CactusVPN Blog
Security experts offer you their knowledge about VPN, online anonymity, privacy, security, Smart DNS and unblocking websites. You will also find the latest news and promotions that we run here at CactusVPN.

CactusVPN Windows and macOS apps have been updated

CactusVPN Software 5

We are always working on our desktop CactusVPN apps and today we have a new update out for the Windows and macOS variants.

Changes to both the Windows and macOS include a completely redesigned user interface to make it easier to navigate, general code improvements to both versions, our macOS app now can remember the last used VPN server and improved Notifications and Updates features.
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Most Free Android VPN apps proven to be malicious

Hide IP on Android

Dear friends. There’s a serious and troubling topic we want to approach in this article. It seems that, until recently, a lot of VPN users were tricked in to use malicious Android VPN apps. This matter is even more concerning as it puts a bad reputation to VPN services in general, even though many of them deliver quality services. The good news is that CactusVPN, will stand by you, like always, with reliable services that you can definitely trust. And that’s why we think it’s important to tell you more about this scandal and to clear things out in the name of our well deserved good reputation.
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China bans local VPN providers

China

You might have heard these days that China bans VPN providers. Well, only the ones that are not approved by the government, so practically it’s true. China just made another move against online privacy and free browsing by starting a 14 month national campaign against unauthorized internet connections, including VPN providers, only Chinese for now. This is yet another attempt to strengthen the Great Firewall of China which is designed to ensure control and censorship over the Chinese Internet.
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Google Wi-Fi Assistant and Google VPN

Google VPN

Google Wi-Fi Assistant and Google VPN represent a hot topic these days. The news is that Google is spoiling Nexus and Pixel smartphone owners with an important dedicated new and free feature. A Wi-Fi assistant with a built in Google VPN that automatically connects you to safe and reliable Wi-Fi networks. For now, the feature is only available in a few countries, but it got our attention enough to tell you all the details about it.
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Apple removes support for PPTP VPN on iOS 10 and macOS Sierra

PPTP VPN on iIS

As part of preparing for the release of iOS 10 and macOS Sierra, Apple publicly announced back in July that they are removing PPTP support from Apple’s integrated VPN client owing to a number of security vulnerabilities in the VPN protocol. MacOS Sierra and iOS 10 users will forgo the option of PPTP VPN on iOS once they upgrade. This means users will be unable to create a manual connection with PPTP protocol.
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China’s New Cybersecurity Law

China

China has introduced a new cybersecurity law which has taken the world by surprise. Critics are claiming it will worsen the surveillance and censorship scenario within the country. The law could even drive a few foreign companies out of China.

The law was passed by China’s parliament, the National People’s Congress, last week. Even though a number of the rules stipulated are already in use, it formalizes them by sending a blunt message to Chinese citizens and businesses.
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Opera VPN – more a Proxy than a VPN

Opera VPN

In its latest developer edition, Opera Software recently introduced its browser VPN, or you can just call it a VPN depending on the source you download the web application from. You can activate the Opera VPN quite simply; all you have to do is open your browser’s configuration settings and check the box labeled ‘VPN’.
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Hardware that can enhance VPN and Smart DNS experience

Enhance VPN

Not everything in the home is VPN friendly, you will usually find that your ISP’s router that they supply you with doesn’t even know what a VPN is, less so that you would want to use one. Thankfully usually with any router setting up Smart DNS can be a simple affair just with simple address changes but there are always ways to make the process easier and I intend to list some hardware here that can enhance VPN and Smart DNS experience.
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Which governments are pushing for the ban of VPN?

Ban VPN

Recently it feels as though we are seeing a lot more news on various governments around the world pushing for the ban of VPN, all citing various reasons but all with a similar goal, to be able to keep an eye on anybody they see fit whilst they privately browse the internet. Where exactly in the world are they trying to push such an agenda? Well I plan on answering that here, it may even be the country you live in, sneakily trying to push such a law through.
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Proof of government spying on their citizens

Government spying

It may seem like as you can’t really see the government spying on you, you’d be mistaken for thinking everyone is just a little paranoid. Stay vigilant though as we have some bona fide proof coming from The Intercept and more specifically this document that was obtained.
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Do the media spread lies about VPN?

VPN

VPN unfairly get a lot of flak sometimes, sometimes out of ignorance, others with a more aggressive agenda. This leaves us with the question of do the media spread lies about VPN? I would believe the answer is yes.
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Secure Chromecast in several easy steps

Secure Chromecast

With the recent release of the Chromecast 2 by Google, I thought it would be important to go over how exactly to keep it secure. It is worth noting the Chromecast really isn’t all that safe, there are some measures you have to take outside of the Chromecast itself to make sure to secure Chromecast and isn’t letting anyone get in to your home network.
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Does the VPN have an image issue in today’s world?

VPN

Anybody with any tech sense would tell you using a VPN is pretty much a necessity in our day and age, with the constant snooping that goes on seemingly left, right and centre. You would think with the many revelations of these facts that VPNs would be popular in the mainstream but it isn’t quite there yet, so I am asking does the VPN have an image issue in today’s world.
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How to test if you have a secure VPN provider

Secure VPN

It is important to make sure you are 100% sure that your VPN connection is keeping you private and you have a secure VPN provider. You can just presume that once it is connected that is that and you can go off willy-nilly and do whatever it is you please. There are occasions where something may have gone wrong. I have taken sometime to compile a list of some easy things you can do to test certain aspects of your VPN connection.
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What is the problem with free VPN providers?

Free VPN service providers: good or evil?

Offering a free VPN service is an honourable task. VPNs should be an essential part of everyone’s web browsing experience. A lot of the time though the old saying “You get what you pay for” rings true when it comes to free VPN services, but what is the problem with free VPN providers exactly?
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I don’t mind if the government spies on me… REALLY?!

Government spies

I hear all the time from people when I mention that using a VPN on the internet is a very important thing to use nowadays, not only security wise but to keep what you do online private. The response I usually hear from people is something along the lines of ‘I don’t mind if the government spies on me; I have nothing to hide’. I never understood this line of thinking, I tried very hard to come around to this way of thinking but to me it’s just foreign. Tackling the indifference to government snooping on the internet is important and must be done.
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Common VPN misconceptions Part 2

VPN Services

I think dispelling common VPN misconceptions is a very important job nowadays that is relatively easy to fulfil. I have already written a previous article on this. I find myself having to correct people all the time when it comes to staying secure online. I know many people that think just using an Anti-virus is enough to keep you secure on the internet; it is this sort of ignorance (I don’t mean that in a harsh way) that can get people into a lot of unneeded bother.
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My Experience with SoftEther

SoftEther VPN Protocol

CactusVPN recently have been working on improving what they give their customers by upgrading to gigabit servers to help accommodate those that can take advantage of such speeds. I am one of these people. I have a 200 Mbps down and 10 Mbps up in my house and I had noticed that when I use a VPN my speeds were being crippled hugely because the servers physically didn’t have the bandwidth to keep up with what I have available here. With the introduction of these gigabit servers I have been able to use a VPN without sacrificing a huge amount of my bandwidth which is much appreciated. I wanted to detail my experience with SoftEther as I finally decided to ditch OpenVPN for it and I have been really pleasantly surprised.
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What are some common VPN misconceptions?

VPN Services

There are some consistent VPN misconceptions and I hope to extinguish this misinformation so you have no apprehensions about using a VPN. Nowadays using a VPN online is doubly important, we have all heard and read things in the news about whistleblowing, spying and the like. If you decide not to stay secure and use a VPN whilst online despite knowing this information then be it on your own head.
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DD-WRT – VPN’s best friend

Enhance VPN

Installing DD-WRT on a compatible router will increase functionality for free. DD-WRT has been around for a while now, it is essentially different firmware for your router. The beauty of DD-WRT is the freedom of choice you get but only if your router is shown on this list. It is also worth noting that if you flash DD-WRT incorrectly you may brick your router, the instructions are simple to follow though so I wouldn’t worry too much just be careful.
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New 1 Gbit fast server in UK, London

UK VPN

CactusVPN continues to upgrade all servers to 1gbps. Today is the time to change our first server in UK: UK, London VPN server. You can use the new VPN server right now if you use CactusVPN software or manual configuration with hostnames instead of IP. In case you use manual configuration with IPs you just have to change to new IP in the VPN connection. The information about our servers and other useful information can be found in Client Area, under Package details section. OpenVPN users should also download new OpenVPN config files.
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Why is crucial to use VPN abroad

VPN Abroad

It is becoming more and more common for hotels and the like to offer Wi-Fi services for their tenants that means VPN abroad are crucial.

I think the reasoning is pretty simple to using a VPN when you are abroad. I think you should always adhere to a simple rule of thumb. Is it your own home internet connection? If not then you should pretty much always be using a VPN (really you should be using a VPN 24/7 no matter where you are connected but that isn’t for everyone).
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VPN Split Tunnelling – What and Why?

VPN Services

VPN Split Tunnelling I think is a relatively straight forward concept but the implementation can be somewhat baffling but I am here to describe what exactly it is and why it could be beneficial to you.

We of course start first with explaining what exactly VPN Split Tunnelling is. I think you can probably work out what it is just by looking at the name. It literally just means having two different connections for different things, hence the term split. Your traffic is split between two different networks, simple as.
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Unlock games earlier with VPN

Unlock Games

I’m not sure how many of our customers here are gamers but I would wager quite a fair few. I am one myself and have been for as long as I can remember. Another thing that has plagued me for as long as I can remember is Europe getting the short end of the stick when it comes to release dates on many games. I understand the concept behind releasing games on a Friday here in the UK, that’s when the majority of the country get their wages. I can’t help but feel in this lovely digital world we live in, staggered release dates are something of an antiquity and I feel like I really need a tool to unlock games so I could play all the weekend.
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Unblock music with VPN

Unblock Music

As all media looks to be moving to streaming due to its instantaneous nature, more and more blockades are put up so that some people are left with an inferior service just due to where they live and usually for the same price as their unneutered counterparts. It is really not fair on the consumer and obviously as a consumer myself I am not okay with that. Luckily we have ways to bypass these restrictions.
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Why do Some Companies Want to Block VPNs?

Companies block VPNs

In 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.
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Samsung is spying on you

Samsung Spying

Sometimes 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.
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CactusVPN Keeps You Safe. VOIP Over VPN.

Encrypt VoIP

People 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.
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Internet censorship across the globe (part 2)

Internet censorship

Disclaimer: 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.
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How to stem the piracy tide (part 2)

VPN

In 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. Continue reading

How to stem the piracy tide

VPN Services

This 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.
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Using a VPN won’t cripple your speed

vpn slow down internet

The 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.
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Why VPNs will soon become (more) commonplace

VPN

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.
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Using a VPN when shopping online

Secure Online Shopping

Of 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).
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Why using VPN for gaming is a good idea

VPN for gaming

Those 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 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.
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Internet censorship across the globe

Internet censorship

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

SoftEther VPN Protocol

At 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.
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CactusVPN Software VS manual VPN setup

VPN Services

Disclaimer: 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.
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An expat’s experience with VPN and Smart DNS

VPN Services

There 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.
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Common VPN problems

VPN

Normally 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.
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VPN and public WiFi

VPN on WiFi

A 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.
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Download torrents anonymously using VPN from CactusVPN

Download torrents anonymously

Downloading files via torrents is arguably the best file sharing option currently available. This is because it offers incredible benefits in terms of high download speeds without compromising on quality. However, increased calls for implementation of internet anti-piracy and anti-plagiarism regulations has partly resulted in the emergence of dubious internet policing agencies known for their nefarious ad hoc swarms to net copyright culprits. It is situations like these that have necessitated torrent users to search for ways to download torrents anonymously.
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VOIP over VPN

Encrypt VoIP

VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) has seen a massive surge in popularity recently, with programs like Skype becoming really popular over the more traditional landline options that once ruled the land. VoIP services are normally free so it seems like a no-brainer to abandon your dedicated landline and to just use the internet for your communication needs, not to mention the major addition of video you get with many VoIP services. Being able to see family or friends that live in another country is invaluable.
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Balancing Speed and security – VPN and Smart DNS comparison

Smart DNS vs VPN

VPN’s have been around for a rather long time now have been a great way to protect your identity and to also help people circumvent regional restrictions (especially in countries with heavy censorship laws like China). Lately though a technology called Smart DNS has become widely available that does some of what VPN can do without the impact on speed, this makes Smart DNS perfect for bypassing region locked websites.
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Security of VPN protocols

VPN Protocols

VPN’s are known for the amount of security and privacy they bring to your online activities. This has never been more important than now due to the recent revelations of governments spying on their citizens, not to mention “hackers” in general are becoming more sophisticated and organised by the day.

VPN’s though depending on which protocol you choose all have different forms of security. I am going to describe which ones are the safest for your needs.
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Main advantages and disadvantages of VPN protocols

Advantages and disadvantages of VPN protocols

Getting started with a VPN service leaves you with some questions, mainly what VPN protocol to use. Well sadly there is no universal standard for everyone as needs differ from person to person. One individual may value privacy over speed and another may want speed to take priority. It can be a little confusing at first when taking into account all of the acronyms at use but with some simple research it should all begin to make sense. Luckily there should be a protocol out there that offers exactly what you need with little compromise. Let’s see what are the main advantages and disadvantages of VPN protocols.
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What is SoftEther VPN protocol

SoftEther VPN Protocol

Previously there were 4 VPN protocols to choose from when looking at VPN providers – L2TP, PPTP, SSTP and OpenVPN but a little while ago, after the result of over 10 years work from a select few at Tsukuba University in Japan, SoftEther was born and is set to explode in popularity.

So what exactly does SoftEther give us over the other protocols? Well for one SoftEther VPN protocol brings us a much higher speed and a whole new layer of security.
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When would you want to use SoftEther VPN protocol?

SoftEther VPN Protocol

SoftEther VPN protocol is an open source SSL/TLS alternative to OpenVPN and also the SSTP-based VPN protocol from Microsoft. It offers very high-speed and low-latency client access with low processor overhead. The VPN tunnels that are created by the SoftEther are highly secure so that there is very little risk of information becoming vulnerable. The main advantages of the SoftEther VPN protocol are the high speed and a new level of security.
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Why does Google captcha appear while using a VPN?

Google Captcha

Many people are often concerned about an issue with regard to Google Captcha when they use a VPN. The reason is that this has happened on a regular basis for many users. If you are worried about maintaining your anonymity and protecting your identity online, here is what you need to know about this Google Captcha if you have seen it while searching for content on Google.
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How to Use A VPN to Save on Airfare

How to Use A VPN to Save on Airfare

Every year people spend thousands of dollars on air travel flight tickets. These travelers are made up of individuals that are just looking to take a quick vacation as well as businesses with thousands of employees. A lot of time is spent figuring out just which flight will work best as well as making sure that the associated costs are affordable.

Have you ever searched for pricing for a flight and have noticed that the price seems higher every time you search for this particular flight. Occasionally, you may see that there is only a few seats left on that particular flight which causes you to book it right away. Despite, the fact that the flight is now $100 more than the first time you searched for the information, the costs may continue to increase.
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