On the previous article, I dealt with VPN services multiple IP addresses and spam. I addressed the issue of using a blacklisted IP address. Let’s see in this article, how this can affect you.
So as to give some background, we all know that when you are using one VPN service provider to connect to the internet, you are given a different IP address that your ISP has assigned to you. Now, considering that most VPN providers has limited IP address to assign to all their users, meaning that IP addresses are shared, there will come a time where you’ll be using one IP address that has been used by another customer. Now the question is, how does it affect you if that previous customer has done something nasty/banned?
What is a blacklisted IP Address?
Let’s take a typical example: if you are a regular Yahoo Answers user, you’ll notice at some point in time that Yahoo checks your IP address before allowing you to post. Truth to be told, since Yahoo Answers can be used by some black-hat SEO strategists, they may have created a lot of yahoo accounts from your IP address when they got banned – the only way Yahoo has to ban them is to lock the IP address (since the black-hat SEO guy would have created a new account each time).
So you have inherited this blacklisted IP address, you may end up being blocked by Yahoo too (since they wouldn’t know that you are now the cool guy). You then may end up being denied to your Yahoo e-mail or other Yahoo services. Let’s be clear here, I just took Yahoo for illustrating purposes, but this can similarly be applied to any online services.
So how do you check that you won’t get those blacklisted IP addresses?
So far, there actually isn’t one central database on the internet that collects the list of banned IP addresses (that would be nice if someone ever develops it, though). Anyway, some initiatives are worth mentioning: this includes the Spamhaus which is mainly used for protecting from e-mail spammers- it may be worth checking your IP address from this database.
Another option is to check your IP against a list of 100 spam domain database at DNSBL. Although checking against those databases don’t ensure that you are using a safe IP address, it can help when choosing a VPN provider too. How do you do that?
How to choose a VPN provider with no blacklisted IP address?
In fact, before opting for a VPN provider, you can either ask directly the VPN provider for their policy against spammers (this is the simplest way, and you can receive honest answers), or you can ask for some sample IP address you would receive if subscribing to their service, then check that IP address against the database aforementioned.
Anyway, this post isn’t about denigrating VPN service providers, it just pinpoints issues you may encounter when using VPN since you’ll be using shared IP address. In fact, this issue is not exclusive to VPN providers since the same applies to the IP address your Internet Service Provider is giving you. The issue just got bigger with VPN since spammers has access to a bigger set of IP addresses that are located in different countries.