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ENTERPRISE

Remove Internet Limits With A VPN (Part 4)

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UnblockUs is an unusual service that is slightly different to regular services, because it’s not actually a VPN. Few details are given on the website, so it’s hard to discover how it actually works. It’s configured by changing the DNS addresses on the computer to custom ones run by UblockUs. This can either be done manually or by downloading a small utility on the computer for those not sufficiently knowledgeable to do it themselves. There isn’t any software to install, because UnblockUs appears to do something unusual with DNS requests, which is a sort of lookup service to turn URLs of websites into IP addresses. When you access a site like Netflix, Hulu, Pandora and others that stream video and audio to US residents, it appears as if you are located in the US. A major benefit of UnblockUs is that it is possible to configure a router with the DNS settings and then any device in your home such as a PC, tablet or smartphone would automatically use the service. Also, many such devices can be individually set up to use UnblockUs’s DNS servers.

UnblockUs works in a unique way, and it has no software to install. Sign up online

UnblockUs works in a unique way, and it has no software to install. Sign up online

Another advantages is that because your network traffic doesn’t go through a third-party network, there are no bandwidth limitations and no loss of speed. The PC communicates directly with the web server, so it’s fast and unlimited, but the downside is that only a couple of dozen US websites and services are supported. Admittedly, they are the most popular ones that most people would want to access, but it’s still limited. If a site is not on the list, then it won’t work and you will appear to be located in the UK as usual. There doesn’t appear to be any encryption, so it would be possible to eavesdrop and monitor what you’re doing on the internet and there isn’t the malware protection that you get with services like Hotspot Shield. A similar service to UnblockUS is UnoTelly, and it’s also worth checking out if you’re looking for a DNS-based unblocking service.

Boxpn costs $45 a year (just over $3.2 a month), which isn’t much to pay for a VPN service. It offers some useful extras and for just 62p a month it will monitor network traffic and filter out any malware. This does not mean that you can do away with the anti-virus software on your computer, but it does add an extra layer of protection for very little money. Another useful extra is the addition of an Android or iOS smartphone or tablet to your account for $1.98 a month.

There isn’t any software to install on the computer, and after signing up and creating a Boxpn account at the website, you simply add a new network connection by going to the Network and Sharing Center in the Windows Control Panel. You’ve probably never noticed before, but Windows supports VPNs and has an option when creating an internet connection to specify a VPN. You simply enter the Boxpn server address, enter your username and password when prompted and that’s it. Clicking the network icon at the right side of the taskbar displays network connections, and you simply choose Boxpn whenever you need to use the VPN. It offers a secure encrypted connection, a choice of US, UK or EU servers and unlimited bandwidth.

CyberGhost is a popular service, which offers four different plans. It starts with a free VPN that has a limit of 1GB a month of internet traffic and a maximum speed of 2Mbps. It’s fine if you want to browse the web anonymously occasionally, but it only has access to free servers, and we ended up being located in Hamburg, Germany, when we tried it, so it wasn’t much use for accessing US sites and services. The Classic VPN plan is much better, and it provides access to both free and premium servers around the world for $64 a year. The price is a bit on the high side, but you do get unlimited traffic and speed, although the speed drops after the first 20GB. The Premium and Premium Plus plans don’t have any limits at all, so you just set it and forget it, using it all the time.

CyberGhost is a popular service, which offers four different plans

CyberGhost is a popular service, which offers four different plans.

The software is attractively designed and packed with information, features and settings. Getting online is easy and you just click a button to connect to the service. Internet traffic usage is displayed as bars at the bottom of the window, making it easy to see how much you’ve used. A list of servers can be displayed and there are dozens available. Switching to a different one is straightforward and they can be seen on a world map too. The best feature, though, is the video portal, which lists video streaming services that can be accessed. There are comedy, crime, drama, science-fiction and action categories. Selecting a category lists the shows available, such as Bones, Burn Notice, Castle, Fringe and so on in the crime category. Clicking a link takes you to the site. It isn’t a complete list, but it’s still useful. You can always open a web browser and go to whatever site you want, such as Netflix, Hulu and so on, and then choose the content you want.

JustFreeVPN is a free VPN that is worth trying. Like Boxpn, you don’t need to install any software; you just go to the Control Panel, open Network and Sharing Center and then create a new connection. Choose the option to create a VPN and then enter the username and password provided on the JustFreeVPN home page. There’s a choice of three servers: one in the US, one in the UK and one in Canada. You can set up all three connections in Network and Sharing Center and then you can choose which one you want to use. Just click the network icon at the right side of the taskbar.

JustFreeVPN is a free VPN that is worth trying.

JustFreeVPN is a free VPN that is worth trying.

The performance is a bit on the slow side, but it’s free and there are probably a lot of users. You need to open a couple of ports on the firewall manually and set up port forwarding on the router, but it’s not too difficult to do this, and the menus on modern routers are not too difficult to get to grips with. It seems fine and since it’s free you might as well try it and see if it meets your needs.

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