The Right VPN for Portland, Oregon
You’ve just sit down for a coffee at your local Stumptown Coffee Roasters. You pull out your phone to check for WiFi and join the shop’s free network. Without knowing it, you’ve opened your data to any hacker or snooper worth two cents.
Portland, Oregon is a town that’s known for a lot of things: coffee, beer, hipsters. It’s also one of the fastest emerging tech communities. Due to that fact, many companies from Silicon Valley are now planting their feet in the Pacific Northwest.
Portland is also a pilot town testing out a “full-city WiFi” program. The goal of the program is to set up several high-powered antennas throughout the city that provide free, ubiquitous WiFi to anyone who wants to use it. While citywide free WiFi is an awesome feat of technology and incredibly convenient, it’s also reason for cybersecurity concerns.
Citywide WiFi Creates a Hotbed for Hackers
It’s important to remember that for every person signed onto a public WiFi network, the threat of being hacked grows. Portland’s city council has opted to use OpenDNS as a way to mitigate some threats, but this is only half the battle.
It will still be some time before the citywide WiFi goes live. Until then, you can find all the free WiFi spots in Portland by checking out the website linked here. More than likely, you’ll have to trust the public network of your favorite coffee shop.
And it’s here that we come to the central issue of the problem: trust. It’s rarely wise to trust any public WiFi network, which is why it’s so important to use a VPN in Portland.
According to Norton’s annual cybersecurity report, over 594 million people suffered some level of cyber attack in 2015. In addition, upwards of 12% of Americans who shopped online had their financial data compromised.
A VPN is a surefire way to guarantee that every piece of data you transmit is protected from prying eyes or dangerous hackers.
Local ISPs Turn Up the Heat
But why should public WiFi be the only place where you’re protected? If you’re familiar with ISPs in Portland, you know that only a select number of controversial companies are available.
First, there’s the ISP that everyone (rightfully) loves to hate: Comcast. Comcast offers decent speeds of up to 200Mbps for residential customers, but they aren’t near as fast as fiber.
The only fiber provider, and only other ISP company, in the region is CenturyLink.
CenturyLink has been rushing to fill the gap left by Google’s original promise to bring fiber Internet to Portland. After the Internet search giant backed out of their deal, CenturyLink pounced on the opportunity. The company is now the only provider of a true 1Gbps up/down connection.
However, for all the speed that CenturyLink advertises, YouTube performance in Portland is absolutely dismal. Customers suspect the buffering is due to intentional ISP throttling, but there’s no way to prove that.
Even though I’m running off a hardwired 1Gbps connection (and it consistently tests as such on SpeedTest.net), I’m lucky if a YouTube video will load at 240p without needing to buffer midway through.
Throttling is a known issue for CenturyLink customers, and for now the only fix seems to be using a VPN. By using the Seattle node of the VPN.com network (from over 50+ locations available worldwide), I’m able to regularly achieve speeds of well over 300Mbps. When connected through a VPN, YouTube videos load instantaneously.
If you’re tired of CenturyLink throttling your connection or just want a better way to protect yourself while you’re browsing on Portland’s incoming public WiFi service, a VPN is definitely the way to do it.
Choose the Right VPN for Portland with VPN.com
VPN.com is dedicated to providing users in Portland, Oregon with the best possible service. We’ve reviewed over 900 VPN providers to ensure you don’t waste a dollar on a poor performing network.
So if you’re taking a ride up to Pittock Mansion or just want to spend a night gaming at Ground Kontrol, you should always keep your devices protected with a VPN.
Check out all the providers we’ve reviews to find the best plan that suits your needs. Remember fellow Portlanders, proper protection for you and your family on the web is out there, you just need to know where to look!