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VPN for Dummies

Al Jee
Al Jee asked
Win 8.1 laptop
I am looking into setting up a VPN for use in my travels.

I've seen a number of tutorials for setting up a VPN in 8.1 but I have a few questions up front..

Who are reliable VPN providers? [my google was relatively unhelpful]
What do they generally charge?
What are the limitations to a VPN connection?
Can I enable/disable my VPN without causing problems?
Watch Question

I recently searched for a VPN and did a bit of research and this was probably the most useful article for me,


and this article if you prefer free VPNs,


Some VPNs log you out after a specific number of hours, others are much slower than normal, others just don't have a lot of IP addresses to choose from. Hopefully these articles answer your questions.
Thanks. I will look into the pcmag link.

I'm always leery of those websites with names like "best[anything].com.
I'm suspicious of their impartiality, but I'll have a glance.

Yes me too, hence the pcmag review. They seem a bit more credible.
If you only want to use VPN when you're away from home, then why pay someone else for it?

Most $100+ routers have a VPN server included. You just need to check "Enable" and setup a user and password.

After that, you can use your home's internet connection from anywhere, and the transfer between your laptop and your home router will be encrypted.

PS: routers usually have some form of ppptp server, which was broken. But it's still "good enough" for the average user.

I'll have to see if my Verizon router will let me pull that off.
I'd rather use OpenVPN but this might be fun to play with.

If you have an old unused machine (or can borrow one of Dave Baldwin's) you can turn that into a VPN server.

OpenVPN is not directly supported by Windows, but you can use L2TP/IPSEC if you want to use Windows' built-in VPN client and better encryption.

I've setup a VPN server with StrongSwan for IPSEC and xl2tpd for L2TP.
Fairly straightforward and fun to debug when things go south :)
A bit of points for Dan's helpful comments and the accept to Takunda Jora for the link that gave me what I needed.