7 Good PureVPN Alternatives

VPN Services

Have you heard about the fact that PureVPN actually keeps logs and you plan to switch to other VPN provider? This posts lists 7 PureVPN alternatives for secure browsing and unblocking streaming sites.

PureVPN logging policy

PureVPN alternativesAs I have explained several time on this blog, it is hard to tell if “no logging” really means that no (to be read zero) logs are kept for each user or connection. I believe that “No logs” is more likely a marketing strategy and that most of the VPN providers are maintaining (some) logs for their own protection. Logs that can, in some cases, be handed out to authorities.

A few days ago, the news about PureVPN helping FBI with logs for catching a cyberstalker came as a surprise. The service was advertised as “zero logging”, but it seems that it was not the case.

Was it really a surprise?

The PureVPN privacy policy starts with “We Do Not monitor user activity nor do we keep any logs.“, but if you look closer you may find out that “Our servers automatically record the time at which you connect to any of our servers. From here on forward, we do not keep any records of anything that could associate any specific activity to a specific user. The time when a successful connection is made with our servers is counted as a ‘connection’ and the total bandwidth used during this connection is called ‘bandwidth’.“. Thus, some logs are kept for ALL users. Are these all logs that are stored on the PureVPN servers? Well … who knows? ..

Anyway, PureVPN did what most of companies would have done in the same situation: provided the info requested by FBI.

It is debatable if what they did was wrong or not. The questions is: what can you, as a PureVPN user, do? And the answer is simple: if you don’t care about logs you don’t need to do anything, but if you do you need to start looking for alternatives.

How to look for PureVPN alternatives?

Take a look to the list below or simply search Google. You will find plenty of PureVPN alternatives. Do not jump to the first one that looks good! Take your time and look for user reviews and reviews written by bloggers. These will help you make an informed choice.

7 PureVPN alternatives – Top VPN providers

I have selected 7 good providers that may offer what you need: an extended number of servers, good support and good connection speed. Make sure you also read the additional tips. [click to continue…]

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Is There Such Thing as Free Torrent VPN?

Torrent Tools, VPN Services

Free Torrent VPNFree torrent VPN is not easy to find these days and for good reasons. The costs for maintaining such a service are high and even some of the premium VPNs ban the P2P traffic. So, is there such thing as free torrent VPN? Let’s find out.

What is a Torrent VPN?

A torrent VPN is a VPN service that you may use for downloading torrents. The main reason for using torrent VPN is anonymizing your online identity and hiding your public IP address. Another reason is to avoid bandwidth throttling and use the full capacity of your regular Internet connection.

It is important to underline that not all VPN providers accept P2P/torrent traffic. Only top providers are willing to spend lots of money for powerful servers capable to handle torrent traffic and provide large bandwidth. Also, torrent VPN providers have to handle DMCA complaints and abuse reports from different organisations that are monitoring the P2P downloads. Some of the VPN providers are simply not willing to.

Torrent VPN main features

In order to be able to use it for downloading torrents a VPN has to fulfill several important requirements.

Speed

Probably the main criteria when it comes to torrent VPN is speed. It has to be as high as possible in order to have decent download/uploads rates.

Servers nearby

The closer the VPN server, the greater speed. At least in theory. Anyway, a good (free) torrent VPN provider should have P2P servers on all continents in order to provide good connections to users all over the World. [click to continue…]

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No Logs DNS – Free DNS Servers That Do Not Keep Logs

DNS Services

Your browsing activities can be tracked and used by different companies by logging the DNS servers. Learn what a DNS is and why you should use no logs DNS servers.

What is a DNS server?

A DNS (Domain Name Server) is a computer/server that translates hostnames to their associated IP addresses. Thus, when you type in an URL in the address bar of your browser, the browser queries a DNS server in order to get the IP address associated to the hostname/domain you entered. Next, the browser contacts the web server located to the IP address and starts to download the required content.

When you get your Internet connection installed on your computer you also get a DNS server set up, the one of your ISP (Internet Service Provider). Otherwise you would not be able to access any web page by entering a URL in your browser. Thus, most of the people get their DNS service from their ISP.

What is DNS logging?

Every time you use a DNS, the server may record your IP address, the domain name you looked up, the current time, and the name of your ISP.

Unfortunately, almost all DNS servers keep logs, meaning that they store the requests received for a period of time. Thus, someone could take a look on the DNS log records and find out your browsing habits and history. Yes, this is possible!

What do ISPs do with these logs? Officially, they use them to prevent abuses (spam, illegal downloads, etc), but they may also sell the aggregated info to advertising companies or other companies interested in such data. Just an example of DNS logging: some years ago AT&T was exposed for dredging DNS records and selling the results to would-be advertisers.

What are the alternatives to DNS servers provided by ISPs?

The default DNS provided by your ISP can be overridden and you may manually setup the DNS server to be used by your computer. You may choose the DNS you want from public and free DNS servers.

Some of the most popular public DNS servers are those provided by Google (8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4) and OpenDNS (206.67.222.222 and 208.67.220.220). Both are free in the sense that they do not charge you for the usage, but they keep logs and use them for advertising, re-marketing, profiling, etc.

Here is what the admin of UncensoredDNS (one of the free and public DNS services that do not keep logs) has to say about Google DNS and OpenDNS:

I dislike any form of abuse of the DNS system, and OpenDNS’ entire business model is to manipulate DNS. They used to do NXDOMAIN redirection, an advertising trick where misspelled domains get redirected to a search page. Now they make a living blocking malware and other things in DNS. Google runs a decent DNS service but I don’t think it is a good idea to give them all DNS lookups in addition to all the other data they have on everyone.

What to do? Go for no logs DNS servers.

A no logs DNS server does not keep any lookup requests. How can we be sure that a DNS server does not keep logs? Actually we can’t. It is all based on reputation. The list of no logs DNS servers that I propose on this post relies on what the server owners declare and on their Internet reputation. It is not a guarantee, but it is probably better than using Google DNS or your ISP DNS.

FreeDNS

FreeDNS is an open, free, public and unrestricted DNS server. The admins claim that no logs are kept.

The servers are located in Austria and you may use the following DNS IPs: 37.235.1.174 and 37.235.1.177.

UncensoredDNS

UncensoredDNS (formerly censurfridns.dk) servers are uncensored and operated by a privately funded individual.

The DNS servers are: 91.239.100.100, anycast from multiple locations, and 89.233.43.71, physically located in Copenhagen, Denmark. IPv6 versions of their two DNS servers are also available at 2001:67c:28a4:: and 2a01:3a0:53:53::, respectively.

DNS.WATCH

Another no logs DNS service is DNS.WATCH. The admins state that they have “no interest in logging DNS queries. That’s why all our resolvers are setup to not log any queries.” An important advantage of DNS.WATCH servers is that they are DNSSEC enabled.

No logs DNS server - DNS.Watch

The servers are: 84.200.69.80 (IPv6: 2001:1608:10:25::1c04:b12f) and 84.200.70.40 (IPv6: 2001:1608:10:25::9249:d69b), located in Germany.

Should I use no logs DNS servers?

If you are concerned about your privacy and anonymity, if you don’t want to be the subject of ad targeting and profiling, if you don’t want to have your DNS request manipulated in any away, if you are a regular user of VPN and proxy, then YES!

Do you use public and free DNS servers? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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Top Free VPN Chrome Extensions for Hiding Your IP Address

Hide IP Solutions

Do you need a lite solution for hiding your IP while browsing the Internet using Chrome browser? A solution that does not interfere with other applications? And, would you like it to be free? Then, install free VPN Chrome extensions in seconds and get your work done.

What is a VPN Chrome extension?

As you probably know, a VPN (Virtual Private Network) is a solution that encrypts the Internet traffic between your computer and a VPN server. Thus, your browsing data is secured and your public IP address is hidden behind the VPN server. It is important to underline that a VPN app encrypts ALL your Internet traffic, for ALL applications, not only for your browser.

Then, what is a VPN Chrome extension? Well, truth to be told, there is no such thing as VPN browser extension. For the simple reason that browsers can not set up VPN connections, only proxy connections. Proxies work similarly with VPNs, but they are less secure and they can be configured application-based (you may setup a specific app to use a proxy and let others un-proxified).

To sum up, the extensions you may find in Google Web Store and that call themselves “VPN” are not using in fact VPN technology, but proxy. Why do they use the VPN term? Probably because not many users know the differences between VPN and proxy, plus both can be used to hide your IP address. It’s only marketing 🙂

Free VPN Chrome extensions

I have tested several Chrome extensions advertised as VPN and that show up to the top of the search results. Read my findings below.

Hotspot Shield VPN Free Proxy

Hotpot Shield Chrome extension offers an elegant extension with a lot of extra, security and privacy-related options, like ad blocker, tracker blocker and cookies blocker. The default server selection is “Optimal” but you may switch to manual and pick one of the following countries: Canada, Chile, Sweden, Netherlands, Spain, Czech Republic, Turkey, Russia, India, Germany and Singapore.

Hotspot Shield - Free VPN Chrome extensions

The extension is very popular and used in millions of Chrome browsers, but don’t install it just yet. You should firstly be aware that AnchorFree, the company that runs Hotspot Shield, was recently accused to snoop on its users and selling data to advertising company. True or not, you should use it cautiously.

Betternet Unlimited Free VPN Proxy

Betternet Chrome extension offers a basic, but nice, user interface with no extra options beside connect/disconnect and select from the two available locations: United States and United Kingdom. It works smoothly. You should have it installed on your browser. [click to continue…]

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How to Automatically Change IP Every X Minutes

Hide IP Solutions

Is web crawling and data scraping part of your daily routine? If so, you already know that most of the websites implement firewalls that automatically block repeated requests coming from the same IP address. The solution? Regularly change your public IP address. Learn how to automatically change IP every X minutes and increase your productivity.

Why automatically change IP?

There are 2 main reasons for changing your IP automatically every several minutes: to increase the level of anonymity or to automate tasks like web crawling or data scraping.

If you are looking for increasing your online anonymity, the automatic IP rotation virtually changes your online identity and hides your public IP address. Thus, tracking your browsing or downloading activities becomes more difficult (unlikely, but not impossible).

For data scraping and web crawling the frequent change/hide IP address is the way to go. Can it be done manually? Yes. Is it efficient? No. The auto IP rotation is the good solution to the problem.

Automatically change IP prerequisites 

IP rotation is not a trivial task and the implementation depends on your needs. Before you proceed, you need to ask your self the followings: how many IPs you need, on what locations (countries, states) and what is the desired rotating period.

Number of IPs

As mentioned above, if you are in the data scraping business than you need enough different IPs such that you don’t get blocked. How many exactly? It depends on the site you are scraping, on the site firewall, on the scraping frequency, etc. I guess that you need between 20 to 100 IPs for simple tasks, and more for complex data requests.

Number of locations

You may need to change your virtual location with IPs from different parts of the World. Yes, it is possible, but you have to find the proper solution.

Rotating period

How often do you need to have your IP automatically changed? Once every minute, every 5 minutes, once an hour? Some of the solutions to be presented have certain restrictions regarding the rotating frequency, other are quite flexible. Keep reading. [click to continue…]

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