VPN Unlimited Chrome Extension

If you occasionally use a free wifi connection for internet access, I think it is important to use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to secure and protect your connection. If you use the Chrome browser, as I do, I just became aware of a VPN extension from Keep Solid VPN Unlimited that will encrypt and protect your browser traffic. I downloaded and installed it just moments ago, and am connected to a server in Los Angeles.

I did a speed test to see if this extension adversely affected my download speed. I couldn't see any significant degradation.

So far so good using this extension, which will only encrypt traffic through the Chrome browser. A VPN app, on the other hand, will protect all traffic from your computer. Which do you want or need? It depends, and the info below may help your decision.

I just pass this on FYI and possible benefit.

Jim Hamm




VPN Unlimited

Now here's quite a deal if you're in the market for a VPN: a lifetime of VPN Unlimited for only $31.99. See here: 


This is way too cheap, it seems to me, so there may be a 'gotcha'. A few years ago I purchased a lifetime license for VPN Unlimited, and in fact am running it now. I don't remember now what I paid for my lifetime license, but it was way more than $32.

Here is one review of VPN Unlimited: https://www.techradar.com/reviews/pc-mac/software/utilities/keepsolid-vpn-unlimited-1325618/review

And here's another review: https://www.pcmag.com/review/344816/keepsolid-vpn-unlimited

This program has worked well for me, so thought I'd pass this offer along.

Jim Hamm

Opera's Free VPN

For some time Opera has offered a free version of their VPN (Virtual Private Network) for iOS devices. Soon it will no longer be available. Following is an article that discusses this:


It's expensive for any company to maintain a VPN network, and unreasonable for them to offer it free. How can a company afford to do this? The desktop version of the Opera Browser does continue to offer a free built-in VPN, but I'm guessing Opera is doing this to try to increase market share for their browser. How long they'll continue to do this is uncertain, though.

Jim Hamm

Hotspot Shield VPN

Here's an interesting (to me, anyway) bit of trivia about the use of the Hotspot Shield VPN, which I just experienced. Typically when one uses a VPN for security purposes over a public wifi network, the download speed usually drops -- for several reasons. This is expected, and is just part of the price one pays for additional security and to prevent hackers from 'sniffing' your computer or tablet.

I'm presently on a secure wifi network in our condo and don't need to use a VPN. But from time to time I like to check out various VPNs to see how they perform. Using Cox Cable I just now got a download speed of 28 Mbps, which is perfectly usable for normal computer use. I then opened the Hotspot Shield VPN, selected a server in the U.S., and after a few moments it got connected. I don't know where the server was located in the U.S., just that it was connected.

I did the download test again and got 42 Mbps -- a significant improvement and a nice surprise. I did this same test earlier this morning and got similar, favorable, results. Hotspot Shield VPN is available for a Mac, PC, iOS and Android. They offer both a free and paid version.

https://www.hotspotshield.com/vpn/vpn-for-mac/       https://www.hotspotshield.com/vpn/vpn-for-windows/

So, if you occasionally use public wifi, I suggest that you use a VPN, whether it be this one or another.

Jim Hamm

Public Wifi

If you occasionally use public wifi, you realize your computer is subject to possible hacking -- someone being able to 'see' what you're doing. If you should have an interest in reading three articles about how to protect your computer, read here and here and here.

One of the ways to protect yourself on public wifi is never enter anything on your computer you wouldn't want the world to see. A better way, though, is to protect yourself by using a VPN (Virtual Private Network), as the last article mentions. The article mentions two free VPN's that are available to be used: Hotspot Shield and CyberGhost. 

I have both of these installed and use one or the other when I'm on public wifi. Is it necessary to use a VPN, you might ask? It depends on you and how secure you want to be. Both these programs are easy to install and use, and they're free (although paid versions are available, of course). What's not to like about this scenario? Free protection.

When you first open CyberGhost you'll get a notice that you can't use the free version right away as there are people in line waiting to use it. In my experience it only takes about a minute or two and your turn will come up. Now, why are these VPN's providing a 'free' service? They obviously can't stay in business doing this for everyone. They have advertising on the free versions, and they hope you will eventually upgrade to the paid version, which I've done.

Just some thoughts for your protection on public wifi.

Jim Hamm

A Lesson Learned

If you use a VPN, my experience may save you a future problem. I bought a new 10.5" iPad Pro recently, and when I got it home I couldn't connect to the internet. I could pick up the wifi signal but couldn't get on the internet. 

After 40 frustrating minutes, including a discussion with an Apple tech, I noticed something: a VPN  app was trying to connect to the internet and blocking everything else until it was connected. A VPN will do this as a protection so we don't get on the internet until the VPN is connected. I quickly turned the VPN off and got connected to the internet right away.

I had forgotten I had this VPN turned on on my iPad, and it was trying to do its job. I use a VPN on my computers and will get a dialog box informing me that the internet is blocked until the VPN is connected. Apps such as Dropbox and my antivirus program are clamoring to get on the internet when I fire up my computer, but they can't until the VPN settles in. 

Jim Hamm


Windscribe VPN Review: The Cold Hard Facts You Need to Read

Again, I'll mention briefly that if you're connecting to a public wifi network you might consider using a VPN just to be on the safe side. There's no major downside to doing this, and it may protect you from a 'sniffer' or 'hacker'. Now, I'm not paranoid about this -- just cautious. I use public wifi a lot in RV parks, for example.

One that I've downloaded and installed, and am using right now, is Windscribe VPN. Here is a review: https://securitygladiators.com/windscribe-vpn-review/ Now, I don't need a VPN on my home network, but am using Windscribe just to try it out. So far so good.

The free version gives one 10 GB of data/month, which is plenty for occasional use. Not only will it work on a PC or Mac, it will work on an iOS and Android device. And it is available as an extension for the Chrome Browser, which I installed as well. Installation of both the program and extension is dead simple. 

And so far it is working great. Another aspect I like about Windscribe is it is based in Canada, and not another foreign country, many of which I don't trust. Here is their website: https://windscribe.com/

This morning, when I opened my computer, I noticed that it didn't connect to the internet right away, as it usually does. I looked at Windscribe, and it blocks access to the internet until I open the program. This is for my protection. It can be set to open every time I open my computer, which I haven't done yet.

To sweeten the pot even further, for a limited time one can buy the full, unlimited-data version, for only $50. See here. In theory, this is for 'lifetime' -- is that yours or theirs, one might ask? Of course there's a risk this VPN -- or any other, for that matter -- might close shop in the near future. But, all one is risking is fifty bucks, not the end of the world, if you purchase the full version.

If you have an interest, I'd suggest giving the free version a spin, then decide from there if you like it or not.

As with using any VPN it will slow your download connection some, but I haven't found it onerous.

Jim Hamm

Avira Phantom VPN

Lets say you're traveling, whether it is in a car or RV domestically, or perhaps going overseas, you're probably going to want to use a public wifi system occasionally. That's the time when you may want to protect your computer or tablet from a hacker 'sniffing' (breaking into) your wifi access. That's where a VPN (virtual private network) can be of help.

There are many VPNs available, either for free or monthly rental, and many articles giving reviews of the VPNs. You can search for these yourself, so I'm just going to mention two free ones you might consider when you want a bit more privacy.

One that I plan to try is the Avira Phantom VPN. A review of this VPN is here. And you can download it here. Some important considerations for me are where is the company located and does it own its own servers? A bit about Avira can be read here. I like everything I've read on their website. And, I'm using Avira's anti-virus program on my PC right now.  It has -- in theory, anyway -- been doing a good job of protecting me from viruses.

Now, I don't plan to use the paid version of the Avir VPN, only the free version, which gives me 1GB of data per month. That is plenty for the occasional times when I want a secure connection.

The other option I'll use is the Opera browser, which has a free VPN feature contained in the browser. Review here. There is no monthly data cap, and I've been using it occasionally. So far it's worked fine. In fact, I'm on the Opera browser now, ownload the Opera browser here.

So, if you're traveling and would like a bit of protection while you're browsing the Internet, the above gives you a couple of free options to consider.

Jim Hamm

VPN Software

Recently there has been a lot more discussion in blogs and newsletters about perhaps using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to increase the security of your browsing the web. If you have an interest in learning more about VPN's, following are some articles you may want to read.

These may be a bit on the 'techy' side, so be aware of this.

Jim Hamm

An introduction...read here

The PPTP VPN Protocol is not secure...read here

Best VPN services...read here

Trying Out the VPNs

        "In a recent posting (3/16/15) Jim Hamm gave us a lot of useful information on using VPNs," says Jim Hays.  You'll remember VPN is Virtual Private Networking. 
        He goes on to say,  "Intrigued, I decided to set one up, both to protect my privacy when using public wireless networks and to allow me to access my email accounts in the Prescott Library using an email client (as opposed to a web-based client). Since I will be using the VPN only while traveling or while using public hotspots I opted for Private Tunnel (https://www.privatetunnel.com/) a metered Virtual Private Networking service that provides an extremely easy to use and hassle-free experience. 
        "Pricing: the first 100 megabytes is free; 50 gigabytes costs $12.00; 100 gigabytes costs $20.00; 500 gigabytes costs $50.00. There is no usage time limit for the bandwidth you purchase. Private Tunnel offers clients for Mac OS, Windows, Linux, iOS and Android.
        Jim concludes with,  "However you can use any OpenVPN client that will run on your setup. (I used Tunnelblick (http://code.google.com/p/tunnelblick/) on my MacBook.)"