SETTING UP YOUR OWN VPN SERVER
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) has always been a really good option to ensure secure transmission of data from your device to the endpoint. Any traffic that goes out or comes in a VPN is encrypted to make sure no one can snoop on it. Which is why many people set up their own VPN server at home.
If you’re not sure about why someone should set up their own VPN server or how they might to do it, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
WHY SHOULD YOU SET UP YOU OWN VPN SERVER?
Even though a VPN is a private network, you can basically connect to it remotely through a public network such as the Wi-Fi of a café or an airport using an address link. This means, even though you’re connected to a really insecure network on which people might be spying on, and the ISP can still monitor your activity, your information will still remain private as anything you do after you connect to the VPN will be using the VPN’s server.
Keep in mind that anyone who tries to intercept your data on a public network might actually gain access to sensitive information such as your username, password or even bank account credentials, depending on your browsing and usage. Using a VPN in such cases is really the smart thing to do to help prevent this.
A VPN also allows you to access many location-based websites that you cannot use from elsewhere. For example, if you have a subscription to Netflix in the USA but are traveling to somewhere else for some time, you can still access your account through your VPN. Moreover, if there are restrictions on certain websites in a country (for e.g.: Facebook is blocked in China), you can actually use a VPN to bypass those restrictions and use the website just like everyone else.
All in all, a VPN greatly increases the security of your data and reduces the hassles you might have to face. Having your own server means even greater security since you will not have to depend on a service provider for security. You can now set up all the measures you deem necessary yourself. In addition, you won’t be providing any payment details to a third-party which can be an important point to consider if the service providers available to you are not trustworthy enough.
HOW CAN YOU SET UP YOUR OWN VPN SERVER?
Before you start planning to set up your own VPN server, take into account your internet connection’s upload speed. Ask your Internet Service provider what your upload speed is, and if it is not very high, you should instead try using a paid VPN service rather than setting up your own server.
Usual ISPs offer a much greater download bandwidth compared to their upload bandwidth, therefore it is best that you ask and clarify first. However, if you do have a decent upload speed, you can, and should, set up your own VPN server.
There are the 3 top ways in which you can set up your own VPN server, and each has different pros and cons. Here are the details:
1) BUY A ROUTER THAT ALREADY HAS VPN HOSTING CAPABILITIES
Instead of trying to build a VPN server from scratch, you can purchase a router that already has a VPN solution installed in it. Expensive and stronger routers usually offer built-in VPN servers, and you can easily find out which ones do as it is heavily advertised on the boxes of the routers that do have this feature.
After you have purchased the router, you can use its web interface to configure the VPN according to your needs and then activate it. Make sure that you are definite about what type of a VPN you want and whether the router you bought supports it or not.
2) BUY A ROUTER THAT SAYS “SUPPORTS DD-WRT” OR ANY OTHER SOFTWARE
Even if you cannot find a router that does have a pre-built VPN server software, there is absolutely no need to worry since there are other ways you can make a server.
For example, you can use a custom router firmware. This is an operating system which can be flashed onto your router (the same way you flash your phone’s default Android operating system for a different one) to remove the router’s pre-installed operating server. If you’re wondering why you should install a new operating system, it’s because these offer built-in VPN server support and also many other useful features.
Common examples of this third-party firmware are DD-WRT and OpenWrt. Make sure that you choose a router that supports DD-WRT or you can also check if your existing router supports DD-WTY or not. If it does, you’ll be saved from a lot of trouble. Just flash the firmware and you can activate your very own VPN server.
3) BUILD YOUR DEDICATED VPN SERVER FROM SCRATCH
If you don’t want to use these router-based VPN servers then you can just build your own server too. You should especially do this if you want to use features that are not available on the router based ones (honestly, those have very limited features and some have security concerns as well).
To set up your own VPN server, all you need is the server and one of your own computers. Its best and most convenient to use a computer or device that always stays on, rather than one of the usual devices that you switch off when you leave home.
For starters, windows have a pre-installed way to create a VPN, and so does Apple’s server app give you the power to create a VPN server. However, these also lack power and security and setting them up correctly can be quite hard sometimes.
Another option is to download and install another third-party VPN server such as OpenVPN or many others. You don’t have to worry about the compatibility of VPN servers with your operating system as they are available for every platform there are. All you’re required to do is forward the correct ports from your router to the device on which the server software will be hosted.
If you want, you can make your VPN device too. The easiest way to do this is to get a Raspberry Pi and then install OpenVPN server software on it. This will turn it into an efficient and lightweight VPN server in no time. More importantly, you can also install more server software on it to use it as a multi-purpose server.
If you don’t want to invest in the hardware of a VPN server, you can set it up by renting server space from a web hosting provider. This is a balance point between having your own complete server and using a dedicated subscription. The only cost you’ll have to bear is the rent of the server space.
However, we cannot give you a fixed amount of time in which you’ll be able to set up the server. Some hosting providers can make things easy for you and make the process a simple point-and-click one where all you need to do is select the desired VPN server software and get a control panel to handle it, or others can make it tedious task where you have to use the command line to set everything up from the very core.
One last thing you should keep in mind, regardless of how you set up your VPN server, is to have a dynamic DNS so that you can get an address that you can access from anywhere.
No matter how much you read about such technical things, a lot of the details might still seem unclear if you’re not into the technological world. If you want more guidelines, feel free to contact Flint Tech Solution’s Data Security Management for a step by step guide along with a splendid team to aid you and cater to all your technical needs!
Dawn Blizard, PhD, was trained as an English professor and seasoned as a technical editor before becoming a freelance copywriter and content creator. She helps technology service providers educate customers and prospects with standout white papers, blog and feature articles, website copy and more. A longtime word nerd, she’s deeply passionate about grammatical perfection.