Sometimes the purpose to use a VPN isn’t clear and with everyone being different I always find it interesting to read about other peoples uses of VPN services. I spend a great deal of time reading social networking sites such as Reddit and Twitter to keep abreast of the latest developments in the VPN world and with this take the opportunity to read up on various users requests about why the specifically may make use of a VPN.
There are an absolutely mass of different uses and the range of reasons varies widely to include those who like to stream content that otherwise wasn’t available in their country to those who are concerned about their privacy from both corporations and the sneaky government organisations who snoop upon our every day internet use without reason.
My personal use is a mixture of security while travelling and home privacy. Torrent use does not interest me but every now and again I make use of geo restricted content in a variety of countries when there is an event I just don’t want to miss but can’t receive in the UK.
A few years back I was on holiday for a week while the summer Olympics took place in London, I have a pretty keen interest in watching some of the running races and also like to see the hurdle events so in the evening under the sun it gave me the opportunity to catch up on recent events and watch either live or recorded videos which otherwise would of been restricted to a UK connection only. It was a great way to keep updated with the latest results with very little hassle.
I tend to make use of OpenVPN directly because in the line of writing for this site there are plenty of different providers to test and review and with that it makes it easier to copy the latest providers configuration files in to the config folder of OpenVPN and make connection without too much hassle.
I certainly make use of some of the desktop apps now and again mainly to see how these will effect lesser able users and when updates are released from the different providers I like to check out their latest additions to see how the industry is developing and maturing toward a more publicly accessible environment.
Mobile device set up is a little more tricky and even though OpenVPN for my android device is rather simple to use the process of copying and importing configuration files in to the app I find tedious, even though it is extremely easy I just personally find the process of copying the configuration files on to my device, then installing and setting up login and passwords a laborious task. So for my mobile devices I tend to use software supplied by the provider if available.
There are actually some really decent applications for mobile devices now and are a serious addition to any provider’s arsenal of tools when available. There are still plenty of providers who don’t provide mobile apps and it’s something as we move forward as a community that I would like to encourage changes to enable the industry to be open to as wide range of consumers as possible.
There are definitely some users who don’t agree with so called “custom software” because they assume there could be hidden “extras” within that software or application and while that is entirely possible you have to ask, why would you trust connecting to a provider using OpenVPN when you wouldn’t trust connecting to the same provider using their own application? You have to allow the same level of trust across the board of the provider to protect your privacy regardless of how you choose to make connection because in all honesty you couldn’t tell what was going on at the server end anyway.
So when travelling or using public wi-fi on my mobile devices I prefer to make use of custom software because it makes the process such a simpler affair. Basically within 1 click of launching a mobile application I can be connected and leave it running without worrying about it again. Some are a little battery hungry but I assume that is down to OpenVPN itself and I find the more simplistic apps use less resources, the fewer options available the better.
My home use as I said is sometimes for accessing geo-restricted content but also for my every day web browsing use. I find the peace of mind that protecting what I’m doing from my ISP is a useful addition to have. I don’t quite feel comfortable knowing that any website I visit regardless of how mundane it is can be recorded somehow by my ISP and possibly accessed by God knows who?
I’d definitely love to hear how some of you reading this make use of a VPN and what your purposes behind it are. It is always rather interesting to hear the stories of others so if you feel the urge please drop your usage in the comments and perhaps we can all learn a few new tricks or uses for our VPN services that we didn’t otherwise know of.