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I am wondering is there any VPN's that are free that can be used in a public WIFI situation.

I am looking for every little bit to help protect me when I am on unsecure WIFI connections.

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closed as off topic by Journeyman Geek, Canadian Luke, 8088, slhck Dec 19 '12 at 6:46

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

What you want to do is set up a private vpn service running at your home. Then, whenever you're on the go with your laptop you can always VPN to your Home VPN and use that for safe surfing. You can set this service up to run entirely on wifi routers (i.e. Bufallo WHR-HP-G300N) that are powered by DD-WRT software. That software will enable you to setup VPN on the router.

If you have a modem from your ISP that is a hybrid you would want to check if you can put into bridge mode so you're not double NATing. That will greatly benefit you.

How-To Geeks have a nice short tutorial on How to Setup a VPN Server Using a DD-WRT Router which brings me to another option that is if you already have a router. You can check on DD-WRT website if they have a build for your make and model so you can use it to flash your home router.

One more thing, in either case you will need an IP address as a target. I can only assume that you have Dynamic IP on your home PC which means it can change from time to time. You would want to get Dynamic DNS service such as no-ip running on your home PC for this scenario to be more bullet proof.

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There are lots of public vpn services out there, but in general they aren't entirely trustworthy. Some are, but enough aren't that finding a good one is risky — you're likely safer just surfing via http than using one of these.

Think of it in terms of money: bandwidth is not free, and if you can't easily determine how the service is able to generate revenue to cover costs like bandwidth and servers, they're probably doing something like inserting their own ads into your pages, data-mining their users traffic, or even something much worse like sniffing for your traffic for your credit card numbers. Remember that they only provide encryption as far as their office. At the point, they get to see everything in the clear.

You do have a few options, though.

One of the them is Tor. Tor is all about anonymity, and so it won't work for certain things where you specifically don't want to be anonymous. This is what I use for casual surfing when I'm on untrusted wifi. There's a plug-in for firefox that makes it pretty easy to use (this is about the only time I still use firefox, otherwise I prefer chrome). But even then, a surprising amount of browsing traffic specifically precludes anonymity, including pretty much anything worth the trouble of wanting a vpn.

The other (probably better) option is a private vpn. You might have a trusted vpn connection to your workplace, for example, but even better is to host one at home. This isn't as hard as it sounds: if you have a wireless router at home that supports dd-wrt, openWrt, or tomato, you can run this right in your router without too much work.

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