12 Handy Smarthome Gadgets for Your Home Office

A MacBook, an ecobee sensor, a smart plug, and a Google Home Hub on a desk.
Josh Hendrickson

One of the benefits of working from home is you can make changes you can’t in a corporate office. This includes adding smarthome gadgets to improve your workspace. These devices can help your workflow and make you more comfortable.

When you choose smarthome devices for your home office, you want the same convenience you’d want for any other room. And when it comes to work, smarthome devices can increase your productivity because you can do so much without leaving the room.

After all, if you work from home, one of the hardest things is to get back into a workflow after an interruption. Here are a few smarthome gadgets that can help you remain focused.

Start with a Smart Display

A Google Nest Hub and Amazon Echo Show.
Google, Amazon

A smart speaker with a voice assistant, like Amazon Echo or Google Home, is normally a good starting point for a smarthome. However, for a Home Office, we recommend you step up to a Smart Display. It gives you extra features, like visual weather forecasts, and video feeds from cameras and smart doorbells. And, of course, Smart Displays include all the usual features a smart speaker has.

Here are the two best smart displays to consider:

  • Google Nest Hub: Unless you already own Amazon Echo devices, we recommend the Google Nest Hub (formerly, Home Hub) as the best pick for a smart display. This is partly due to the ambient mode, which adds all your family photos to your office and gives you a taste of home while you’re…at home.
  • Amazon Echo Show: If you have an Amazon home, you can get the Echo Show. It doesn’t have an ambient screen mode, but you still get better weather forecasts and video feeds.

Add a Video Doorbell

A Nest Hello Video Doorbell and Ring Video doorbell.
Google, Amazon

We think Video Doorbells are one of the best smarthome gadgets you can own. When you combine them with a smart display, their value only goes up, especially for your home office. The last thing you need is another interruption—especially, from solicitors. A video doorbell and smart display enable you to ignore salespeople while keeping an eye out for packages.

Given their advantages when coupled with a Smart Display, there are two main video doorbells worth your consideration:

  • Nest Hello Video Doorbell: If you have a Google Nest Hub, then the video doorbell from Nest is a no-brainer. When someone rings your doorbell, the video feed appears almost instantly on the Nest Hub. Then, you can talk to the person, ignore them, or send a preselected message. Nest Hello provides high-quality video, and it’s the only doorbell that offers 24/7 recording. The downsides are you need doorbell wiring that works, and a Nest Aware subscription to get the best features.
  • Ring Video Doorbell: If you’re already in the Amazon Echo system, or your doorbell wiring doesn’t work, the Ring Video Doorbell is a great option. They come in both wired and battery-powered versions. Ring also offers a Door Cam that doubles as a peephole. This video doorbell doesn’t record 24/7 but, with a subscription, you can access the video of any motion or doorbell presses.

Smart Bulbs Light Your Office and Keep People Out

Philips Hue and Wyze Smart Bulbs.
Philips, Wyze

Want to control the lights in your office without rewiring your switches? If so, smart bulbs are for you! And, if you purchase colored bulbs, not only can you change the ambiance of the room, but you can also create a warning system.

The most significant source of interruptions when you work from home is the other people who live there. When a closed door isn’t enough (and it often isn’t), a light system might make all the difference.

Read the remaining 13 paragraphs

The 5 Best VPNs for Plex in 2019

Serious media streamers know about Plex, but might be a little hazy when it comes to the best VPN for Plex. But this article aims to clarify everything you need to know about picking, installing, and configuring your VPN to work alongside the Plex media centre. Read on to beat geoblocks and stream in privacy in just a few minutes.

Plex is enormously popular media centre software which can be installed on Windows, Linux, and Mac OS systems. If you’re looking for a complete software suite to organise, manage, and view your media collection including videos, music, and more, then you’ll want to look into Plex.

This application is similar to Kodi, another piece of media centre software which we often recommend here at AddictiveTips. But the Plex software is a little more complex, as it includes two components. Firstly, there is the Plex media server application which organises your media and makes them available for streaming through different players. Then there is the Plex player itself, which can stream your media content to your device. Typically, the media server is run on a desktop machine, and the player is run on a mobile device, smart TV, or streaming box.

Plex is great if you have a lot of media that you want to be able to access from multiple devices, and if you want to be able to access your media over the internet while you are away from home. However, there is some content that you won’t be able to access using Plex – for example, region-locked content such as streaming from the BBC iPlayer site, which is only available within the UK. If you want to access this content, you’ll need a VPN or virtual private network.

Today we’re going to walk you through our choices for the best VPNs for Plex.

Best VPNs for Plex

When it comes to choosing a VPN for Plex, here are the factors which we consider to be most crucial and on which we have based our recommendations:

  1. Plenty of servers in many different countries, so that you have lots of options for which server to connect to. This means you’ll have plenty of options for getting around region locks and censorship.
  2. Fast connection speeds. When you’re using Plex to stream video, you need a fast connection so that you can watch your videos in high quality without buffering or having to wait for them to load.
  3. Good security. As well as getting around region locks, your VPN should enhance your security with strong encryption of your traffic and a no logging policy to keep your browsing data private.
  4. Support for multiple operating systems. As you can install Plex on a whole variety of platforms, a VPN for Plex should have software which supports many different operating systems.

With these factors in mind, below are our recommendations for the VPNs that you should use for Plex:

1. ExpressVPN

The big strength of ExpressVPN is how many different platforms it supports. You can install Plex on all sorts of operating systems, so you’ll want to choose a VPN provider that supports your operating system too. As well as supporting both new and older versions of Windows (that’s Windows RT, Windows XP, Widows Vista, and Windows 7, 8, and 10), it also supports Mac OS, Linux, and Android.

In terms of location spoofing, ExpressVPN has 3,000 servers in 94 different countries, giving a big range of countries for you to access the internet from. It also includes bonuses like a speed test feature which is handy to help you find the fastest server so that you can access your video content in high definition without delays.

ExpressVPN has a high degree of security in order to keep your browsing private and to prevent throttling from your ISP. It uses strong 256-bit AES encryption which is exceptionally difficult for outside observers to crack, and the company has a no-logging policy so you can be sure that your browsing information will never be shared with outsiders.

Read our full ExpressVPN review.

Pros

  • Unblocking Netflix, iPlayer, Hulu, Amazon Prime
  • Fastest servers we have tested
  • Secure encryption & VPN protocols
  • No personal information logs kept
  • Customer Service (24/7 Chat).
Cons

  • Power-users configuration options.
BEST FOR PLEX: ExpressVPN is the perfect companion to your Plex Media Server. Get 3 months free and save 49% on the annual plan. 30-day money back guarantee included.

2. NordVPN

If getting around serious censorship is your biggest requirement, then you should look into NordVPN. It is especially effective in China, where it can be difficult to access content on the web which the government has deemed inappropriate. If you travel a lot and want to find a VPN that will protect you and give you access to content wherever you go, then NordVPN has you covered.

NordVPN software can be used on Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7, 8, and 10 operating systems as well as Mac OD, Linux, iOS, Chrome OS, Android, and Windows Phone. So there are plenty of options for software to cover all of your devices. There are plenty of servers to choose from as well, with the service offering 5,700+ servers in 60 different countries.

The service includes the strong encryption and the no-logging policy that you’d expect to keep you safe. The only downside is that this service is sometimes not as fast as ExpressVPN or IPVanish, however, NordVPN is very affordable so it’s a great option for use on your Plex system if you’re on a budget.

Read our full NordVPN review.

Pros

  • SPECIAL OFFER: 3-year plan (75% off – link below)
  • Most VPN servers with different IP addresses
  • Allows multiple connections (6 devices)
  • No logs and encrypted connections for total privacy
  • 24/7 Customer Service.
Cons

  • Some servers can have average d/l speeds
  • Apps can sometime be slow to connect.
BEST BUDGET VPN: Get a huge 75% discount for signing up for the 3-year plan, taking the monthly price down to only $2.99. Also note that all plans come with a “no hassle” 30-day money-back guarantee.

3. PureVPN

If you’re new to the world of VPNs and you’re feeling a little confused by all this talk about internet security, then you might enjoy the bundle of services offered by PureVPN. As well as a VPN service, the software bundle includes bonus tools like ad-blocking software, malware protection, anti-virus software, and web filtering. This means that it’s great for someone who is looking for an all-in-one privacy solution, especially if you have children or other family members who you want to keep safe too.

PureVPN has the AES 256-bit encryption you’d expect, with more than 2,000 servers located in over 140 different countries. You can easily use this service with your Plex installation, and all of the extra security tools will keep you safe while browsing or using other software too.

Read our full PureVPN review.

HUGE DISCOUNT: Pick the 2-year plan which will take a solid 74% OFF the price taking it down to $2.88 per month if you do the math.

4. IPVanish

Another option for a VPN provider for Plex is IPVanish. It has fast connection speeds which are perfect for streaming video content, which means no waiting around for your videos to buffer. It also supports plenty of platforms, including Windows 7, 8, and 10, plus Mac OS, Linux, and Android.

IPVanish offers good security, with 256-bit encryption to protect your privacy and a strict no-logging policy to ensure that your data stays private. The service offers over 1,300 servers in more than 75 countries, so it’s great for getting around region locks. However, it has some limitations: this VPN is not ideal for getting around serious censorship like that seen in China. However, users elsewhere in the world will find this service to be easy to use, effective, and affordable.
Read our full IPVanish review.

EXCLUSIVE DEAL: AddictiveTips readers can save a massive 60% here on the IPVanish annual plan, taking the monthly price down to only $4.87/mo.

5. VyprVPN

If you want a VPN which offers you the most complete security, especially if you are concerned about being spied on by the government, then VyprVPN has you covered. Like NordVPN, this service is also popular with users who are based in or are travelling through China. Its “Chameleon” double encryption ensures that your metadata, such as the origin and destination of your encrypted data packets, are encrypted as well. This technology means that you can avoid “VPN blocking”, which is when network administrators forbid any traffic which is passed through a VPN server. With VyprVPN’s Chameleon protocol, you can access any site you want safely through any network, even if it has VPN blocking enabled.

Naturally, the service is equally effective for getting around censorship in other countries and for side-stepping region locks. The software can be installed on Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, TV and your router. You’ll have access to more than 700 servers in 70 different countries, and of course there’s no logging of your data.

For the customer who wants international security as well as a VPN to use for their Plex installation, we recommend VyprVPN.

Read our full VyprVPN review.

READER SPECIAL: All plans include a 30-day money back guarantee at only $5/month.

How to Use a VPN for Plex

If you are running your Plex installation on a machine which is supported by your VPN provider – say, you have a Windows 8 machine on which you’re running Plex and ExpressVPN – then you can easily ensure that your traffic is encrypted. If you’re running a Plex server rather than a player, then in order to use your VPN you will need to set up your system so that your Plex server selectively routes traffic through the VPN. If you’re running a Plex player, all you need to do is make sure that your VPN is running before you open up Plex and everything should work as normal.

If you have problems running a VPN with Plex, however (such as if you are running Plex on an operating system which is not supported by your VPN provider), then there is an alternative method. You can install your VPN software directly onto your router rather than onto an individual machine, so that any data sent over your network from any machine is automatically encrypted. With this system in place, you can easily access your server from a player on your home network. Look for details on your VPN provider’s home page on how you can install the software onto your router.

RELATED READING: Everything you need to know about VPN routers

Why Use a VPN for Plex

You might wonder why you would need a VPN for using Plex. After all, the service does work great out of the box. However, there are three distinct advantages of using a VPN for Plex that you might want to consider:

Get around region locks

As we mentioned above, some content is only available in particular regions. When you install Plex, you can extend its functionality by installing add-ons or “channels” which deliver extra content to you. These channels include content from big sites like Pandora, Comedy Central, and Crunchyroll as well as the BBC iPlayer. However, in order to use these channels, you need to be in a specific region: in these cases, typically the US or UK. If you use a VPN, you can make it appear as if you are accessing content from any place in the world of your choosing, meaning that you can watch content from these sites.

Avoid local censorship

Different countries have different restrictions on the type of content which can be shown in them. For example, some countries have strict rules about the depiction of graphic violence in movies or TV shows. This means that shows or movies have to be re-edited to remove or cut down violent scenes, so as an audience you are not able to see the filmmaker’s original vision. If you want the choice to see original, unedited versions of the videos which you are streaming, you can use a VPN to spoof your location in a country with more relaxed censorship rules.

Avoid throttling from your ISP

ISPs are often not fond of customers who use up a large amount of bandwidth. When you share an internet connection with other people in your geographical area, if some people use too much bandwidth then the service can become slow and customers complain. For this reason, ISPs sometimes try to discourage their customers from using bandwidth-heavy services such as video streaming by artificiality limiting the amount of bandwidth which is available for particular applications.

If your internet connection becomes frustratingly slow when you try to stream video, this could be an indication of ISP throttling. VPNs allow you to get around this by encrypting all of the traffic which you send over the internet, meaning that your ISP can’t distinguish video streaming traffic from regular web traffic, and therefore they can’t selectively throttle your connection.

Conclusion

Any of these five VPNs will improve your Plex experience by giving you access to region-locked content such as the BBC iPlayer or the Comedy Central channel. They will also let you avoid local censorship, and prevent your ISP from selectively throttling your connection for streaming lots of video. Each VPN has a different set of strengths, so choose based on your priorities: whether your main concern is privacy, travel, flexibility, or budget.

Which is your favourite VPN to use with Plex? Is it one of the providers that we mentioned, or do you prefer another? Let us know in the comments below!

Read The 5 Best VPNs for Plex in 2019 by Diego Villena on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to Install a VPN on the Nvidia Shield

Stumped trying to find the best VPN for your Nvidia Shield? Look no further, as this article contains everything you need to know. We’ll show you how to pick, install, and configure your VPN on the Nvidia Shield, so you can enjoy unlimited private streams in just a few minutes.

Nvidia Shield

Since its launch a couple of years ago, the Nvidia Shield has carved itself a nice niche. Based on the Android TV OS, it is a great platform both as a set-top media player and as a game console. With so many content providers using geo-blocking techniques, using a VPN on the Nvidia Shield will allow you to watch any content, no matter where you are in the world. And of course, it will also enhance your privacy and security, both increasingly important concerns for any responsible netizen.

Before we go into the core of today’s article, we’ll start by giving you some background information on the Nvidia Shield. And in case you’re having doubts about the necessity of using a VPN on the Nvidia Shield, we’ll let you know why we think you might want to use one. Diving right in, we’ll show you three different ways of setting up a VPN on the Nvidia Shield (the one you’ll choose will depend on your VPN supplier).

The Nvidia Shield

Also known as the Shield Android TV or Shield Console, the Nvidia Shield is an Android TV-based digital media player produced by Nvidia as part of its Shield brand of Android devices, first released in May 2015. In its marketing, Nvidia emphasizes the Shield’s dual ability to play downloaded games and stream games from a compatible PC on a local network, or via the GeForce Now subscription service.

Being an Android TV device, the Shield can also stream content from various sources using apps, and also supports 4K resolution video to boot. It supports the installation of Android media player software such as Kodi, making it a great multipurpose set-top box. It available in two models with either 16 GB of flash storage, or a 500 GB hard drive, the latter known as the Shield Pro.

Since early 2017, the 16 GB flash Nvidia Shield’s form factor is smaller and boasts an updated controller, but it is otherwise identical in specification and capability to the original model. The Shield Pro has remained unchanged from its original version.

The Android TV Operating System

Based on the Android operating system, Android TV is a smart TV platform developed by Google. It was created with the purpose of offering an interactive TV experience through the use of a 10-foot user interface, and is the direct successor to Google’s initial foray onto the platform: Google TV.

Android TV is either built into smart TVs or stand-alone digital media players such as the Nvidia Shield. Users have full access to the Google Play Store to download apps as well as games. The OS emphasizes voice search to find content or answer queries.

RELATED READING: How to Fix “This Item Isn’t Available in Your Country” on Google Play

Why Use a VPN with the Nvidia Shield?

The main reason why someone would want to use a VPN on a Nvidia Shield is to access geo-blocked content. Depending on the apps you’re running on your Shield, you might also want to use a VPN to protect your privacy. After all, who wants their Internet Service Provider snooping in on what they do?

When an ISP suspects, even erroneously, that someone might be violating their terms of service, they could react by throttling down their speed, sending copyright infringement notices or even interrupting service altogether. A good VPN protects your privacy by adding a layer of encryption to your internet traffic that is almost impossible to crack.

But choosing the right VPN is a difficult task–there are so many providers available. Important factors to consider when choosing one are fast connection speeds to avoid buffering, a no-logging policy to further protect your privacy, no usage restrictions to access any content at full speed and software that is available for your device.

IPVanish

At Addictive Tips, we’ve tested virtually every VPN on the market against our criteria, and the provider we recommend for Nvidia is IPVanish. With 1,300+ servers across more than 75 countries worldwide, zero speed caps or throttling, unlimited bandwidth, unrestricted traffic, a strict no-logging policy and Android client software that can easily be installed on the Nvidia Shield, IPVanish delivers impressive performance and value.

Read our full IPVanish review.

EXCLUSIVE DEAL: AddictiveTips readers can save a massive 60% here on the IPVanish annual plan, taking the monthly price down to only $4.87/mo.

Installing the VPN App from Your Provider

There are essentially two ways to set up a VPN on a Nvidia Shield. If your VPN supplier has an app available on the Google Play store, then it should be a simple matter of installing it. Unfortunately, things aren’t always as they should be.

Amongst the major VPN suppliers, the following ones are known to have a VPN app in the Google Play Store:

  • ExpressVPN
  • NordVPN
  • IPVanish
  • VyprVPN

So, the first thing you should do is start the Google Play app on your Nvidia Shield and search for your VPN provider’s official app. In such cases, all you have to do is click Install, much like you would any other app. Unfortunately, many VPNs won’t be compatible with the Nvidia Shield, and thus won’t even show up in search results in the Play store. Fortunately, there is a (slightly more complicated) way of getting around this issue, and that is to sideload the app directly into your Shield. But more on that in the following section!

Once you have the VPN supplier’s app installed, using it should be no more complicated than using their app on any other platform.

Sideloading the VPN App

If your VPN supplier’s app is not directly compatible with the Nvidia Shield, all is not lost! There’s a good chance you can still sideload the app onto your console. Let’s see how it’s done. For this example, we’ll use the IPVanish VPN app for Android. The procedure for any other supplier’s app would be similar, except that we would be downloading a different apk file.

The operating system on the Nvidia Shield is limited and doesn’t even have a web browser or file manager. Since we need that to sideload the VPN app, we’ll start by installing ES File Explorer. This is a great file manager for Android that also includes a built-in (although somewhat limited) web browser. Fortunately, it’s good enough to serve our purposes.

Before you go any further, you need to modify your Nvidia Shield’s security setting to enable the sideloading of apps. On your Shield, go to Settings then Security and scroll down to Device administration and enable the Unknown sources to allow the sideloading of apps.

Installing ES File Explorer

This is very easy, all you need to do is open the Play Store app on your Nvidia Shield. Once the Play store opens, select the search bar at the top of the screen and type in ES File Explorer.

From the search results, click Install to launch the ES File Explorer installation. That’s all there is to it!

Using ES File Explorer to Download and Install the VPN App

Start ES File Explorer. Click the menu at the top left of the screen and under Bookmarks, click Yahoo. A Yahoo search window will open. Click the search box and enter IPVanish APK as your search term.

Find the highest-numbered version of the apk file amongst the search results. As of this writing, the IPVanish apk was at version 3.1.0.2840. Click the selected search result and then click the link to download the apk.

Once the apk file is downloaded, you’ll be presented with options to either open the folder or to open the file. Click Open Folder.

Within the download folder, find the IPVanish apk file. In our example, it is called com.ixolit.ipvanish_2011-10-05.apk. Click the file. In the dialog box that opens, click Install.

Accept the access warning that pops up and wait for a few seconds until the app installation completes. Once you get the notification that the app has successfully installed, click Open at the bottom right to launch it.

Congratulations! You now have your provider’s Android client software installed on your Nvidia Shield.

If you’re using a different provider from our IPVanish example, the procedure will be identical. Of course, your search terms may be different and so will the name of the downloaded apk file and the version number.

What If Your Provider Doesn’t Have an App?

It is an unfortunate reality that only a handful of VPN providers actually have a dedicated app for Android. If your choice isn’t one of the major providers mentioned earlier on in the article, then chances are good it doesn’t have one.

Does that mean that you can’t use their VPN on your Nvidia Shield? Certainly not! All providers use standard protocols to set up VPN tunnels and encrypt data. This means that a standard VPN client, while not as full-featured as a dedicated app from your supplier, will allow you to connect to a VPN server and provide the same level of security and privacy.

Such a standard VPN client is OpenVPN for Android. It can be installed on the Nvidia Shield. And to make its configuration easy, most (if not all) VPN suppliers allow you to download some OpenVPN configuration files and certificates. In addition to the OpenVPN app, you’ll also need ES File Explorer or some similar app to find and install the configuration files to your Nvidia Shield.

SEE ALSO: How to Hide OpenVPN Traffic with an SSH Tunnel

Installing the Necessary Apps on Your Nvidia Shield

Installing ES File Explorer, as we’ve told you before, is a simple matter of opening the Play Store app, searching for it and clicking install.

The other App you’ll need is OpenVPN for Android. It also installs from the Play Store. Simply search for OpenVPN for Android and make sure the app you install it the one by developer Arne Schwabe. Although other OpenVPN clients are available on the Play Store, this one works very well and it is the one we’ve chosen to install and base these instructions on. If you want to follow along, you better use this app.

Setting Up OpenVPN for Android to Work with Your VPN Supplier

For the sake of this tutorial we will, once again, assume that we want to configure OpenVPN for Android to work with IPVanish as the VPN supplier. And just like before, the process would be similar no matter what VPN supplier you use. Only the searched and downloaded files would be different.

Downloading and Unzipping the Required Files

First, start ES File Explorer. Click the menu at the top left of the screen and under Bookmarks, click Yahoo. A Yahoo search window will open. Click the search box and enter IPVanish OpenVPN config files as your search term. What you’re looking for is a set of .ovpn files which contain the configuration for each of the supplier’s servers and a .crt file which is the encryption certificate. Many suppliers will have all the files grouped in a single .zip file. This is indeed the case for IPVanish.

If the files were downloaded as a single .zip file, you’ll need to use ES File Explorer to extract them to a folder on your Nvidia Shield. Select the .zip file, click Plus at the bottom right and then choose Extract to, to unzip all the contents to a folder.

Once you’ve found and downloaded and/or unzipped the required config file(s) and certificate(s). You’re ready to configure OpenVPN for Android.

Configuring OpenVPN for Android

Start the OpenVPN for Android app. You’ll be greeted with a notification that there are no VPN profiles defined. Don’t worry, we’ll fix this in a minute. At the top right of the screen, click the icon that looks like a box with a down arrow-this is the import icon.

Navigate to the location where you downloaded or extracted the .ovpn files and click one of them to import its configuration. There should be one .ovpn file per server. You only need to import the files for the server(s) you want to use.

Upon importing, OpenVPN for Android will complain that some files could not be found. This is normal, we haven’t told the app where to find the certificate. Let’s do that now.

Click the Select… button to the right of the screen.

Navigate to the location where you downloaded or unzipped the certificate and click it. The certificate file will have a .crt extension. Normally, it will be the same location where you’ve downloaded or extracted the .ovpn files so you should already be in the right place.

Return to the Convert Config File screen, click the check mark at the top right to save the profile.

To connect to the VPN server, all that is left to do is to click the profile you just imported. You’ll see a notification screen, click OK to confirm the connection request.

Since this is the first time you’re using this profile, you’ll be asked to enter a username and password. Enter the login credentials from your provider. Optionally, click the Save Password box and you won’t be asked to enter it the next time you connect. Click OK to launch the VPN.

Other Options

Unless your provider has a VPN client app for Android that can be installed on the Nvidia Shield from the Play Store, getting a VPN up and running on your device might be a complicated task. Other options might be available, though. A search on the Play Store from your Nvidia Shield will reveal several VPN client apps.

We haven’t tested them and we can’t vouch for their usefulness and quality. We can’t even tell you if they’re working or not, but they might be worth trying. You could end up with a quick and easy solution that works fine and offers the privacy, security, anonymity and geographic neutrality you need.

But your best option is probably to start by searching your  VPN provider’s website and/or support forums. They might have a ready to use procedure custom-designed for their service. Alternately, other users might have been in a similar situation in the past and have posted their solution.

Conclusion

When there’s a will there’s a way. This is particularly true with setting up a VPN on a Nvidia Shield. It can be as simple a process as it can be complicated–it depends mostly on what VPN supplier you’re using. The best advice we can give you is to choose your VPN supplier based on the availability of an Android client that will be easy to install on the Nvidia Shield.

And if you’re more of the tinkering type, the instructions we gave you will allow you to configure pretty much any VPN service on a Nvidia Shield. It might require a bit more time and efforts but you’ll be should be able to pull it through.

We love to hear from our readers. Please, let us know how was your experience setting up a VPN on the Nvidia Shield. What VPN client did you use, the one from the supplier or an OpenVPN solution? Use the comments below to share your thoughts with us.

Read How to Install a VPN on the Nvidia Shield by Renaud Larue-Langlois on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

The 5 Best VPNs for India in 2019

It’s a big question: “What’s the best VPN for India?” Fortunately, the answer is here in this article; we’ll cover the top 5 VPN providers for Indian residents and travelers, plus how to use them to get the freest, most open Internet available. We’ll also cover the limitations of VPNs, plus why you should always avoid “free” providers.

Privacy and an open internet are increasingly precious in the modern world. Countries across the globe have begun censoring websites and selling user data, making the simple act of checking e-mail or streaming a movie a dangerous practice. Even the Indian government has started placing bans on websites in an attempt to control its citizens.

The internet wants to be free, and people aren’t sitting idly by as their access is restricted and controlled. One of the most powerful tools for winning back privacy and freedom online are virtual private networks, simple services that encrypt data and mask a user’s location so they can access the web like a citizen of the world.

VPNs come with a variety of benefits, including encryption for all data leaving your computer and location variability through a network of servers. Your personal data will be locked down and stripped of identifying information, allowing you to bypass censorship firewalls or stream videos from Netflix and YouTube that normally aren’t available in your country. VPNs are the perfect tool to take back your privacy, and best of all, they’re inexpensive and extremely easy to use.

Evaluating the Best VPNs

Finding the right VPN to meet your needs can take some research. There are a lot of factors to take into consideration, including encryption, privacy practices, server distribution, length of subscription, and so on. To make sure you get the best value for your money, we used the following criteria to evaluate our featured VPNs. Each delivers fantastic performance for customers in India and around the world.

  • Logging policy – A VPN is only as good as its privacy policy. All of your data passes through a VPN’s servers and can be stored for an indefinite period of time. If a government agency demands the VPN turn over data, they usually have to comply, which compromises your security. However, if no logs are kept, there’s no data to share. All of the VPNs below have a strict zero-logging policy that keeps your information safe.
  • Kill switches and DNS leak protection – When your VPN software is connecting to the network, you’re vulnerable to IP address leaks. It only takes a moment for your home connection to sneak through, exposing your identity without your knowledge. To combat this, VPN providers build their software with smart lockdown features that prevent any kind of leak from occurring.
  • File and traffic restrictions – Some VPN providers disallow things like P2P traffic or torrent files and cap bandwidth after a certain threshold. There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to download something only to discover your VPN forbids it.  All of the providers featured below are restriction-free, allowing you to download anything you want without exception.
  • Speed – VPNs are notoriously slow. The encryption overhead adds a lot of data to each packet, and the extra distance that must be traveled to reach foreign servers adds to the latency. To keep your internet as fast as possible, we’ve made sure the VPNs below keep speed as a high priority.
  • Server distribution – Having a big network is a huge advantage for a VPN. The more servers there are, the more options you have to establish a virtual location, and the better your chances of finding a fast connection.
  • Price – VPNs exist in a competitive market, which helps drive prices down for consumers. Some services charge more than others, however, which can be something of a shock. We kept an eye on the price of the VPNs below to make sure you’re getting the best deals possible for private, open access to the internet. Steer clear of so-call “free” VPNs, however, as these more often than not employ shady tactics to make up for the fact that they’re not exacting a monthly fee from you.

1. ExpressVPN

One of the top providers in the VPN market is ExpressVPN, known for their intense focus on speed. The company has a network of over 3,000 servers in 94 different countries, each configured for fast connections no matter where you’re located. The ExpressVPN software also includes a built-in speed test so you can verify how fast your connection really is. Need something faster? Simply try a new server, run the test, and evaluate.

ExpressVPN doesn’t drop any of its privacy features in favor of speed. DNS leak protection, a kill switch for both desktop and Android devices, and a zero-logging policy helps keep users safe, even if they’re in a country that has enacted censorship barriers. There’s also no restriction on file types or bandwidth, making it a great choice for streaming videos from Netflix or Hulu, especially since the service is rarely blocked by those providers.

Read our full ExpressVPN review.

Pros

  • SPECIAL OFFER: 3 months free (49% off – link below)
  • Super fast servers
  • Very simple and easy to use
  • Strict no-logging policy
  • Great support (24/7 chat).
Cons

  • Limited configuration options
  • Priced slightly higher.
BEST FOR INDIA: ExpressVPN is the best VPN for India, bar none. Get 3 months free and save 49% on the annual plan. 30-day money back guarantee included.

2. NordVPN

NordVPN is a fast, friendly, and surprisingly secure VPN provider. The service encrypts all data that passes through its network twice, wrapping everything in 256-bit AES encryption that even the toughest computer can’t break. NordVPN also has a fantastic zero-logging policy, a huge, ever-expanding network of 5,700+ servers in 60 countries, unlimited bandwidth, kill switch and DNS leak features, and absolutely no file or traffic limitations.

Another one of NordVPN’s special features is server specialization. Because the company runs such a massive network, it has the ability to task individual servers to certain jobs, making them far more efficient with specific things. If you’re downloading a torrent or using a P2P network, for example, it’s likely your data will get funneled through one of these servers so it can be handled with greater speed.

Read our full NordVPN review.

Pros

  • Works with Netflix, BBC iPlayer without breaking a sweat
  • Mind-boggling number of servers
  • No IP/DNS leaks found
  • No logs and encrypted connections for total privacy
  • Customer Service (24/7 Chat).
Cons

  • Apps can sometime be slow to connect.
BEST BUDGET VPN: Get a huge 75% discount for signing up for the 3-year plan, taking the monthly price down to only $2.99. Also note that all plans come with a “no hassle” 30-day money-back guarantee.

3. PureVPN

PureVPN is straightforward way to gain private, unrestricted access to the internet. It starts with a network of 2,000+ servers in over 140 different countries, covering just about every corner of the globe. You can switch between these servers as often as you like, all while enjoying a zero-logging policy, unlimited bandwidth, DNS leak protection, and a quick kill switch to make sure your data and your IP stays safe.

Device connectability is one of PureVPN’s strongest features. The service begins with a simultaneous connection limit of five, which is two more than most providers on the market. The new Virtual Router feature also allows you to turn your Windows computer into a hotspot that supports up to ten devices, plenty for you and your entire family to surf the web anonymously.

Read our full PureVPN review.

HUGE DISCOUNT: Pick the 2-year plan which will take a solid 74% OFF the price taking it down to $2.88 per month if you do the math.

4. IPVanish

IPVanish promises three simple things: lightning fast speeds, maximum security, and zero logs. These form the basis of the company’s strong VPN offerings that work well for customers in India and across the world. The IPVanish network covers over 1,300 servers in 75+ different countries, providing an amazing range of IPs you can use for privacy and content accessibility purposes. All are secured with 256-bit AES encryption and a zero-logging policy, along with kill switch and DNS leak protection for great privacy from your local device.

IPVanish doesn’t cut out core features in favor of speed or security. You’ll get unrestricted access to the internet with unlimited bandwidth and no blocking for P2P or torrent traffic, unlimited server switching, access to censored sites and apps, and can connect up to five devices, which is two more than the industry standard.

Read our full IPVanish review.

EXCLUSIVE DEAL: AddictiveTips readers can save a massive 60% here on the IPVanish annual plan, taking the monthly price down to only $4.87/mo.

5. VyprVPN

If privacy is your top concern, VyprVPN is the way to go. The company sets itself apart by owning and operating its entire network of 700 servers in 70 different locations, giving them complete control over hardware, software, and configurations. Outside companies never have access to VyperVPN’s servers, which gives them the ability to customize performance for increased speed without sacrificing security. This, along with a strong no-logging policy, unlimited bandwidth, DNS leak and kill switch protection, and no file type restrictions makes it a fantastic choice for a VPN for India.

One of the unique features of VyprVPN is the company’s very own Chameleon technology. If VPN blocking or throttling is an issue with your internet service provider, Chameleon can help sidestep that without an issue. It’s also one of the few services that makes an extra effort to keep access to Netflix consistent, and it keeps availability open in restrictive locations such as China and Turkey.

Read our full VyprVPN review.

READER SPECIAL: All plans include a 30-day money back guarantee at only $5/month.

Benefits of Using a VPN

Signing up for a VPN delivers a lot of amazing benefits. They offer an increased level of privacy, online security, and digital anonymity by default, but you also get the added ability to change your virtual location, which is a cornerstone of a free and open internet. Some of these features are essential in the modern world, but others are just nice to have. Either way, VPNs deliver a lot of value for the price, no matter which service you use.

  • Watch videos from other regions – The best non-privacy related benefit of using a VPN is being able to access streaming content from outside your home country. Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, YouTube, and other streaming services are forced to restrict which movies and TV shows can be watched in different countries. With a VPN active, you can change your virtual location with just a few clicks, letting you watch content previously unavailable in your area.
  • Encrypt data for privacy – Normally, data sent through the internet is passed in a raw format, meaning anyone with the right tools can download and view it. With a VPN’s encryption, however, all of your information will be sent in a scrambled form, readable only by yourself and the VPN that encrypted it in the first place.
  • Hide your IP address – IP addresses can be used to identify a person’s location, even trace them back to their home. When you’re using a VPN, however, you’re assigned an IP address associated with the VPN network, not your current location. This lets you surf the web with a much higher level of anonymity.
  • Access censored websites – Censorship is a growing problem in the world, especially when it comes to governments and businesses. Restricting access to certain websites is an increasingly common practice in a number of countries, including China, Turkey, and India. A VPN is a simple way to step around those blocks. If you can’t reach Google, Facebook, or any other site due to censorship, simply change your location through a VPN and try again.
  • Stop surveillance and tracking – A great side effect of a VPN’s encryption and non-local IP addresses is that it makes it much more difficult for governments or third parties to track your online activity. Surveillance efforts will also be rendered nearly useless.

The Limitations of a VPN

VPNs are extremely useful at home and while traveling, but they won’t solve all of your online privacy or security issues. To keep your data safe, you’ll still need to follow common sense practices. You’ll also need to adapt to a few limitations VPNs can’t quite get around. Small prices to pay for the privacy and security they offer.

  • VPNs tend to be slow – Most VPN services will be slower than your standard internet connection. This has a lot to do with the encryption used to scramble each packet of data as well as the extra distance information must travel to and from servers around the world. Expect a 10-25% loss in overall speed, less with VPN services that work hard to keep their speed scores high.READ ALSO: How to Speed up a Slow VPN
  • VPNs won’t protect you from malware – Malware and viruses pass through most VPNs like they don’t even exist. Using a firewall and virus scanner are still recommended if you have a VPN active.
  • Devices aren’t automatically protected – You can’t just run a VPN program on your desktop and expect all of your devices to benefit. Each phone, tablet, laptop, gaming console, and device that goes online needs to run the VPN’s software to use the encryption and IP hiding. There are workarounds to this, however, including installing VPN software on your router.
  • Device connectability – You can’t connect all of your devices to a VPN at the same time. Most services limited the simultaneous connections to three or five, which means a computer, a tablet, a smartphone, and that’s it. Everyone who access your Wi-Fi is subjected to this limit, which can make it difficult for families to use VPNs together.

Free VPNs Aren’t Private, Reliable, or Secure

There’s a big temptation to use free VPN services advertised on websites, on mobile marketplaces, and in browser extension sites. Free VPNs are just about everywhere, and each one promises free, fast, and unlimited service. The unfortunate reality is that free VPNs can harm your privacy more than they protect it. You may gain the ability to switch IPs or hide data from your ISP, but you can never be sure what’s happening to your data once it leaves your computer.

Any business that operates a virtual private network has to make money to stay alive. Servers need maintenance, workers need to be paid, software must be upgraded, etc. If customers don’t provide this income, the free VPN provider has to make it up somewhere else. This usually comes in the form of ads injected into your browser, or by selling the data they collect from users.

They may seem like a convenient alternative to a paid service, but free VPNs should generally be avoided at all costs. If you absolutely must save those few dollars per month, read our guide to the most reputable free VPNs first.

How to Get Coupons and Discounts for VPNs

The virtual private network marketplace is highly competitive. Hundreds of services are scattered throughout the world, each trying to get your attention and offer the best features for the most attractive price. This keeps the costs surprisingly low for customers across the globe, and it also means some amazing coupons and discounts can be obtained if you know where and when to look.

Follow on social media – Most VPNs have a social media presence on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. Whenever the company runs a promotion, this is where they’ll announce it. Find a few VPNs you’re interested in and follow their social media accounts for the best deals around.

Disable adblockers – A few VPN providers advertise their discounts in the form of pop-up windows and sidebar banners. If you have an adblocker enabled, it may remove these offers. Try temporarily disabling them and refreshing the plans page.

Check the website – As funny as it sounds, sometimes the easiest way to get a discount is to look for a link on the website. Some VPN providers have a discounts section linked from the bottom of their home page. Either use the search function or scroll to the footer to see if anything exists. IPVanish is one such VPN that does this, and the effort will give you as much as 25% off.

Wait for a holiday – VPNs and many other tech companies like to offer sales on local holidays as well as special events such as Cyber Monday. If you don’t need your VPN right away, wait for one of these holidays, then check your favorite provider and see if a deal pops up.

Check out our links – It wouldn’t be an Addictive Tips article if we didn’t give you some kind of exclusive deal right? Check out our guide on getting ExpressVPN free or NordVPN free.

Read The 5 Best VPNs for India in 2019 by Geoffrey Walters on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter