Using an OpenVPN service has a huge advantage as far as privacy and security goes when you compare it to other VPN protocols. The industry standard 128-bit encryption is safe enough to protect your credit card, and strong enough to protect against 99% of full-on hacks (as opposed to passive eaves dropping), so its no wonder that VPN users prefer this service.
OK, so not all VPN users prefer it. PPTP is still a very popular VPN protocol. Remember that not everyone looking for a VPN service is looking for privacy online. In fact, many users are just looking to unblock Netflix and Hulu outside The USA, or bypass their school/work firewall to access Facebook. VPNs work for that too.
But if you’re in China, Iran, Egypt, Vietnam, or other places in Egypt, the Middle East, and Africa, then you privacy may be crucial. While in western countries we can say whatever we want, the same is not true in other places. Halal internet is becoming the standard in The Middle East – it’s a Muslim version of the internet that only allows access to approved sites. China recently blocked users from THEIR OWN social networking sites, SINA Weibo and TENCENT QQ, because people were spreading rumors of a military coup in Beijing. Vietnam blocked Facebook after political unrest in Egypt was caused by activists organizing on Twitter and Facebook.
In these cases an OpenVPN service is going to be best for you.
International reporters, whistleblowers, military personnel, and businesses need to protect their private information. Money, reputation, or lives may be at risk. OpenVPN can use encryption upgrades up to 4096-bit. That’s 32 times as strong as the industry standard (see below). Of course with that kind of encryption you’re bound to give up some connection speed, so you certainly won’t be browsing YouTube streaming videos, but hey, we’ve all got priorities.
OpenVPN is a 3rd party VPN software, so you computer or phone isn’t going to come ready to use it. You’ve got to install the appropriate version from the VPN service you choose. It will vary slightly for Mac, Windows, or Linux. You iPhone and Android probably won’t need OpenVPN. In fact, to use it on your iPhone you need to jailbreak it, which I don’t recommend. There is an SSL VPN available at the Apple Store. If you’re an iOS fan, I’d suggest L2TP/IPSec for an encrypted VPN for your iPhone/iPad.
Android users can follow the same advice, though an OpenVPN app for Android is available. Unfortunately you’ve got to have a bit of a tech-background to get it set up, which involves installing new firmware called ‘Cyanogenmod’ and ‘Busy Box’ – even then there are some resources that don’t mention either of these. On top of that, some of this will depend on which version of Android you’re using. So it’s complicated. Stick with L2TP VPN.
OpenVPN For Android Resources
For your standard Mac OS/X, Windows XP, Vista, Win 7, and Linux operating systems, installation is a piece of cake. This will apply to 99% of users. Just a few clicks after finishing the download, and then you can start thinking about which VPN server you want to sign into. Some OpenVPN service will include ‘Viscosity’, which is basically just a good-looking interface for the OpenVPN software, but it’s not necessary at all. I don’t use it.
And the good news is that OpenVPN services are not hard to find. OpenVPN is one of the standard packages, so alongside with PPTP and L2TP VPN protocols, you’ll see OpenVPN right there as well. Sometimes you may see a pricing difference, with PPTP being cheaper that OpenVPN. Sometimes this is not the case, and you get any protocol for the same price.
Here is a full list of operating systems that support OpenVPN (yeah, I’ve never heard of them either)
Solaris, Linux, OpenBSD, FreeBSD, NetBSD, QNX, Mac OS X, and Windows 2000/XP/Vista/7,Maemo, Windows Mobile 6.5 (and below)
Here are my favorite OpenVPN services and why. There are plenty of good service there, but I chose three that I think will represent different types of users. Rather than spend hour researching hundreds of service out there, I think these service have proven to be reliable and provide a high quality OpenVPN service (as well as other VPN protocols.
This is one of the largest VPN providers in the industry. They’ve got a huge site to browse through, and tons of package options ranging from $55 USD per year up to $30 USD per month. Server location, number of servers, and whether you use dynamic or dedicated IP addresses will determine the price, as well as the length of your subscription. The 7 day money back guarantee and live support add icing on the cake. This is service that can’t fail you.
\\\ StrongVPN Official Site ///
This service supports a wide variety of devices, and offer many custom features such as port forwarding, upgrades to military grade encryption, a free viscosity license, and other tech-lovers stuff that I won’t get into (ok, can’t get into because I don’t understand it). There’s a decent spread of servers across the world, or you can opt for a discount and use the US IP only package. 5 star customer service is a major selling point of their company.
\\\ 12VPN Official Site ///
With a simple pricing plan, simple sign up, and tons of stuff to offer, HMA is another great choice. They’ve got a huge network of servers (currently 200+ servers in 42 countries), allow free switching, and unlimited bandwidth (ok, the other services listed here do that too). They even have proxy and anonymous linking/uploading services available for free.
\\\ Hide My Ass Official Site ///
This is a VPN service that I’ve been featuring on the site lately because I was impressed with their VPN software and the speed of their VPN servers. OpenVPN is of course an option, but it’s super easy to switch between all the VPN protocols they. A decently priced VPN service, with full ownership of their servers (no third party outsourcing), IPVanish is a great choice for someone looking for privacy and security online.
\\\ IPVanish Official Site ///