OSX server VPN - same as paid VPN?

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by eyup, May 24, 2017.

  1. eyup macrumors regular

    eyup

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2006
    Location:
    UK
    #1
    Yo all,

    For some reason i can't find the answer to this...

    I set set up a local VPN using this guide:
    http://lifehacker.com/turn-an-old-mac-into-a-cheap-vpn-with-os-x-server-1743411938

    Set it up on my macbook

    Used a Dynamic DNS at FreeDNS.

    Main machine is a hackintosh desktop jobby.

    So the question is - can I browse the web and download torrents etc anonymously, like if I'd paid for a VPN with windscribe or purevpn ?

    ?

    does a 'local VPN' hide IP's if traffic is routed through it? maybe?

    I dunno - info req...
     
  2. Erdbeertorte macrumors demi-goddess

    Joined:
    May 20, 2015
    #2
    Hey,

    I don't think this might work like you think. The IP address of your main computer gets hidden by that, but not the one from the MacBook where the VPN is set up or the main one from your Internet provider.

    But I am no expert. To test it you could search for websites that show your IP address and location like speed tests for example.
     
  3. Andy2k macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2015
    #3
    Not if you're file sharing. You're still using your ISP's IP address and DNS resolvers. So if someone were to have a problem with the file you're sharing, ultimately the computer sharing the file still has your unique public IP address that can be traced directly back to you.

     
  4. cruisin macrumors 6502a

    cruisin

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2014
    Location:
    Canada
    #4
    Imagine a VPN connection as a pipe. It only hides traffic as it travels in the pipe (server to client). It does nothing for the traffic as it leaves the VPN server and continues to the destination.

    The paid VPN will make a long pipe from you, though your ISP, and to their server. Essentially the ISP will not see anything, other then traffic to a remote VPN server.

    Your VPN will be a very short pipe and since it ends before it goes though your ISP, your ISP will still see everything. You will essentially be hiding data from the users on your network, but not from your ISP.
     
  5. eyup thread starter macrumors regular

    eyup

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2006
    Location:
    UK
    #5
    ah haa - thought as much - cheers all
     
  6. Andy2k macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2015
    #6
    It would work if you were on open wifi somewhere just surfing. It would protect your traffic from passive eavesdropping. The only other kicker is your ISP speed. Your home ISP upload speed and latency would be your mobile download and latency. So unless you had any kind of speed it would be super SLOW.

     
  7. RMo macrumors 65816

    RMo

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2007
    Location:
    Iowa, USA
    #7
    To add to what others have said, crusin is really getting at the point here: when lay people say "VPN," they're usually talking about a (typically pay-for) VPN service that diverts their network traffic over a secure connection to another location for any of various purposes, whether enhanced security and privacy from the encrypted traffic, the ability to access resources that attempt to restrict based on IP geolocation, or similar. But there is another, more traditional use for a VPN, which is a way to securely tunnel from one network (say, your home network) to another (say, your work network) over a public network (almost always the Internet). This allows you to securely connect to resources that are otherwise not reachable from the Internet (at my workplace, that includes network drives as well as RDP access to on-premise computers).

    What OS X server is doing is basically something similar to the "work VPN" situation except that your home network (or wherever you have your server) would be the destination. If you're in public or elsewhere and want to reach something on your home network that is otherwise only available there (in my case, that's every computer and device on my network except my router since they're NATed--including some network file shares I have on my server), the VPN allows you to do so securely. So, as you can see, it definitely is quite different--your home network is the destination here (and likely your personal mobile devices are still the clients). All traffic that reaches your VPN server but needs to go back out to the Internet will be just as visible (or not) to your ISP, etc. as if you originated such requests from home without the VPN--its work is already done by the time the traffic from elsewhere gets to your home. :) Connecting through your home VPN when you're already at home wouldn't even matter by the time the traffic left your house.

    But since you have it set up, here's a potential use case. If you don't have resources at home that you care to access from outside your home (for which you can also use it), one thing you may find it useful for is securely browsing on public WiFi. You could set up the VPN server at home, then turn on the VPN client on your phone/tablet/etc. when, for whatever reason, you find yourself wanting to use public WiFi networks that either don't have a password (risky since everything is sent unencrypted unless you're using something like an HTTPS site that otherwise requires it) or have a shared password (less risky but still crackable). This will likely be a bit slow unless your home ISP has a fast upload speed, but it's likely to be more secure--basically everything would be done on your home network then sent securely back to your mobile device.
     

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