October 9, 2017

AIM Shutdown: AOL Instant Messenger alternatives

AOL announced yesterday that it will shut down the company's messaging service AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) on December 15th, 2017.
AOL Instant Messenger was initially part of AOL Desktop before it was released as a standalone software program for Windows in 1997.
It became a popular messaging client in a crowded market, as it competed with programs like Yahoo Messenger, ICQ or MSN Messenger for market share.
The popularity of messaging client waned with the rise of new services and smartphones. AOL stopped development of the client back in 2012 but kept services online.

AIM Shutdown facts

aol instant messenger aim shutdown
Here are the most important information in regards to the discontinuation of AIM:
  • AIM will be shut down on December 15, 2017, and users won't be able to sign in to the service anymore, or use it.
  • Services will function normally until that date, downloads links will be removed prior however.
  • Data associated with AIM will be deleted.
  • The change won't affect email addresses.
  • Users can save images and files, and the chat history. Note that the option to do so will stop on December 15, 2017.

How to save the AIM chat history

Some AIM clients and the AIM website offer options to save the chat history. Note that this works only if you have not disabled the option to save a copy of your chats, and only for chats not set to "go off the record".
One of the easier options to access the chat history is to find it on the local hard drive. AOL suggests that you run a search for AIM Logs to find the location.
On Windows, the default location for logs is c:\users\username\Documents\AIM Logs\.

How to save AIM images and files

The chat log does not include images and files. To save those, do the following:
  1. Sign in to the AIM client.
  2. Open the chat history with a buddy, and scroll though the listing.
  3. Click on the image or file, it will open in a browser tab or window.
  4. Right-click on it to save it.
This is not a very elegant solution, especially if you want to save all images and files. Imagine having used the client for years with multiple contacts. You might spend days saving all images and files manually.

AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) alternatives

Here is a short list of alternatives that are still under development. The focus is on desktop programs, or services that include a desktop program:
  • Facebook Messenger -- Available for mobile and desktop systems.
  • Jitsi -- Open source audio/video and chat communication with end to end encryption and support for various protocols.
  • Pidgin -- Pidgin is a multi-protocol chat client that supports several services and protocols include ICQ, XMPP, or IRC.
  • Signal Messenger -- Available for Android, iOS and Desktop operating systems. Supports group, text, voice and video chat, document and picture sending, encryption, and more.
  • Telegram Messenger -- Available for Android, iOS, Mac OS X, PC, Linux, and as a web version. Supports encryption, file sending, groups, message destruction, synchronization, and more.
  • Trillian -- Instant messaging service for desktop and mobile operating systems. Not free.


October 4, 2017

Top (REALLY FREE) VPN Services 2018

Free VPNs are great, but there's a reason they don't cost anything. We gathered the best free VPNs, and even divulge how to get a premium service for free.
Who doesn’t love free stuff? I’m a sucker for free things, and I won’t pay for something if I don’t have to. But free stuff usually come with a catch; that free subscription to Buffer doesn’t have as many features as their paid one, and that free mobile game gets annoying after the 74th ad. The same applies to VPNs. Free VPNs are great, but there’s a reason they don’t cost anything.
There are many free VPNs out there, but unless you go with a select few, you run the risk of exposing yourself to all sorts of malware. Many VPNs sell their user data to third parties, which means targeted ads for you. Other free VPNs provide outdated data encryption, which can easily be hacked. With a free VPN, you tend to get stuck waiting until a server opens. There’s also a good chance you’ll wind up with lots of ads. We all know that VPNs slow down an Internet connection, but it’s even more so with a free VPN. With all of that in mind, we’ve rounded up the best free VPNs, so you can still get great service without paying for it.

*Editor’s Choice: ExpressVPN
Although ExpressVPN isn’t entirely free, their 30-day money back guarantee is the best deal. You get a premium quality service that’s easy to download, user-friendly, has a no logs policy, and won’t slow down your Internet speed. If you really want to see how a VPN works – or even if you just want to bypass Netflix’s VPN block – ExpressVPN is the way to go. It’s also the perfect option if you’re traveling and need a VPN for a few weeks.

1. TunnelBear

TunnelBear is likely the most user-friendly and easy to use free VPN available, with simple apps for MacOS, Windows, and all mobile devices. They also stand at the top of the “transparent” VPN list after they recently published an internal 3rd party analysis that examined they, indeed, do not keep logs. (vpnMentor called the head of research at Cure53 who examined them and verified the findings.)
Tunnelbear also has a wide range of servers across the world to ensure seamless routing of traffic data everywhere from Norway to Hong Kong, but its India and Australia nodes are limited in the best free VPN version. TunnelBear promises no traffic logging and high-quality encryption. Nevertheless, you are limited to 500MB per month. This means it will be reasonably useless to use it if you want the location-spoofing benefits of watching geographically restricted video.




2. GooseVPN

While the actual GooseVPN service costs money, they have an excellent 30-day free trial that we recommend you try. With a friendly user platform, no logs policy, and increasing servers in various locations, Goose is slowly climbing to the top of our list. If you want to get a taste of a serious VPN without paying the price, then their 30-day trial is the perfect way to go. However, please note that they do automatically start your subscription after 30 days and will charge you if you don’t cancel it.




3. Betternet

Betternet VPN is a strong option for those who need a powerful VPN on a small budget. Betternet is also insanely simple to use, which is why it is one of the best free VPNs. They also do not charge standard users for downloading and using their product, instead you have to watch an advertisement before you can connect to your free VPN. Like many other VPNs Betternet doesn’t log your activities, but according to a recent report, it is one of the 10 worst services when it comes to intercepting malware, which is why we can’t fully recommend it.




4. Windscribe

The next best free VPN that you should use when you absolutely need to is Windscribe. It has reasonably good speeds, and it is also quite reliable in general. In order to ensure that it is free, data usage is capped. However, users get a sizeable 10GB every month, which is a pretty decent amount for browsing and watching geo-restricted videos. Besides capping data usage, Windscribe does not allow free users access to all the servers. This can be a major disadvantage if the server you want is only meant for paying users. Nevertheless, the available free server locations still offer some good speeds.





5. ProtonVPN

ProtonVPN is a relatively new VPN service that offers both free and paid packages. The free package can connect to three countries on one device. However, they deliberately make the internet connection speed significantly slower than their paid package. They do value privacy, though, and are known for their no logs policy. For that alone, we put ProtonVPN in the top six.



6. Hide Me

Hide Me is also one of the best free VPN tools that you can use today. Based in Malaysia, this service provider has 28 servers spread across 22 countries. Security is guaranteed with the OpenVPN encryption, and the connection speed is also decent. There is a 2GB data usage limit per month for the free service. It will definitely be enough when you just need to unblock some websites or get some privacy when using a public hotspot.


Nowadays, more people are using VPNs due to the anonymity and privacy they offer. The best free VPN tools listed above are great for the casual web user. This is because free services are known for their slower connection speeds, speed caps, and even security limitations, especially through data logging. Additionally, most of the free VPNs earn money from selling their user’s browsing data. Ultimately, not even the best free VPN can give you the security and high connection speeds that you get with a paid VPN. If you want the peace of mind that your data will not be compromised due to high encryption standards and also fast connection speeds, then it is better to pay for a full-featured VPN. The best thing is about paid VPNs is that you will not have to break the bank since they have become more affordable nowadays due to the increased competition. These are the top VPNs that are affordable:


October 3, 2017

5 Best Free VPN Services in 2017

What is a Free VPN?

A Free VPN (Virtual Private Network) is a cost-effective online service that provides digital privacy, security, and the ability to unblock and download website content from all over the world at no cost at all.
Running a complementary VPN service isn’t easy. That’s why the best providers charge subscribers for their services. However, we feel strongly that everybody should be able to access a VPN for free when they need one. That is why we have hunted far and wide for the five best free VPNs of 2017. In addition, to make your life easier, this article will explain everything you need to know about free services.
VPN services have quickly risen to fame in the last few years. VPN software gives people the ability to protect themselves and their data from online surveillance by Internet Service Providers (ISPs), governments, advertisers, and even hackers.
VPNs also allow people to unblock website content by allowing them to pretend to be in a different country. This makes them perfect for people who are going on holiday and want to access services from back home. They are also ideal for people who want to access foreign TV streams (or sports competitions). Furthermore, VPNs are excellent for people living under strong government censorship.

In 2017, what’s the best COSTLESS VPN service the online world has to offer?

The providers in this article are the best complementary VPN services of 2017. However, for a full blisteringly fast and fully featured service (perfect for those that want to download a lot of data), please look at these premium VPNs. Remember, unlike most free options, the VPNs in this guide are reliable, secure, and highly efficient. They have all been thoroughly tested by our experts.
BestVPN Editor's Choice Award
TunnelBear Homepage
  • Simple setup, incredibly easy to use
  • Excellent encryption
  • Can connect up to 5 devices
  • 500MB of free data every month
  • No peer-to-peer (P2P)
  • Few advanced settings
  • Usage capped
Our review found TunnelBear to be a fantastic free VPN that many people like because of its amusing style. However, this VPN is more than just fun.

This VPN doesn’t keep any logs, which makes it great for security. In addition, the company’s privacy policy is outstanding, making this a reliable free VPN to use for online privacy and security. Another positive aspect of this free VPN is that it gives users access to all of the VPN servers on the network. In addition, those servers are excellently placed. Unfortunately, you can’t use the free option for any more than 500MB worth of web browsing per month. When the data limit kicks in, however, you can earn more data by doing some social sharing!
Try the Best VPN Service Today!
Visit TunnelBear »30 day moneyback guarantee

#2 Free VPN in 2017: hide.Me

hide.Me Homepage
  • Strong encryption
  • Servers in 22 countries
  • Zero logs
  • Superb privacy policy
  • Highly experienced customer care
  • Limited to 2GB per month is a VPN provider from Malaysia that offers a free VPN plan. Subscribers can select from 28 servers in 22 countries. Connection speeds are solid and security is taken care of thanks to OpenVPN encryption. Get a whopping 2GB per month – quite a lot of data, and certainly enough to get you some privacy when you really need it (and to unblock websites that are unavailable). It is also compatible with all devices.

As with all the free VPNs on our list, this VPN has limitations. If you use the internet a lot, then you should probably choose a non-data capped VPN. With that said, we really like – it is one of the best all-around free VPNs available in 2017.

#3 Free VPN in 2017: SurfEasy

SurfEasy Homepage
  • Easy setup
  • P2P allowed
  • Owned by Opera
  • Easy to use apps
  • Servers across the globe
  • Minor logging
  • 2GB limit on Starter Plan
SurfEasy is a Canadian free VPN provider that is very similar to TunnelBear.

The SurfEasy apps are easy to use, provide you with strong security and solid protection, and are pretty fast. The free version provides you with 500MB of data transfer, and you can increase your data by recommending the service to friends and family. Servers are reliable and the VPN is trusted. However, their paid plan is quite a lot better, and pricing starts at just $6.49/month.

#4 Free VPN in 2017: CyberGhost

CyberGhost Homepage
  • No bandwidth limits
  • Solid speeds
  • Free iOs and Android apps
  • Automatic internet kill switch
  • Transparent privacy policy
  • Limited locations
  • Advertisements
Subscribing to CyberGhost free VPN is a superb way to introduce yourself to the world of VPNs. There is no bandwidth limit, encryption is similar to that on a premium VPN, and setting up the service is easy. CyberGhost’s user-friendly desktop app makes connecting to the VPN nice and simple - with plenty of servers.

While CyberGhost Free is superb, there are some drawbacks to consider. CyberGhost Free users have in-app advertisements, queues to connect (during peak hours), and limited server locations.

Check out CyberGhost Free for yourself using the link below!

#5 Free VPN in 2017: Windscribe

Windscribe Homepage
  • Strong encryption
  • Great privacy policy
  • Easy to use
  • Perfect for beginners
  • High transparency
  • Limited support options
  • Usage capped
Windscribe is a free VPN that packs a real punch. The free plan allows people to use 10 GB per month, which is a really decent allowance. Security is excellent, because not only does Windscribe provide strong encryption but it has a really admirable privacy policy that protects its users.

The free windscribe plan can only be used on one device, and free users of the service don’t get access to all the servers. However, as this VPN is available for free, this is not a surprise and the servers that users do get access to are located in useful places. Furthermore, Windscribe provides great speeds – which is a real bonus. All in all a superb free VPN that is well worth a try.

What Can a VPN Do?

A free Virtual Private Network (VPN) is an online service that allows people to pretend to be in a different country. In addition, VPN subscribers get digital privacy and online security. Trusted VPNs protect subscriber data both at home and on public WiFi (to protect from hackers) by providing strong encryption.
Once connected to a VPN, subscribers can securely pretend to be overseas to access and download any content.  In addition, a VPN bypasses government blocks placed by landlords, workplaces, and other network administrators.

Is It Safe to Use a VPN that is free?

If you find the right free VPN, then yes, it is safe to use. Sadly, however, there are many free services around that we simply can’t recommend. With VPNs, you really do get what you pay for. Many free services make money by selling user data to third parties. This is a highly insecure practice. After all, a VPN is meant to keep your browsing habits private – not sell the data to the highest bidder.
Many free VPNs have poor privacy policies, outdated encryption, and generally, provide unreliable connections. The good news, however, is that this is not always the case.
Some free services are secure and only place bandwidth and usage limits in order to provide the service for free. In this article, we have included the five best free VPNs of this kind.
These changeless services have been selected because they are safe to use. However, you should remember that they are all restrictive compared to a premium VPN service. Paid services have more and better choices of servers, and provide faster connection speeds for streaming, as well as stronger security.

Finding a VPN that you can trust

There are many hundreds of VPNs on the market. This can make choosing a provider quite daunting. Furthermore, trustworthy and reliable free services are incredibly hard to find.
In this article, we will explain everything you need to know about getting a free service, what a free VPN is, and how it differs from a paid VPN. We will also describe what a free VPN can be used for.
What makes one VPN free and another one a paid service? Why is it important to avoid some free VPNs? By the end of this article, you will have all the knowledge you need about free VPNs.

Can I Get a Free, Unlimited VPN?

The honest answer to this is tricky. There are free VPNs out there that do allow you to use them without usage limits. Unfortunately, those services make revenue by collecting data about their consumers to sell to third parties. We consider this to be the exact opposite of what a VPN should do. Thus it’s impossible for us to recommend these risky VPN services.
Beyond that, it is true that you will find some free VPNs on this list that don’t have a usage limit and instead throttle the bandwidth (speed) of the VPN. This means you can use it all month. However, the speed throttling will make it very hard to enjoy streaming in HD, for instance.

How Do You Use a VPN?

A VPN works by encrypting all data coming and going from a subscriber’s device. Encrypted data is securely scrambled so that nobody can access it. The outcome is that anyone snooping on your data – be it your ISP, the government, or a hacker on public WiFi – can’t see the web browsing data. This protects vital information such as logins, credentials, passwords, and credit card details.
Furthermore, when connected to a VPN the websites that you visit believe that you are in the location of the VPN servers instead of where you really are. This allows users to access the internet as if they were in a foreign country, which is perfect for people living in a country with lots of censorship.

How to Download & Set Up a VPN that Costs Nothing

Setting up a free VPN is incredibly easy. Just follow this simple walkthrough:
  1. Choose a VPN service and click the link to its website.
  2. Subscribe and get the free VPN download that you require.
  3. Follow the installation instructions to get the free VPN software onto your device.
  4. Run the app and select the encryption option you prefer. We recommend OpenVPN as it is the strongest, but anything other than Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP) will be fine.
  5. Choose a VPN server where you would like to pretend to be and click “Connect.”
  6. Once the VPN connection has been established, the software will tell you. From that point on, you can access geo-restricted content securely.

Can I Use a Costless VPN with My Mobile Phone?

If you want to use a free VPN on your phone, any of the services in this guide will work fine. It is worth bearing in mind, however, that Android is usually covered more than iOS by VPN providers. However, at least some of the services in this guide do provide free VPN for iPhone software.
In fact, no matter whether you are looking for a free VPN for Windows, or Mac, there is an option on this list that has you covered! No matter which platform you run, you will be able to access free VPN servers with our recommendations.

What Makes One VPN Free and Another One Paid?

The free VPNs in this guide provide the service as a loss leader in order to entice people into purchasing a premium subscription. That’s why the free services are restricted.
Using a VPN for free can leave some people feeling cold. The experience can be slow and highly limited. Most of the time you will likely get cut off when you are streaming with a free VPN because you reach your usage limit.
With a paid VPN, subscribers get unlimited use of the servers and no bandwidth limits. This means that the VPN is fast and can be used to do even the most data-intensive tasks.
Other free VPNs may be less restrictive in terms of use, but the payoff comes in the form of worse encryption and a insecure privacy policy. Because a VPN is supposed to protect user data, we consider these types of services to be too risky to recommend.

Which Is the Best Free Service?

Generally speaking, the best free VPN service is one that doesn’t put user data at risk in order to provide the service for nothing. That’s why the best free services tend to restrict the service a little. VPNs are costly to run and thus at their very best they do cost a subscription fee.
Remember, many free VPNs are there to collect their subscribers’ web browsing histories in order to sell them to third parties (which is highly insecure). For this reason, if you need free VPN access we urge you to stick to a trusted VPN from this guide.

Free VPNs: Considerations

When you are choosing a free VPN, there are a few key considerations that you need to keep in mind:
a) What do plan to use your free VPN for?
b) How much use do you intend to get out of your free VPN?
Free VPN Considerations
The most important consideration is connection speeds. Slower connection speeds make it very hard to enjoy streaming with your free service. A free VPN that isn’t speed-capped usually has usage limits, so you may not get much opportunity to stream shows with a faster free VPN.
At the end of the day, if you plan to use a VPN all the time to watch geo-restricted streams in HD, or play gaming servers that are geo-restricted, you will likely need to opt for a paid service with a money-back guarantee. That way you can get a feel for a premium service without actually having to spend any money.

A VPN Free Trial?

Some VPNs offer a free trial. These services give you the opportunity to trial a full-blown premium service for anything between three days and a week.
Another option is to pay for a 30-day trial of a VPN and simply ask for your money back if you don’t like it. ExpressVPN has a 30-day money-back guarantee that it always honors – it is also the best VPN service in the world.
As such, using the free VPNs in this guide is only one option for getting the use of a free VPN. If you decide that you like using a VPN, it is definitely well worth using the free trials and money-back guarantees that the best VPNs provide.

A Free service for Netflix or Kodi

Netflix actively blocks VPNs and it is almost impossible to get a free service for Netflix. However, both Kodi users and Netflix subscribers can unblock streaming content for free using one of many VPNs’ free trials or money-back guarantees. This will allow you to stream as much content as you like for free for around 30 days – and then get your money back. We understand better than anyone just how many people want to find a VPN for Kodi that is free, and for those Kodi users, these VPNs are just the ticket. As for Netflix, a full premium package is going to be the only real way to get the job done, so a 30-day money back guarantee may be the best option for those who want to try a VPN for nothing.

A Free Service for iOS 11 or Android

For people looking for a costless VPN for iOS, the VPNs in this guide are all a great option and will work perfectly on any iOS device. The same goes for Android users: these services are ideal for use on all mobile devices.

A Warning About Free Services

The vast majority of free services are a privacy and security nightmare. Free VPNs often handle data insecurely, provide outdated OpenVPN encryption that can be hacked, and sell user data to the highest bidder. Thus we urge you to think twice before using untrusted free services – the risks truly are massive!
Virtual Private Networks are amazing and even the very best are not too expensive. For that reason, we strongly advise in favor of a fully featured VPN service that will protect users properly. There are plenty of superb cheap services around, and the level of freedom and security you get with a premium service is incomparable to what users get for free.

Free VPNs for Torrenting

When it comes to torrenting you will need a VPN that provides plenty of data usage and good speeds. The services in this guide will certainly get you on your way and will allow you to torrent securely for free. However, it is worth bearing in mind that for those people that want to do a lot of downloading using P2P, a paid service is probably going to be needed in the long run.

Free Virtual Private Network Services: Conclusion

Over the last few years, there has been a massive explosion in awareness about Virtual Private Networks. Due to this increase in knowledge people are looking for recommendations about which service to get in order to protect themselves.
There are well over 850 commercial VPNs on the market and that number is growing all the time. Many of those VPN services lie about the level of service that they provide. They are only there to make a quick buck from unsuspecting consumers.
This article is designed to help people who want to try out a VPN for free to have the opportunity to do so safely. The free VPN services in this article are by far the best options available. They do not skimp on security or sell their users’ data.
In the end, a free VPN will only get you so far. For people who become interested, we strongly recommend upgrading to a paid service such as ExpressVPN or NordVPN. There are plenty of cheap options, and even the most expensive VPNs on the market really don’t cost much per year. The difference in the level of service that you get with a paid service, however, is vast.
Finally, we would like to remind you that you are far better off using one or a combination of the free VPNs in this article than you are using one of the many untrusted free services on the market that we have purposefully left off this list. Our recommendations are the best free VPNs on the market, so please stick to these if you value your privacy and security.

Best Free VPN Providers Recap

Ray Walsh
I am a freelance journalist and blogger from England. I am highly interested in politics and in particular the subject of IR. I am an advocate for freedom of speech, equality, and personal privacy. On a more personal level I like to stay active, love snowboarding, swimming and cycling, enjoy seafood, and love to listen to trap music.