Excellent question. There are some great reasons to use VPN and Usenet services together. One of the reasons we made this site was to communicate the importance of both services, as well as show how they can work together. Believe us, VPN and Usenet make a great pair!
When you are connecting to Usenet to post/upload information, or receive/download information you want to take precautions. Why? Because it’s good practice. You don’t want to expose yourself to liability, nor do you want to your ISP or anybody else to be able to steal your information. Basically, you want to connect to Usenet securely and conduct your business anonymously. This is why all top tier Usenet providers offer SSL. This is also why we consider the SSL feature to be so important that we track it. So why bother with VPN and Usenet?
Simple, VPN provides an added layer of protection. Although an SSL connection to a Usenet service provider can almost guarantee no one can see what you are downloading or uploading – they clearly know it is your connection. They can see your IP address and get to your geographical location. They know it is YOU. SSL encryption primarily protects the bits data you are sending and receiving – not the origin of your connection.
Consider that in many law cases, the plaintiffs sue whole lists of IP addresses. This happens with regularity, and often in high volume. Instead of suing individuals by name for whatever the reason (copyright infringment, libel, defamation of character, etc.), the plaintiffs (corporations, movie studios, producers, or industry organizations) sue the IP address, and list the offenders as “John Doe’s”. Then the plaintiff contacts the internet service provider (ISP). After contacting the ISP the plaintiff will attempt to discover the name, address, telephone number, and customer details associated with the IP address. This happens all the time in bittorrent lawsuits, usenet lawsuits, and many other legal cases all across the globe. Now, don’t you want to disguise your IP address?! If someone attempted to discover who was behind that IP address and sue them, they would never find out it is you! Many people end up paying expensive legal fees and begging the court and their ISP to refuse to turn over the customer details. Most of the time this doesn’t work. Combining VPN with Usenet takes care of this problem completely.
VPN adds a layer of protection that allows you to disguise your Usenet connection. By connecting through a VPN, and then connecting to a Usenet service with SSL enabled, you have TWO layers of protection. The VPN has disguised your connection by, in the simplest sense, changing your IP address. In some cases, you may even look like you are in another country! Then, with a SSL enabled Usenet connection the packets flying back and forth are encrypted as well. VPN has made sure they don’t know it is you, and SSL has made sure the data transmitted and received is encrypted.
So, VPN and Usenet is definitely something you should consider. The marginal cost of adding a VPN service is very low. Some Usenet providers even include VPN services in their top tier plans (like Giganews). VPN gives you added protection and ensures that your Usenet experience is safe and secure. Not to mention VPN also protects the rest of your online activities (like instant message, email, web browsing, downloading, etc.)
Overall, our editors think using VPN with Usenet is a no-brainer. Everybody should be doing it – especially those that are on Usenet with regularity, or downloading large amounts of information. The basic process would be to start your VPN connection (preferably L2TP or OpenVPN protocols) first, and then connect to your Usenet server (or fire up your newsreader software). At that point, you have taken every available precaution to ensure your own safety and protected yourself as much as possible from any potential problems!