Astrill is a VPN (virtual private network) provider that has been around for a long time.
A virtual private network offers several advantages over direct Internet connections. It increases privacy and data safety by making use of encryption for instance.
The VPN provider basically works as a proxy for all Internet traffic routing everything through its own servers. The Internet Service Provider sees only those connections, and the sites and services you access interact with the VPN server directly and not the computer the request originated from.
Since data is encrypted, common wiretapping methods that record Internet traffic, won't reveal information about the data that is transferred due to the use of encryption.
Astrill is a relatively new virtual private network provider (update: not so new anymore as it has been around for since 2009) that is a registered company in the Seychelles.
Servers provided by Astrill are located in the United States, United Kingdom, the Netherlands, France, Canada, Hong Kong, Australia, and 40 more countries.
Users may switch servers using the software provided. This can be important from a performance perspective but also to access content that is only available to users of select regions of the world.
The biggest benefit of Astrill over many other vpn providers is that the service does not require any connection configuration (It is however possible to set up Astrill manually if that is preferred).
Most vpn providers ask the user to create a new vpn connection. Astrill comes with a software that will handle all the connection settings. All the user needs to do to login is to provide the login credentials that have been selected during setup of the account.
Starting Astrill afterwards will display a small program window with Off and On buttons, a country selector and links to settings and help.
The same window displays the download and upload speed of the service. The homepage of Astrill displays additional interesting information in a server stats menu including the current network utilization.
More important than those raw figures is if performance demanding applications run fine when using Astrill. A problem of many vpn providers, especially free ones, is that they do not provide the infrastructure to make activities such as video and audio streaming enjoyable.
Astrill manages to provide the speeds needed to watch videos on sites like Hulu or Youtube HD videos without buffering issues.
Astrill worked without lags with many popular services such as Hulu or Pandora at the time of writing.
The software is currently offered as a version for the Windows, Mac and Linux operating system. The company provides instructions on setting up the service on Android and iOS using the company's own client or manual setup.
Another interesting service that Astrill offers is VPN routers. You can purchase a VPN router from the company which ship with Astrill's VPN service built-in.
These routers ship with device filters that allow you to specify devices that you want to connect to the VPN, and site filters to specify sites that should only be accessed using a VPN.
Astrill states on the front page that it keeps no logs, and that it accepts anonymous payment methods such as Bitcoin.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.