VPN Alternatives: What Can You Use Besides a VPN?


A stylized world map with connection nodes linking it together.

VPN suppliers would have you ever imagine that VPNs are a one-stop cybersecurity store that may clear up all of your worries about being tracked or hacked whereas looking. That’s not fully true, although. VPNs aren’t your solely possibility when attempting to cowl your digital tracks, both.

How VPNs Work

To raised discover and perceive VPN alternate options, we have to rapidly go over how a VPN works. A digital non-public community enables you to reroute your connection in order that your IP deal with, and thus digital location are modified.

That is nice if you wish to get round regional restrictions or blocks, whether or not put up by a authorities (like China’s Nice Firewall) or one thing extra mundane, like Netflix locking its regional libraries. VPNs additionally turn out to be useful while you’re on trip and your financial institution solely permits home IPs to entry its website.

In addition to rerouting your connection—which is a removed from distinctive capability, as we’ll quickly see—VPNs additionally encrypt the connection in what’s known as a VPN tunnel. That is what actually units VPNs aside from comparable expertise, because the VPN tunnel enables you to masks that you simply’re altering your IP and thus makes the connection tougher to detect.

Issues Solely a VPN Can Do

Due to the best way they work, there are issues solely VPNs can do. For instance, unlocking streaming providers like Netflix or Hulu can solely be finished by a VPN. No different technique will work. A lot the identical goes for torrenting, too.

Why Would You Need to Use VPN Alternate options?

After all, if VPNs can do all that and have distinctive skills, besides, it’s possible you’ll marvel why you’ll need to use anything. The perfect purpose can also be the only: cash. Whereas some VPNs are fairly low cost—there are additionally free ones, although most of these are scams. Even on the lowest worth level, you’re going to be spending at the very least $40-$50 per 12 months to make use of one. It could actually additionally go increased than that. For instance, ExpressVPN prices $100 per 12 months.

The opposite purpose is that VPNs are a little bit of a black field and it’s arduous to gauge precisely what occurs along with your information. Although most providers declare to be no-log VPNs that don’t preserve any of your information, there’s been sufficient cooperation with legislation enforcement through the years to make even probably the most trusting amongst us a bit leery of such claims.

The Greatest VPN Alternate options

Fortunately, there are many methods to utilize VPNs’ most necessary capabilities—as a lot as we recognize leisure, it’s not precisely very important to life—for both free or at the very least at a a lot decrease value. Information assortment can also be loads much less possible with these options.


Essentially the most fundamental of all VPN alternate options is the proxy, which is a quite simple program that relays your connection and that’s about it. When evaluating proxies vs. VPNs, the largest distinction is the whole lack of encryption in proxies, which makes them weak to interception.

Whereas they’re helpful to unblock YouTube and different low-security websites, they do a reasonably poor job of anything. Their greatest asset is that they’re free to make use of, although watch out which of them you utilize as some could also be used for information assortment. As for recommendations, our favorites are HideMyAss’ proxy or Hide.me’s proxy.


A step up from common proxies is Shadowsocks, which by using a selected sort of encryption might be an effective way to flee censorship. Although it’s largely used as a method to get previous China’s Nice Firewall, it will also be used to keep away from different blocks. Nonetheless, it often fails to get previous Netflix’s blocks and will by no means be used for torrenting as its encryption isn’t suited to that.

Shadowsocks isn’t fully free, although: to arrange Shadowsocks, you’ll must have some sort of server of your individual. Nonetheless, utilizing a program known as Outline, you may share the server with your folks, which ought to hopefully assist defray the fee a little bit.

SSH Tunnel

The third VPN different is an SSH tunnel, which is fascinating as a result of it might probably encrypt your connection a lot the identical method a VPN can, however received’t change your IP deal with like proxies or Shadowsocks do. Due to that, it received’t allow you to crack any blocks, nevertheless it’s a strong method to switch information securely in case your VPN isn’t working—which is simply one of many cool issues you are able to do with an SSH server.

The massive draw back to SSH tunneling, in addition to not altering your location, is that it may be powerful to arrange, particularly if you happen to don’t have any expertise with networking tech. Nonetheless, although, it’s one thing to remember if you happen to ever must safe a community on a budget.


Our penultimate, and in some methods greatest, VPN different is Tor, The Onion Router. Not like a VPN, which routes all of your web site visitors to a single server, Tor makes use of a large community of servers world wide to bounce your connection round, making it so no single server has all of your information.

As every server is shielded from the subsequent, Tor is a superb choose for anyone frightened about VPNs’ potential information assortment, but nonetheless desires the safety of VPNs. An enormous draw back to Tor, although, is that it nonetheless struggles with blocks like that of Netflix—and the truth that bouncing your connection round slows it down significantly. There’s no method round it: Tor is sluggish.

Decentralized VPNs

Our final entry is an fascinating hybrid of VPNs and Tor. Referred to as decentralized VPNs, they might mix the safety and velocity of VPNs with the anonymity of Tor. Nonetheless, at present only a few are operational, so proper now they’re a little bit of a hypothetical. Nonetheless, if decentralized VPNs find yourself being like what’s promised, then we could find yourself with the right VPN different; solely time will inform.

Till then, you may both use one of many alternate options we’ve outlined above—or, for many who like streaming or torrenting, use a VPN.

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