There has been much ado about privacy online lately, what with Congress making it legal for your ISP to sell your browsing history. This caused me to look into VPN options.
Virtual Private Networks (VPN) hide what sites you go to from your ISP and have the added benefit of protecting you from hackers when on that sketchy coffee shop or conference wifi by encrypting all the data your computer sends before it leaves your computer, as well as all the data it receives.
Many places mentioned, some outright recommended, running your own personal VPN. The main advantages being two-fold:
- You don’t have to worry about a VPN provider doing something nefarious with your data.
- It’s likely cheaper.
The personal VPN option mentioned most was something called Algo. You can read what they have to say about why they’re the best, but suffice it to say, I believe them and decided to try getting a private VPN server up and running using Algo.
The good news: It’s very easy. Check out the video below to see the entire install process from beginning to end, from downloading Algo to connecting to your own private VPN. It takes under eight minutes. Pretty cool, if you ask me.
The bad news: It’s a bit wonky on iOS, sometimes having a hard time connecting. I tried three different providers that integrate with Algo (Digital Ocean, AWS, and Google Compute Engine), and this problem happened with all of them. I don’t have this problem on my Macbook Pro, so it seems the problem has something to do with iOS. (This problem has been confirmed by others, and the Algo guys are looking into possible remedies.)
Here’s the Algo install video:
Other useful resources on Algo and VPNs:
- Algo main page and installation instructions (scroll down to “Deploy the Algo Server”)
- Algo support Slack channel
- Lifehacker: How to Set Up Your Own Completely Free VPN In the Cloud – Includes instructions for Windows users
- Ars Technica: The impossible task of creating a “Best VPNs” list today
- The Verge: A VPN can stop internet companies from selling your data — but it’s not a magic bullet
- Ars Technica: Majority of Android VPNs can’t be trusted to make users more secure
- Opera free VPN for Desktop and Mobile – If eight minutes is too long or the above is beyond your abilities
- Netgear R6700 router w/ built in VPN server – A hardware-based option. (The above video lasts just eight minutes, but it took many hours to produce it and write this post. Buying something through this link Amazon affiliate link will thank me for my time and throw me a few pennies to support future publishing.)
Holler at me on Twitter if you have any questions, found errors, or found this helpful.