Monday, November 19, 2012
What's a VPN? Do I Need One?
There’s been a lot of discussions on other blogs about internet access and the
blocking of specific sites in foreign countries, so we chose to try and maintain the
free access we have been accustomed to in the U.S. We’re not computer geeks, but
know our way around enough to enjoy our personal laptops and tap into the power
of the internet. Here’s what we did:
We purchased a subscription to a VPN. A VPN allows you to surf the web
anonymously by masking your IP address and it encrypts your information, especially if it’s sensitive. But more importantly, they claim to unblock restricted sites, such as Skype, Hulu and YouTube, to name a few. I know, not all of these are currently blocked in Belize, but ...
A good website to check VPN’s http://lifehacker.com/5935863/five-best-vpn-
We chose Private Internet Access at https://www.privateinternetaccess.com/. They
were currently running a special one year subscription for $39.95. Once purchased
online, we immediately received an e-mail with our log on and password for
download. The download was quick and very easy. They have downloads for
both Windows and Mac. We use Mac, and will report how this VPN works out for
The other item we purchased was a router that supports a VPN; we wanted a new
one anyway. Some of the places we are renting have wireless included, but I’m sure we will be staying at places where we will need to add internet service and a router. We chose to do business with FlashRouters at https://www.flashrouters.com. Their site recommended several routers; we chose the Cisco Linksys E4200 V1. This router can also be configured with an existing router. We ordered the router late at night, the next morning we received an e-mail from the folks at FlashRouters asking several questions. They pre-configure your router based on answers to the questions, like your operating system and VPN provider.
Their customer service is exemplary and personable. Based on our initial correspondence, we anticipate any future issues (if any) will be handled the same. Again, since some of technical jargon is Greek to most of us non-IT’ers, the service provided by FlashRouters will prove to be invaluable.
Hopefully, our decisions to maintain free access to the internet will be correct. We’ll
let you know!