I’ve been using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) on my mobile devices and home computers for many years now, and it’s always been pretty reliable. I like having a tool that I know I can depend on. But recently I’ve been having issues with my VPN connection randomly disconnecting and re-connecting which has been seriously aggravating my online experience. What’s going on here? Let’s take a quick look.
Is it the Apps?
I’ve tried several VPN apps on my iPhone including the free version of the well-known ProtonVPN which I’ll be discussing in more detail in a bit. But the problem I’ve been having with all these apps is that they keep disconnecting my VPN connection even when I’m connected to a secure network. This makes me feel very uncomfortable, as I’m not always going to be near a WiFi connection when I want to use the app. Sometimes I might be on a public Wi-Fi connection at a coffee shop or bookstore, or even at the airport. And since these public hot-spots are often targeted by hackers and cyber-criminals, I don’t want to put my VPN at risk of being compromised. Is this a thing with VPN apps? Should I just stick with the regular web browser version?
Unfortunately, the answer to this question is maybe. Yes, VPN apps can be a security risk when not kept updated with the latest security patches or when vulnerable to being hacked. But despite all that, they’re still quite popular and many people depend on them. One easy way to keep your VPN secure when using an app is by enabling Bitwarden (a free, open-source vault solution) on your phone. This way, all your login credentials are stored locally on your phone and not in the cloud, where they could be accessed by anyone with access to your device.
Now, about the ProtonVPN app. While I wouldn’t put it past the company to keep all their clients’ information secure, I’ve noticed that there’s a glaring lack of customer care even for things as simple as support issues. For example, a lot of their documentation is quite outdated and full of errors. But when I’ve contacted them about issues I’ve been having, their response has mostly been along the lines of “try changing your DNS settings” or “contact our support team” without seeming to actually care about my issue. So, while in most cases changing your DNS settings will solve your VPN connectivity problem, ProtonVPN’s lack of interest in addressing my issue makes me doubt whether or not they truly value their customers. Is this just a thing with ProtonVPN, or is it something that extends to other VPN apps as well?
DNS Changer Is The Answer (Sometimes)
If you’re having problems connecting to a VPN (even when you think it’s working), changing your DNS settings might be the solution. This will instruct your internet service provider (ISP) to connect to the VPN server instead of your regular Internet Service Provider (ISP) when you use the web. While this will usually solve your issue, it’s not always the case. Sometimes the DNS settings for your device are set to automatically connect to a VPN, and in these cases you might need to change them manually to avoid problems.
To change your DNS settings on an iPhone, go to Settings > General > Network > DNS and then flip the switch to “On” Manually. This will help ensure that you’re always connecting to the VPN server and not the regular ISP when you use the web. You can also enable or disable Airplane Mode to see if that makes a difference in your connectivity issues.
VPN Is The Answer (Generally)
VPNs protect your privacy and security online by encrypting your traffic, and thus preventing snoopers (including your Internet Service Provider) from viewing your communications. They also allow you to select the country you want to connect to, which could be useful if you’re traveling abroad and don’t want to reveal your location. A VPN can also be used to keep your identity private when shopping online or when browsing social media.
As I mentioned above, I’ve been having issues with my VPN connection randomly disconnecting and re-connecting, and after checking the logs on my phone and computer, I realized that these issues were caused by a malicious Wi-Fi hotspot. Hotspots like this are often set to automatically connect to VPNs, and in some cases this can put your privacy at risk. So, in these situations, a VPN can be a potential security threat. Is this something you want to risk when using a VPN? Unless you’re certain that the Wi-Fi hotspot is safe and that you don’t have anything to hide, it might be safer to avoid using a VPN when connected to these kinds of networks.
That being said, VPNs are still quite useful and safe to use as long as you know what you’re doing. In particular, it’s important to note that not all VPNs are created equal, and some allow hackers and cyber-criminals to access your device much more easily than others. So, it’s important to research the security of a VPN beforehand and make sure you’re using one that’s been vetted by experts. You can also set up a hotspot with a VPN to ensure that your data is secure while browsing the web. Just make sure that you don’t use a free VPN service that doesn’t secure your data and instead uses weak encryption.
Encrypted VoIP Is The Answer
If you have a VOIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) account, you can use that to make calls over the internet without needing a traditional phone line. However, if you’d like to keep your calls private, you can use a VPN to encrypt your traffic while on the VOIP network. Just make sure that you’re not on an open VOIP network. You can use any VPN for this, as long as it has a kill switch that will disconnect you from the internet if your connection is interrupted. This way, you can be assured that your VOIP traffic is secure even when traveling abroad.
As you can see, there are a lot of questions here. But hopefully, this gave you enough information to find the answers you’re looking for. VPNs can be a useful tool if configured properly and don’t pose any serious security threats to your devices as long as you know how to properly use them. So, for the most part, they’re just a different way of browsing the web and can’t hurt unless you choose to harm yourself. But keep in mind that in some cases they can be dangerous if not used properly. That being said, unless you have something to hide, you should have no issue using a VPN.