Macs are safe and stable right out of the box, so is iOS, but whenever you are connecting to the Internet (that’s probably always) you are risking your privacy and security. This problem can easily be solved with a VPN, but we don’t subscribe to just any VPN service and neither should you. We test, test and then test it again. One VPN we really like is Golden Frog’s VyprVPN. GoldenFrog has consistently been advocating for a free and open Internet, against censorship, for privacy and strong encryption. Their service, VyprVPN, is solid, it simply works, including in China, it is fast, has more than just standard VPN features and is priced right.
If that is all you wanted to know, you might as well head over to their site and sign up right now…
… but I guess you came here to find out a little bit more than just that?
Before getting into the details of a VPN service, lets get a few things straight:
- All VPNs, free and paid, do essentially the same thing, establishing an encrypted tunnel between your device and a VPN server, thereby hiding your IP address (and other details about you) from the rest of the Internet.
- All VPNs will protect you on public Wifi networks and hide your Internet activities from your ISP (or Network admin) because of (1)
- All VPNs cost about the same, unless they are free
At this point you are probably wondering why not just sign up with a free VPN service?
Operating a VPN costs money, there are servers to buy, network admins to feed with doughnuts and coffee, infrastructure to maintain, and well, you need a reliable high-bandwidth Internet connection. So if it is free to you, who is paying for it and, even more important, why? The Internet is full of horror stories of what happened to user’s data when they thought they got a good deal… just google it!
If you aren’t paying, then YOU are the product, but enough with the scare mongering, you get the point. Let’s have a look a VyprVPN:
Terms of Service
Lets get the mind-numbingly boring stuff out of the way first. GoldenFrog’s products, which includes VyprVPN, are intended for single users with multiple devices. As usual, don’t do anything illegal, such as spamming, copyright violations, IP spoofing etc.- standard. VyprVPN is a shared service, and if you use an unreasonable amount of bandwidth, they might contact you, or worse terminate your account.
Lawyers love the next part, no matter what happens don’t even try to hold GoldenFrog accountable – yes, this is standard contractual language for many service businesses.
You get a 3-day free trial, but you have to provide payment details. Beyond that trial period you will not receive a refund. Finally, by using their service you agree to be bound by those terms – also standard.
If you haven’t fallen sleep by now, congratulations; if you did, welcome back! VyprVPN’s privacy statement clearly states that they do NOT log a user’s traffic or the content of that traffic. They DO log the IP address you are connecting from, your VPN server IP address, connection timestamps, and bandwidth data and store it for 30 days. While that would not be a deal breaker for me there are VPNs on the market (LIST SOME HERE!) that do NOT log any data. Obviously they will respond to legal inquiries and if required by law provide the desired information.
That was only a summary of the legalese I read, but those are the most important aspects. Now on the more technical stuff:
VyprVPN has VPN Apps for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, routers, TVs, QNAP, Blackphone, and Anonabox, and support the following platforms: DD-WRT, Open-WRT, ASUSWRT, Boxess, Synology NAS and Blackberry. Chances are they have instructions for whatever else you might want to install their VPN on.
Golden Frog’s VyprVPN includes multiple VPN protocols, such as PPTP, L2TP/IPsec, OpoenVPN and Chameleon, their own technology based on the OpenVPN protocol that scrambles the metadata to prevent deep packet inspections (DPI), VPN blocking and throttling.
You can choose between the standard plan for USD $5.00/month (when billed annually, or USD $9.95 monthly) and the premium plan for USD $6.67/month (when bill annually, or USD $ 12.95 monthly). The standard plan gives you 3 simultaneous connections while the premium plan adds 2 more connections, VyprVPN cloud (VPN for cloud platforms) and the Chameleon Protocol, all other features are exactly the same. While they are advertising their Premium Plan as the best value, you decide if you need the extra simultaneous connections and/or Chameleon…
I set up VyprVPN on my iPad, iPhone and one of my Macs. All I needed to do was download the appropriate apps and enter my username and password. That’s all that is required to protect your Internet connection, but if you are an advanced user, you’ll find many options to play with.
Golden Frog’s engineers developed a proprietary VPN technology to scramble OpenVPN packet meta data to avoid recognition through deep packet inspection (DPI) before encrypting it using the unmodified OpenVPN 256-bit protocol. This features bypasses censorship, defeats bandwidth throttling but is NOT available for iOS. You can use this feature If you are using a Mac, Window PC, Android or a router AND you have a premium VyprVPN subscription.
A firewall protects you from unrequested or malicious traffic, something that is usually done by the router you are connecting through. When the router receives unrequested traffic it does not know which network address to send it to, so it rejects the request (NAT), no harm done. However your router can’t protect you if you are connected through a VPN, because now you have a dedicated Internet connection, therefore any scans would be sent directly to you your device. VyprVPN’s NAT Firewall is build exactly for that purpose and protects you in that instance. Tip: You need to login via goldenfrog.com/login to enable NAT Firewall.
Servers and Speed
Golden Frog owns an extensive network of servers serving over 70 countries, with more than 700 servers and a whooping 200,000 IP address. Chances are they have servers in those locations where you really need them to be.
Speedy it is… My normal Internet speed is about 110/12 Mbps or right around that. To simulate normal usage I used my iPad and speedtest.net and measured both, connection speed without VPN (results as mentioned above) and the speed when connected to VypyVPN opting for the app to find the fastest server. I did this 3 times on my iPad throughout the evening and the results was the same, about 80/11 Mbps with a ping of 68 ms.
Bluntly put, that is significantly faster (25% or more) than any other VPN I tested that night and I won’t mention those names to protect the guilty; however, to be fair to all contestants, all of them streamed Netflix and music without the slightest interruption. However, if I use my Macbook Air for the same test the results are less spectacular, on average I get about 20/10 Mbps, connecting to the same city and using the same speedtest.net server. This clearly shows just how variable speed tests really are…
When I reviewed VyprVPN a while back it was, well, OK, nothing special. I am really glad I had another look, because their service went from ‘meh’ to simply amazing. The apps are great, simple to install and use, the server network is extensive, but what really takes the cake is the speed, which is by far the best I have seen. This should be enough to convince anyone to at least give VyprVPN a try!
One last thing, and this is crucial for many people (as in billions…), VyprVPN works well in China. So if you are living behind the Great Firewall this is the VPN to get if you want to access the same Internet as the rest of the world.
As always, we’d appreciate if you’d click through our link (Click here!) as we will receive a small commission at no cost to you that helps us keep the lights on, but if you prefer you can use this non-affiliate link to buy VyprVPN.
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Image Credit: hape662