Pete heard about a device to keep his iPad private called NextDNS. Does it use a VPN? Leo says that DNS is essentially the internet address system in IP numbers. DNS is the phone book for it. NextDNS bypasses your ISP so that they don't know what you're browsing on. It will encrypt the traffic to NextDNS and back. But your browser is still visible. The thing about VPNs is that they are a tunnel that encrypts everything and slows things down. Leo uses NextDNS on all his devices, but you'll go through the free tier pretty quickly. But it's not very expensive.
There is a new bug in iOS for using VPNs, where your connection can exist unencrypted and outside the VPN tunnel. Leo expects the fix coming soon.
David has a son who is serving overseas and wants to watch Disney+ via VPN. But the VPN is really slow. Are there alternatives? And is it legal? Leo says that it is perfectly legal, but streaming services discourage the practice because a VPN can slow things down a lot. But Leo has tried VPN streaming all over the world and it works just fine. Leo recommends trying ExpressVPN. They are a sponsor and have been very consistent in their speeds. Tunnel Bear is another.
Mike watches Netflix with a VPN. Why is it slower? Leo says that a good VPN shouldn't slow him down all that much. So if the VPN is slow, and making it harder to stream Netflix, then try a different VPN or ISP. Also, if you're using a VPN to watch Netflix from the home computer, the upload speed may be the issue. Leo also recommends using PLEX. It uses a dedicated port and will enable him to media serve that Netflix stream, as well as movies. But again, it depends on the home upload speeds.
Jim wonders if a VPN is really worth it for daily life, and can it be used to control the content his kids watch? Leo says maybe not. But Leo says that OpenDNS certainly can. It enables you to filter content so that kids can't go where you don't want them. A VPN is used to carve out a tunnel online so that others can't see what you're doing. So it's the opposite. But OpenDNS is great for protecting your kids from the stuff out there. A new router can also do the same.
Tom wants to know how a VPN can be secure or even fast if it has to cross ISPs. Leo says that is a good question. Leo says that a good VPN will have little latency, but the larger question is, who is running your VPN? That's who you're trusting with your privacy and security.
José would like to be anonymous online. How can he minimize his online footprint with Mac addresses? Rich says that most systems are encrypted now, and Google is pushing all websites to update to https. So your traffic gets more encrypted. If that's not enough for you, then randomizing your Mac address is a good way to do it. In iOS 13, for instance, Apple devices generate randomized Mac addresses while online. That's a good way to keep yourself protected. You may try using a VPN, or you can browse privately.
Manny wants to know why he can't stream using his streaming device from a hotel when he's traveling. Rich says that if you're traveling internationally, many streaming services are region coded, preventing you from watching content that isn't local. As a result, people are using VPNs when traveling to get past that. So try a VPN.
Bruce is frustrated that he can't watch Major League Baseball where he lives because it's blacked out. Leo says that blacking out sporting events was created fifty years ago, and it's a policy that needs to be changed. You could stream using a VPN, but a lot of streaming companies block them.
Dan signed up for a VPN recently, and he can't use it with his banking, Netflix or other apps. Leo says that the bank is probably blocking it. VPNs can break IP-based authentication. BBC iPlayer, for instance, blocks VPNs, because you're not paying for the TV license fee. Netflix does it because it doesn't want another region to be watching content that isn't available for licensing reasons. Banking activity is encrypted, so you don't really need a VPN for it. Google has also been pushing for HTTPS encryption with every site, so if every site is encrypted, there's no real need for VPNs.