In a world of ramped up, reactionary government surveillance and increasingly sophisticated cybercriminals, the use of a virtual private network (VPN) to connect to the Internet seems utterly sensible.
Sadly, the vast majority of users have no idea what a VPN is, or how it can help them. And those of us who do know have grave concerns over the amount of information that is logged by the owners of VPN servers.
We’ve previously looked at various free and premium VPN solutions that deliver the privacy that you need. VyprVPN aims to bring the privacy of a VPN to everyone – as developers Golden Frog state on their website:
“Privacy and Security Should be Easy
All of our products and services are easy to use and accessible to everyone – not just the technical elite.”
Let’s see how easy VyprVPN really is. We’re also giving away 10 1-year Premier accounts, so read through our review, and join the competition. Last, but not least, there’s a special offer exclusively for MakeUseOf readers.
Special offer: MakeUseOf readers can sign up for a free plan with 1 GB of data for the first month. Additionally, receive 25% off the plans across the board. Check out the special offer.
Without this offer, several packages are available, including a limited free plan offering just 500 MB of monthly data usage but full access to a NAT firewall, PPTP, OpenVPN, L2TP/IPSec, and Chameleon, features that are also included in the Pro and Premier plans (the following features are not included in the Basic plan: NAT firewall, OpenVPN, L2TP/IPSec or Chameleon).
The $14.99/month “Pro” package also offers two simultaneous connections. A third connection will set you back a further five dollars for the $19.99 a month “Premier” option.
To try VyprVPN for free, just click the Create Account button, sign up, and download.
All of these account options come with a configurable desktop VPN client and a web-based control panel to manage your account, download VyprVPN, and check the current status.
Cross Platform Device Support
An important aspect of VPN coverage is cross-platform support. After all, there is little point having VPN protection on your Windows or Mac PC or laptop if you don’t have the same on your smartphone.
To this end, VyprVPN offers mobile apps for iOS and Android. But that’s not all.
Router and TV apps from VyprVPN are also available, with support for smart TVs, Android TV, OpenELEC/Kodi, and Apple TV. Router support is for devices using Tomato MIPS/ARM Framework (check this list as a starting point for compatible hardware).
All of this means that you decide which devices are protected by VyprVPN. There need never be any holes in your private Internet access, whether it be desktop, mobile, through Internet TV or any other connected device in your household.
Setting Up VyprVPN for Your Computer
Once you’ve signed up, it’s time to download and install the desktop client. It is just so simple to use – if you’re new to using a VPN, this is a good app to try.
When the app loads up, click the location “pin” button to Show all server locations. You can use this to find a local server, or one that will help you circumvent any region blocking – useful for viewing Netflix’s USA catalogue in the UK, for instance.
With your server selected, click Connect – and your connection will initiate.
Further options can be found in the Settings menu under Options. Here, various useful settings can be enabled; for instance, in the Connection tab, you can enable Automatic reconnect and Connect on Start, although the most useful is probably Connect on Untrusted Wi-Fi – ideal for avoiding the dangers of public Wi-Fi.
But perhaps the most important feature can be found in the Protocol tab. Here, the custom-developed Chameleon technology can be enabled. This delivers an unmodified OpenVPN 256-bit protocol that masks VPN traffic, thereby preventing it from being identified as such.
If you’re in a country where VPN use is frowned upon (say, China), then this will prove to be of immense value.
VyprVPN on Mobile Devices
Pictured here are some images from the Android version of VyprVPN, but the mobile experience is the same with iOS.
As you might expect, it is a stripped-down version of the desktop app, but it maintains the all-important server selection and the ability to connect to untrusted wireless networks. Most impressive, however, is the Connection Per App setting, a screen that enables you to toggle which apps connect via VPN. This is potentially very useful, and should not be overlooked.
Don’t Let the Internet Browse You
One of the most insightful messages on the Golden Frog website is “Don’t let the Internet browse you.” It’s a chilling reminder that it is possible for ISPs, governments, device manufacturers, operating system developers and cybercriminals to intercept your traffic or log what pages you have visited (or worse, tap into your hardware and see what you’re up to). If you’re worried about any of this, our guide to avoiding surveillance may prove useful.
It basically sets the agenda here: Golden Frog state that they “fight for a free and open Internet” and “offer premium, high-quality products that include 24/7 customer service, apps for all devices and a large suite of features.”
Driving this philosophy is this brief history of how founders, Ron and Carolyn Yokubaitis, came to create the company:
“Golden Frog was founded in response to Room 641a, an infamous room in San Francisco where the NSA was conducting surveillance on AT&T’s networks. We filed papers with the FCC to bring this alarming activity to their attention, but were ignored. Instead of waiting around for the government to protect Internet users, our response was to found Golden Frog to build tools that help preserve an open and secure Internet experience while respecting user privacy.”
Beyond this, a problem that has been affecting VPN providers of late is IPv6 DNS leakage. Fortunately, VyprVPN is not susceptible to this flaw.
Are They Logging You?
If you opt to use VyprVPN, you’ll find a refreshing honesty to Golden Frog’s logging policy. They not only outline what they log (the minimal amount of information to run the business), but explain why they log it and how anonymity is actually a false promise.
Only the following information is logged, and then retained for just 30 days:
- Customer’s source IP address (as assigned by the customer’s ISP)
- VyprVPN IP address as assigned to you
- When your connection starts and stops
- Total bytes used
Importantly, VyprVPN does not log communication contents, your website history, any services you use, your physical location or any other personal identification. We think this is pretty good.
Using a VyprVPN Connection
On the whole, the quality of your Internet browsing experience should be uninterrupted when using a VPN – after all, it kind of defeats the object of paying for a quality private connection if problems arise. However, problems can happen.
Streaming media, in particular, can be problematic, especially if you’re using Flash (often choppy playback), but this can be mitigated by reconnecting, swapping servers, or avoiding Flash – never a bad idea.
Overall, this is great a VPN service, with the unified desktop and mobile approach, coupled with a commitment to privacy and transparency being the main reasons why you should choose VyprVPN.
We’re giving away 10 1-year Premier accounts. Not to forget the limited time offer on the table: 25% off VyprVPN plans across the board, and 1 GB of data in the first month for the free plan.
How Do I Win?
The winner will be selected at random and informed via email. View the list of winners here.
Have us review your apps and services. Contact Jackson Chung for further details.