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VPN: buy ready to use service or configure your own server. What's better?

Advice

TL;DR

VPN service

Hosting

VPN subscription price is about $8 - $18 per month

Virtual Private Server price is about $5 to $30 per month

You get instructions and applications - everything works from the box

You must setup a server by yourself

Lots of IP addresses

You get only 1 IP address, additional IP will cost from $2 to $10

VPN service give you lots of countries to connect to

If you need a server in different country, you'll need to rent and setup it by yourself

Tech support will help you to solve any problem

Hosting tech support generally helps only with server related problems

You're relatively protected from law enforcement

Hosting provider is not interested in hiding information about you

No need to identify yourself

You need to identify yourself, sometimes even by making a selfie with your passport

You can pay with cryptocurrency

In many cases only traditional payment is accepted

Full version

First of all, we don't support crime in any way. If you are afraid because of your activity and think about renting a server and setting it up by yourself, this article is for you.

Law enforcement interest in your identity depends on many factors. Under certain circumstances, a person commits a crime, does not hide at all, and still stays safe. In other circumstances, a person commits a crime, hides as good as he can, and is still found by authorities. At 99.999% rate you are unlikely to ever catch someone's attention, unless you have committed a really serious crime. Once again, we don't encourage anyone to commit crimes and against it, this is just how it is.

Legal issues

In case of interest in particular person, law enforcement agencies contact the owner of the IP address. Rarely VPN services have their own servers. Therefore, this request directed to hosting company, which provides servers for rent.

If you rented a server - hosting company is unlikely to investigate you. It is easier for it to expose information about you because it does not have any reputational obligations in terms of preserving the anonymity of its users. When you buy a server hosting company requires your identification, so they have a lot of useful information about you.

If you use a VPN company services - the request is redirected to it. The following happens after that:

  • The VPN service wants to keep its face and will watch your back rather than allow leakage of its customers personal data. This is not always true, there were a few incidents when VPN services provide their customers data to law enforcement. But this is a rare case and you hardly even find reports about this.
  • VPN service uses servers with minimum performance, which is a profitability question. This is not possible to keep logs related to every single client and do it for a long period of time.
  • VPN service has a large number of clients - any IP address can be used by any client.
  • VPN service will not request your identification - you can change your digital fingerprint before trying to use a VPN service.

Technical overview

The technical aspect of VPN is a very important topic. Let's have a look at different approaches.

You rent a personal server:

You will spend your precious time on this task. There are many instructions on how to set up a VPN on the Internet, but they are far from easy to use: sometimes you need general IT knowledge in order to set everything up because instructions may not be accurate. Instructions can be outdated, software can be updated so instruction won't apply to it. You can miss the nuances that can greatly affect the security of your connection and reveal you in the end.

You are using a VPN service:

In this case, you get access to high quality services. VPN service on its part provides fine-tuning of the equipment, which leads to a good result. For the client, VPN service often develops applications using their own and client's experience which ultimately allows you to bypass one of the common and atypical pitfalls by pressing one button. In addition, client gets access to a technical support which will help you with all your questions and solve problems, sometimes the most unexpected ones.


In addition, if you rent a server, then you get only 1 IP address in one country. When you purchase a subscription from a VPN service, you have access to hundreds of IP addresses and servers in many countries around the world.

You get all this for a fairly small price. VPN services usually cost from $8 to $17. While renting even a single virtual server can cost a decent amount: from $5 to $40 at best. If you need servers in different countries, you will have to buy one server for one country. You can calculate yourself how much it will cost (spoiler: lots of money).

In the end

Choosing one or another is your responsibility, we just lending a helping hand for your better understanding of cons and pros of these approaches to the same problem. But remember: "Sometimes it doesn't matter too much what choice you make, as long as you make it quick and stick to it.". So make a choice and enjoy your free Internet access any way you want.


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