VPN Provider Recommendation

/VPN Provider Recommendation

VPN Provider Recommendation

*Article Updated on 4th of July 2018

First off, what is a VPN?

Diagram: Your internet without a VPN

Diagram: Your internet with a VPN

 

A VPN in short, is pretty much a ‘tool’ which can protect your privacy & allow you to use the internet anonymously.

Using a VPN with Kodi is not really a requirement, as the third party addons in Kodi use standard HTTP protocols, and not torrents or P2P based streaming.

However, it may interest you to use a VPN in general, if you wish to protect your privacy – as a new law has been passed that allows your (Australian) Internet Service Provider to log and retain your metadata.

This is now known as the ‘Data Retention’ law. Please see the below comments from the Herald Sun regarding the new law:

Over time, your metadata will expose your private email, SMS and fixed-line caller traffic, consumer, work and professional activities and habits, showing the patterns of all your communications, your commercial transactions and monetised subscriptions or downloads, exactly who you communicate with, and how often.

There is however an interesting article on GIZMODO that you can read by clicking here.

It aims to show that the new law is not as scary as it seems, and there is nothing different about the past and the present with this new law, other than your Internet Service Provider having to hold the metadata logs for 2 years (where in the past, there was no requirement to hold the information).

The new law does not indicate logging a users web browsing history, so that’s good news.. Nevertheless, it is quite scary to know that there are eyes watching your every move, even in the privacy of your own home.

 

Main Benefits of using a VPN

UPDATE: View this page (towards the very end) for some more info about the benefits of using a VPN

best vpn australia review ipvanish expressvpn

IPVanish gives you the ability to surf the web safely and anonymously

Another advantage of using a VPN or Smart DNS (we will explain the difference between these below) is that you can effectively ‘change’ your location to unlock geo-restricted content. For example, there may be some Free to Air Channels in Greece, Italy, UK etc which are freely available to watch via the Official sources. Most VPN’s & Smart DNS services support unlimited switching servers capabilities, so you can change your location in a tap of a button depending on the content you wish to watch. This also comes in handy for expats (people living abroad). Lets just say you are Australian, but have now moved to (example country) for work. Using a VPN or Smart DNS, you can allow yourself to use ABC iView, 9now, 10Play & other aussie catchup / live content which is usually restricted to Australia.

Is using a VPN or Smart DNS Legal or Illegal in Australia?

Using a VPN or Smart DNS to bypass geo-restrictions or other legitimate purposes is totally legal!

See below direct quote taken from the Malcolm Turnbull website:

*Start Quote*
Q: Many Australians use a VPN to access Netflix in the US. Is it illegal for me to use a VPN to access Netflix?
A: The Copyright Act does not make it illegal to use a VPN to access overseas content. While content providers often have in place international commercial arrangements to protect copyright in different countries or regions, which can result in ‘geoblocking’, circumventing this is not illegal under the Copyright Act.
*End Quote*

This is how companies such as ‘GetFlix‘ are able to operate and allow users from other countries to access the American version of Netflix.

What is the difference between a ‘VPN’ and a ‘Smart DNS’?

VPN Explained in simple terms: 

A VPN is an extension of your network where your internet traffic is encrypted and tunneled through remote servers. This in return, changes your original IP address and replaces it with the IP address of the VPN server.

  1. When you go on the internet, companies, governments & your ISP (internet service provider) monitor your activity and collect data and information about your online activities. Companies do this to target you with personalised ads, while your ISP / governments do this as a routine procedure for security purposes.
  2. A VPN is best described as a tunnel between you and the open internet, protecting you from prying eyes.
  3. A VPN service will help keep your private online activities confidential, just like a security guard protects a premises from unwanted persons.
  4. Note: Not all VPN’s are the same, and we’ll help to explain that in the ‘choosing the Best VPN provider’ section below.

VPN Pros;

  1. Secures your privacy and masks your true IP Address.
  2. Blocks companies from building ‘profiles’ about you, based on your online activities.
  3. Provides anonymity over the internet.
  4. Protects your data by encrypting it and keeping you safe from cyber criminals.
  5. Bypass local ISP based blocked websites, allowing you complete access to the public internet. This may also benefit some KODI Addons that search the web for streams. Some third party Kodi Addons search the web for streams. The sites they search may or may not be in the block list > if the addons rely on sites which are indeed in the block list > then the result will be that you will have less streams/hosts available to choose from for various Kodi Addons (some addons may entirely stop working). There may be legal addons which search one of the hundreds of blocked sites, which is why we are providing this information to you (we don’t encourage or support the use of third party addons which provide copyright material). *remember to “clear cache” on any kodi addon that you want to use after activating your VPN. Some addons will store a ‘cache’ copy of ‘dead sites’ so that they wont waste time searching them again.
  6. Multiple servers allow you to switch your location & IP address at any time, also allowing you to unblock geo-restricted websites & content.
  7. Easily switch between hundreds of VPN servers.
  8. Kill switch* available with most privacy based VPN providers – this ensures that if you happen to disconnect from the VPN server, the app will automatically kill your internet until it re-connects to the VPN server. This ensures you are not accidentally compromised by temporarily switching back to your normal internet.
  9. Easy to use across all platforms with apps available for every device.
  10. Easy set-up, user-friendly.

VPN Cons;

  1. Slows down your internet speeds. No matter the marketing, every VPN service WILL slow down your internet speeds. This is due to the fact that VPN’s encrypt your traffic, and this takes longer than simply accessing content directly, without a tunnel in the middle. The good news is that this is only particularly noticeable in online browsing, however, when streaming or downloading, a drop of speed is not usually noticeable – in some cases, you may find that your download speeds are faster with the VPN (due to the fact that you are connecting to a VPN server which is closer to the downloads location).
  2. Doesn’t work with NetFlix (and possibly some other geo-blocked services). NetFlix & some other services hunt down and block the IP Addresses of known VPN’s, in order to make it harder for you to access their content which is restricted to specific parts of the world. You may find that the VPN provider actively tries to work around the blocks by changing IP Addresses, however, it’s only a matter of time before they get blocked again.

Smart DNS Explained in simple terms:

A SmartDNS only routes certain pieces of your internet traffic through its own proxy servers. This way the blocked websites receives the authentication information for validating your location and allows you to access it no matter where you are located. It works faster, due to the fact that it does not provide ‘encryption’ or anonymity.

SmartDNS Pros;

  1. Does not affect your internet speeds.
  2. Allows you to unblock geo-restricted content more efficiently, without compromising your internet speeds.
  3. GetFlix SmartDNS works better for NetFlix & other geo-restricted services.
  4. Bypass local ISP based blocked websites, allowing you complete access to the public internet. This may also benefit some KODI Addons that search the web for streams. Some third party Kodi Addons search the web for streams. The sites they search may or may not be in the block list > if the addons rely on sites which are indeed in the block list > then the result will be that you will have less streams/hosts available to choose from for various Kodi Addons (some addons may entirely stop working). There may be legal addons which search one of the hundreds of blocked sites, which is why we are providing this information to you (we don’t encourage or support the use of third party addons which provide copyright material). *remember to “clear cache” on any kodi addon that you want to use after activating your VPN. Some addons will store a ‘cache’ copy of ‘dead sites’ so that they wont waste time searching them again.

SmartDNS Cons;

  1. Does not offer anonymity, encryption or online security.
  2. Not all SmartDNS providers provide exclusive, easy to use apps.
  3. Setup process is longer & more complex.
  4. May be difficult to set-up for some users.

Choosing between a ‘VPN’ and a ‘Smart DNS’?

Your decision should be based on what you require.

If you primarily want to access the American version of NetFlix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, or other mainstream geo-restricted streaming services – with no other intentions, then a SmartDNS is what you require – specifically, GetFlix.

If you primarily want to access blocked or geo-restricted websites, with the addition of browsing the internet anonymously, switching servers/locations/IP Addresses – then a VPN is what you require. A VPN will also provide the ability to do what a SmartDNS does – however, as mentioned above, a SmartDNS has one purpose – which is why it performs better for that specific purpose. A VPN can be considered as an easier to use, all-rounder – with other advantages.

Choosing the Best VPN provider:

If you’ve heard about VPN’s or read about them in the past, and are now looking to take that next step of using one – it’s very important to choose the right provider. I mean, what’s the purpose of using a VPN provider which logs traffic or doesn’t encrypt your traffic (the same as your ISP), and can pass those details on to whoever requests them? So the first thing is to choose a provider which does not keep traffic logs. You also want to choose a provider who has FAST/MULTIPLE SERVERS (you need to be aware that using a VPN can slow down your internet, depending on which provider you choose. Free VPN’s are not recommended, for this reason, and others). Finally, you want a VPN provider that has an easy to use app to keep things simple.

With so many VPN Providers, and so many websites recommending different VPN services, it can be overwhelming to make a decision. To make this easier, we have compiled a list of the best VPN providers.


 

1. IPVANISH

best vpn australia review ipvanish expressvpn

IPVANISH have been around for a while, and they’ve gained a great reputation in the industry.

IPVanish is one of the only tier-1 VPN networks, meaning they own and operate every aspect of their VPN platform, including physical control of VPN servers. This gives IPVanish users security and speed advantages over other VPN services. Their VPN network spans 40,000+ IPs on 1000+ servers in 60+ countries, giving you the ability to surf anonymously and access the unrestricted Internet from every corner of the globe. The huge list of 1000+ servers in 61 countries means that you can keep your location confidential, while shared VPN connections make traffic completely untraceable.

They keep ZERO traffic logs, unlimited bandwidth & use 256-bit AES encryption for security.

IPVANISH HIGHLIGHTS:

  1. Super easy to use App, with a great user-friendly interface. There is no need to manually configure the VPN via the Android settings – the app takes care of this.
  2. Many options + advanced in-app options such as the Kill-switch, auto-start VPN on boot & more. Their app is by far the best we have seen, with the most amount of user-configurable options.
  3. Regular app updates and improvements on all platforms.
  4. Many countries servers to choose from – Netherlands being our top pick.
  5. Ability to filter/sort servers based on things like ping/latency/load, to help you choose the closest servers to your location. Advanced filtering options such as <50ms / 50-100ms etc, aswell as sorting servers by response time/load.
  6. Ability to see which VPN Servers are currently under load (have many users connected to them) – while this feature is suppose to deter you from that server (due to it being ‘clogged up’), however at the same time it shows that those specific servers are popular for a reason – usually they are faster than others. A handy tip for you to keep in mind.
  7. Ability to setup a time interval for your IP address to change automatically.
  8. Unlimited server switching.
  9. Unlimited bandwidth.
  10. Unlimited torrenting.
  11. 10 simultaneous connections allowed on multiple devices using the same account.
  12. App Available on Android/Windows/MacOS/iOS/FireTV/Linux/Windows Phone.
  13. 7-day money-back guarantee.

IPVANISH DOWNSIDES:

  1. Not all countries allow you to select a specific city from that country. For example, you can choose to connect to ‘Sydney, Australia’, aswell as ‘Melbourne, Australia’. However, you can only connect to ‘Italy’ (without further specifics). The specific cities are only available on certain ‘popular’ countries. While we do understand that IPVanish have multiple servers in each country, some of the countries will only have the name of the country & automatically select a VPN Server City for you. This is a down-side because if a certain (for example), Italian server has had its IP address blocked by RAI (a popular FTA Italian TV & Media Content provider), you cannot simply switch to a different Italian VPN Server. Thus, leaving you ‘geo-blocked’ from the RAI website even though you are using an Italian VPN/Ip address. (Please note: this point is only directed to those who are interested in accessing ‘geo-blocked’ sites. A ‘geo-blocked’ site is a site which has only been made available to a certain country).
  2. While they do advertise 1000+ servers, as mentioned above, you cannot manually choose between 1000 servers. You are mainly limited to the 60+ countries + multiple servers/cities for SOME countries, like USA, Australia, Germany etc. This probably means roughly 80 servers are available for you to choose from.

IPVanish Software

Click here to learn more and take advantage of the current 46% discount on IPVANISH with a 7 day money back guarantee


2. ExpressVPN

Get ExpressVPN

expressvpn review vs ipvanish

ExpressVPN have been around for a while, and they’ve gained a great reputation in the industry.

ExpressVPN are known for their high speed VPN servers, ultra secure, and easy to use service. They operate a Huge network of 2,000+ global VPN servers across 94 countries, giving you the ability to surf anonymously and access the unrestricted Internet from every corner of the globe. ExpressVPN users often report faster speeds than other VPN services. Based in the British Virgin Islands, a tropical oasis without data retention laws. No activity logs. No connection logs.

They keep ZERO traffic logs, unlimited bandwidth & use 256-bit AES encryption for security.

ExpressVPN HIGHLIGHTS:

  1. The company is located offshore, in a country where there are no data retention laws. 
  2. ExpressVPN users often report faster speeds than their competitors users.
  3. More choice when it comes to selecting specific cities within specific countries.
  4. Choose between 145 server locations around the world (more user-selectable servers than their competitors).
  5. Super easy to use App, with a great user-friendly interface. There is no need to manually configure the VPN via the Android settings – the app takes care of this.
  6. Many options + some advanced in-app options such as the Kill-switch & more.
  7. Ability to filter/sort servers based on latency & speed, to help you choose the closest servers to your location. In-app server speed-tests to help you find the VPN servers with the fastest speed based on your location.
  8. Ability to run a speed-test on all ExpressVPN servers to find out which ones are faster for you at any given time. This is a very handy feature, saving you time from ‘trial & error’.
  9. Regular app updates and improvements on all platforms.
  10. Unlimited server switching.
  11. Unlimited bandwidth.
  12. Unlimited torrenting.
  13. 3 simultaneous connections allowed on multiple devices using the same account. If you would like to use your subscription on more than three devices at any one time, you will need to purchase an additional license.
  14. App Available on Android/Windows/MacOS/iOS/Blackberry/Linux/Windows Phone.
  15. 30-day money-back guarantee.

ExpressVPN for Android.

Click here to learn more and take advantage of the current 35% discount on ExpressVPN with a 30 day money back guarantee

By | 2018-07-03T22:50:29+00:00 May 10th, 2017|0 Comments

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