NetworkSecurity

VPN Alternatives

What Is VPN?

VPN (Virtual Private Network) is a secured network that protects your connection while you are linked to internet traffic. It is one of the best tools to safely enjoy online shopping, banking, and surfing while protected by encryption.

To make you understand what VPN is, we’ll consider the internet a road, and we roam around on bikes to visit a shopping mall. Then let’s suppose we shop around from certain stores, perform online transactions, play games, and so much more. Riding on a bike will make you vulnerable; anyone can follow you on these digital pathways to see your private activities and access critical systems. So, you are always traceable. To avoid it and keep your identity anonymous on an internet platform, VPN encrypts your connection, securely manages your identity on the internet server, and gives you remote access.

Why Use VPN?

If you want to keep your data connection secure and private, VPN is your go-to security option, as it helps mask your IP address, location, and search history. It locks your personal information while in transit or being sent or received by your device, ensuring personal security. In other words, it provides internet traffic with a more secure access service edge.

Shortcomings Of VPN  

Nothing can be perfect, and everything comes with its pros and cons. Therefore, one should understand the nature of the software one is about to use. Here are a few drawbacks of using a VPN:

It Slows Down Your Connection Speed

It is observed that VPNs slow down your connection speed. Now we know nobody likes to sit and wait while your connection is streaming. One should always use a VPN with fast speed as cheap ones take a lot of time in streaming with buffering and lagging.

Heavy On Your Pocket 

A high-performing VPN can be expensive. On the other hand, there are vast numbers of free VPNs available in the market which are of poor quality and cause a threat to your system.

So one has to buy a subscription to the best VPN, which can sometimes be heavy on your pocket but prove to be the best alternative remote access solution.

Not 100% Secure

People using VPNs feel excited that now they are untouchable and can do anything they want to do without having any online breach into their internal system. Well, it is a common misconception about using VPNs. VPN does not protect you from every cyber attack; in the case of malware and phishing attacks, one is still vulnerable and insecure. 

Its Limited Availability 

Though it is available in most countries, some countries don’t grant access and login attempts to the common person and maintain full control over their access management. One can even get fined for using illegal VPNs in some countries. Here are the names of a few countries which keep bans on using VPNs:

  1. China
  2. Iraq
  3. Russia
  4. Turkey
  5. UAE

Sudden Connection Breaks

While it can be frustrating if one faces sudden connection breaks while working on an important task that needs total protection, VPNs often give short connection breaks. So here is a simple solution to your problem: always use a kill switch feature that serves your real connection to the internet and only gets restored once your connection to the VPN is back up and running.

VPN Alternatives: What Can Be Used In Place Of A VPN?

A VPN is a suitable option for all your security and privacy concerns for remote access. However, much better versions exist in the marketplace, far better than the traditional VPN. So let’s talk about the possibilities and best VPN alternatives available out there. The 7 alternatives to VPN are set out below:

7 Alternatives Of VPN

SmartDNS 

It is quite affordable and fast-defined software, making it a good replacement for a VPN. Unlike VPN, which requires a proper application, one can set up SmartDNS on any device from anywhere.

How Does It Work?

As the name suggests, SmartDNS (Domain Name Network) is linked to your device’s internal networks, such as a laptop, tablet, or computer. It hides your address and reassigns your DNS settings through a remote modem. The DNS addresses are being changed from local (usually generated by the internet service provider) to match the settings of the Smart DNS server.

SmartDNS has the solution to the most common problem faced by Netflix users.

Let me explain: have you ever felt upset that your most liked movie or TV show has been updated to Netflix and is currently unavailable in your country? Well, worry not; SmartDNS will let you enjoy your favorite things as it conceals your addresses. Your smart gadgets can enter geo-blocked content that would be blocked in your vicinity.

Surf Shark, Unlocator, and NordVPN are among the top SMART DNS used, giving you the remote access you need.

ZTNA (Zero-Trust Network Access) 

ZTNA is a security service solution that gives encrypted and secure access to a company’s network, operations, database, and functions based on a set of principles within a proprietary data center.

ZTNA usage is mostly linked to the corporate sector and larger organizations that require the least privileged access, access controls, and identity authentication. A zero-trust identity and access management architecture treats every attempt to access suspicious information.

What makes ZTNA different from traditional VPNs is that they grant access only to particular servers or operations; on the other hand, VPNs provide access to the whole network.

ZTNA can facilitate the eradication of loopholes in other safe remote access technologies and procedures. Some common examples of security service solutions are Zscaler, Forrester Zero Trust Wave, and Twingate. All these strategies are perfect for making the internal network functionality invisible to the internet.

How Does It Work?

ZTNA allows access to certain applications and critical systems, after which authorized users can use Zscaler private access. Once it has authorized access, ZTNA allows the user to access specific applications. Then the application is given a protected and secured pathway, which consists of tightly packed security protection by shielded applications and servers from IP addresses that can be vulnerable otherwise.

A Proxy Server

Proxy servers stand out for network managers to mask their IP locations and be protected while working online. They act as gateways between the user and the internet.

Most proxy servers are one of the best VPN alternatives, free of cost, unlike most advanced VPNs. So if you want to conceal your IP location without buying it and manage access to blocked sites in your area, a proxy server is the ideal alternative to a VPN. Various proxy servers are available in the market, such as Oxylabs, Bright Data, and Scraper API.

How Does It Work?

The server has its IP, which receives your internet traffic. So let’s suppose unauthorized users are trying to locate your IP address and internal access accounts; the proxy server’s address will trick them if you use this intermediary.

The Onion Router (Tor)

Tor Browser is one of the best VPN alternatives, it is an anonymous software-defined perimeter of the modern world. Software experts always work hard to improve advanced credential security for their esteemed users. It makes your web traffic anonymous on the Tor network, making it very easy to hide your identity.

It works on a technological approach based on “onion routing,” in which communications on the internet are made unintelligible through various and different digital pathways.

How Does It Work?

The Tor system works on the principle of “onion routing,” consisting of 3 packed layers just like an onion (hence the name Tor’s Onion given, and its logo is designed in the shape of an onion as well).

Tor Browser grants access at random to one of the publicly listed entry nodes, revives that traffic through an arbitrarily selected middle relay, and at last spits out your traffic through the third and final exit node.

Cloud VPN Service

It is software-defined to aid users in accessing their company’s operations, database, and documents through an online portal. It has more safe cloud environments that can be used quickly globally.

Cloud VPN security services are widely available worldwide, allowing users to utilize operations, databases, and documents from anywhere. Cloud VPN security services allow users to have their services in a cloud environment.

To further comprehend it, everything is on internal network servers within Cloud VPN. Some good examples of Cloud VPN service security solutions include Google Cloud VPN, NordLayer, and Perimeter8.

How Does It Work?

It connects users safely to an Internet Protocol security (IPsec) connection which further produces an IPsec VPN pathway that encodes internet traffic traveling through the VPN bypass and network session. Simply put, it keeps the data protected while traveling over the internet, allowing users to enjoy its services from various gadgets and locations.

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) 

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) is a software-defined system that works on virtual machines to cater to and manage access to virtual desktops. VDI provides an isolated environment, usually a centralized server, and offers its users to experience a traditional physical desktop through a network connection. This way, users have a virtual machine that runs separate operating systems. One example of a VDI tool is VMware vCloud, which can be used from anywhere.

How Does It Work?

A VDI is a VPN alternative that consists of various virtual machine monitor servers that run virtual machines that eventually host virtual desktops. These desktops give external users access to their devices remotely. Users have the facility to use these virtual desktops from any device or location, and all processing is done on the host server. Simply put, users get privileged access to their desktops through a connection broker that acts as an intermediary between the user and the server.

Shadowsocks

Shadowsocks is a type of intermediary software-defined that uses a proxy server technology, which allows you to bypass censorship. It was first released in 2012 by its creator, a Chinese programmer, and is commonly used in China. It is a barrier that keeps Chinese internet traffic encrypted and protected from foreign influence.

How Does It Work?

While using this VPN alternative, you get privileged access to a computer other than yours called a proxy server. That proxy server can be present anywhere across the globe. Suppose you are in China, and you get network access to a server located in Transylvania. Hence, you can access privileged accounts on Facebook, Instagram, Google, and any application within a boundary-based network.

It is like any other proxy server, which reroutes an internet connection through a third-party security platform, making it appear like you’re in a different network location.

Conclusion 

Even though VPN is extremely useful for access control, remote work, and encrypted traffic for external users, some of its variants and best VPN alternatives prove to be more effective in securely managing security services and maintaining anonymity in suspicious or risky operations.

You can acquire online security using the VPN alternatives mentioned above and enjoy any activity sitting at any setup without getting tracked.

Derik Belair

As President and CEO, Derik leads the vision, strategy and growth of Augmentt. Prior to founding Augmentt, Derik was the Vice President at SolarWinds, leading the digital marketing strategy for SolarWinds’ Cloud division. Derik has been working in the channel for over 20 years, starting his career as a channel sales rep at Corel Corp. and eventually becoming the first employee at N-able Technologies in April of 2000.

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