Multiple Installs, Same Domain, and VPN Hosting – What’s the Difference?
Installing a VPN client on a server can be a pain. You have to build a native client, test it, package it, and then deploy it to all supported platforms. After such an effort, you’ll have a working VPN client that can be accessed from anywhere.
When you’re trying to set up a VPN connection on a new device, you have to remember to install the VPN client, connect to the VPN, and if everything’s peachy, you can start using the service. That’s a lot of steps to take just to get connected. To top it off, the documentation for most VPNs is bad. You’ll spend more time figuring things out than reading the help file.
Thankfully, there is a way to do everything remotely and automatically. You can use a VPN hosting service, which provides you with a fully configured VPN server you can access from anywhere. So if you’re looking to host your own VPN or need assistance setting one up, read on.
Features Of A Good VPN Hosting Service
First thing’s first: you need a VPN that’s good. A VPN that does everything for you is incredible because it takes the hassle out of installing a native client and connecting to the VPN. So let’s focus on what makes a good VPN hosting service.
First, the service should offer multiple platforms to run the VPN software. This is important because you want to be able to use the VPN from any device. So if you’re trying to set up a VPN on a Chromebook, for example, you’ll need to find a way to make it work. Having a platform-specific client can be a pain because when you decide to uninstall it, you’ll have to uninstall it for each platform. This can be a huge pain and takes a lot of time. So for that reason, the VPN should be available for all major platforms. Also, you need a strong security protocol. A VPN with open-source or no supported strong encryption protocol is useless because anyone can look at the code and figure out how to break it. In that case, the only safe option is to use a VPN with a strong supported algorithm.
Why Install A VPN On Your Server?
There are numerous use cases for installing a VPN on your server. Let’s examine a few of them.
Firstly, you could use it to secure your server. An insecure server is a vulnerable server. When you install a VPN on it, even if it’s just a basic one, it becomes a more hardened and safer server. Installing a VPN also has another important use case: it allows you to share a single account with multiple devices. For example, you have a laptop, a tablet, and a smartphone. You can configure one account on the server to work with all three. When you create an account on the server, you can assign it a unique identifier. When you visit the WordPress dashboard on one of the devices, the server will recognize that identifier and present you with the content that was made for your specific device. So in other words, you can use a VPN to cache content for different devices. This way, you’ll have access to the same content from anywhere. You’ll save a lot of bandwidth this way and be less likely to experience connection issues. Lastly, you can use a VPN to secure your IoT devices (Internet of Things). Just like with a conventional PC or laptop, you can install a VPN client on an IoT device and access the service remotely. This way, you can ensure that your IoT devices are always protected and that the only person who can access and use them is you.
Setting Up VPN On Your Server Can Be A Pain
As mentioned, setting up a VPN on a server can be a pain. It takes time, it requires you to have access to a computer with internet, and it requires you to have the technical know-how. For that reason, many people choose not to do it. They choose to purchase a VPN client and download it onto their device. Sometimes, this is the only way they can use a VPN because their device doesn’t support installing a native client. In case you don’t want to go this way, you can always use a VPN hosting service.
Installation Is The Easy Part…
Once you have the VPN installed on your server, the next step is to configure it. This is where most people get confused. They think that once the VPN is installed and configured, they can just use it and it will work. This is not true. Configuring a VPN is very complex and requires you to have knowledge about networking and security. Once you have the VPN installed on your server, you can access the server’s configuration page via a web browser. From there, you’ll have to proceed through a series of dialogs to configure basic stuff such as the server’s IP address, port number, and login credentials. The only complication here is that most VPNs require you to create a free account before you can access their configuration page. You’ll either have to pay for the account or create an account using one of their free offerings. After you log in, you’ll see a page that looks like this.
… And The Rest Is Just Filler
From the previous screen shot, you can see that we’re configuring the VPN and trying to establish a connection. On the left, you’ll see a list of countries that the service recognizes. These are the countries where the VPN is accessible from. To the right is a list of platforms the VPN supports. This one is important because you’ll need one that supports your operating system. When you select a country and platform, you’ll see a message that the VPN is now configured and will work like a charm. This is simply because we’re using a free VPN with a limited number of connections. When you’re trying to use a VPN for the first time, you have to establish a connection to an internet server and register with the service. After you do that, you’ll see a message telling you how many free connections you have left and how much longer you have to establish yourself as a paying customer. If you want to use all the VPN’s connections, you’ll have to upgrade your plan or pay for additional connections.
Is VPN Hosting Better Than Installing A Client?
Let’s say you decide to use a VPN hosted solution instead of a native client. Does it make sense? A lot of pros and cons to consider. First, let’s examine the benefits.
Obviously, installing a native client has its perks. You don’t have to worry about updates or support because the vendor (in this case, NordVPN) takes care of that. If you want, you can install their client on multiple devices and access the VPN from anywhere. Also, you don’t need to configure anything. Just connect to the VPN and enjoy your data privacy. On the other hand, a VPN hosted solution is always available to you. This way, you don’t need to install the client to use the service. Any device in your vicinity (assuming you have internet access) can connect and start using the VPN. The downsides are numerous. First, the price. You’ll have to pay a monthly or yearly fee for a VPN hosted solution. Second, the security. A conventional VPN has a higher level of security than a VPN hosted on a server because you’re placing your trust in a third party (the VPN service). Last but not least, the convenience. You have to remember to connect to the VPN whenever you want to use it. When you use a native client, this is not a problem because the connection is always established and ready to use. So overall, if you don’t need to be online all the time to use the service, go for a native client. If you need access whenever you want, use a VPN hosted solution. If you want the best of both worlds, use a conventional VPN with an ssh key.