s are usually either slow & private, or quick & public. The key is to find a VPN that’s in the middle of the road, not too slow but also quite secure. After all, if someone is going to take the time to crack the 256 AES encryption, you didn’t stand a chance anyway. The more servers the host has, the more likely you are to have a server closer to you (which in turn, means faster speeds of course). However, this very concept alone pretty much excludes an open source business model as you need money to host those servers (not that open source necessarily means non-profit).

    LifeHacker – Five Best VPN Tools
    7 Completely Free VPN Services To Protect Your Privacy
    Which VPN Providers Really Take Anonymity Seriously?

    I would also like to note, that HideMyAss cooperates with the feds (right from the horses donkeys mouth, too). This usually isn’t a big deal, however before they said they didn’t log user activity, based on what they provided the FBI I would say they were rather dishonest. Case in point, hidemyass does not honor their contract (or otherwise modifies it to fit its day-to-day agenda). Just something to keep in mind, depending on what your P2P activities are like.

    – Jeff

    • James Bruce

      I think you mean either “slow and public” or “quick and private” ;)

    • Jimy

      Jeff, how do I install BTGaurd on NAS. Would it work on NAS without using my PC? Which NAS will let me do that. I am thinking of Buffalo LinkStation Pro. What do you think? Thanks
      James