Why do Some Companies Want to Block VPNs?

Companies block VPNsIn the old days, Hollywood movies were shown in US theaters using celluloid film stored in flat metal cans. Back then, these copies of movies were expensive to make and distribute so they would be used over and over again and passed from one theater to the next. The fancy theaters in big cities got the brand new cans first and then weeks later passed them on to theaters in smaller cities. Many months later (sometimes years later), the well-worn movie cans finally ended up in small towns and sometimes overseas.

CactusVPN unblocks TVCatchup via Smart DNS

Unblock TVCatchupWe are proud to announce we have been able to successfully unblock the online UK Freeview streaming site TVCatchup so you can now access with Smart DNS. This website is fantastic and is available on a wide array of devices from PC to mobile. So you have a way to watch TV at all times if you are one of those that likes to watch it on the go.

CactusVPN unblocks sites on Amazon Fire TV

Unblock Amazon Fire TVWe are happy to announce that we have added support for Amazon Fire TV to our Smart DNS service. We have unlocked quite the list of services to use with your Fire TV; these include the likes of Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Video, HBO GO, ESPN, E4 and many more. You can see the whole list on the unblocked websites page.

CactusVPN Giveaway March 2015

Update! March 24, 2015. This giveaway has ended. The winners are announced.

giveawayCan you believe it is March already? Doesn’t feel all that long ago that it was Christmas time but we have seen a nice upturn in the weather (still cold mind…). Just as sure as you can be that it gets hot in the summer we here at CactusVPN have another giveaway for you delightful souls this month and as always we have to offer you a full three months free of our premium VPN and Smart DNS package with absolutely no restrictions whatsoever, quite the delectable prize I am sure you would all agree.

Samsung is spying on you

Samsung SpyingSometimes I feel the notion of a “Big Brother” type figure is overplayed but it seems every day there comes more and more news that reaffirms my fears for where exactly everything is going and it does seem a police state is the logical conclusion.

CactusVPN Keeps You Safe. VOIP Over VPN.

VOIP Over VPNPeople with mobile phones should be nervous. Recent news tells us that most cell phone SIM cards have been hacked!

This means that governments and bad people can listen in on all your voice conversations and Internet activity in real time. This is a total invasion of your privacy.

New UK VPN server

UK VPNWe have some great news for our customers and that is that we have opened another server in London, UK! This should hopefully help share the load more evenly and may net you even a better experience than the current UK servers we have.

Internet censorship across the globe (part 2)

Internet censorshipDisclaimer: This is a guest post written by one of our users.

A while ago I wrote an article that detailed some of the internet censorship that happens across the world and now I am going to continue on and describe some more. I am writing this “series” of articles as an attempt to open some people’s eyes to the extent of censorship that goes on throughout the world, especially to what now are probably the minority living in countries that don’t try and control the internet.

CactusVPN Giveaway February 2015

Update! March 2, 2015. This giveaway has ended. The winners are announced.

giveawayIts giveaway time of the month again and as always we are going to be giving away a full three months free of our premium VPN and Smart DNS package for some very lucky people to get their hands on. You will be getting full access to all that CactusVPN has to offer so if you have been thinking of trying us out why not enter and try your luck.

How to stem the piracy tide (part 2)

VPN providerIn the last article I described in detail where exactly I feel companies are getting it all wrong and are losing out to piracy, now I will share what I feel is the solution.

Now we come to what I consider the strangest part of the whole fiasco and that is geo-blocking potential PAYING customers in pursuit of… more money. Its paradox at its finest, due to various contract agreements, licensing and local statutes that have to be adhered by (like age ratings for example), you could maybe start to understand the reasons why.

How to stem the piracy tide

VPN ServicesThis past year leading up to today has been a time for the discussion of internet file sharing (or piracy). As the internet continues to grow exponentially and slowly the mantra “there are no oceans on the internet” starts to become more and more true, companies and governments are looking to stop this progress and segregate us all, all in the pursuit of money which, as I will now explain, is the height of irony.

CactusVPN upgraded all servers to Softether Perfect Forward Secrecy

SoftEther VPN ProtocolCactusVPN’s Softether servers now support Perfect Forward Secrecy (PFS). PFS encryption is better because encryption keys change every time you start a VPN session (ephemeral encryption). So even if an attacker was to ‘crack’ one VPN session (steel the encryption keys) that information would not help them decrypt any past or future VPN sessions. PFS is the strongest encryption practice available.

50% OFF for VPN for Valentine’s Day

Update! February 16, 2015. This promotion has ended.

50% OFF for VPN for Valentine's DayI’m sure most of you are aware that very soon Valentines will be here, now for some Valentines is a great day to spend with their other half, for others it can be a rather lonely day but no matter what Valentine’s Day means to you we here at CactusVPN will hopefully make it a good one.

New VPN servers in Netherlands and Romania

New VPN servers in Netherlands and RomaniaOur first Romanian VPN server was a success so we present you the second one – Bucharest2. It is as good as the Bucharest server. Additionally we’ve replaced three Netherlands server: Amsterdam, Amsterdam 3 and Amsterdam 4 with two brand new 1 Gbit servers also in Amsterdam. So, before this there were 5 servers in Netherlands plus one in Romania and now we have four servers in Netherlands and two in Romania.

Why some logging is necessary

VPNLogging is very dirty word to use when speaking about services used for anonymity purposes and rightly so may I add but I think there is a fundamental misunderstanding about logging that needs to be looked at.

We here at CactusVPN out rightly state that we only keep connection logs for up to three days and that these logs hold absolutely no sensitive information but alas some people see that there is logging taking place and dismiss such a service altogether. Connection logs are information about your connection time and do not contain anything about your traffic history.

Using a VPN won’t cripple your speed

VPN SpeedThe number one “myth” of VPN usage is that it radically hampers your bandwidth. Now depending on what provider you use that may actually be the case but if you take the time to choose one with fantastic speeds in a variety of countries you may well find your bandwidth doesn’t take that much of a hit. Now I should leave a disclaimer that there will always be at least a little speed loss but this is to be expected due to the extra step your data has to take, for the benefits you receive though I would say losing 1 or 2 Mbps isn’t that big of a deal.

WebRTC security leak

WebRTC security leakYou may have heard the news over the past few days over the security flaw that meant VPN users IP addresses have been leaked. On the surface it can be a relatively worrying thing, of course you want your VPN to do your job. Don’t fret though, it really isn’t as big of a problem as it is made out to be and there are some relatively easy fix.

CactusVPN 3rd Birthday!

Update! February 6, 2015. This promotion has ended.

CactusVPN BirthdayThe start of this month is a rather important one for us here at CactusVPN, why I hear you ask? Well it is our third birthday and of course everyone is invited. The service has certainly evolved over the years, always keeping in line with where internet security was and is going, especially with the various revelations over the past few years of various government institutions spying on citizens as they browse the internet.

Why VPNs will soon become (more) commonplace

The news for the past couple of years, last year in particular, has been absolutely inundated with various revelations of our governments spying on us whilst we use the internet. Perhaps its not all that surprising. I think we all kind of have an inkling that this is probably the case but to see the evidence laid out in front of you it paints a whole new picture. One of complete disrespect for pretty much anyone that uses the internet because institutions like the NSA are watching pretty much every single one of us (or at least have the power to do so) as we go about our business on the internet. I don’t know about you but that doesn’t sit quite right with me.

CactusVPN app for iOS

CactusVPN iOS appWorld is very mobile nowadays. And your phone requires security not less than your computer. We were working on the iOS app for more than half a year already. There were a lot of problems to solve but we have finally released the CactusVPN app for iOS.

Using a VPN when shopping online

Secure Online ShoppingOf course here at CactusVPN we recommend you use a VPN all of the time, it’s a logical decision when you take into account the amount of things that can go wrong. If you don’t take the correct precautions when using the internet, its very simple to think that things like “hackers” spying on what you do on the internet will never happen to you. But nowadays it is a relatively simple process for those that really want access to your information. To combat this though it is also relatively simple to block anyone from seeing what you do on the internet and of course that way is with a VPN (combined with the correct protocol).

CactusVPN Giveaway January 2015

Update! January 26, 2015. This giveaway has ended. The winners are announced.

giveawayDecember has come and gone and now we start a new year bright eyed and bushy tailed. For some new year is a way to put what has come in the past year and put it behind them for others its an excuse to drink a little bit more than they used to. Whatever you wanted to do on New Years we at CactusVPN would like to hope you got to do it and had a good night. To start the year off right though we need a giveaway and this month is no exception as well are giving away 3 free months of both our VPN and Smart DNS services for you to play with.

Why using a VPN for gaming is a good idea

Using a VPN for gamingThose of us that play games online will know that keeping latency to a minimum is an absolute must. If you are going to be able compete efficiently you don’t want to be “rubberbanding” every time you try and play online, you simply wont be able to keep up and this can leave and has left many people very frustrated. So when it comes to using a VPN for gaming you may be thinking that using one will only introduce another step in the connection and therefore slowing you down and introducing latency problems. Of course to a certain extent that is correct when you use a VPN for playing online but believe it or not with CactusVPN, I have only seen a 10-15 ms increase in my ping (this value can be lower or higher depending on server choice etc.) and whilst playing online I felt no noticeable lag (other than my complete ineptitude with games sometimes). Are there any benefits from playing online with a VPN though? Indeed there are.

Internet censorship across the globe

Internet censorshipDisclaimer: This is a guest post written by one of our users.

As of late we have had a seemingly endless stream of news of various companies and government trying to censor the internet. Whether it be various torrent sites or websites that simply disagree with the status quo, nothing seems to be safe anymore unless you toe the line, which is sad because at the best of times the internet is a place where we can meet other people and experience different points of view that we never would have the chance to in real life.

DNS Hijacking

Smart DNSDNS hijacking can play a major role in ruining your chances of using our VPN or Smart DNS services and I wanted to write about why exactly ISP’s use it and what exactly it is.

First we have to understand what a DNS server does and it is a relatively easy explanation. A DNS server simply takes a domain name and matches it to the IP address that contains the website you are trying to access. This works very well as a DNS server brought you this article you are reading right now but as with most things if we introduce a middle man and we start to have trouble, this middle man is DNS hijacking.

SoftEther – Almost one year on; how is it progressing?

SoftEther VPN ProtocolAt the start of the year we announced that we are proud to support a brand new VPN protocol – SoftEther. Obviously at that time it was very much in its infancy and hadn’t really had the time to gain an invested community like that of OpenVPN. These things obviously take time to manifest and I am here just to offer a kind of year review of SoftEther and report on where it is today in the grand scheme of things.

80% Discounts for VPN and Smart DNS Services for Christmas

Update! January 1, 2015. This promotion has ended.

Christmas 2014Christmas is fast approaching and to help you get into the Christmas spirit we have decided to introduce some holiday discounts so that you can stay toasty at home comfortable in the knowledge that when you use the internet you are safe from all of the Grinches out there trying to ruin your Christmas fun.

We have decided to offer a massive 80% OFF of our monthly billing cycles (for the first month) and up to 54% OFF on the other payment plans we offer, meaning there is little excuse to not be using a VPN and/or Smart DNS in this merry (cold) month of December.

Germany added to our Smart DNS map

Unblock German WebsitesWe at CactusVPN are constantly trying to improve the service we offer to our customers, so we are proud to announce we have started unblocking German websites with Smart DNS.

OpenVPN on Android devices

OpenVPN on AndroidSmartphones nowadays are ubiquitous, they are simply everywhere, for better or worse that is up to you but pretty much everybody has one. With the rise of smartphones and the fact people are using mobile internet all the time it is pretty important that you use a VPN to make sure you maintain your privacy whilst you browse the internet so we would like to announce we fully support OpenVPN on Android.

CactusVPN Giveaway December 2014

Update! December 15, 2014. This giveaway has ended. The winners are announced.

giveawayIt’s that time of year again when the snow starts to fall (depending on what hemisphere you reside) and it starts to get a bit nippy outside. Christmas is a time for giving and we at CactusVPN would like to give you an early Christmas present. We will be giving away 3 free full months of our VPN and Smart DNS services for you to use until you are blue in the face.

What does CactusVPN know about you?

VPNThe past couple of years have been huge in regards to people’s privacy when they are using the internet, with huge revelations seemingly coming from many different places. This has rose awareness of being secure online tenfold; sadly that reach isn’t as far as it really should give the fact that people don’t seem to realise that their governments can/are spying on them at any moment they wish. It only seems to be getting worse too, yesterday it was announced that police in the UK can legally force ISP’s to give over customers personal information, this bill was pass under the usual guise of ‘national security’. They don’t want to stop there though and are looking to pass even more power over to the police, leaving citizens with little privacy because everyone is a terrorist and/or pedophile.

CactusVPN Software VS manual VPN setup

VPN SoftwareDisclaimer: This is a review from one of our users.

Setting up a VPN connection has never been easier; many providers nowadays offer their own software so you can connect to servers hassle free, of course CactusVPN has it’s own software too. The software is perfect for those of us that aren’t all that well versed in networking and just want to have a secure internet connection, though it may leave the more advanced users a little wanting. I figured I would do a little investigating and find out what the pros and cons are of using either our own software or Windows native networking utility (for PPTP, L2TP and SSTP)/ OpenVPN.

80% VPN discount for Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Update! December 4, 2014. This promotion has ended.

Thanksgiving 2014Around Thanksgiving time lots of prices are slashed in preparation for the start of the Christmas shopping season and of course here at CactusVPN we are no different and will be offering a very steep discount on your first monthly billing cycle, at 80% OFF if you are looking to jump in and try our services now is a great time. We will also be offering up to 54% OFF on the three other forms of billing cycles. This is one of the biggest discounts we have ever given making this is a fantastic occasion to give VPN a try.

Two new VPN servers on our network

New US and UK VPN serversWe have some exciting news now for our customers, we are happy to announce we have two brand spanking new servers for you guys to use.

Firstly we have another server in Kansas City, USA (dubbed Kansas City 2), great news for those of you that use the US servers. The second new server we are adding is in London, UK (dubbed London 4). Of course these servers will support all five of the protocols we offer (PPTP, L2TP, SSTP, OpenVPN and SoftEther). A great news for the US server is that this server is not blocked by Hulu. As you know, Hulu decided to block almost all VPN providers, but this server still unblocks the site.

CactusVPN Giveaway November 2014

Update! November 24, 2014. This giveaway has ended. The winners are announced.

giveawayAnother month means another giveaway for you lucky people. You stand the chance of winning a full 3 free months of the biggest package we offer, so you get 3 free full months of both our VPN and Smart DNS services for you to play with to your heart’s content.

How to auto start OpenVPN GUI on Windows

OpenVPNWhilst we offer our own program that you can use to connect to any of the protocols we offer (not SoftEther yet unfortunately) the beauty of VPN’s are the choices that you have in order to tailor your experience to the way you want it to be. There are many of us (including myself) that are happy with what OpenVPN has to offer and would like to automate an OpenVPN connection on their PC’s and I am here to tell you how to do just that.

An expat’s experience with VPN and Smart DNS

VPN ServicesThere are around 2.3 million EU citizens living in the UK, this is countered by the fact that around 2 million Brits have made the move abroad to one of the EU countries. I myself am one of these, moving from England to Germany. It can be pretty tough integrating into a new country and it can be hard to not miss some things about your homeland, mostly the small things are what you notice most. In my case I found not having access to the BBC rather odd as it has always been my go to, whether on TV or BBC Sport on the internet. Normally when I turn on a TV at home it is straight to BBC one but not anymore and it can be jarring.

CactusVPN Halloween discount

Update! November 4, 2014. This promotion has ended.

Halloween VPN DiscountWe here at CactusVPN love Halloween and have decided to celebrate the coming of the Hallowed Eve by offering up to 53% for new customers. This means that when the Hallowed Eve finally comes a knocking you will be well prepared because you will be able to stream your favourite horror films and spooky music without having to worry about the geolocking bogeyman coming to ruin your fun.

Common VPN problems

VPN ProblemsNormally VPNs are relatively simple to set up, as long as you enter the correct information where it is needed everything usually goes without a hitch. Though as with most things in computing sometimes it just doesn’t want to work. We have all had that moment where just sit there pondering why it just won’t work even though everything is configured correctly after hours of trying to fix a problem. From experience I know it can be pain going from website to website looking for a solution to your problem, so for the sake of convenience I am going round up all of the most common issues you can run into when setting up a VPN and post the solutions.

CactusVPN Giveaway October 2014

Update! October 29, 2014. This giveaway has ended. The winners are announced.

giveawayEach month we bring you one of the best giveaways on the market – CactusVPN giveaway. This is the easiest way to have a free VPN and Smart DNS account.

Did you ever try our service before? If no, don’t wait, just subscribe to our free trial packages and you will love them so much! During the next week you can get them for free. Don’t wait – participate! And share the news to your friends as we’ll, they will be thankful.

Dynamic DNS (DDNS) to help your Smart DNS service

Smart-DNSDid you notice that your IP changes every few months, weeks or maybe even each time you connect to your home WiFi? That’s because your ISP gave you a dynamic IP address. In most cases it’s not a problem, but when you need to connect to your computer through remote desktop or FTP it can become a big pain in the ass. But the reason why you’re going to start hating your ISP is the fact that with dynamic IP it’s really hard to use Smart DNS technology. It’s not a big problem if you use our software for Windows or MacOS as we use automatic IP update on each connection and you can even set it to update every 5 minutes.

VPN and public WiFi

VPN and WiFIA lot of places offer free Wi-Fi today; it is most commonly seen in restaurants and cafés and can become quite the selling point for these establishments. Seeing as we all pretty much use our phones when we are out and about, many will go to a particular restaurant over another just because of internet connectivity. What many do not realize though is that public Wi-Fi is extremely insecure. This makes harvesting information extremely easy for criminals. Not only, that there is readily available freeware out there can make short work of public Wi-Fi and easily intercept all important data, like logins and bank numbers. This means that anybody with a tiny bit of research can easily obtain your sensitive data when you use public Wi-Fi with no security measures.

Unblock more sites with Smart DNS technology

Unblocked Websites with Smart DNSOur Smart DNS service continues to evolve with more and more websites being added all the time and today we are ready to add some to our service for all of our customers to use.

VPN and torrents

torrent VPNTorrents are a great way to share files all across the globe. There is no reliance on a company to keep a service running and there is no bandwidth throttling (varies from ISP to ISP). This really worked wonders for those looking to share open source software that had a large file size. Linux distributions really thrived in the torrent environment because it meant there was no need to maintain a server to distribute the OS because the end user would do it completely for free and usually at a much faster speed. Recently new music acts have been using the might of torrenting to get their music out there to as many people as possible and it has been working rather effectively.

Smart DNS on smartphone

Smartphone Smart DNSAll of us today have some sort of internet capable device on our person, whether it be a smartphone or a portable games console. One reason for the surge in popularity is the fact that our media is easily and readily accessible with these gadgets. This makes it doubly important that we you make sure you can access whatever you want, whenever you want and with geo-locking becoming increasingly common on media websites due to various legal reasons it is important you have a way to bypass these consumer unfriendly practices. In an ideal world the paying customer won’t have to jump through hoops to watch something they have paid for. Someone that lives in another country shouldn’t have to pay more for an inferior product due to big companies trying to negotiate for more zeros on a contract. Thankfully there is a solution for this nonsense problem.

Shellshock vulnerability fixed

VPNA new zero day bug called Shellshock, not too unlike Heartbleed in concept, has been discovered. It is said to have infected around half of all websites on the internet and countless more internet capable devices, from routers to smartphones and many more.

Whilst Heartbleed was relatively difficult to use when exploiting Shellshock does not suffer from this problem. All it takes is a couple of lines of code and the user can gain access to a mass of the world’s PCs.

“Bring a friend” promotion got even better

Free Services PromotionIf you are one of our customers, then you are a lucky guy! We don’t ask you to become a leprechaun but you could spread your luck among your friends. Tell them about your CactusVPN experience and we’ll reward both of you with one month of service for free. It will be very easy to convince them after our free trial.