VPNs: overplay 0-1 my-private-network

Why I switched from overplay.net to my-private-network.co.uk for my VPN access

Short Version:

I liked Overplay’s SmartDNS service and it worked great when I set it up on my ASUS router so everything on my network could use the service. But I couldn’t get the router to connect to the separate VPN service offered by Overplay. My Private Network (.co.uk) now offer a SmartDNS service (woohoo!) and my router can connect to their VPN servers without a problem – see video below!

Long version:

Years ago I subscribed to my-private-network.co.uk’s VPN service for the purpose of accessing UK TV services like iPlayer from my new home in Cyprus – back then there wasn’t much to choose from and the going rate was around £10+ a month.

I stuck with my-private-network (MPN) for a few years until I discovered overplay.net.

Overplay’s service was cheaper than MPN and later on they were one of the first to launch a SmartDNS service which allows you to watch geo-restricted video content (e.g. iPlayer) without using a VPN so the speeds were faster. That was a bit of a revelation as VPN’s generally had a 30-50% speed overhead so if you had a 4Mbit internet connection you’d be lucky to get 2.5Mbit via a VPN. With SmartDNS you get your full internet connection speed.

But now I’ve switched back to My Private Network… why?

With the so many types of internet connected devices now available some do not allow you to change DNS settings or configure a VPN connection so the smart way to allow these devices to connect to the internet using SmartDNS or A VPN is to configure the connection in your router – that way any device that connects to the internet via your router (WiFi or wired) will be connecting using your VPN or SmartDNS.

I had Overplay’s SmartDNS service configured on my router for ages and all was fine. It was also useful when we had visitors who wanted to use their iPads and phones to catch up on their UK TV including Sky Go – when they connected to our WiFi everything just worked without having to change any settings on their devices.

Sometimes you will want to use a VPN as that completely hides all internet activity from your internet provider and also adds an extra layer of security to all your internet traffic. That’s where I had problems with the Overplay VPNs on my Asus Router. It simply would not connect. I tried every possible setting – different servers and protocols (L2TP, PPTP etc.). Occasionally, very occasionally, it did connect but it was simply not good enough.

So I decided to re-activate my VPN account at My Private Network for a month and see if that was any better on my ASUS router. Low and behold they’ve now introduced a Smart DNS service called MyDNS  that they bundle with all their VPN accounts – RESULT! I signed up for a month to test the VPN and the SmartDNS service and it worked with no problem at all.

Here’s a video showing how I connected my Asus RT-AC56U router to the my-private-network.co.uk VPN server:

I’m now signed up permanently again with My Private Network and their VPN and SmartDNS is working perfectly with all my devices via my ASUS RT-AC56U router. Although I don’t have the VPN activated all the time. I just enable it via the router’s web interface whenever I need it but the SmartDNS is activated all the time.

What does it cost?

My Private Network currently charge £4-£5 a month for a single country VPN + SmartDNS or £7-£9 for their Global Plan which lets you connect to any of their VPNs located all over the world.

Overplay have similar pricing at the equivalent of around £7-£8 a month but they do offer an option for just having their SmartDNS (no VPN) only for $4.95 a month.

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