VPN Connections: Are Applications Safe?
Can the application that came from your VPN provider be trusted? If you’ve wondered this, you’re not alone, particularly if you’re using an off-brand provider or a free service. There is certainly a valid concern being expressed here and it does bear some consideration.
Going the Manual Route
If you’ve been worried that the VPN application that your provider offers is compromising your privacy in its own right, or that it just doesn’t work as advertised, you can always take the manual option instead of using the client to hook up to your VPN provider. Take a look at our list of top providers; they support manual connections.
Connecting manually, if you haven’t done it before, might seem a bit complex, but it’s really not that difficult. On Windows and Mac OS, it’s a straightforward process and some of our top providers have instructions on hooking up to their services manually.
One disadvantage of doing this, however, is that it makes it harder for you to choose from the service’s available servers. If you’re using your VPN to get a connection in a particular country, for instance, you’ll have to manually reconfigure.
For the truly security conscious, make sure you use OpenVPN, L2TP or SSTP. PPTP is not as secure as the other options, though the encryption it provides is sometimes adequate for those who aren’t too worried about being watched.
If you’re not sure that the client works at all, check your IP address to make sure it’s from your VPN provider and not your ISP. You can also visit DNSLeakTest.com to make sure you’re not leaking DNS requests.
All of our top providers are ethical businesses that make their profits providing legitimate privacy services. There are companies out there, however, that some people have had issues with. Some of the issues include finding out that the VPN client application provided the company that offered it with too much access to the user’s computer.
If you’re suspicious of a provider, that is a warning sign. You should be able to have complete confidence in the company that you’re paying to safeguard your privacy. If the application that they provide causes issues with your system or if you find out that it gives them a form of access that you’re not comfortable with, consider a different provider. If you haven’t decided on a provider yet, consider buying a block account so that you’re not committed to one particular service.
If you’re truly worried, take a look at our top providers and set up your connection manually. There are some great providers out there and most of them have safe and well-designed clients. If you have doubts, however, remember that good providers should give you a manual option. It will just be a bit less convenient for IP address switching and so forth.