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VPN software – why custom VPN software is best


VPN software is not a service in itself – so should not be confused with other forms of internet privacy software. Personal VPN anonymous software is built to connect you to a remotely administered, protected network where your internet activities can be anonymized or kept private – a personal VPN for anonymous surfing. Once connected, you can bypass filters and unblock web sites, while all your internet activity between you and the VPN provider's network is encrypted for complete internet privacy protection. If you search for information on VPN software (more correctly termed VPN client software), you will come across two main types. Firstly is standard client software.

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Many VPN providers use the standard software that comes with whichever VPN protocol (e.g. OpenVPN, PPTP, L2TP or IPSec VPN) they run their service from. Some standard software is built into your device's operating system and you just need to configure the connection to use it, but that's as far as it will help you: this software is designed only to set up a connection. The second type of VPN software is custom client software: when a VPN provider develops their own software with useful features that enhance your online privacy and make the VPN better able to unblock websites. Some of the better custom client software available even intelligently manages your connections for a faster internet experience or improved anonymity. Custom client software needs to be downloaded from the VPN service provider's website.

standard client software

Many VPN providers advertise their service as being incredibly easy to set up. They use standard VPN software that is either built into your operating system or can be downloaded from the web for free. When installation is required, those with limited computer skills will find it cumbersome to go through the installation and configuration process. Establishing a connection with standard software built into your operating system is much faster but, when compared to custom software, the time you save during installation and configuration you will likely lose during the first few days of use. When using an anonymous VPN service, the proxy you are connected to can easily become overloaded when many subscribers are using it simultaneously; either that or the internet route between you and that server can be congested, slowing down your internet connection. When this slowing occurs, the sensible response is to change proxy server, as every personal VPN anonymous service offers a number of different servers for you to choose from. But if you are subscribed to a VPN service using standard client software – you will have to manually amend your settings (often on the provider's web page), as well as download new encryption keys. Standard VPN software cannot help here as it is built only to establish connections between the VPN client and proxy servers – it was not designed to facilitate frequent VPN proxy server switching.

The process of manually switching between VPN proxy server is no less bothersome for those investing in a VPN for online privacy. These VPN users wish to make the most of their service by changing their IP addresses frequently in order to strengthen their internet anonymity and security or to bypass government censors that use DPI (Deep packet inspection) filters. But to have to do this manually is utterly impractical. Some personal VPN anonymous service providers have therefore developed customized client VPN software to address the above needs.

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Written by: 
Robin Welles; expats team, internet security team