Riseup Legacy VPN

We launched a new RiseupVPN, more accessible and secure! This documentation is for our legacy VPN services. Please check the RiseupVPN documentation for more information. Take into consideration that we will deprecate this legacy service in the future, and that your Black powered credentials will not work for the following instructions.

What is the RiseupVPN?

Virtual Private Networks (VPN) are used typically used to connect remote workers to the main office network. The RiseupVPN is different: it sends all your internet traffic through an encrypted connection to riseup.net, where it then goes out onto the public internet. This type of VPN is sometimes called a “Personal VPN”. The goal with a personal VPN is not to securely connect you with a private network, but to securely connect you to the internet as a whole.

Why would you want to use the RiseupVPN?

At Riseup, we believe it is important for everyone to use some technology like VPN or Tor to encrypt their internet traffic. Why? Because the internet is being broken by governments, internet service providers (ISPs), and corporations (read more). RiseupVPN will fight that, providing:

  1. protection against ISP surveillance: RiseupVPN eliminates the ability of your ISP to monitor your communication. They have no meaningful records which can be used against you, either by marketers or the state.
  2. bypass government censorship: RiseupVPN can entirely bypass all government censorship, so long as you still have access to the internet. Note, however, that careful analysis of your traffic could reveal that you are using a VPN, which may or may not be legal in your jurisdiction.
  3. access the entire internet, regardless of where you live: RiseupVPN allows you to pretend to live in any country where we have a VPN gateway server. This gives you access to restricted content only available in those countries. RiseupVPN also allows you to use services that may be blocked in your country.
  4. break free from a corporate firewall: So you work for an evil corporation and you try to waste as much time as possible surfing the web? Unfortunately, the corporate firewall probably prevents you from visiting many websites (riseup.net is on the list of banned sites for many corporate firewalls). RiseupVPN will let you entirely bypass these restrictions and gives you access to the whole web.
  5. secure your Wi-Fi connection: Any time you use a public Wi-Fi connection, everyone else using that access point can spy on your traffic. RiseupVPN will prevent this.

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Limitations to using RiseupVPN

The RiseupVPN shares some limitations common to all personal VPNs:

  • legal warning: If you live in an non-democratic state, it may be illegal to use a personal VPN to access the internet.
  • location info: Using a VPN on your mobile device will secure your data connection, but the telephone company will still know your location by recording which towers your device communicates with.
  • Device Security: A VPN helps secure your information while in transit on the internet, but it does not secure your information while in storage on your computer or on a remote server.
  • An insecure connection is still insecure: Although RiseupVPN will anonymize your location and protect you from surveillance from your ISP, once your data is securely routed through riseup.net it will go out on the internet as it normally would. Therefore, you should still use secure connections (TLS) when available (ie https over http, imaps over imap, etc).
  • VPNs are not a panacea: although VPNs accomplish a lot, they can’t fix everything. For example, it cannot increase your security if your computer is already compromised with viruses or spyware. If you give personal information to a website, there is little that a VPN can do to maintain your anonymity with that website or its partners. For more information, see see VPN anonymity.
  • The internet might get slower: the RiseupVPN routes all your traffic through an encrypted connection to riseup.net before it goes out onto the normal internet. This extra step can slow things down. To minimize the slowdown, try to choose a VPN server close to where you actually live.
  • VPNs can be difficult to configure: Although we have taken steps to make it as easy as possible, any VPN introduces extra complexity to your networking setup.

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