On my last post I suggested we should be legitimately suspicious of our ISPs. One of my friends asked, “Any thoughts on which VPN service to use?”
If you’re not technical, VPN stands for “Virtual Private Network.” In brief, a VPN service encrypts all your traffic, including your domain name lookups. Your encrypted request goes to the VPN server, and the VPN server decrypts it and forwards it to the end server. Your ISP can’t see any of it.
So I reached out to a couple security expert friends. They recommended StrongVPN (https://strongvpn.com/) or ExpressVPN (https://www.expressvpn.com/). They suggested that either would suffice; both offer basic security including DNS. ExpressVPN is probably a little easier to use, but StrongVPN probably has a slight edge in security.
First, beware VPNs that are too cheap to be believable. That’s a hint they are selling data about you to make up the difference. Second, pick a VPN provider that will offer a variety of protocols so you can avoid the ISPs continually upgrading their ability to snoop.
I prefer StrongVPN because Express has been caught before with weak ciphers – and they have that problem again now (just look at their web site in SSL Labs for example). Overall I find Strong to be more professional.
That said, any VPN is better than no VPN. It’s probably a good idea to have one; setting one up has been on my todo list forever. I’ll be setting it up this weekend. Let me know if you’re interested and I’ll share how it went.