Jun 262023

In keeping with my last snippet about setting up a VPN server, I’ve decided to run a VPN series, seeing as how EVERY SINGLE YOUTUBER is being sponsored by a VPN nowadays.

I’ll go over the pros and cons of using a commercial VPN such as ExpressVPN or Surfshark vs running your own, and go over a few of the options that you have if you do want to run your own.

Commercial VPN

Using a commercial VPN generally involves paying a company to use their VPN infrastructure, however there are free options available out there as well. Let’s go over the pros and cons:


  1. Ease of Use: Commercial VPN services typically offer user-friendly applications and setup processes, making it convenient for even non-technical users to get started quickly on a variety of devices.
  2. Wide Geographical Coverage: Commercial VPN providers usually have an extensive network of servers spread across various locations worldwide, allowing you to access geo-restricted content and choose the server closest to your desired location.
  3. Technical Support: Reputable commercial VPN services often provide dedicated customer support, helping you resolve any technical issues or queries promptly, however this is often a case of “you get what you pay for”.


  1. Privacy Concerns: When using a commercial VPN, you must trust the VPN provider with your data. Especially in these times with many VPN providers being breached and leaking user information, ensure you choose a reputable and trustworthy VPN service that has a strict no-logs policy, as well as storing as little of your information as possible. Some VPN providers allow you to pay with Crypto now as well!
  2. Cost: Commercial VPN services typically require a subscription fee, which can add up over time. The cost may vary based on the service’s features and the duration of your subscription.
  3. Potential Speed and Performance Issues: As commercial VPNs cater to a large user base, server congestion and reduced speeds during peak times can be a concern, affecting your overall experience.

Running Your Own

Running your own VPN involves setting up and maintaining the VPN infrastructure yourself. You can host your own VPN from a variety of devices nowadays, as well as low cost virtual private servers (VPS) that can be had for less than $10 a month, however consider the following pros and cons:


  1. Enhanced Privacy and Control: Hosting your own VPN gives you full control over your data. You can ensure that your personal information is not stored or accessed by third-party VPN providers. Even if you host your own VPN server on a VPS, you can encrypt the storage to ensure no one has access to the data without your private keys.
  2. Customization and Flexibility: You have the freedom to configure your VPN according to your specific requirements, including encryption protocols, server locations, security measures, and capabilities. You can set up your own server as just a simple remote access VPN to access resources where the VPN server are located, or set it up to route all your internet traffic through so you appear to be located where the VPN server is located.
  3. Cost Savings: In the long run, hosting your own VPN can be cost-effective, as you won’t have to pay subscription fees to a commercial VPN provider, however you have to keep in mind the costs of running your own devices or servers depending on which direction you go.


  1. Technical Expertise Required: Setting up and maintaining your own VPN infrastructure demands technical knowledge and experience. It may be challenging for individuals without a strong understanding of networking concepts.
  2. Time and Effort: Hosting your own VPN requires time and effort to set up and maintain servers, ensure security updates, and handle any technical issues that arise.
  3. Limited Server Locations: Unless you have access to multiple server locations, you may be limited in terms of the geographic diversity of your VPN network, however with the advent of low cost VPS providers, this is becoming less and less of a barrier.
  4. Potential Bandwidth Limitations: If you’re hosting your own VPN from a residential location, you may need to keep in mind that your bandwidth may not be enough for high bandwidth applications – e.g. streaming Netflix, but depending on the intended application for your VPN, this may or may not be an issue.

I Want To Host My Own! What Should I Use?

The more popular ones at the moment are OpenVPN and Wireguard. Both are open-source and can be installed on a variety of devices, even routers themselves, so you don’t need to run an extra appliance or device to host your own VPN!

Hosting your own VPN this way allows you to connect to your server, access devices that are on your home network – e.g. smart devices, as well as directing your traffic out of your VPN endpoint – e.g. if you go on holidays in another country, but want to watch Netflix as if you were back home.

Tailscale and ZeroTier are also growing in popularity as they provide similar functionality to a VPN, allowing for 2 geographically distant devices to communicate as if they were on the same network.

This is great if you want some devices to communicate as if they were on the same network – e.g. you have a few friends living all over the world, and all of them want to access the files on your computer.

Hopefully this post has helped you decide on which VPN path you want to take!

Leave a comment if you’d like my next post in my VPN series to go in a certain direction!


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