Helping people decide if they need a VPN - DoINeedAVPN launch

Under the Hood By Viktor Vecsei | Posted on March 17, 2021

TL;DR: We have created an open-source tool that helps people decide if they need a commercial VPN.

Releasing a blog post titled “Why you don’t need a VPN” seemed like a bold move for some who follow IVPN. Who heard of a business that turns away potential customers?

For us, publishing that piece felt inevitable. We were jaded by the marketing hype and over-promises by popular providers, who chase new audiences and position their solutions as a privacy and security cure-all. After incorporating certain points made in the original blog post to our home page copy, we realized we should do more.

Most websites that discuss VPNs detail finding the best one, or picking the most suitable for you. There is less focus is on whether a commercial VPN is a fitting choice for your needs and threat model. Promoting VPNs is more lucrative than steering people away from them. Yet A VPN won’t make you anonymous and for that purpose Tor is a better fit. Protecting your data on WiFi networks you don’t trust is better solved by running your own VPN. Commercial VPNs can only partly solve other problems and we wanted to address these as well.

DoINeedAVPN.com lists twenty-one privacy, security and anti-censorship concerns. It evaluates the combination of selections and recommends the use of commercial VPNs or alternative tools, where applicable. If the user picks issues that VPNs cannot solve, like hiding financial transactions, or stopping Facebook from tracking them, we steer them clear from using a commercial VPN service. We provide a detailed explanation for each selection, no matter if a VPN solves that issue or not.

For better transparency, we have added a ‘decision tree’ explanation page where you can review the logic behind the recommendations and each end state. Similarly to IVPN website and app projects, DoINeedAVPN.com is open source. If you have spotted a bug or found a way to improve the project, open an issue on GitHub or contact us. Any suggestions and feedback is welcome.

We hope this tool will provide clarity for people who want to understand what a commercial VPN can and cannot do for them.

Open Source Privacy Security
We invite you to discuss this post in our Reddit community or on Twitter. You can also send your feedback to blog@ivpn.net.
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