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Internet security and your privacy while browsing the World Wide Web are both very important; they are more valuable than you think. Websites are actively tracking and profiling you for different purposes. Advertising networks are tracking you across multiple websites.
One of the ways to remain secure and anonymous when browsing the internet is by masking your IP address using a VPN service. For maximum security, you can use a reliable VPN. This VPN One Click review reveals how a premium service can be highly beneficial. On the other hand, you can create your own with opensource tools. We are going to discuss the latter in this article.
Finding a Server
To run your own VPN server, you first need, well, a server. Fortunately, cloud servers are now both easy to find and very affordable. You can turn to services such as Linode or Digital Ocean with their cheap cloud plans. There are also providers like Google and Amazon that charge you for the server resources you actually use.
What you need is a cloud server with root access. As long as you can configure the server the way you like, you have the ability to set up a VPN server of your own. On that note, having complete control means you can completely protect yourself when browsing the internet as long as you configure your server correctly.
Tools for the Job
That brings us to the second part, adding a VPN server to the cloud server. There are a lot of tools you can use for this purpose, starting with Streisand, a free and opensource VPN server that runs on Ubuntu 16.04 or newer. Streisand offers all the VPN features you need, including compatibility with OpenConnect and OpenVPN.
Deploying Streisand is fairly easy, thanks to its support for Ansible. In fact, it is one of the easiest VPN tools to set up on an Ubuntu server instance. The only downside is that you are limited to the IP addresses that you have, but you maintain the ability to create an IP pool if needed. Streisand is also easy to connect to.
OpenVPN is another tool worth trying if you want to set up your own VPN service. OpenVPN requires a server and a client tool running and connected to each other, but this makes the tool incredibly easy to use. It has a static encryption key that you can set up when you first deploy OpenVPN, after which everything happens automatically.
Connection to and from the OpenVPN server is encrypted using the highest security standard. You will not only be masking your IP address but also making it very difficult for attackers to steal your data packages in transit. It is also capable of traversing firewalls, making it the perfect tool for bypassing certain content restrictions.
StrongSwan is also an option worth considering. There are different Swans on the market, including OpenSwan and FreeS/WAN, but StrongSwan is the easiest to use. As the name suggests, StrongSwan is an IPsec implementation. It is not the easiest to set up, but the complex setup process translates to maximum security.
For starters, you have an immense array of access management tools. You can divide access by groups or individual users. StrongSwan is capable of managing traffic from hundreds of users – or even thousands. You just have to make sure that the server you use is capable of handling the traffic as well as the encryption-decryption cycles.
Which tool should you use? The answer depends on what you want to achieve with the VPN server and your level of experience with server administration. These tools can be set up in just a few minutes once you have your cloud server running. They support protocols that will protect your identity while browsing the internet.
Considering the Alternative
To put setting up your own VPN server in perspective, let’s take a look at the alternative: using a premium VPN service. Yes, you have to be extra careful when using a VPN service. Free VPN is a definite NO, and not all premium VPN services are created equal. Spend some time reading reviews and comparing services, however, and you will find a good VPN service to use.
There are reviews that help you see how reliable these VPN services are today. It is also relatively affordable compared to getting your own cloud server. On top of that, you don’t have to work out how to better secure your own VPN server, plus you can skip the initial setup process of your VPN server altogether.
VPN service providers are also catering to more users. You can, for instance, find the best VPN for bypassing Netflix content restrictions. On the other hand, you can also find a list of VPN service providers that let you use your own private encryption key. It all depends on your specific needs and how you want to remain secure whenever you are online.