Why would the home media guy want a Virtual Private Network? Two reasons are at the top of the list. First, privacy regarding my cyber activities and protection from malevolent individuals and two, geo-locking of media based on my location.
VPN’s offer you the ability to protect your identity and cyber activities while protecting you from potential hackers. This is an important feature based on what you may have read in the national news lately. Secondly, we like to watch streaming video from around the world. Many times the videos will not be available for streaming, because of our US based IP address. VPN’s give you the opportunity to virtually re-locate yourself outside of the USA and thus be able to view content you previously could not.
Now that you have decided to get a VPN service, do you get one of the many free services that exist, or do you pay for one? There are a few questions to ask before you decide. The most important one is do you trust the provider? Usually not a question you would ask of a provider that may be highly rated by social media and online reviews, but in this case, I would suggest to take the same level of care in selecting a VPN provider that you would selecting a lawyer or doctor. This is how important the services offered by the VPN provider is in the overall scheme of your home media network.
I have investigated most of the free services advertised and reviewed online and have found:
- There may be bandwidth or download limits
- There may be a measurable slowdown in your cable network connection because of the VPN itself
- The provider may not be clear on what level of security they provide
- The provider may give away a hobbled version of a paid service that might be better suited for your needs
- May be complicated to install and configure
I have chosen a paid provider called www.privateinternetaccess.com ($40 a year) based on the following:
- Unlimited bandwidth and download capability
- Excellent network security
- Excellent technical support
- Easy to install and configure
There are other providers who offer similar or better plans on the surface, but this provider is the one I trust. I recommend that everyone who is considering a VPN for their home media network, have the same level of trust, and have their performance and features expectations met as I have done.
Don’t settle for something that does not meet all your requirements and expectations.
The home media guy