Netflix and China Crack Down on VPN Use?

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A couple of news items have caught our eye over the past month, both involving VPN’s.  The first is news that Netflix has been asked to ban VPN use of their service by individuals using to get around regional content locking.  The second is an increase in restrictions affecting VPN users within China.  In both cases, it appears that personal VPN’s are taking some lumps.  While this is to be expected with any growing technology, it’s a bit depressing to see the VPN technology getting a bad wrap.  For users, this is another example of the ever changing landscape on the internet.  It seems each month, and each year, users are watching technology sprout up (and get chopped down) in a variety of different ways.  Read the rest »

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2014 Recap and Recent Downtime

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We are BACK!

My, how the scene has changed in only a few short months.  Where to begin…

2014 was full of drama in the Usenet and VPN universe.  To make matters worse, our website took a huge dump in the Summer.  No thanks to the hosting company, the spammers, hackers, and apparently even other similar websites.  In 2014 this site was spammed, targeted by hackers, and even copied and re-hosted under a similar URL by competing similar websites…all apparently in an attempt to shut us down.  Why?  We have no clue.  This site barely turns enough advertisement money to pay for the annual hosting fee and Akismet spam-blocker costs.  Perhaps we pissed someone off, who knows.  Here’s a short list of our personal drama from 2014: Read the rest »

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No Logs! Kickoff by VUR

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Following TorrentFreak’s lead, we are announcing a new distinction here at VPNandUsenetReviews.com (VUR):  the No Logs! award.  This award will be earned by VPN service providers who demonstrate a clear commitment to their customers privacy by not keeping identifying logs.  This is actually quite a feat, considering the current environment.  It is also not easy.  There are a multitude of “identifying logs” that could be out there to identify customers.  Some more innocuous than others.  VPN services have to actually know what they are doing too – you can’t just circulate keys online and call it a day. Read the rest »

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CactusVPN Now Offers Cheap DNS

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CactusVPN has rolled out a very low cost DNS service for customers.  Only $4.99/month for CactusVPN Smart DNS Service and you can unblock all the major high def streaming providers.  This includes the big names like Netflix, Hulu, BBC, HBO Go and many other websites.  The big benefit to Smart DNS service is that there is zero sacrifice in speed when connecting to the high def streams.

All too often VPN providers connections strain under the speed required to maintain a HD connection.  Smart DNS service sidesteps the entire problem by actually removing the network connection from the equation.  Simply change the DNS server settings on your internet enabled device and its off to the races!  CactusVPN Smart DNS works with a variety of devices including desktops, laptops, mobile devices, smart TV’s, and video game consoles.  DNS service itself is a great fit for internet enabled media devices like Smart TV’s.  You don’t have to worry about a VPN connection or VPN software, all you need is ability to get online and access DNS settings.

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CryptoCloud Has Officially Bit the Dust

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It is no more.  Service and website completely down and not coming back.  CryptoCloud has bit the dust.  It’s not just you, it’s down for everyone.  A recent posting over at Cryptostorm confirms what some had suspected:  CryptoCloud simply could not overcome its troubles and has folded.  The good news is that current customers of CryptoCloud can get their service transferred over to Cryptostorm, free of charge.  Since 2007 CryptoCloud had been at the forefront of VPN services and secure networking.  Sadly they went out with a “bang” instead of a graceful exit.  Many customers complained of automatic payments for a service that didn’t exist.  Support inquiries with no response, and even now CryptoCloud maintains it was not their doing.  Sigh, just another day on the interwebs.  Read the rest »

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Invisible Browsing VPN Reduces Their Prices!

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The team over at ibVPN has reduced prices on their Ultimate VPN plans to only $10.95/month!  This is down from $19.95, where it was some time ago.  It’s one thing to lower the price and offer the same service, but ibVPN has actually stepped up their game at the same time!  The Ultimate VPN now includes the new ibDNS, proxy, torrent, AND 2 simultaneous connections.  That’s unlimited VPN on 60+ servers in 23 countries for 11 bucks.  The discount gets even better when you signup for a 3 month, 6 month, or 12 month plan.  One year of Ultimate VPN is only $82.95 which works out to only $6.91 per month! Given the substantial reduction in price per month,  over 45% lower, and the improvement in service, its no wonder that ibVPN has been coming on strong.  Read the rest »

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HTPC ATX Case Comparison: The Fullsize Battle!

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The right full size ATX case for a HTPC build can be hard to find.  Many people will tell you that the future is in Micro or Mini ITX and full ATX is for noobs.  People will trot out high priced euro-design boxes that can barely handle a 250W PSU and SSD.  In truth, a lot of the small form factor cases are gorgeous and offer new HTPC builders some amazing customization options.  But, what about the people building HTPC with full size parts?  What about the guy who wants to run a pair of GTX780’s?  Better yet…and what is more likely to be common in the next few years, what about the guy who has got loads of ATX parts laying around… Read the rest »

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The new low cost DNS service everyone is talking about

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Ultra low cost DNS service is an excellent solution for people who need to unlock regional content without sacrificing any of their streaming speed.  All too often private VPNs have suffered from reliability and speed problems making streaming high def video pretty difficult.  Most of that is a thing of the past now with home broadband and major VPN services, but DNS service does offers some benefits in comparison to a traditional dial-VPN service.  It’s no wonder then why many of the major players like StrongVPN and Overplay VPN have started offering their own form of DNS service.

Strong VPN DNS Service

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VyprVPN for Android App Review

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The VyprVPN app for Android is a push button simple VPN that can quickly secure your smartphone’s internet connection.  Complete with live widgets and server selection, the VyprVPN app for Android provides an excellent feature set.  The VyprVPN app for Android is just one of the many applications associated with the VyprVPN service.  In addition to Android, apps exist for Windows, Mac, and iOS.  The app for Android rounds out the family and provides total VPN coverage to all of your devices.  Available for free in the Android Play Store, the VyprVPN app is easily installed.  Once installed the app will need user/password credentials.  After that, just hit connect!  The VyprVPN app for Android can automatically search for the closest VPN server to ensure a fast connection.  In addition to selecting the closest server, the VyprVPN app for Android provides a listing of all available servers. Read the rest »

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VPN All Over the News

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It’s insane the number of times VPN is being mentioned in the news – in a personal context no less.  In only one short year the staff at VPNandUsenetReviews.com have been astounded at the rise of “VPN talk” in the news.  Whether it’s a discussion of watching the Olympics, protecting yourself from cyber criminals, working around ISP throttling, fighting against unwanted surveillance, or improving your Netflix connection, it seems like the news can’t stay away from discussing personal VPN’s.  Read the rest »

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Dump Truck Online Storage Review

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Dump Truck online storage service is included with Giganews plans and offers customers cloud based storage that can sync to their desktop and mobile devices.  Giganews Diamond customers receive 30GB of free online storage with Dump Truck.  Other Giganews customers automatically receive 5GB free online storage.  Dump Truck provides applications for Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS.  There is also a web app that can enable access and sync from any basic web browser.  Altogther, Dump Truck offers a simple and effective service to sync and share your files across any device.  The online storage service from Dump Truck has you covered whether you’re at home or on the go.

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DMCA Takedown Notices Increasing Across Usenet

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In the last 6 months takedowns have increased across many Usenet service providers.  Many of the big names are experiencing an increase in the volume of DMCA notices requesting removal of infringing content.  Other players have completely folded.  The effects are being felt all over the globe with users in forums, in comments, and in chat expressing their displeasure with the heavy handed tactics of the MPAA/RIAA.  Usually infringing content is gone within hours, compounding the effect.  The real problem is for the service providers, where the binary retention increases begin to mean little to nothing when a post is gone in an afternoon.  To make matters worse, it’s safe to say binary retention increases at the service providers cost money (see: “Binary Retention Wars”).  Reliable storage ain’t cheap.  How much is 1000+ day retention worth when content takedowns are happening within the hour? Read the rest »

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VyprVPN Discount! Only $9.99 per Month

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There is a new discount available for VyprVPN!  Monthly unlimited VPN plans have been reduced to only $9.99!  That’s a five dollar savings per month, and it’s for the LIFETIME of your subscription!  That’s a great savings on unlimited PPTP VPN for anyone currently looking for an inexpensive way to get protected online.  VyprVPN includes unlimited speed, unlimited downloads, support for Windows/Mac/Linux/iOS/Android, and servers around the world.

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Giganews & VyprVPN Updates Include Mobile and Online Storage

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VyprVPN apps for mobile devices and big improvements to Dump Truck online storage are just two of the cool new updates for customers at Giganews.   This year the teams at Giganews and Goldenfrog finally get to show off all their work and we are sure customers are loving all of the improvements.  Enhancements to VyprVPN include new servers, upgraded software, mobile device support, and a new “On Demand” protection for iPhone/iPad.  Giganews has now fully rolled out Dump Truck online storage and included 256bit encryption, mobile device support, desktop software, and a web application.  It’s actually a lot to take in when you consider development time has only been a year or so on Dump Truck, and VyprVPN has continued to improve by leaps and bounds over the same period.

There are so many updates, we put together a list to make it easier! Read the rest »

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IPVanish Going Strong into 2013!

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The VPN service from IPVanish has continued to improve throughout 2012 and into 2013 with enhancements to the VPN client software, server expansion, and reduced prices.  IPVanish jumped onto the VPN service scene pretty quickly last year with a low priced unlimited VPN offering that had a lot of servers and all the major protocols.  Since then the number of servers have been increasing, and the VPN client has made some good progress.  To top it all off, prices are still low, and in some cases lower than last year.  IPVanish VPN service includes unlimited bandwidth and unlimited server changes across all three major VPN protocols: OpenVPN, L2TP, and PPTP.  IPVanish works with your win/mac computer and ios/android smart phone or tablet.

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Grabbing a 3+ Year Old Post with Giganews and Examining the Last 11 Years of Binary Retention Growth

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We just downloaded a 3+ year old post with Giganews.  Wow.  The post was dated 17 Oct 2009, almost 1100 days from today.  Actually it’s 1087 days to be exact.  But still, damn!  1087 days is 3 years!  The entire post size ended up being around 7GB.  QuickPar found and fixed a few errors. No big deal.  Unrar and it’s all there.  Nice job Giganews!  They seem to be getting better and better with binary retention in the last few years.  The binary retention at Giganews is today over 1525 days!  This means Giganews has continued their expansion from the earlier “retention wars” of 2010/2011.  At that time, all of the providers were racing to 800, 900, and stretching for a 1,000 days of binary retention.

Of course that hasn’t been the only thing Giganews has been improving since 2010.  Additions of Online Storage with Dump Truck and Personal VPN services from VyprVPN to the Giganews Diamond plan have rounded out the service package.  The Diamond plan now offers Unlimited Usenet, Unlimited VPN service, and Online Storage.  Wow again.  Joining VyprVPN and Giganews on the Diamond plan creates a powerful one-two punch for Usenet and VPN services.  Consider the fact that both are unlimited, offer free software clients, and have been expanding the last few years.  Features improve, service gets better.  As evidence, we offer the following:

giganews binary retention growth over time

It took us a little digging, but we were able to assemble an 11 year history of binary retention numbers for Giganews.  It’s a staggering picture of immense growth over time.  So much so that when we calculated the percent increase, we actually double checked the numbers!  I mean come on – +10,614% growth in binary retention?!  Hard to believe, but that’s how the numbers stack up when you start at only 14 days and now weigh in at over 1500 days.  Since 2009 Giganews has been growing faster than a home run slugger on steroids.  Average annual growth in this period is over 300 days.  Basically, since ’09 it seems like Giganews has been growing binary retention every single day…Wow.

giganews annual retention growth by year

After looking through the numbers and doing the math it’s hard to describe how impressed we were with Giganews.  The continued improvements over the last 11 years have really shown how committed they are to delivering a quality service.  Measuring them by the binary-retention-day yardstick, the grade is obviously an “A+”.  But really, by any yardstick, the grade is an “A+”.  Timing couldn’t be better for prospective customers with the special $17.49/mo for the first 3 months!  For only $17.49/mo Giganews is offering unlimited usenet, unlimited VPN, and kicking in some online storage to boot.  Damn!  Regular price of $34.99 is waived for the first 3 months when you take advantage of this promotion.  Our bet is if you sign up, you’ll stick around…most people do!

 

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Astraweb Increases Speeds to 10mbit/sec!

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Astraweb has increased the download speed on their DSL plan to 10mbit/sec!  This speed increase doubles the download speed for customers on their DSL plans.  Previously the speed was capped at 5mbit/sec.  This was the fastest download speed available at Astraweb, and although it may seem slow in comparison to other providers, remember that Astraweb has some seriously low prices.  The unlimited DSL plan, although it has doubled in speed, still remains at a low $10 a month.  Kudos to Astraweb for improving the service significantly while not raising the prices at all!

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VyprVPN Adds Servers and Updates Windows App in 2012

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The VyprVPN service has been continually improving in 2012 with new servers and multiple Windows app updates.  Since being released in December 2011, the VyprVPN Windows app has been updated three times and is now at version 1.3.  Servers have grown in 2012 with the addition of PPTP, L2TP/IPSec, OpenVPN 160bit, and OpenVPN 256bit in Austin, TX.  Service seems to be steady and focus continues to be on high reliability in select locations.  The location options count at VyprVPN is currently at only 8, but all locations offer the four VPN protocols.  The best part is their $9.99/mo for the lifetime of service is still active!

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A Short Word on Spam: 1 Year Snapshot with Akismet

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This site receives a ton of spam.  There is so much spam the ratio of real comment to spam is laughable.  It’s like that anywhere.  Accept comments?  Thanks, here’s thousands of spam every day.  Of course we aren’t the first to complain about spam.  Hell, spam is an industry.  So is anti-spam.  Running a site on the web now basically requires a certain knowledge of spam.  Spam can come in many flavors: easy to spot, poor english, and retarded links.  Or, it can be continuous negative comments bombarding hourly.  Or, it can literally be jibberish and wingdings.  Or, it can be an offer to trade comments or some such nonsense.  We have been fortunate to see all that and more while operating this simple site.  So, we thought we’d share.  Below we have a year snapshot of spam data for this website.  Our anti-spam tool of choice is Akismet.

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HideMyAss VPN 2012 Server Updates

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HMA has continued to expand in 2012 by adding servers in various locations, beefing up IP counts, and building out in major urban areas.  This is great for new and prospective customers because available VPN connections should be increasing, and speeds should be improving.  The best part is HMA has continued to offer their unlimited 1 month plan at an astonishingly low price of only $11.52!  By our rough eye that’s over 12 months without a price increase.  Total numbers now stand at: 51 countries, over 33,000 IP’s, and 282 individual servers.  In fact, things are so good over at HMA, they have decided to put together a graph showing the progress.

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“Six Strikes” Download Laws Set to Take Affect with ISPs in the US

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The Center for Copyright Infringement (CCI) has its finger on the trigger of the new “Six Strikes” download laws, in partnership with all of the major ISP’s in the United States.  For the uninitiated, the “Six Strikes” download laws are a new initiative for tracking and monitoring at the major US Internet Service Providers (ISP’s).  In a nutshell, the scam goes like this:  your downloads are tracked, you are sent a threatening letter (six times?!), and you get extorted by the MPAA/RIAA.  For many of you, that scam is well known.  Since the days of Napster, monitoring has been used to generate threatening letters.  Along with those letters came the demand for “damages”, usually in the form of thousands of dollars.  If you didn’t pay, the damages just got worse, and you went to court.  History has shown that’s no better than rolling the dice.  Cases have stacked up on both sides: ridiculous lawsuits against old women, and unwitting users losing hundreds of thousands of dollars.  Long story short, the method is not new and is well known to produce court cases in volume.

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