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What the ____ is a VPN?
A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, is technology using hardware, software, or both to secure and privatize data across a network, usually the Internet, by building what techies call an “encrypted tunnel.”
Data passes through this “tunnel,” protected from anyone who tries to intercept it. Even if the data is intercepted, it is hopelessly scrambled and useless to anyone without the key to decrypt it.
Large businesses commonly use VPNs between offices to secure company data, and often provide individual “remote access” VPN solutions to home-based or traveling employees to protect data between them and the company’s network.
You also use a VPN when you bank or shop online and see the https:// in your web browser. Unfortunately, the protection with an https:// session is temporary and limited to that specific website.
With WiTopia’s VPN service, you initiate the secure encrypted tunnel from your side, so it is not dependent on the websites you visit. Your security and privacy is now maintained whether you see an https:// or not. Still, even with the protection of the VPN service, you should use https:// where available for end-to-end security to a specific website.
It’s also important to note that the protection and privacy we offer is not limited to just browsing. Our VPN service encrypts and anonymizes all your Internet data to and from our VPN gateways. This includes Skype, IM, streaming, e-mail, as well as browsing.
Why do I need a “personal” VPN? Isn’t my firewall and anti-virus enough?
A software firewall only protects your data on your computer, and anti-virus software only protects you from, well, viruses. Neither protects your data as it flows over your local network, at a Wi-Fi Hotspot, or through your ISP. Without a VPN, your data is completely exposed and can easily be monitored and captured.
As laptops, smartphones, and wireless networks have grown more popular, a great deal more data has become a great deal more mobile. Your ISP, search engines, and every website you visit captures and stores information about you. It is more crucial than ever to protect your data, as well as your identity and privacy, with a VPN.
For a MUCH more complete answer, see the section, Why do I need a “personal” VPN?
Why should I choose WiTopia for my VPN service?
Glad you asked. Check out Why choose WiTopia for your VPN service?
Does WiTopia keep logs of my internet activity while I use the VPN service?
By design, we absolutely do not capture or store any logs of a user’s internet activities, DNS, or metadata. Furthermore, there are no logs that would allow any person or entity to match an IP address and a timestamp to a user of our VPN service.
Is this a remote access VPN to reach my company’s servers or my home computer?
We’re not a “remote access” type service such as a GoToMyPc® or LogMeIn®. We’re providing a secure and anonymous encrypted connection to the Internet. It has lots of benefits, but it is not a means to link to your home computer or company’s systems.
Where and when should I use my VPN service?
Many of our customers located in countries that block VoIP or censor the Internet use it virtually all the time. Also, those who desire added privacy while online may use it a great deal. Others might only use it at wireless Hotspots or when traveling. Again, for a MUCH more complete answer, please visit, Why do I need a “personal” VPN?
How does the VPN work?
When you activate your personalVPN™, it instantaneously builds an encrypted tunnel through your Internet connection from wherever you are (coffee shop, airport, hotel, home, etc.) to whichever of our secure Internet gateways you have chosen to connect. All Internet data between you, and the WiTopia gateway you are using, is now encrypted. Nobody can break the encryption, including even your ISP.
Additionally, while you’re connected, we assign you a private WiTopia IP address. Your “public” IP address and location are now shielded from view and will appear to be that of whatever server/gateway of ours you are connected to anywhere in the world. Connected to one of our Brazilian servers? Better brush up on your Portuguese.
Once your data reaches our secure Internet gateway, we decrypt the data (we, like all VPN services, must so that your intended party can make sense of it), and send it to its destination server (whatever website you’re visiting, etc.).
This last part is usually quite safe because it is pretty much impossible for anyone (except, maybe the NSA and their buddies) to collect and analyze data en masse between secure data centers over an actual Internet backbone link. It’s akin to picking raindrops out of a fire hose.
When the destination server responds, we re-encrypt your data, and send it back to you through your private, encrypted, VPN tunnel. Your IP address remains cloaked behind our server, so your location is still shielded from public view.
Sound complicated? It only takes milliseconds. You shouldn’t even notice it’s happening.
Will it work over any type of Internet connection?
Yes. The VPN services should work over any Internet connection. Ethernet, Wi-Fi, and other wireless technologies should all support the VPN tunnel. We do recommend a broadband connection for best performance.
Is the VPN easy to set up? Is it all done online?
Yes. After purchase, you should be up and running within a few minutes.
Although VPNs are complex applications, we’ve invested a great deal of time and money into developing a completely online setup process for our VPN services.
For Mac and Windows users, we include use of our very slick software. You’ll be living the life of the fashionably encrypted in no time at all.
And, if we may say so, this will be a far better experience than you’ll receive from other companies where you’ll often receive more of a “do it yourself” kit designed for computer experts or really clunky software. Once you drive it, you’ll understand the difference.
Do you share my information with any other company?
No. Absolutely not.
Why are your prices so low versus your competition? Am I missing something?
No. There are no hidden fees or limits and we skimp on nothing. Although we can only theorize on the pricing strategy or cost structure of our competition, here are some thoughts.
We’re not greedy and are in it for the long haul.
We’re not trying to maximize profit per transaction, but with economies of scale and continued customer loyalty we see increasing returns over time. That was the plan from the beginning. We made an upfront investment to build WiTopia and continually reinvest revenues to sustain its expansion. We recoup that investment as the business grows and customers renew year after year.
We were a first mover in this market.
Having innovated the idea of a “personal” VPN, we were able to secure a large customer base before imitators came on the scene. This gave us financial stability right off the bat so we don’t need to gouge you to keep the lights on.
Our customers help us grow.
Because of our repeatable and scalable design and infrastructure, we can support growth with ease and things tend not to break. This lowers operating costs and makes for happy customers. Happy customers not only renew year after year, but they tell their friends and colleagues about us so we don’t have to spend much on marketing.
We don’t owe anyone dollars or explanations.
Instead of taking on investors, we funded WiTopia from personal cash and assets. Exactly what they tell you not to do in business school, right? Nevertheless, we don’t owe anyone explanations or returns on their investment. We put our money where our mouth is and believe the low-price, long-term strategy is the correct one.
What types of payment do you accept?
We use Authorize.Net and PayPal to process all major credit cards as well as PayPal itself.
Do you offer a monthly plan?
Yes. Check out all our plans by clicking here.
Do you serve ads or offer a free ad-based version?
We do not allow ads on the service. That would put us in the advertising business, not the privacy and security business. In our opinion that would be a conflict of interest.
The VPN services we know of that adopt an advertising-based model usually have data transfer limits and are likely more focused on selling ads than customers’ privacy and security. Be sure to check their policies concerning privacy and use of your information and we’re sure you’ll agree ad-based VPN services are not the bargain some might think.
Do you offer free trials?
Essentially, yes. We’re religious about our unconditional money back guarantees. You can try us out without fear we’re trying to trick anyone out of their money.
We, actually, used to support traditional free trials long ago, but don’t anymore. And, it’s not that we’ve grown cocky with success. Unfortunately, trials invite spammers, scammers, and other assorted “bad guys” that dirty up our network and IP address space. Ultimately, we decided it wasn’t a good idea for us or our customers.
Do you have a Money Back Guarantee?
Yes! As we just mentioned, we’ll unconditionally refund 100% of your money within 30 days of purchase of all our plans, except the monthly plan, which is “cancel anytime.” This means that, with the monthly plan, you may simply cancel at anytime and future billing will cease. When you cancel, we may ask you why so we ensure it is not some easily correctable configuration change or some misunderstanding, but we don’t require you to give us a reason.
Does personalVPN™ work anywhere and everywhere?
It should. You may find a particular VPN protocol has been blocked, but we offer PPTP, L2TP/IPzec, Cisco IPsec, and, if you’re a personalVPN Pro™ customer, the openVPN-based SSL service (which has seemingly infinite options). We should be able to get you through most any force field.
Why is a VPN better than a proxy?
A VPN encrypts all data (Surfing, IM, FTP, etc.) to and from your computer where a proxy typically only encrypts http (WWW) traffic. VPNs also tend to be MUCH faster and reliable than proxies.
To be fair, although limited in function, a commercial proxy, from a reputable company, may be fine for certain things.
Unfortunately, many try the free anonymous web proxy route. These can be set up (and shared) by literally anyone. Yes, anyone — criminals, hackers, child pornographers, well-meaning geeks who are running it over their Grandma’s cable connection. You just don’t know.
Utopian “fight the power” visions aside, using anonymous proxies means you may be pumping your passwords and personal data through a server setup by a couple enterprising 13-year-old hackers in Estonia.
Which may work out fine for you…but it probably won’t.
Why should I trust WiTopia?
Versus our imitators, we could brag about our team’s extensive and professional experience with IP networking, data security, and managed services since 1995. Actually, some were in it long before that. Way before ISPs turned into “phone companies.” We could claim we’re smarter than most and have engineers so smart they’re rumored to speak Klingon in three dialects. That would all be true and it’s not just our mothers saying that.
The bottom line is, compared to your Internet provider, a hotspot/network owner, or even a government, we have a vested interest in vigorously maintaining your data security and privacy.
After all, that is what you pay us to do.
Not to be too capitalistic or simplistic about it, but that really is quite an incentive. This is how we earn our livelihoods. We don’t sell ads. We don’t have side jobs. This is it. You pay us money and we do everything we can to provide you the best service and protection possible.
If we don’t do it well, or somehow betrayed your trust, we’d guess you’d go elsewhere in an Internet minute. Knowing that, we will strive to earn your business every single day and, hopefully, year after year.
What can I do and not do over the service?
We’d say simply, please don’t commit any crimes or cause harm to anyone using the VPN, but the lawyer-approved version is here.
Will my current e-mail work through the VPN?
Yes. We offer a zero-configuration SMTP relay at no additional charge in case your current mail provider refuses to carry your e-mail while the VPN is connected.
ISP-supplied DNS (Domain Name Service) can cause privacy, performance, and blocking issues. Does WiTopia offer DNS service for complete security and privacy?
Yes. For best security and performance, especially in blocked countries, it is a good idea to use DNS servers that are not controlled by your ISP. Using WiTopia’s will usually happen automatically when you connect or you can manually set them to make sure. For more info, check out our DNS Guide.
Who owns WiTopia? Are you a front for the government?
Sorry, but we’ve actually been asked that. I suppose it also begs the question “which government?” since we do business all over the world. All joking aside, WiTopia is completely privately owned by its founders and employees, none of whom work for, or are in collusion with, any government.
I used another VPN service that had repeated outages. What is your uptime?
Other than our scheduled one-hour maintenance window every Saturday at 5:00 PM EST (2200-2300 GMT), which usually lasts a few minutes in reality, we’ve had no more than 9 hours cumulative unplanned downtime since we brought systems online in early 2003.
Do you have bandwidth limits, transfer limits, or censor content?
No. There are no bandwidth or transfer limits and we censor no content with the noted exception of filtering certain sites that are repeatedly known for offering copyrighted material that fill our mailbox with letters from attorneys. We don’t like those letters. Still, we protect your privacy, but if you generate a lot of those “lawyer letters,” we will politely ask you to leave the party.
As far as performance, we closely monitor the network 24x7x365 and ensure we keep plenty of bandwidth and server capacity in reserve for peak load times. That being said, if we detect abusive usage patterns, e.g. you’re trying to run a phone company over the VPN, we reserve the right to be unpleasant about that. Still, in years of offering VPN services, we have never limited anyone.
Will the VPN slow my Internet connection down?
It depends. ? If you connect to a server of ours that is reasonably close to you, you shouldn’t see any decrease, or a tiny one. This is especially true with our speed-optimized IPsec service. Over great distances, you will likely see more of a slowdown in speed, but it shouldn’t be too noticeable in any practical terms. And, due to how the VPN “optimizes” traffic you can often see an INCREASE in speed, or general performance, with many applications.
Check out our VPN Speed Guide for more details if you like.
How many devices can I use the VPN on per account? How many simultaneously?
With WiTopia VPN service, you may set up the VPN on any device that you personally own as well as have up to five(5) simultaneously connected devices per account. If you need to add additional VPN services to your account, you can easily do that in your Customer Portal.
Do you offer 256-bit encryption?
Yes. Our OpenVPN and IPsec VPN types both offer military-grade AES 256-bit encryption. The strongest available.
Can I run personalVPN™ on a router?
To clear up any possible misunderstanding, you can, of course, run it *through* a router, but not *on* a router. personalVPN™ and personalVPN Pro™ are priced and supported as an individual end-user service. If you desire a pre-configured and fully-supported VPN router solution, take a look at our CloakBox Pro™ in Products and Services.
What kind of support do you offer?
All customers enjoy unlimited live online chat support 365 days a year. Also, any email sent to email@example.com auto-generates a trouble ticket for tracking and is instantly assigned to a human support agent for resolution. We also have a comprehensive Support section with lots of solutions and tips for your VPN service.
What Operating Systems do you support?
For a comprehensive list, be sure to consult Setting Up and Using your VPN.
And, we’ve had some luck with others so feel free to ask.
I am in a country or location that monitors, blocks, or censors the Internet. Will your service work for me?
Yes. Many of our customers are in countries or locations that block Internet services such as Skype or otherwise censor or monitor Internet activity or content. The VPN service should give you full and uncensored access to the Internet. This tends to be a moving target, though, and there are some restrictions with certain countries. We maintain a list in our Terms of Service.
Can I use VoIP over personalVPN™?
Yes. Although we can’t vouch for every VoIP service out there, we have many thousands of customers using Skype, Vonage, and many other VoIP services over the VPN.
If your VoIP service requires an ATA or other external hardware, you will likely need our CloakBox™ VPN router. This is most useful for those who don’t wish to use pc-based VoIP but want to use their regular phones or related peripherals.
Will the VPN service unblock Skype, Facebook, Twitter, Vonage, and other Internet services if they are blocked in the country in which I am located?
Yes. Again, although we cannot vouch for the performance of every Internet service out there, but we have thousands of customers in blocked countries that use Skype, Facebook, Twitter, and other often censored Internet services every day over the VPN. If your VoIP service requires external hardware, such as an ATA, we would recommend taking a look at our CloakBox™ VPN router.
Will the VPN service work with my Playstation, XBOX, Roku, or Apple TV, etc.?
If you need to plug in a device that does not have a VPN client, such as a Playstation, XBOX, Roku, or Apple TV you should look at our CloakBox™ VPN router. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions.
Where are your VPN service gateways located? Do you issue IP addresses in other countries?
Yes. WiTopia currently offers VPN service and IP addresses in:
Long Beach, CA
New York Metro – Newark
New York Metro – New York
Washington, DC – Ashburn
Washington, DC – Herndon
Rio De Janeiro
ASIA and AUSTRALIA
Do you offer alternate ports in case the usual VPN ports are blocked?
Yes. personalVPN Pro™ users have access to openVPN, which has almost limitless options we can help you with to get through most any blocks. The basic personalVPN™ service is no slouch, though, as it has PPTP, L2TP/IPsec, and IPsec options. The issue is, they operate on standard ports only so they are easier to block. If you believe you will find yourself in a situation or location with “extra” blocking, definitely purchase the personalVPN Pro™ service so you have the full arsenal.
What if I try it and just don’t like it?
Not a problem. We’ll unconditionally refund 100% of your money for the personalVPN™ or personalVPN Pro™ services within 30 days of purchase except the monthly plan, which is “cancel anytime.” In other words, monthly subscribers may cancel at anytime and all future billing will cease. Everyone else, just let us know within 30 days that it wasn’t for you and we’ll refund your money. We may ask you why you’re leaving us to ensure it isn’t a simple configuration change or some misunderstanding, but you don’t have to give us a reason if you don’t want to.