VPN Denver Public Library
By now, you probably know that connecting to the internet over a public WiFi hotspot or other public wireless network can expose your browsing to various snooping efforts. In particular, such unencrypted open wireless networks allow others on the network to see things like usernames and passwords when logging into various websites or other services unless those specific sites are themselves encrypted. For example, connecting to Google Mail automatically starts an HTTPS connection that secure your email and username and password. However, watching to ensure that every website is encrypted before using it is a tiresome and error prone proposition. Also, any websites or blogs that you personally own won’t have SSL encryption unless you paid extra for that service and set it up yourself.
The better solution is to use a VPN, or Virtual Private Network, service. There are several free VPN services out there, however, they can be slow and many times they limit the amount of data use can consume on a monthly, or daily basis. For a little money, you can usually subscribe to a faster, unlimited VPN service. You get your own unique username and password and can often select a connection that is faster for you.
Public WiFi Blocks VPN Services
As it turns out, many public wireless services blog various services, ports, or websites. Depending upon your VPN service, this may affect your ability to use the VPN you pay for in order to protect your network connections.
The Denver Public Library for example was preventing the VPN service I use from connecting. I could tell it was trying to work, but by following along with the logs, it wasn’t allowing the connection through.
There are various UDP and TCP ports that most programs and network connection can use. The Denver Public Library WiFi was blocking all of my connections over UDP. Fortunately, it finally worked across TCP and port 443.
So, if you are using the Denver Public Library wireless network and can’t get it to allow your VPN software client to connect, try going into your settings and picking TCP and port 443. That finally worked for me.