Virtual Private Network (VPN)
software enables private communications over computer networks via a technology called tunneling
. VPN software applications include clients, servers and utility programs. The popular VPN software applications listed below are readily available for free download on the Internet.
Hamachi is VPN software that uses a mediation server to establish peer-to-peer connections over UDP. Hamachi is free for use on smaller non-commercial networks (up to 8 users).
The Cisco VPN client software supports IPSec connections to Cisco VPN concentrators. This VPN software application runs on Windows, Linux and Mac OS X.
OpenVPN is SSL-based open source VPN software. OpenVPN runs on Windows, Linux and Mac OS X operating systems.
HideIP is a VPN service designed to provide anonymous Internet access based in part on OpenVPN technology. HideIP servers use IP addresses based in the United States and United Kingdom, enabling folks in other countries to reach Web sites that limit access based on address geography. Free HideIP service is available in limited quantity, while the subscription service costs about USD $10 per month.
The Hotspot Shield Free service from AnchorFree runs on PCs, Apple Mac and iOS devices, and Android devices. It contains embedded advertising banners. The company also offers a paid version, Hotspot Shield Elite, that removes the advertising and includes additional malware protection and other support features.
Apple Mac OS X contains built-in support for virtual private networking. Shimo is a GUI client for Mac OS X computers. The newer Shimo 2 version not only works as a substitute for the Cisco VPN Client on Macs, but it is also compatible with other PPTP, L2TP and SSH based VPN technologies including Hamachi and OpenVPN.
The free Tinc VPN software enables virtual private networking via low-level daemon / network device configuration. Designed originally for Linux / Unix networks, Tinc also works on Windows computers.
8. FreeS/WANFreeS/WAN is an IPSec VPN software solution for Linux networks. Active development of FreeS/WAN has stopped, making this solution of interest mainly to students and researchers.