Im actually interested in VPNs also, i even a month or so back suggested to MarkJ on here if possible that he do a round up/comparison in future if possible (though obviously he is a busy chap). Would be really useful to have a guide/comparison from a known site with a good rep.
Maybe a good idea if it wasnt too much work to even expand the reviews section see individuals can review them along with their ISP???
Theres so many to choose now its almost like deciding who your ISP should be LOL
MarkJ maybe you should go register VPNreview.co.uk lock yourself in a dark room for a month and replicate this site only with VPN info replacing the ISP stuff hehe
Seriously though for anyone that has the time that may not be a bad idea i have a feeling 5 or so years down the line VPN services are going to seriously take off due to our increasing nanny police state demand for control of the internet. Sites like that could end up being as popular as the likes of this site are today
It is indeed like deciding who your ISP should be - everyone's needs are different and to some extent it's a matter of "horses for courses".
I do not claim to have any great knowledge of VPN providers but, for what it's worth, after experimenting with a one month "one-off" payment to a number of the cheapies to try them out, I settled on VPN-UK - http://vpnuk.net - and don't have anything to grumble about. The connection seems to be reliable and, while I understand there's bound to be a slight speed loss due to the nature of the beast, in real life I haven't actually noticed any difference, they're certainly not badly congested.
My own priorities?
(1) A UK server - some don't have one, and it isn't just the BBC where an overseas IP address can cause problems.
(2) The ability to send e-mail, not just receive it, via the VPN - some don't allow this, to deter spammers from signing up, but I don't want to mess around temporarily disconnecting from the VPN just to send an e-mail, thank you!
(3) Use of the OpenVPN protocol, not just PPTP.
Personally I have no interest at all in torrents etc., any of the "media" stuff, but they do say in the FAQ that apart from on their USA servers they don't block P2P, so might be worth you looking at.
With your account did you go for UK VPN access only or do you have access to any of the others they offer (IE United Kingdom, United States, Germany, France, Canada, Italy, Spain, Holland, Ireland, Denmark, Sweden, Russia, Switzerland & Singapore)?
Id be interested in how speeds are to their various VPNs in other countries compared to the UK if you have access.
Oh and good info there sentup.custard, much appreciated, good to hear of a service that gets a personal recommendation
I went for the "shared IP" one which, with one server, is £5.99 a month, and I selected UK, but you can switch servers in your control panel so, yes, I do have access to any of the others - as long as I don't then try using my UK one without going back in to their control panel to change it back again, you can't set up two *together* at that price and just pick one or the other from your connections thingy on your PC.
I've only changed servers once, just as an experiment to make sure it worked in case I ever wanted to use an overseas one for some reason, didn't actually take any notice of performance.
I'm a bit wrecked at the moment, just got back from hospital, so I'll probably go to bed this afternoon, and I have to be up there again at sparrow-fart tomorrow, so I doubt if I'll do much this evening either, but give me a few days and I'll play around with the overseas ones, run a few speed tests and let you know.
Thanks sentup.custard would be interesting to see if they perform equally or as near as equally. OBVIOUSLY though take care of yourself first. Hope the hospital visit isnt anything serious, all goes well and you get a good nights kip .
Cheers - I don't *think* it's anything serious (I should live long enough to get my moneysworth out of my National Rail coffin-dodgers card, that's all that really matters, isn't it? ) but it's one of these "one thing leads to another" scenarios - every time they do a blood test or a scan for whatever the consultant's sent me to the other department for, something completely unrelated shows up which he thinks is worth further investigation just to be on the safe side.
At least the staff at UCLH, whether it be the receptionists, the nurses, the doctors, whoever, do all seem to be intelligent, civilized people who, irrespective of their background, speak and understand English, and treat me like a fellow human being not a piece of dirt.
The trek up town and back does take it out of me a bit, but I'm often in town for other reasons anyway, so I can sometimes kill two birds with one stone - I certainly don't regret taking the advice of a friend who knew that I was often in town and suggested that I trot into the walk-in clinic there instead of using the local death camp.
It doesn't have to be expensive, newsgroup providers can be fairly cheap e.g. this, or this. SABnzbd newsgroup client is free. Binsearch is free, or you can pay a little extra to join something like Newzbin. :shrug:
In some countries there's more than one server to choose from, so you might get better or worse by trying a different one - I just stuck a pin in the list. However, I did make note of where the selected one was, and when testing speed without the VPN for comparison tried to pick one off the Speedtest.net map that was reasonably near it.
Running speedtests takes a fair chunk of bandwidth, so all these were done over the last few evenings after 8 p.m., when my ISP's off-peak period starts, but before 10 p.m., when things start going to sleep and you might get higher than normal (so slightly misleading) results.
Without VPN/with VPN:
As Spain seemed a bit naff compared to the rest of Europe, I gave it another kick, but only got 9.65, so no improvement. I don't know if it was just a bit of bad luck or whether maybe they have a problem there at present, but switching from Spain1 to Spain3 was even less of a success - Spain3 didn't want to connect at all, something I didn't experience with any of the others.
Perhaps the Spanish equivalent of the BT man dumped his Paella on the line card - I'm sure they use my line card here as a convenient resting point for their bacon butties, so I don't see why it shouldn't happen in Spain too.
Wow didnt expect you to go that far with your testing, thats really appreciated and should also give timeless (the OP) more than enough of an idea how vpnuk.net runs. You went above and beyond there.
It doesnt seem a bad service at all for the price when you get all those servers to pick from and most of them i would say perform very well (you can expect to lose 2Mb or so when dealing with an overseas VPN at least in my limited experience so most of those run exactly as they should). I was expecting at least one country to be much worse and only run at around 50% speed.
Cheers again Sentup.custard
PS: Hope hospital all went ok, oh and LOL about Spanish bloke. You got it wrong about BT though its not bacon butties, it a Mc' D's Egg Muffin they leave on equipment serving your line, that way when you complain the answer is... "Nope your line is egg-cellent" (ill take the slap like a man )
It was a bit of an education for me, of course - I have a good idea of what to expect if I want to use an overseas server for some reason now, so a worthwhile little exercise from a personal angle too.
Still a couple of hospital visits to go, but things seem to be going OK, thanks.
Should be in the clear after the 26 July one with luck, but meanwhile, just to make sure I feel dead, I'll be experiencing something worse than the Egg Muffin today - the dreaded British Rail sandwich! Off to the grim and frozen north on the 10.00 from King's Cross, back very late tonight after roughly 450 miles of rail travel - if I survive that, I reckon I can survive anything.
...whatever VPN provider you use, there is, of course, the possibility of some unhelpful blighter having the IP blocked!
Much less likely than with a proxy server, but it can happen.
Oregon State Archives evidently don't like VPNUK - or, at least, not the server I'm using, so I disconnected. I didn't try switching to another one just for a two minute visit to check their Historical Records Index now that I've found my fellow in the 1940 census and, as I suspected, the Mary shown as next of kin (but no actual relationship stated) in his 1942 draft registration card is indeed his wife, so I'm missing a pre-1940 marriage for him, and probably a divorce.
That is of course a problem, especially with VPN's that allow themselves to be abused by spammers. A lot of servers can end up blocking whole IP ranges as a result.
Separately. I use the semi-free http://www.tunnelbear.com VPN when I want to watch movie or TV trailers that are, for reasons unknown, blocked from UK viewers (why block trailers? I'll never understand that). It's very easy and the free option only gives you 500MB but that's usually enough for basic things.