With Omegle’s recent exit from the online chat scene, many are seeking worthy alternatives to fill the gap. As someone who has used the platform and understands the digital safety, I’m here to guide you through the best Omegle alternatives.
Each platform offers its unique flavor of connection and interaction. Plus, I’ll share some practical safety tips to make sure your online chat experience is both fun and secure.
Let’s dive in:
Best Omegle Alternatives
Chatroulette, often hailed as the pioneer of random video chatting, burst onto the scene, offering an entirely new way to meet people online.
Its premise is simple yet captivating: connect with random strangers around the world through video chat. The platform’s charm lies in its unpredictability and the sheer excitement of not knowing who you’ll encounter next – it could be someone from a distant corner of the globe or just around the corner.
Features and User Experience
Chatroulette’s interface is straightforward, focusing solely on the video chat experience. Users are randomly paired with others, and either party can leave the chat at any time to start a new connection. This roulette-style matching system is what gives the platform its edge, creating spontaneous interactions that range from humorous and quirky to meaningful and profound.
Unpredictable and spontaneous connections.
Simple, user-friendly interface.
Global reach, offering a diverse range of interactions.
Potential exposure to inappropriate content due to lack of moderation.
Limited features beyond basic video chatting.
The primary concern with Chatroulette is the risk of encountering explicit or inappropriate content, as the platform historically lacked robust moderation. This unpredictability, while exciting, also poses privacy risks, as users may inadvertently share personal information or be recorded without consent.
Immediately disconnect from any inappropriate or uncomfortable chats.
Tinychat stands out in the world of online chat platforms by offering a variety of themed chat rooms. It caters to a wide range of interests, from gaming and music to simple, casual conversations. This platform is not just about connecting with random individuals. It’s also about finding and building communities with shared passions and interests.
Features and User Experience
Tinychat allows users to join existing chat rooms based on various topics or create their own. These rooms can be public or private, offering flexibility in how users engage with others. The platform supports video, voice, and text chatting, making it versatile and accommodating different communication preferences. Tinychat also integrates social media elements, allowing users to share and follow different rooms and profiles.
Wide variety of chat rooms catering to different interests.
Ability to create and customize your own chat rooms.
Supports multiple forms of communication (video, voice, text).
Can be overwhelming for new users due to the sheer number of rooms.
Some chat rooms may lack moderation, leading to potential exposure to inappropriate content.
There is a learning curve.
The main safety concern with Tinychat revolves around its open chat room environment. Rooms with lax moderation can become hotspots for inappropriate behavior, cyberbullying, or unwanted content. Additionally, the platform’s social media-like aspect can sometimes blur the line between public and private information sharing.
Stick to well-moderated and reputable chat rooms.
Be cautious about sharing personal information, even in seemingly safe spaces.
Use Tinychat’s privacy settings to control who can join your rooms and who can view your profile.
ChatRandom modernizes the concept of random video chatting, offering a streamlined and user-friendly platform. It’s designed for those who love the spontaneity of platforms like Omegle but prefer a more controlled and modern environment. ChatRandom stands out with its additional features like gender and geographic filters, which add a layer of customization to the random chat experience.
However, keep in mind that those features come with a paid plan. Using the free version isn’t suitable if you don’t want to see NSFW content only.
Features and User Experience
ChatRandom’s interface is intuitive, making it easy for newcomers and former Omegle users to navigate. You can quickly start chatting with random people and have the option to filter connections based on their preferences.
This added control is a significant plus, allowing you to tailor your experience to your comfort level. The platform also offers various chat modes, including private one-on-one sessions and larger group chats.
User-friendly interface with easy navigation.
Filters for gender and location provide more control over chat connections.
Multiple chat modes cater to different social preferences.
The free tier is practically unusable.
The user base is smaller compared to other platforms.
Potential for encountering bots or fake profiles.
While ChatRandom offers a more refined chat experience, you can still encounter the usual risks associated with online chatting, such as exposure to inappropriate content. The anonymity of the platform can also be a double-edged sword, offering privacy but also making it harder to identify and avoid potential dangers.
Use the platform’s reporting and blocking features to deal with inappropriate behavior.
Avoid sharing personal information, especially in public chat rooms.
Be cautious and use common sense when engaging in conversations with strangers.
Bazoocam offers a unique twist in the world of online chat platforms by focusing on localized connections. It’s particularly popular in European countries and provides a platform for users to engage in conversations with people closer to home. This approach not only fosters a sense of community but also increases the chances of real-life interactions and friendships.
Features and User Experience
Bazoocam’s interface is straightforward to use. You are randomly paired with others in your region. The platform also includes fun features like games, which users can play together during their video chats, adding an element of casual entertainment to the conversation.
Focus on local connections can lead to more meaningful interactions.
Simple and user-friendly interface.
Integrated games provide a unique and enjoyable chatting experience.
Limited global reach, which might restrict the diversity of interactions for users seeking international connections.
The platform’s simplicity might not appeal to users looking for more advanced features.
Potential language barriers, as users are more likely to encounter speakers of their local languages.
The emphasis on local connections can be a double-edged sword. While it allows for community building, it also increases the risk of encountering people you may know in real life, which could lead to privacy concerns. Additionally, as with any chat platform, there’s the risk of encountering inappropriate behavior or content.
Consider using a VPN to alter your virtual location if you prefer more anonymity.
Be cautious about sharing details that could reveal your identity or location.
Report any inappropriate behavior to the platform moderators.
Camsurf has carved out its niche in the online chat world by prioritizing user safety and simplicity. It’s an ideal platform for those who value a secure environment for chatting without sacrificing the fun and spontaneity of meeting new people. Camsurf’s commitment to maintaining a friendly and respectful community sets it apart from many other chat platforms.
Camsurf is without a doubt my top Omegle alternative safety-wise. However, it lacks that fun and casual Omegle vibe many users were fond of.
Features and User Experience
Camsurf offers a clean and straightforward interface, making it accessible to users of all ages and technical abilities. The platform includes features like instant video chat and the ability to filter connections by language and location. One of Camsurf’s standout features is its active moderation, which helps maintain a safe and welcoming environment for all users.
Strong emphasis on user safety and moderation.
Simple and intuitive interface, suitable for beginners.
Filtering connections based on language and location adds a level of customization.
The strict moderation might limit the freedom of conversations compared to less moderated platforms.
The user base is smaller, leading to fewer available connections at times.
Some users might find the platform too basic if they are looking for more advanced features.
Despite its strong focus on safety, no online platform is entirely risk-free. Users on Camsurf can still encounter inappropriate behavior, although the likelihood is reduced thanks to the platform’s active moderation. There’s also the general risk of sharing personal information with strangers, which can lead to privacy issues.
Take advantage of the platform’s reporting features to alert moderators of any rule-breaking behavior.
Keep personal information private, especially in public chat rooms.
Use the platform’s filters to control the type of connections you make.
How to stay safe on online chat platforms
Protect Your Personal Information
Always be cautious about the personal information you share. Keeping details like your full name, address, and contact information private is crucial in safeguarding your identity and well-being online.
Use a VPN
A VPN is a vital tool for enhancing your privacy and security on chat platforms. It encrypts your internet connection and masks your IP address, making it harder for others to track your location or intercept your data. Here’s how to use a VPN effectively:
Choose a reputable VPN service.
Install the VPN application on your device.
Connect to a server in a location different from your actual one, to anonymize your online presence.
Stay Alert to Scams
Be aware of common online scams. If someone asks for money, personal details, or tries to direct you to external websites, it’s likely a scam. Trust your instincts and disengage from suspicious interactions.
Many Omegle alternatives open up a world of new connections and experiences. Each platform offers unique features and communities, catering to diverse interests and preferences.
By following these safety tips and using tools like VPNs, you can enjoy these platforms to their fullest, knowing you’re taking the right steps to protect yourself online.
Looking to optimize my home network led me to look for the best router for Tomato. While the added control options and easy VPN setup make the firmware appealing, not all routers support it.
So, I dug deep and found 5 great options. I based my picks on the following factors:
Performance and speed
Ease of use
Without further ado, let’s get into it:
Best routers for Tomato at a glance
For those in a hurry, here’s an overview of my top picks, along with their use cases and standout features:
Wi-Fi 6 support, 1.8 GHz quad-core processor
1.6 GHz dual-core processor, 512MB RAM
Asus RT-AC66U B1
NETGEAR Nighthawk X6
Now, let’s dive deeper and see what each router has to offer:
Best Tomato routers – reviews
Here are the top routers for Tomato Firmware in 2023:
The ASUS RT-AX88U stands out as a top-tier router, boasting the latest advancements with Wi-Fi 6 technology. This ensures you get faster speeds and an extended range, making it an ideal choice for those who prioritize high performance and desire advanced control over their network.
One of its notable features includes 8 Gigabit LAN ports, catering perfectly to wired devices. Additionally, it supports AiProtection Pro, offering advanced security, and AiMesh for mesh networking, which lets you seamlessly expand your Wi-Fi coverage.
With a robust 1.8 GHz quad-core processor at its core, the RT-AX88U is adept at handling heavy traffic, marking it as an ideal choice for gaming enthusiasts and those streaming in 4K.
The Adaptive QoS is another great add-on, ensuring gaming packets are prioritized for a smoother online play experience. You’ll also appreciate the ASUSWRT interface, known for its user-friendliness and simple setup and management.
The added advantage of the ASUS Router App means you can manage your network even when you’re on the move.
And finally, the ASUS RT-AX88U offers both VPN server and client modes, ensuring secure remote access and online privacy.
✅ Pros: Enhanced security perfect for gaming, flexible QoS support, 8 GigE ports for better wired connections.
❌ Cons: Might heat up a bit upon flashing with Tomato.
2. NETGEAR R7000P
The NETGEAR R7000P brings improved performance from previous models coupled with the latest security features.
Designed with modern households in mind, it supports MU-MIMO, ensuring optimized performance in environments bustling with multiple devices.
Another standout feature is Beamforming+, which aims to enhance the router’s range and stability.
You also get 802.11ac Dual Band Gigabit Wi-Fi technology. It delivers an impressive AC2300 Wi-Fi performance, which breaks down to speeds of up to 1625 + 600 Mbps.
The R7000P supports OpenVPN, allowing you to set up a secure VPN server and access your home network remotely.
✅ Pros: Great range, optimized for gaming and streaming.
❌ Cons: Reboot times might be long.
3. Linksys WRT1900ACS
The Linksys WRT1900ACS delivers a high-quality, open-source-ready solution.
This model is designed for those who prioritize the flexibility of custom firmware installations like Tomato.
With dual-band support and speeds of up to 2600 Mbps, it promises a seamless internet experience for both casual browsing and intensive tasks.
One of its standout features is the powerful 1.6 GHz dual-core processor, ensuring that the router can handle multiple devices and heavy traffic without any hiccups. Additionally, the router comes equipped with 512MB of RAM, which further boosts its multitasking capabilities.
The WRT1900ACS also boasts a user-friendly interface, making it easy to set up and manage your network. Its four high-performance antennas ensure that Wi-Fi coverage is extensive, reducing dead spots in larger homes.
With its open-source readiness, the WRT1900ACS is highly compatible with various VPN services, making it a favorite among privacy enthusiasts.
✅ Pros: Open-source firmware support, excellent range, and speed.
❌ Cons: Might warm up a bit, relatively pricey
4. Asus RT-AC66U B1
For those who are budget-conscious but still want a reliable and Tomato-compatible router, the Asus RT-AC66U B1 is a perfect choice.
This model offers a balance between performance and affordability. With dual-band support and speeds of up to 1750 Mbps, it caters to most household needs, from streaming to gaming. One of its notable features is the ASUS AiProtection, which offers advanced security against online threats.
The router also supports ASUS AiCloud, allowing you to access your data anytime, anywhere. The three external antennas ensure a stable and wide-reaching Wi-Fi signal.
Furthermore, the intuitive ASUSWRT dashboard provides users with full network control, making it easy to optimize and set up.
This model comes with built-in VPN client and server support, offering users a secure and encrypted connection.
Under the hood is a 1 GHz dual-core processor with three offload processors, ensuring that the router can handle heavy network traffic and multitasking with ease. This is further enhanced by its 256MB of RAM and 128MB of flash storage, which facilitate quick response times.
Unlike traditional dual-band routers, the X6 offers an additional 5 GHz band, ensuring that more devices can connect without experiencing congestion.
Additionally, you get four Gigabit Ethernet ports for wired connections and two USB ports (one USB 3.0 and one USB 2.0) for sharing printers, files, or connecting external storage devices. The router also boasts six antennas, ensuring a wide range and strong signal throughout larger homes.
Regarding security, the Nighthawk X6 offers VPN support, guest network access, and parental controls. Additionally, the router supports WPA2 wireless security protocols and comes with a built-in firewall for added protection.
✅ Pros: Great performance, wide coverage, and advanced security features
❌Cons: Setup may be complex for beginners
How to choose the right router for Tomato
Since all of the routers above are compatible with Tomato, let me show you the different considerations to take into account in order to pick the best one for your needs.
Performance and speed
For those who demand high bandwidth for activities like gaming or 4K streaming, the router’s performance is paramount.
Routers with dual or tri-band capabilities that support the latest Wi-Fi standards are ideal. With its Wi-Fi 6 technology, the ASUS RT-AX88U is a top contender in this category.
A router’s hardware, such as the processor’s speed, RAM, and storage, plays a significant role in its overall performance, especially when running custom firmware like Tomato.
The Linksys WRT1900ACS, with its powerful 1.6 GHz dual-core processor and 512MB of RAM, stands out in this regard.
Security should always be a top priority. Routers offering advanced security features, such as VPN support, parental controls, and guest network capabilities, are ideal.
The Asus RT-AC66U B1 comes with ASUS AiProtection, providing advanced security against online threats.
Range and coverage
For those with larger homes or multiple floors, a router offering extensive coverage is essential. Routers with multiple antennas and beamforming technology are ideal.
The NETGEARR7000P, with its Beamforming+ technology, ensures a wide-reaching and stable Wi-Fi signal.
Ease of setup and use
An intuitive interface is crucial, especially for those new to custom firmware. Routers that offer user-friendly dashboards and mobile apps for remote management are preferred.
The ASUS RT-AX88U is known for its user-friendly ASUSWRT interface, making setup and management a breeze.
Lastly, while it’s tempting to opt for high-end models, many mid-range routers offer excellent performance and support Tomato firmware. Determine your needs and find a router that offers the best value for your money.
For those on a budget, the Asus RT-AC66U B1 provides a balance between performance and affordability.
How to install Tomato firmware on your router
Installing Tomato on your router can seem daunting, but with the right steps, it’s a breeze. Here’s a simplified guide:
Check compatibility: Ensure your router model is compatible with Tomato firmware.
Create a backup: Always back up your current router settings. This allows you to revert if needed.
Download the firmware: Visit the official Tomato website and download the appropriate firmware for your router model.
Access router settings: Type your router’s IP address into your browser. It’s usually 192.168.1.1 or 192.168.0.1, but you can check the label on the back of your router.
Log in: Log in with your credentials. If you haven’t changed them, they’re also found at the router’s back.
Update your firmware: Navigate to the firmware update section and upload the Tomato firmware file.
Follow On-Screen Instructions: The router will guide you through the installation process. Once complete, your router will reboot with Tomato firmware installed.
Selecting the best router for Tomato firmware can truly boost your online experience. From enhanced security features to advanced customization options, Tomato offers numerous benefits.
Read my buyer’s guide, check out the in-depth reviews, and make a decision. There are no wrong choices here.
Wondering if you need a VPN for torrenting? This article will answer all your questions.
Torrenting is undeniably an efficient method for sharing and downloading files.
However, because it implies sharing your IP address and it’s often associated with copyright infringement, it’s natural to wonder if you need extra measures of safety.
Let’s delve into the intricacies of torrenting, the role of VPNs, and practical advice for safe torrenting.
Do I need a VPN for torrenting?
Yes, you need a VPN for torrenting. It will ensure anonymity and security. Torrenting exposes your IP, making you vulnerable to surveillance and cyber threats. A VPN hides online activity and hides your IP address.
It also helps avoid ISP throttling, which can slow down your internet speeds and allow access to geo-restricted content.
Here’s a quick overview on how VPN features can help you when torrenting:
Encryption: A VPN encrypts the data sent from your device, turning it into a code that can only be deciphered with the correct encryption key. This stops malicious torrent users as well as ISPs and other entities from knowing what you do online.
Hiding IP addresses: A VPN masks your real IP address, making it difficult for anyone to trace your internet activity back to you. In a torrent swarm, other users will only see the VPN server’s IP address, not yours.
Additional Layers of Security: Extra fetures like a no-logs policy, an emergency kill switch and safe browsing protection that stop access to known malicious sites can protect your privacy and prevent certain cyber attacks.
How about we go into greater detail on this?
Risks associated with torrenting
Let’s take a closer look at the main risks of torrenting and how the above-mentioned VPN features might help stop them or at least diminish their impact.
When you participate in a torrent swarm, your IP address becomes visible to all other peers. This exposure can lead to targeted cyber attacks or doxxing.
This makes it more difficult for copyright holders and authorities to track your torrenting activity. Not knowing who’s torrenting makes it impossible to enforce any legal action.
That said, it’s best you stray away from illegal torrenting altogether. Always check the description and the comments of the torrent files before you download them to make sure you stay within the limits of the law.
ISP throttling and bans
Some Internet Service Providers (ISPs) monitor P2P traffic and may throttle your internet speeds or ban your service for torrenting.
Comcast initially denied that they were specifically targeting BitTorrent traffic but later admitted to “delaying” peer-to-peer communications as a form of network management.
➡ A VPN encrypts your internet traffic, making it difficult for your ISP to discern the nature of your online activities and apply throttling measures.
Minimize the impact of cyber attacks
Don’t get me wrong. A VPN isn’t able to detect and block viruses, but it can in some ways secure your connection so if you get a virus, the impact won’t be as big.
Torrent files can be a breeding ground for malware phishing attacks, viruses, and other malicious software.
Not all torrent sites provide legal and regulated torrent files, so if you’re not playing safe, you may compromise your device, along with all personal data on it.
For instance, a poisoned BitTorrent client incident in 2018 led to a malware outbreak that attempted to infect 400,000 PCs, as reported by Tripwire.
➡️ While a VPN does not prevent malware per se, it can provide an added layer of security when combined with reputable antivirus software.
It can prevent accidental downloads from unsecured websites by allowing access to safer torrent sites that may not be available in your area. Furthermore, many VPNs do nowadays employ extra security features for safer browsing.
When you enable these, the VPN will stop you from accessing sites that were associated with viruses, phishing, or other forms of cyber threats in the past.
Using torrents can also pose a risk to network security, especially if you’re on a corporate or public network.
This can not only affect your device and data but can also be compromising for other people connected to the same network.
➡ If you accidentally download compromised software, a VPN’s encryption can act as a barrier.
It will make it more difficult for attackers to exploit vulnerabilities in your network and get ahold of private information or compromise devices.
That said, it can’t stop or remove the virus. For that, you’ll need a strong antivirus and potentially professional help.
How to stay safe when torrenting
⚠️ Disclaimer: We do not condone illegal torrenting, and using a VPN to engage in such activities is not encouraged.⚠️
To torrent safely and minimize risks, consider the following practical tips:
Use a reliable VPN
Now, using a VPN is essential, but not just about VPN will work. You’ll have to use a premium-level VPN with built-in privacy features.
This feature cuts down your internet connection if the VPN stops. Basically, it prevents you from downloading torrents when you’re not protected by the VPN.
This will therefore prevent data leaks in case of disconnections. Your IP address and torrenting activity remain completely confidential.
Furthermore, it’s essential to use a VPN that keeps no activity logs.
This essentially means that the service itself doesn’t know and cannot know what you do online. This will prevent them from sharing your data, even if legally bound, because there’s no data to begin with.
Lastly, good encryption algorithms are a must. The VPN you use should employ unbreakable options such as ChaCha 20 or AES-256 bit. These are practically indecipherable.
As much as I like free stuff, the sad truth is you won’t find a good torrenting VPN that’s free.
Free VPNs either don’t have enough data to support torrenting, log, and sell your data, or are simply very slow for any downloading to actually take place.
But if you want to save some bucks, you can get good deals if you subscribe for a longer period of tie.
These special VPNs come with a bunch of advantages. They’re super fast, and they don’t crash easily, so you can share files without any problems.
One important feature to look for in a VPN that claims to be P2P friendly is special servers that are set up just for sharing files.
Verify Torrent sources
Only download torrents from reputable sources.
Look for verified uploaders or sites with user ratings and feedback. If you notice any comments that say the file is malicious or infected, click away.
The tricky part about torrent sites is that many host both legal and illegal torrents.
Because many of these files operate by allowing users to share files without much intervention, some may share unsafe or unrightfully owned torrent files.
Some reputable torrent sites that you can trust include:
Internet Archive: The Internet Archive’s “Wayback Machine” includes a vast collection of public domain content, including books, music, movies, and more. You can find these items available for free download through their torrent service.
Public Domain Torrents: This site offers a collection of classic movies and videos that are in the public domain. You can download these movies legally and for free.
Legit Torrents: Legit Torrents hosts a collection of legally available software, games, music, and more. It’s a platform for open-source and freely distributable content.
Jamendo: Jamendo is a music platform that allows artists to share their music for free. You can legally download and share music from independent artists under Creative Commons licenses.
Linux Distros: Many Linux distributions, like Ubuntu, Debian, and Fedora, are distributed via torrents. Downloading these Linux distributions via torrents is not only legal but also often faster and more reliable.
Etree: Etree is a community-driven site focused on sharing live concert recordings, particularly from bands that allow fans to record their shows. It’s a legal resource for concert enthusiasts.
Project Gutenberg: Project Gutenberg offers a vast collection of free public-domain eBooks. You can download classic literature and other written works legally.
Bitlove: Bitlove is a platform for subscribing to podcasts through torrents. It allows you to legally download podcast episodes via BitTorrent.
Run antivirus scans
Always scan downloaded files with reliable antivirus software before opening them. If it finds something, make sure to remove any trace of the file from your computer as soon as possible.
For best security, enable real-time protection on your antivirus.
These days, most anti-malware and antivirus software have this feature. Even built-in tools like Windows Defender have it.
Be aware of the copyright laws in your country and stay updated on the legalities of the content you’re downloading.
As I mentioned, it cannot always be easy to tell which torrents are legal and which are not.
But, as a rule of thumb, if the source you’re getting your torrent from doesn’t disclose whether it’s legally distributed or is vague about this information, then they probably have no right to share that file.
How different countries approach illegal torrenting
Using a VPN when torrenting is generally a good idea wherever you are. However the risks may be higher if you live in countries with heavy regulations against copyrighted downloads.
The approach to illegal torrenting varies by country, with each jurisdiction enforcing its copyright laws and internet regulations differently:
United States: The U.S. has a “three-strikes” policy in place, and ISPs may be required to hand over the details of suspected infringers to copyright holders. Repeat infringers can face termination of their internet service.
European Union: Many EU countries have strict copyright laws, and users can face hefty fines. For instance, in Germany, users can receive “Abmahnungen,” legal notices that demand payment for copyright infringement.
United Kingdom: In the UK, the Digital Economy Act aims to combat copyright infringement. ISPs send out “educational” letters to users suspected of illegal downloading. While these letters do not demand payment or threaten legal action, they serve as a warning, and persistent infringement could lead to further measures.
India: Copyright infringement is a serious offense in India, and ISPs are required to have a due diligence framework to ensure compliance with copyright laws. Users found torrenting copyrighted material can face fines and imprisonment. However, enforcement varies across the country, and the use of VPNs is widespread.
Asia: Countries like Japan and South Korea have very stringent anti-piracy laws. Japan criminalizes illegal downloading, with penalties including fines and imprisonment. South Korea operates a “three-strikes” policy similar to that of the United States.
The use of VPNs in these countries can provide a layer of privacy and security for internet users.
However, it’s important to note that while a VPN can hide your IP address and encrypt your internet traffic, it does not make illegal activities legal.
Responsible use of torrenting technology, with a clear understanding of the laws in your country, is essential.
Do you need a VPN for torrenting? If you’re concerned about privacy, security, and the potential legal implications of torrenting, the answer is a resounding yes. A VPN can provide the necessary shield and peace of mind to enjoy the benefits of torrenting without the associated risks. However, it’s important to use this technology responsibly and to respect copyright laws. Remember, the goal is to stay safe and legal in the vast world of the internet.
When choosing a VPN for torrenting, look for one that supports secure protocols, has a no-logs policy, and offers high-speed connections. By taking these precautions and following the practical advice provided, you can ensure that your torrenting experience is both safe and enjoyable.
VPNs hide our online footprints, offering safety from the prying world. Still, can our ISPs ban us for seeking privacy?
Let’s find out!
Can ISPs Ban VPN Users?
Technically, ISPs have the capability to detect VPN traffic and might take action based on their policies or local regulations. However, outright banning a user solely for using a VPN is rare.
Legitimate uses: VPNs are essential tools for businesses, allowing employees to access company networks securely from remote locations. Banning VPNs would adversely affect these legitimate users.
Consumer backlash: With increasing awareness about online privacy, any move to ban VPNs could result in significant consumer backlash and potential loss of customers.
Legal implications: In many countries, the use of VPNs is entirely legal, and any move to ban them could result in legal challenges.
Why are Internet Providers Concerned About VPN Usage?
There are several reasons why an internet service provider (ISP) might be wary of VPN users:
Loss of data insight: Like social media, ISPs often track user data for various reasons, including selling it to advertisers. VPNs prevent them from accessing this data.
Bandwidth concerns: Some users employ VPNs to download or stream large amounts of content, which can strain the ISP’s network.
Legal and regulatory issues: In some regions, the use of VPNs is restricted or banned, and ISPs might be obligated to enforce these regulations.
How ISPs Block VPNs
Understanding how ISPs detect and block VPNs can be crucial for users who rely on these tools for privacy and security.
Here’s a breakdown of the common methods ISPs employ:
Port blocking: VPNs use specific ports to connect to the internet. ISPs can block these standard ports, preventing VPN traffic from passing through. For instance, the OpenVPN protocol typically uses port 1194. By blocking this port, ISPs can effectively disrupt OpenVPN connections.
Deep packet inspection (DPI): DPI is a more advanced method where the ISP examines the data packets sent through their network. By analyzing these packets, ISPs can determine if the traffic is coming from a VPN network and subsequently block or throttle it. DPI can differentiate between regular web traffic and VPN encrypted traffic, making it a potent tool for ISPs.
IP address blacklisting: ISPs maintain a list of known VPN server IP addresses. By blocking traffic to and from these IPs, they can prevent users from connecting to popular VPN services.
Traffic analysis: By monitoring the amount and frequency of data being transferred, ISPs can make educated guesses about VPN usage.
Blocking VPN websites: A more direct approach is to block access to VPN provider websites altogether. By doing so, users can’t sign up for the service or download the necessary software in the first place.
What to do if Your ISP Restricts VPN Usage
Finding out that your ISP is restricting your VPN usage can be frustrating, especially if you rely on it for privacy or to access certain content.
If you’re facing this issue, don’t worry. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help even the most novice users navigate this challenge:
1. Switch VPN Protocols
Step 1: Open your VPN application. This can usually be found in your computer’s system tray or on your mobile device’s home screen.
Step 2: Navigate to the settings or preferences section of the application.
Step 3: Look for an option labeled “Protocol” or something similar.
Step 4: You’ll likely see options like OpenVPN, L2TP, WireGuard, etc. Switch to a different protocol from the one you’re currently using.
Step 5: Reconnect your VPN and test to see if the connection is now stable.
2. Use a Different Port
Step 1: In your VPN application, head back to the settings or preferences section.
Step 2: Find an option that allows you to customize the port number.
Step 3: Change the port number. For instance, if you’re using OpenVPN, it typically uses port 1194. You can try changing it to 443, which is the standard port for HTTPS traffic and is less likely to be blocked.
Step 4: Save your changes and reconnect your VPN to test the new port.
3. Contact Your ISP
Step 1: Find the customer service number for your ISP. This can usually be found on your monthly bill or on their official website.
Step 2: Call the number and, when prompted, choose the option to speak with a customer service representative.
Step 3: Politely explain that you’re having trouble using your VPN and ask if there are any restrictions in place.
Step 4: Listen to their response. They might offer a solution, clarify their policy, or provide information on why the restriction is in place.
4. Consider Changing ISPs
Step 1: Research other ISPs available in your area. Look for providers known for being VPN-friendly.
Step 2: Read reviews and see if other customers have had issues with VPN restrictions.
Step 3: Once you’ve identified a potential new ISP, contact them to inquire about their policies on VPNs.
Step 4: If satisfied, proceed with the steps to switch providers. This may involve scheduling an installation appointment and terminating your contract with your current ISP.
While ISPs have the technical capability to detect and potentially restrict VPN usage, outright bans are rare.
VPNs offer numerous legitimate benefits, and any move to ban them would likely face significant challenges. If you’re experiencing issues with your VPN, consider the steps mentioned above to ensure a smooth and private online experience.
In my testing, Lightway averaged download speeds of 70 Mbps, making it excellent for smooth HD and 4K streaming.
However, the custom Lightway protocol is only available to ExpressVPN users.
IKEv2/IPSec (Internet Key Exchange version 2/Internet Protocol Security) offers high encryption and authentication and fast and stable performance.
It’s also compatible with most platforms and devices, as it can switch between networks without losing the connection.
This protocol is ideal for streaming on mobile devices, as it can handle network changes and interruptions without affecting the speed or quality of the stream.
In my testing, KEv2/IPSec gave an average download speedof 64 Mbps, which is good enough for streaming.
However, one drawback of IKEv2 is its exclusive use on port 500.
This can be exploited by streaming services, such as Netflix, Hulu, or BBC iPlayer, who have the option to block the port.
OpenVPN supports both the TCP and UDP transport protocols. This allows users to choose the one that best suits their needs.
For instance, UDP is typically faster and more suitable for streaming, while TCP is more reliable but may be slower.
Here are more details on each:
OpenVPN TCP (Transmission Control Protocol)
OpenVPN TCP differs from UDP in how it handles data transmission. It checks for errors and resends lost packets, which means it can ensure data integrity and reliability.
However, this also means it may be slower and less smooth than OpenVPN UDP.
OpenVPN TCP is ideal for situations where reliability is more important than speed, such as browsing sensitive websites.
But, it may not be the best choice for streaming, as it may cause buffering or lagging issues.
OpenVPN UDP (User Datagram Protocol)
OpenVPN UDP is one of the most widely used VPN protocols. It offers a high level of security and encryption, along with good speed and reliability.
It’s also compatible with most platforms, devices, and streaming services.
OpenVPN UDP is ideal for streaming because it prioritizes speed over reliability. Unlike the TCP version, it doesn’t check for errors or resend lost packets, which means it can deliver data faster and smoother.
However, this also means it may not work well on unstable or congested networks, where packets may get lost or corrupted.
How to choose the best protocol for streaming with a VPN
When selecting a VPN protocol for streaming, there are a few key factors to consider based on your specific needs and setup.
Here are some general tips:
Evaluate your internet speed: Faster connections can better handle protocols like WireGuard. Slower ones may need OpenVPN
Consider the level of security you want: Some protocols, such as OpenVPN UDP, prioritize speed over encryption.
Check device and platform compatibility: Some protocols work better on certain devices. For instance, newer protocols like WireGuard or IKEv2 may not support some older devices.
Research if your streaming services block protocols: WireGuard/NordLynx can usually avoid blocks, while IKEv2 may be prone to blocks.
See which protocols your VPN provider offers: Most don’t cover all protocols. And some options like Lightway and NordLynx, are only available on ExpresVPN and NordVPN, respectively.
Test different protocols to compare speeds: Connect to the same server to see which delivers the best results.
Check for reliability issues: Some protocols are more prone to packet losses.
Consider the cost: Some providers, like ExpressVPN and NordVPN, charge more than their competitors.
Streaming with a VPN can enhance your experience by allowing you to access more content from different regions.
However, not all VPN protocols are suitable for the job. While some may prioritize speed, others are more well-suited for privacy and security.
I’ve helped you evaluate the best VPN protocols for streaming—NordLynx, Lightway, and WireGuard came up as the top 3.
If you choose from any of them, I’m sure you’ll enjoy high-quality streaming without buffering or interruptions.
The Telegram app stopped working in the southern parts of Russia on October 30. The potential causes haven’t been resolved yet.
In fact, more and more users are reporting that the app isn’t working.
Telegram unresponsive in regions close to Dagestan
Residents of the southern regions of Russia are saying that Telegram has been unresponsive for two days now. Over 16,000 complaints have been registered yesterday alone.
Users have trouble accessing chats, sending and receiving messages, and loading photos and videos.
Most of the complaints come from the Krasnodar region (37%), Rostov region (15%), and Stavropol region (10%). However, the problem exists in other areas as well, including Moscow and St. Petersburg.
According to some reports, the malfunction may be connected with the recent events in Makhachkala. Over 60 people have been arrested after storming the city airport and protesting following an arrival from Tel Aviv on October 30.
There are also rumors that the authorities jammed communications during the riots to make it difficult for protestors to coordinate.
Cybersecurity expert, Alexey Kurochkin, said that he believes Telegram doesn’t have anything to do with the failure. This is evidenced by the fact that the app still operates normally in other territories.
Experts have assured users that their data will remain safe even while the app is down. They believe this to be the case as Telegram uses double encryption and other strong security systems.
Telecommunications companies Tele2, VimpelCom, and MegaFon have all confirmed that the unavailability of the app isn’t related to the operations of their networks.
The State Duma said that the failure of Telegram in the southern territories isn’t connected to a Roskomnadzor blocking unless a court decision was made, which hasn’t been confirmed.
Deputy head of the State Duma Committee on Information Policy, Oleg Matveychev, stated that Roskomnadzor operates only according to the law. He said that if the authorities haven’t given any orders to the court, this may indeed be a Telegram failure.
However, with the responses from officials being rather vague, many Russians still believe that the government has blocked/disrupted Telegram in regions close to Dagestan.
Some comments hint at using the app’s web version in combination with a VPN as the most likely way to access the platform at the moment.
It’s also important to keep in mind that only some VPNs would be able to get around this problem.
Oleg Matveychev stated that Roskomnadzor now has a list of VPNs that are ready to comply with the country’s laws. He said these providers are willing to restrict access to the content the authorities want to block.
However, the list of these VPNs hasn’t been made public.
Following the Makhachkala airport incident, the State Duma deputy from Dagestan, Sultan Khamzaev, asked to prohibit VPNs that allow access to resources the government blocks.
Telegram has continuously grown in Russia, especially after other social networks left the country following the war with Ukraine. As of 2023, it has over 48.8 million daily users, which translates to about 40% of the country’s population.
Companies also started implementing it in their operations and families use it to stay in touch. Some Russians even work in commercial Telegram chats.
Therefore, it’s no surprise that so many questions have arisen about why the app isn’t working.
The last time something like this happened was on August 21, when the app was unavailable for about an hour.
Can a hotel see what you’re browsing in incognito mode? That’s quite a nagging question, especially if you’re privacy-minded, and even more so, if you’re tired from a long trip.
Luckily, we’re here to give you an answer. And even better – ways to browse safely on any network.
Ready? Let’s get into it:
Can hotels see what you are browsing in incognito mode?
Technically, hotels can monitor the traffic on their Wi-Fi network. What’s more, incognito mode only prevents your device from saving your browsing history.
As a result, it doesn’t shield your online activity from the network you’re on.
But in that case:
What does incognito mode do?
Incognito mode offers a layer of privacy by not storing search history, cookies, and site data on your device.
It can be quite handy if you’re buying someone a gift and you don’t want them stumbling on that gift shop site in your browsing history. But when it comes to actual online security, it doesn’t deliver.
That’s because third parties, like hotels, ISPs, and snoopers can still see your IP address, the websites you visit, your location, and a lot more.
With that being said:
What can hotel Wi-Fi see?
When you’re connected to hotel Wi-Fi, the hotel can:
Identify connected devices
Measure data usage
Track the websites visited
However, they can’t see the content of encrypted sites, which are those that start with “https://”.
But if you think that’s good news, think again. Since a hotel’s Wi-Fi is essentially a public network, there’s more to be cautious about:
Fake Wi-Fi networks: Hackers can set up devices to imitate a legitimate hotel Wi-Fi network. If you connect to this fake network, they can intercept your data.
Logged data: Hotels log internet usage on their systems. They might not see your exact searches, but they can see the domains you visited, plus the duration and the time of the session.
Access by others: Not just the hotel network admin, but potentially others can access these logs or even your devices. Hotel Wi-Fi security measures can sometimes be lax, making it easier for breaches.
Luckily, there are ways to browse anonymously and safely even on the most unsecured networks:
How to browse safely on hotel Wi-Fi
Here are some handy tips that’ll help you safely use your hotel’s Wi-Fi:
Bandwidth Management: To ensure all guests have adequate bandwidth.
Marketing: To gather data on guest browsing habits for marketing purposes.
What are the risks of using hotel Wi-Fi?
There are several potential threats. These include packet sniffing (intercepting and analyzing network traffic), DNS spoofing (redirecting internet traffic to fake websites), and man-in-the-middle attacks (intercepting communication between two parties).
Is it safe to use credit cards on hotel Wi-Fi?
It’s risky. Cybercriminals can use techniques like man-in-the-middle attacks to intercept your credit card information. It’s recommended not to use credit cards on public Wi-Fi without protective measures like VPNs.
If you’re a Linux user like me, you might’ve bumped into the “Linux IP show errors” a time or two. It’s one of those things that can throw you off, especially when you’re in the middle of something important.
But don’t stress!
I’ve dug deep into this, and I’m here to share what I’ve found.
Why does Linux IP show errors?
When you’re working with the ip command, trying to get a handle on routing or devices, this error can pop up.
It’s like Linux’s way of saying, “Hey, something’s not right here.” Most of the time, it’s about network settings or maybe some hardware is acting up.
Linux IP errors causes
Alright, let’s break down what might be causing this:
Misconfigured IP addresses: Sometimes, an incorrect IP address or subnet mask can lead to conflicts.
Gateway issues: An improperly set gateway can disrupt communication with other networks.
Faulty network card: Over time, network cards can degrade or become faulty, leading to intermittent issues.
Physical damage: Accidental damage or wear and tear can affect the card’s performance.
Outdated drivers: Running old drivers can lead to compatibility issues with newer software or OS updates.
Corrupted drivers: Sometimes, drivers can become corrupted due to software conflicts or malware.
Data overload: Just like a traffic jam, too much data trying to pass through can lead to slowdowns or errors.
Unoptimized network traffic: Without proper management, some apps or processes can hog bandwidth.
Wear and tear: Over time, cables can degrade, leading to reduced performance.
Loose connections: A cable that’s not securely connected can cause intermittent issues.
Conflicting applications: Some apps, especially those that manage or monitor network traffic, can conflict with each other.
Malware: Malicious software can interfere with network operations, leading to errors.
How to fix Linux IP show errors: Step-by-Step
Check Network Settings:
Open the terminal.
Type ip addr to view your current network configurations.
Ensure your IP addresses, subnet masks, and gateway addresses are correctly set.
If changes are made, save and restart the network service.
Turn off your computer.
Open the computer case (make sure you’re grounded to avoid static electricity).
Check the network card for any visible damages.
Ensure it’s properly seated in its slot.
If you suspect it’s faulty, consider replacing it.
Open the terminal.
Use the command lshw -C network to identify your network card.
Visit the manufacturer’s website to find the latest drivers.
Download and install them following the provided instructions.
Ease the network traffic:
Install a network monitoring tool like iftop using sudo apt install iftop.
Run iftop to monitor network traffic.
Identify high-traffic sources and manage or limit them if necessary.
Inspect your network cables for any visible damage.
Ensure all connections are secure.
If you find any damaged cables, replace them.
Sort out software:
Identify any software or applications that might interfere with network operations.
Consider disabling or uninstalling conflicting software.
Restart your computer to see if the issue is resolved.
Look, I get it. Errors can be frustrating. But with a bit of patience and some troubleshooting, you can get past the “Linux IP show errors.” Remember, every problem has a solution. And with the info I’ve shared, you’re well on your way to finding yours. Keep at it, and happy computing!
Sticky vs rotating proxies – without knowing the difference, you might not pick the right type for your needs.
Guess what? You’re not alone.
I also learned the hard way as a novice. And today, I’ll save you all that trouble.
You’ll learn all about what they are and how they work. Moreover, I’ve included each use case to help you choose better.
Let’s get down to business.
Sticky vs rotating proxies: what’s the difference?
Both sticky and rotating proxies hide your IP to boost privacy. But their approach is different.
Take a closer look:
What is a sticky proxy?
A sticky proxy, also known as a static proxy, allows web access using a single IP address. It’s often assigned to the user for a specific duration.
As such, the term ‘sticky’ refers to the IPsremaining fixed without changing. It can be for 10 minutes, 30 minutes, or even longer.
This consistency offers stability, especially for activities that require persistent contention for multiple requests. Without it, such tasks might fail due to a sudden change of addresses.
How it works
Sticky proxies maintain the same IP address for the duration of the session. As I mentioned above, this can range from a few minutes to several hours.
Each time you’re on the internet, requests route throughthe same proxy. This consistency also helps improve multiple interactions online over a short period.
For instance, navigating through a website’s multiple pages reduces the likelihood of triggering anti-bot measures. That’s because a sticky proxy makes you appear as a legitimate user, which enhances trust.
What is a rotating proxy?
A rotating proxy, in contrast, offers a dynamic approach. With every connection request, it assigns you a new IP address.
The IPs come from a pool of addressesthat change atrandom intervals. This means that if you access a website several times, each visit will have a unique IP.
Rotating proxies offer flexible geolocation switching for enhanced privacy. You’ll find this ideal for conducting tasks that require high anonymity.
How it works
Rotating proxies work through backend serves, which act as intermediaries. These connect you to a vast pool of proxy addresses within the network.
During a session, a proxy rotator software handles the bulk work of changing IPs. This takes place for every request or as per the configured time frame.
The undertaking makes it extremely challenging to track your activities. Additionally, most vendors offer anti-flaggingmechanisms to help evade online bans.
Which should you use?
Use the pointers below if you’re still wondering which one to use.
When to use sticky proxies
Sticky proxies are ideal for tasks that require a consistent IP address for short durations. Some use cases include:
Social media management: They’re ideal for individuals handling multiple social media accounts. A dedicated static proxy for each account can prevent blocks on IP-sensitive platforms.
Manual marketing research: Frequently gathering data from specific locations or sources benefits from a static IP, especially given the dynamic nature of marketing data.
Multi-step processes: Online activities that require multiple actions need a consistent IP to prevent disruptions. Examples include filling out multi-step forms, navigating multi-page websites, completing online checkouts, etc.
When to use rotating proxies
Rotating proxies shine in scenarios where high-volume, rapid requests are necessary. This is common, especially when scraping the web for data.
The use cases include:
Web scraping: Extracting data from websites requires rotating IPs to avoid detection. Some information you can extract includes product descriptions, commodity prices, flight data, etc.
SEO monitoring: Rotating proxies are ideal for tracking keyword positions on search engines. They allow you to access data from various geo-locations without being flagged.
Avoiding rate limits: Websites with anti-scraping measures often limit requests from a single IP. Rotating proxies circumvent this by using different addresses for each query.
Now that you know the differences and use cases, here’s a list of the best providers you can choose from:
Best sticky and rotating proxy providers
Finding a reliable provider can be tricky. Below are some of the best proxy services to get you started:
Smartproxy: Offers over 65 million IP addresses across 195+ locations. It’s perfect for web scraping, social media management, and bypassing geo-restrictions. The vendors’ competitive pricing makes it ideal for both beginners and seasoned professionals.
Oxylabs: The vendor has a wide range of residential, mobile, and data center proxies. It additionally provides advanced tools for controlling sessions and rotating IPs. Catering mainly to businesses, it’s ideal for large-scale web scraping and market research.
Bright Data: Formerly known as Luminati, Bright Data is a market leader in the proxy industry. It boasts over 80 million residential, mobile, and data center IPs. It’s a top choice for enterprises requiring high-performance proxy solutions.
IPRoyal: Provides residential proxies known for their speed and reliability. They’re ideal for lightweight tasks like browsing, bypassing geo-blocks, and data gathering. The vendor suits individuals and businesses looking to access geo-restricted content or conduct market research.
NetNut: This is a fast-rising proxy provider, perfect for beginners and SEO agencies. It offers a user-friendly interface and tons of tools to supercharge web scrapping. NetNut also runs on DiViNetworks, which is fast, stable, and reliable.
This sticky vs rotating proxies comparison should help you choose better. As you’ve seen, they’re different and suit diverse use cases.
To recall, go with the first option if you’re into conducting IP-sensitive tasks. Examples include social media management, market research, and multi-step online activities.
The second one is ideal for handling data-heavy projects. These include SEO monitoring, web scraping, data gathering, etc.
Repairing an IP address proxy error can be cumbersome at times. But without doing it, you’ll encounter challenges accessing resources on the web.
The problem often arises due to misconfigurations, network glitches, or proxy server problems. The good news? I’m here to help.
Continue reading to find the cause of this error and detailed solutions to resolve them. Let’s check them out.
What causes IP address proxy errors
Proxy errors related to IP addresses can occur for various reasons:
Misconfigured proxy settings: Incorrect proxy settings on your device can lead to these errors.
ISP issues: Sometimes, the proxy provided by your Internet Service Provider (ISP) might be the culprit.
VPN Interference: If you’re using a VPN, it might conflict with your proxy settings.
Firewall/Antivirus blockage: Security software can sometimes block access to certain IP addresses or websites.
Browser cache issues: Cached data in your browser can lead to outdated or incorrect IP address retrievals.
Repairing IP address proxy error– Step-by-step guide
Check out below the different ways to resolve this problem.
Check proxy settings
Begin by double-checking the proxy configurations on your device. You can do this directly via the settings or through your browser tools.
For Windows, navigate to the Control Panel and select Internet Options. Once there, access the Connections tab and choose LAN settings. Ensure you leave Use a proxy server for your LAN option is unchecked.
If you’re on Mac, open System Preferences and click on Network. Select your active network connection, Wi-Fi or Ethernet, and click Advanced. Navigate to the Proxies tab and ensure none is active unless you intentionally use one.
Restart your router/modem
If you’re experiencing connectivity issues, restarting your router/modem might help. Unplug the power cable from your router or modem and wait for about 30 seconds.
This ensures the device completes a power cycle necessary for fixing connectivity issues. After waiting, turn it on and check if the error persists.
Contact your ISP
Get in touch with your ISP if your connection is the problem. You can check if that’s the case with online tools like Speedtest and Fast.
If it is, you may also need to inform your ISP about the proxy service you’re using. Chances are they might have a list of disallowed or unsupported services.
Alternatively, switching providers isn’t a bad idea after all. There are plenty of providers out there that offer top-notch services.
You might also be using a VPN alongside a proxy. But the two work differently and might interfere with one another when both are running.
So, disabling the VPN when fixing your proxy issues is necessary. Simply access the app and disconnect before closing it entirely.
After doing so, run the repair prompts to restore the service. You’ll need to be patient until the reconfiguration process is completed.
Check firewall/antivirus settings
Your firewall or antivirus software might block access to certain websites or IP addresses. You can confirm this by cross-checking the activity logs.
If you find any, use the option to exclude/whitelist the blocked IPs. After making the modifications, save and restart your device to effect the changes.
Clear browser cache and cookies
Cached information in your browser can sometimes lead to errors. These bits of information usually help enhance the web browsing experience.
While that’s a good thing, they can cause glitches. And the only way to resolve the associated issues is by clearing them.
So, open your browser and navigate to Settings or Options. Look for the Privacy section and select Clear browsing data.
Ensure you tick the boxes for both Cached images and files and Cookies and other site data. Doing so erases everything, including corrupt files, causing your proxy to glitch.
Try a different browser
If you’re still facing issues, consider trying a different browser. I recommend using Brave, Opera GX, and Vivaldi.
They’re custom-built with the privacy and security of the user in mind. Moreover, you’re less likely to encounter proxy compatibility issues.
Updating your current browser is also an option. Keeping it up to date helps avoid issues causing your proxy to fail.
Repairing an IP address proxy error can be a bit technical. But with the right approach and detailed guidance, you can effectively resolve it.
Did the above fixes help? Let me know in the comments below!