VPN is short for Virtual Private Network and you can find a lot of websites offering such services for a fee. VPNs work by protecting your online activities by encrypting data that flows in and out of your computer. There are many advantages when the data is encrypted such as your data cannot be stolen by eavesdroppers when you are connected to a public wi-fi hotspot, bypassing traffic shaping or deep packet inspection by your Internet Service Provider, surfing anonymously by hiding your true IP address, overcoming geo-restricted websites and bypassing censorship.
However an increasing concern with VPN providers is whether they maintain logs that record user activity and in the event of a server being seized or authorities demanding such logs from the VPN provider, a user’s activities can be identified, defeating the anonymity provided by a VPN. One high profile example in recent news when one of the largest VPN providers in the market, handed over potentially incriminating data to identify members of Anonymous/Lulzsec, a hacker group that allegedly broke into Sony’s PSN network. You can read more about it here…
As far as I know, BolehVPN which has been in operation since early 2007, a regionally well-known provider and is highly recommended in Wilders Security Forums doesn’t keep any logs that can identify users. I managed to arrange a quick interview with Reuben, one of the co-founders of BolehVPN and he assured me that the only logs kept are system logs to ensure the servers are running correctly but no user identifiable information IP addresses or connection information are retained. Of course this could be just lip service but I do believe him as in a few cases where there has been abuse of his services (in particular the changing of password to a shared account that is provided as a free gift), they were unable to trace who the culprit was since no logs were kept. Instead, they just reset the password, warned their users and where abuse was severe, simply denied access to the account for a while since it was a free gift that was not a core part of their offerings.
Their VPN implementation is also conscious of privacy as none of their VPN servers communicate with their central customer database and operate independently. This is important since it further ensures any customer details are not tied to the usage of a VPN server. Many other VPN providers instead rely on a central database login to authenticate to the VPN servers which is a potential privacy risk. BolehVPN’s login merely assists you to retrieve the relevant configuration files and once that is done. BolehVPN also accepts anonymous payment methods such as direct cash deposits and Liberty Reserve.
BolehVPN offers both OpenVPN and PPTP support but they highly recommend OpenVPN because of its security and efficiency. PPTP support is there only for use in devices that do not natively support OpenVPN and where security is not so much of a concern due to the vulnerabilities present in PPTP.
Usually, installing OpenVPN, downloading and extracting the key files may be a little confusing to non computer savvy users who wants privacy on the Internet, hence they have their own customized program called BolehVPN-GUI to automate this process and retrieve the appropriate configuration files automatically. This eliminates the need to manually add/edit the configuration files as you did with the OpenVPN-GUI client. I also understand they are working on a new version of the client and a Mac version as well which should be released in the next couple of months.
After installing BolehVPN-GUI, all you need to do is enter the username and password that is created after a successful payment into the program and it will prompt you to download the configuration files. Then you are presented with a selection of servers that you’d like to connect to from the drop down menu. The official BolehVPN-GUI installation help page contains information to help you understand the purpose of each configuration from the list. This is another unique feature of BolehVPN as compared to other VPN providers since they also offer VPNed proxied solutions as part of their package where you can choose which programs to tunnel through the VPN instead of forcing everything to go through the VPN. This is useful for people who need to use latency sensitive applications like gaming, Skype and etc which would remain unaffected, while keeping those programs that need privacy, securely tunneled through the VPN.
When I first signed up with BolehVPN a few years back, the ordering process were done manually. Now, they’ve implemented an automated ordering system where the accounts are instantly activated and keys generated upon successful payment. Other than that, their newly launched Portal provides security improvements and a convenient one-stop place for a subscriber to manage their account, view payment history, get help through a support ticketing system and viewing announcements. Other than the ticketing support system, they also provide Live Chat options which is very useful if you need to have a quick answer to your urgent question.
One of BolehVPN’s main selling point is they are P2P friendly. Some ISP throttles P2P downloads such as downloading using BitTorrent protocol and Malaysia TM Net is one of them. I tried downloading Ubuntu using BitTorrent and you can see the huge difference when downloading with and without BolehVPN connected.
Downloading Ubuntu without BolehVPN connected. Download speed is quite fast initially but drops quickly.
Downloading Ubuntu WITH BolehVPN connected. Faster download speed and maintains at that level.
If you haven’t noticed, most if not all of the VPN companies offers short term trial accounts for giveaways, such as 20 accounts valid for 30 days and etc. After discussing with Reuben, he has agreed to give out 4 unlimited usage accounts valid for ONE YEAR! Actually one of the account is for me but since I already have a VPN account with them, I’ve decided to give it away rather than using it to extend my BolehVPN account’s subscription. I know this is not the preferred method in terms of marketing but I think this is something worth giving to the verified members in our forum. Head on to the giveaway section in forum to take part in the raffles for a chance to win a 1 year BolehVPN account!