A virtual private network (VPN) is your online savior against online trackers, cybercriminals, and other prying eyes. Primarily, a VPN protects your online communications by encrypting your browsing data from internet service providers (ISPs).
A VPN establishes an encrypted tunnel between your device and the secure VPN server. By doing so, the sites you visit online get the impression that you are visiting them from a remote server. This hides your digital identity from ISPs, government entities, and other monitoring agencies who will no longer be able to see your online activity.
The added benefit of a VPN is that it anonymizes your online identity by disguising your real IP address from the websites you visit. You also gain instant access to the sites and content that is unavailable in your region.
How to Make a VPN
Before you begin working on ways to make a VPN service, the first question you need to ask yourself is, “why do I need a VPN?”
These are the primary uses of a VPN:
Secure and Encrypt Your Online Traffic
A VPN helps you protect your internet traffic from monitoring entities and bad actors on unsecured WiFi networks such as coffee shops, airports, or shopping malls.
Accessing Region Locked Content
A VPN gets you around content that’s unavailable in your region by masking your IP address and making it appear as though you are accessing it from a country where the content is available.
If you’re struggling to get access to Netflix, Hulu, or any other streaming service and continually getting the ‘unavailable in your region’ notification, a VPN can gain you instant access. However, keep in mind that Netflix aggressively blocks any connection coming from a VPN or datacenter related IP address.
An ordinary homemade DIY VPN service might not work well with streaming services like Netflix. This is because your IP will instantly get blacklisted as soon as the streaming service realizes that it’s coming from a VPN network.
However, PureVPN offers whitelisted IPs and regularly updates its IP pool along with robust streaming optimized servers that gain instant access to Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, or any other streaming service of your choice.
Secure Remote Server
You can use a VPN to access a secure remote network. If you’ve got a home server and you want to be able to access your files without heading over to the internet, by using a VPN server inside your network’s firewall, you can tunnel into your network remotely via an encrypted connection.
This method will give you access to all of the devices on the network from any corner of the world as if you were sitting right next to them.
Mask Your IP for P2P Activities
A VPN can be used for downloading files from the internet to avoid DMCA notices and to avoid ISP throttling. This is why a VPN’s data encryption algorithms are vital as it helps you stay secure on the web and doesn’t notify your ISP of your online activities.
If your ISP does find out about your P2P activities, they can start throttling your internet connection and can potentially send you a legal notice.
How to Make a VPN for Yourself
When it comes to setting up a VPN, the costs and technical requirements vary from person to person as the size of the VPN will depend on what you want to use the VPN for. A VPN can be either created locally using your at-home IP connection or through a datacenter. What’s important is whether you can trust your local ISP or whether you can narrow down your search for a data center that’s reliable.
A VPN can be set up for multiple reasons, so you don’t need the same setup for everything. If you happen to travel frequently, maybe for work or leisure and you need a constant internet connection as if you were at home, it’s ideal that you set up a VPN between your portable devices (smartphone, tablet, and laptop) and a workstation that you have at home. In other words, your workstation is the tunnel, and your remote devices connect to it.
This type of setting won’t require heavy or expensive equipment as you can use an old laptop as your server and plug that directly into your home router. Simply install the VPN server software on your laptop and install the VPN client software on your mobile devices that you happen to carry with you (smartphone, tablet, and laptop).
The way this works is that whenever you head outside and disconnect from your home network, you simply have to switch on your VPN, connect to it from your mobile device, and browse the internet as if you were at home.
Once you’ve established a connection to the VPN, you can access files on your home network, stream video that’s uploaded on the server, and access all services as you typically would at home. Keep in mind that your local ISP may see your activity. However, places from where you’ll connect won’t know the difference.
How to set up a VPN on a remote server
If you’re eager to set up a VPN, it’s possible that you no longer trust your local ISP, or maybe you share and receive sensitive data that needs to be secured from prying eyes. Whatever your reason to hide your online activity is, you can easily set up a VPN on a remote server. Virtual Private Servers (VPS) in the cloud can help without any complications.
However, keep in mind that when choosing a VPS, you will be putting your trust in the network provider along with the operator who’s managing the server on which your browsing data will be sent and received. To achieve a certain degree of online anonymity, it’s better to rent a server by paying with a payment method that doesn’t reveal your name and address – preferably Bitcoin.
You can make great use of this server by connecting to it whenever you are at home or when you’re heading out. This will be highly effective in public places where you connect to unsecured WiFi networks.
How to create a VPN server
It’s understood that not everyone will be able to set up their own VPN due to the technical knowledge and expertise involved when configuring servers and networks. Setting up a VPN requires a great deal of complexity.
If you are an individual who is setting up a VPN at home for personal use, you will need to know how to set up the physical machine, which will be used as the VPN server along with the steps to configure your home router.
Fortunately, you don’t need to go through the hassle as there are tools available online, which makes the process easier for you.
Shadowsocks is a free and open-source encryption protocol. It’s not a VPN but rather an HTTP proxy. It was created in 2012 and is compatible with most apps. Fortunately, Shadowsocks is easy to install.
To configure it on your device, you need to download and install the software or configure your network settings. Its app is available on the Play Store and the App Store.
OpenVPN is another commercial open-source tool. It is used by VPNs to create a secure P2P connection. Unlike Shadowsocks, OpenVPN is challenging to install and configure. At the same time, OpenVPN is far more customizable. Its apps are available on the App Store and Play Store.
A convenient solution for those who are fond of the command-line interface is to search for servers to rent and choose a server that you have SSH access to. You can route your internet traffic through the SSH tunnel via a client like sshuttle.
The cost of setting up your VPN
If you’re running a full-fledged VPN server on your own, the cost will be higher than if you did a homegrown solution, unless you’re an enterprise. The cost will vary on your technical requirements and configurations you’ve made to your VPN setup.
If you are running a VPN at home, make sure you have a high-speed internet connection. Assuming you do, the only added cost will be to get a dedicated device to set up your VPN. Fortunately, if you’ve got an old laptop or a PC at home that isn’t being used by anyone, it doesn’t need to be collecting dust anymore; you can use it for your VPN.
In the event where you are renting a VPS, dedicated server, or hosting in the cloud, your cost will range anywhere between 3 USD and 10 USD for a midrange VPS server but can be much higher depending on your dedicated service. This cost isn’t different from most high-end VPN services.
A private enterprise VPN provider like PureVPN comes packed with features that serve your need to set up a VPN service. PureVPN provides you with proprietary software for your devices (Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Android TV, PS3, PS4, Xbox, router) in exchange for a monthly subscription.
By subscribing to any of PureVPN’s multiple pricing plans, you get relieved of any technicalities that are involved when configuring your own VPN server and client. You get state-of-the-art AES 256-bit encryption as standard, along with 24/7 customer support. This is extremely beneficial in case you run into an issue or need assistance setting up.
Additionally, you get to choose from a global server network of 6500+ servers based in 180 locations. Feel free to switch between servers and connect to any country/location of your choice. PureVPN’s servers are self-engineered and self-optimized for optimal online streaming and P2P activities, giving you the best online experience.
A paid VPN service is more reliable than a free VPN provider as free services tend to sell your browsing data to marketing agencies to sustain themselves. On the other hand, a paid service charges you monthly premium in exchange for supreme online privacy and security.
By subscribing to PureVPN, you won’t have to go through the huge hassle of setting up your own VPN service only to have it get blacklisted by the websites you are visiting.