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I have an OpenVPN-access server set up in a docker container on my server (which is in my apartment). One of the options it provides is to route all client traffic through the VPN

This seems like it would always slow down your internet connection because if I have slow internet in my apartment then my up/down speeds would always be capped by that connection, even if I'm in a place where up/down is extremely fast.

For example, I was at school, connected to the network and ran a speedtest and got 300Mbps. I then turned on my VPN connection to my server with routing traffic through my VPN and got about 8Mbps. Finally, I turned the traffic routing option off, connected to my VPN and got around 300Mbps again. In both VPN cases I was able to access files on my local server

I'm interested in reasons why I might want to route my traffic through my VPN. What advantages does it provide?

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  • I guess I am confused by your question... Your VPN connection (to your server??) would be slow due to it's slow internet connection. What does the school network have to do with it? I am flagging this for closure as it is unclear what you asking. If you update the question and provide more details and ask a more specific question that is not purely opinion related, I will retract my flag. – acejavelin Jan 25 '18 at 1:29
  • Im primarily interested in the advantages gained from routing traffic through the VPN. I mentioned the speed thing just as a counterpoint, not something I'm trying to fix. Maybe my server is misconfigured in some other way thats causing the speed differences, but that doesn't change my question about the advantages of traffic routing – Simon Jan 25 '18 at 2:24
  • Privacy, security, anonymity... all are benefits to some degree of using a VPN. Are they worth the cost of bandwidth and performance? I don't know... That's your call. Typically this application you are describing is used for remote access to your server/network from a remote location, not to push all data though the VPN for all services, only for the remote subnet or server, and all other data uses the normal internet connection. – acejavelin Jan 25 '18 at 3:55
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Routing all traffic through the VPN is nice when you are on, say, public Wi-Fi somewhere and you don't trust people on that network (or the people who run that network) not to spy on you.

In your case of having your VPN server at home, if you trust your home ISP better than you trust some public Wi-Fi network, route all your traffic through your VPN to better protect your privacy.

Another reason might be if you're traveling internationally and some content you want to access isn't available from the country you're visiting, but you know it's available from your home country. Like when YouTube or Netflix or Hulu or iTunes blocks certain content from certain countries because they don't have international distribution rights for some shows. By accessing those services through your VPN tunnel to your house, it's harder for those service to tell that you're not actually at your house, so they're more likely to allow you to access content that's only accessible in your home country.

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  • Im curious about how the first part works. How does routing traffic through my own VPN offer better privacy given that I have to be going through their network anyway? – Simon Jan 25 '18 at 10:35
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    @Simon Because VPN traffic is usually encrypted, the local network you are connected to only sees your traffic (data) as a stream of encrypted date. Be aware that some public WiFi and corporate networks actively block VPN connections. – acejavelin Jan 25 '18 at 13:12

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