Do You Really Need a Decentralized VPN? Weighing the Options
Looking for the best solution to secure your digital life and surf the web without third parties watching every move you make online? Then you must have heard of a VPN (virtual private network) – software that encrypts your traffic and masks your IP address. But while VPNs have been with us for a while, new technologies keep emerging, promising to be more effective, reliable, and secure. But are they? One such newcomer is a decentralized VPN (dVPN). Read along to find out what a dVPN is, how it works, and whether it’s really safer than a VPN.
What is a decentralized VPN?
Let’s kick off with the basics and provide a definition of a decentralized VPN.
A decentralized VPN (also known as dVPN or DPN) is a virtual private network that doesn’t maintain centralized control of its servers. Instead, it relies on a peer-to-peer network consisting of servers and nodes run by independent individuals. In other words, numerous volunteers are responsible for transitioning your traffic through the web, unlike traditional VPN providers, where the network is handled by a single company.
Another key specific of decentralized private networks is their connection with Blockchain. Such services accept crypto nano transactions, so you pay for the traffic you consume when using a dVPN.
Now, how does a decentralized VPN service function, exactly? Here are some details.
How does a decentralized VPN work?
As mentioned, dVPNs provide a decentralized network of remote servers hosted by thousands of volunteers. Each of them creates a node, allowing your traffic to move through this network.
But in everything else, dVPNs are similar to regular VPN services. When using such a tool, you connect to a remote server, which provides you with an alternative IP address while hiding the real one. Also, it encrypts your Internet connection to secure your data from potential snooping attempts and leaks. You can choose the preferred server location and use other common functions offered by most VPNs. At the same time, the number of proposed locations and overall service quality depends on the particular provider.
So, are decentralized VPNs any better than regular ones? To find out, let’s compare these solutions in more detail.
What is the difference between a decentralized VPN and a centralized VPN?
Here’s a brief overview of the key dVPN vs. VPN differences.
|Decentralized VPN (dVPN)
|Managed by the community and service provider
|Managed by a service provider
|Distributed nodes are owned by many individuals setting up a server network
|The entire server network belongs to a single company
|Depends on the quality of the network and the proximity of servers managed by individuals
|Depends on the capacity of the server network and the proximity of servers managed by the service provider
Now, let‘s dive deeper into the difference between dVPNs and VPNs by comparing their main features and specifics.
1. Technology and infrastructure
All dVPNs are open-source, which means that their code can be reviewed by independent developers. This way, it’s possible to make sure that the service doesn’t have a backdoor allowing third parties, such as government agencies, to take advantage of customer data.
On the other hand, most VPN services also rely on open-source technologies, such as OpenVPN tunneling protocol. Each VPN (or dVPN) comes with its own set of protocols and tools meant to protect your privacy. And here, it all depends on how effective and secure those technologies are.
dVPNs use a decentralized network of servers, relying on nodes run by volunteers. In turn, a regular VPN runs its own server network. But is it an advantage? Well – not really. The problem with decentralized VPNs is that individual notes can be spoofed. Moreover, it only takes a single compromised node to ruin the privacy of the entire connection.
In contrast, the servers run by a regular VPN company are usually more stable (and, as a result, less vulnerable) than those controlled by unknown individuals. But again, it’s important to select a service provider you can trust.
3. Security and privacy
Most VPNs provide a basic set of cybersecurity features. It includes traffic encryption, IP and DNS leak protection, Kill Switch, and other critical functions. dVPNs are no different here, as they also ensure encryption and anti-leakage features. Their effectiveness depends majorly on the provider’s reliability rather than its centralized or decentralized nature.
It’s not a secret that any VPN slightly slows down the connection speed. This happens because of the intensive data encryption process. And, as mentioned, both VPNs and dVPNs encrypt your traffic to protect your data.
But encryption is not the only factor that affects your connection speed. Others include the size and capacity of the server network, as well as server proximity. Reputable paid VPNs like VeePN provide access to an extensive selection of locations, ensuring less load on individual servers. Moreover, VeePN supports WireGuard® – the fastest and most modern VPN protocol to date, guaranteeing much higher speeds necessary for streaming content and playing online games.
5. Payment methods
One of the main specifics of dVPNs is that such services support crypto nano transactions, ensuring your payments are anonymous. But you can also use this payment method, along with the usual ones, with most regular VPNs.
Also, note that the decentralized VPN Blockchain technology isn’t a silver bullet that guarantees complete anonymity. When using dVPN, your digital identity can still be compromised (for instance, if a node provider turns out to be a hacker). All in all, the ties of decentralized VPNs with cryptocurrencies have nothing to do with your online security.
As you can see, your data may still appear to be unprotected when using a decentralized VPN network (although most dVPN providers claim that their services ensure complete anonymity). In turn, many VPNs stick to a No Logs policy, meaning that they don’t record, collect, and sell your information. So, which solution is more reliable in terms of your privacy?
Decentralized VPN vs. No Logs policy VPN
Credible VPN service providers, including VeePN, follow a transparent No Logs policy. In a nutshell, this is a guarantee that a VPN doesn’t collect (and, accordingly, doesn’t share) your personal details, such as connection logs (your IP address, device details, and session duration) and activity logs (your browsing and search history, online requests, communication with other users, and so on).
You can easily check whether your chosen VPN provider follows this policy on its official website. When not mentioned, you may be dealing with a questionable service (which is often the case with free VPNs).
In contrast, with a decentralized VPN, it’s much more challenging to make sure that your data isn’t recorded at some point in its journey through individual nodes. Indeed, crypto transactions are private when dealing with trustworthy services. But malicious actors may create fake tools to lure unsuspecting customers into a decentralized VPN crypto scheme.
Now, let’s also compare the privacy offered by decentralized VPNs with another popular solution for anonymous browsing – Tor.
Decentralized VPN vs. Tor
Tor (The Onion Router) is a free service designed for anonymous access to the Internet. Also, it provides access to the hidden part of the web consisting of the .onion websites, also known as the dark web. During the process known as onion routing, Tor runs your traffic through three nodes (relays). Each node is separated from each other and established randomly. Thus, it’s quite challenging for a snooper to compromise your data during transit.
In contrast, decentralized VPNs rely on a single node, making it easier for hackers to compromise your online privacy.
But Tor isn’t the ultimate solution for anonymous browsing, either. In fact, the NSA has conducted a couple of successful attacks against users connected to the Tor browser. For more details, check out our recent blog post.
How to choose a reliable VPN for your needs?
The decentralized nature of dVPNs doesn’t necessarily translate into enhanced privacy and security. More than that, it’s often associated with more vulnerabilities of servers run by many unknown peers.
If your goal is to avoid critical cybersecurity challenges and browse the web with peace of mind, prioritize essential functionality and overall reliability of the chosen service, be it a VPN or dVPN. Here are the most significant factors to consider:
- Extensive server network
- Support of advanced VPN protocols and AES-256 encryption standard
- Basic security and privacy features, including Kill Switch, DNS Leak Protection, and anti-tracking function, like VeePN’s NetGuard
- Compatibility with various devices and operating systems, including Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android, and more
- Reliable customer support
- Transparent No Logs policy
- Flexible and affordable pricing
Looking for a VPN service that checks all the boxes above? Look no further – consider VeePN! Access 89 server locations in 60 countries, along with many basic and additional cybersecurity features, from Double VPN to Split Tunneling.
Don’t put your online privacy at risk – check out VeePN’s pricing plans and try it now with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
FAQ: What is a Decentralized VPN?
The safety of a decentralized VPN depends on a particular service provider. As with most digital solutions, some services are reliable, while others appear fake tools designed to compromise your privacy. At the same time, even the best decentralized VPN may have certain vulnerabilities related to their servers handled by many unknown volunteers. Check out this blog post to learn more.
No, DPNs are not better than VPNs in terms of privacy and security. While their functions are similar, regular VPN companies that follow the No Logs policy are more transparent in handling customer data. For more information, read this article.
DPNs aren’t more secure than the Tor browser. Tor runs your traffic through three separate nodes, while a decentralized blockchain VPN relies on a single node, which is easier to compromise. At the same time, both regular VPNs and dVPNs are much faster than Tor. Read this article to find out more.