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Published on November 13th, 2012 | by andre

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VPN Stopped Working at Public Wi-Fi

You are connected to public Wi-Fi, started your VPN everything looks good, but then nothing loads? Great ! My VPN works well at home, but right now I really need it. I need to run my business, use confidential login information, and sure don’t want everyone else to have a glimpse at it.

I have noticed a lot of issues using a VPN to secure my Wi-Fi connection at public Wi-Fi spots. Usually connecting to the public Wi-Fi is easy, the VPN will connect most of the time but not always, but when I try to do anything with the VPN connected nothing happens… ugh.

The same thing happened today when I was sitting at Air Canada’s Maple Leaf lounge in Toronto. I was trying to get some speed comparisons between HMA and VPN4ALL for an upcoming review. Connection issues in this situation really sucked, because I like to use real life numbers for our reviews. Let’s face it, using a VPN at home is a good idea, but using it while surfing on public Wi-Fi is a must.

Here is what I came up with after some trial and error ok, a lot of trial and error:

To establish the connection with a public Wi-Fi access point you do need to let the provider assign the DNS server, or it just won’t work. However, once you are connected you are free to change the DNS server to any server of your choosing. I use Comodo DNS. With your network settings updated you can then connect to your VPN as you normally do.

It works, but it seriously lacks some elegance 😉 It isn’t fun updating your DNS settings a couple of times per day. If you have a better solution, I’d love to know! Please share this tip and help us fight identity theft and make Internet access safer.

Image credit: XiaMing

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