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Do I need a VPN?

Delia90

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Plan - Camino Frances
Hey everyone! I am starting Camino Frances on May 22. Unfortunately, every Monday I will need to work remotely. So I have two questions. 1) Is that true that almost all albergues have Wi-Fi? 2) Do I need a VPN? I don't want to get a free app, and those popular providers are too expensive for me, so I am thinking about Surfshark. Any other opinions or suggestions?
 

Lirsy

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo (2017), Norte (2017), Frances (2017), Portugues (2018), La Plata (2018)
1) Is that true that almost all albergues have Wi-Fi?
Yes, I would say that 90% albergues count with a free WiFi

2) Do I need a VPN?
It depends what you intend to do!! 😂 I would say that for normal use of the WiFi you don´t need VPN. May be ... if you try to enter in some site that has geographic restrictions ....
 

Delia90

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Plan - Camino Frances
That's what I am afraid of. It might be that some websites that I need to work with, will not be working in Spain :(
 

Moorwalker

Member
Camino(s) past & future
none yet
W h ats vpn
A VPN is a Virtual Private Network. The VP provider has facilities in different countries. When you are using a VPN it routes your Internet connection through theirs, so first of all you have reasonable protection against local hackers or malware, but also your computer/phone can pretend to be in another country.

Some Web sites restrict access for all sorts of reasons, you might have seen a message saying that the site you are trying to visit does not permit access from your location. You can tell the VPN to pretend to be in that country and almost always that then lets you access the site.
 

omar504

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016,2017,2018
A VPN is a Virtual Private Network. The VP provider has facilities in different countries. When you are using a VPN it routes your Internet connection through theirs, so first of all you have reasonable protection against local hackers or malware, but also your computer/phone can pretend to be in another country.

Some Web sites restrict access for all sorts of reasons, you might have seen a message saying that the site you are trying to visit does not permit access from your location. You can tell the VPN to pretend to be in that country and almost always that then lets you access the site.
Oh...thanks for that...just getting used to phones without cords!
 

Lirsy

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo (2017), Norte (2017), Frances (2017), Portugues (2018), La Plata (2018)
That's what I am afraid of. It might be that some websites that I need to work with, will not be working in Spain :(
Yeah! In that case you will need one:confused:

On the WiFi, do not worry too much. As I mentioned, 90% of the hostels have free WiFi. The quality of the connection is not usually too good (too many pilgrims connected simultaneously).
 

Lirsy

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo (2017), Norte (2017), Frances (2017), Portugues (2018), La Plata (2018)
By the way, in Gronze (www.gronze.com), in the description of the albergue, it is indicated if the albergue counts with WiFi
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF June 2015
CP June 2017
Del Norte, Finisterre / Muxia Oct 2017
VDLP 2018
VF, SBP to Rome 2019
90% of the albergues have wifi of which, unless you are only sending emails, 50% may not have strong a signal to do any meaningful work IMHO. You will have a batter luck at a nearby cafe.
 

MichaelF4

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portuguese Coastal 2017
Camino Frances 2018
For my upcoming Camino I bought a Sim card for Orange. 20 gig of data to use over 30 days for a very reasonable price. Don't hog the bandwidth in albergues by using network intensive applications like video chat or vpns.
 

CdnDreamer

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (12, 15 & 18) San Salvador (18), Portuguese (19)
When you mention that you will be working on Mondays - is that during the day? Most albergues close during the day. Usually you have to leave by 8 am and some don't open until after lunch. You may want to plan your walking to be in the main cities on Mondays so you can have fast wifi - either from a café or using your phone.
 

Raggy

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Mozarabe Almeria (2017)
Cherhill to Canterbury - Pilgrims' Way (2018)
Via Francigena (2019)
If you require the security of a VPN for work-related internet usage, a paid VPN should not be hard to justify as a business expense. You're looking at $10 to $20 for the duration of your Camino.

As MichaelF4 points out, the WiFi in the albergue is going to be shared between multiple users. It's a given that some people will use video chat or other applications that consume a lot of bandwidth. A local SIM card gives you an alternative way to get online - either as a way to be considerate to others or as a way to give yourself a better chance of having a good connection for your work. Again, for work purposes, it shouldn't be difficult to justify the cost of a local SIM card for data.
 

Delia90

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Plan - Camino Frances
If you require the security of a VPN for work-related internet usage, a paid VPN should not be hard to justify as a business expense. You're looking at $10 to $20 for the duration of your Camino.

As MichaelF4 points out, the WiFi in the albergue is going to be shared between multiple users. It's a given that some people will use video chat or other applications that consume a lot of bandwidth. A local SIM card gives you an alternative way to get online - either as a way to be considerate to others or as a way to give yourself a better chance of having a good connection for your work. Again, for work purposes, it shouldn't be difficult to justify the cost of a local SIM card for data.
Yes, I am going to get a paid VPN. I want to get a 1 year or 2-year subscription (because it is cheaper and I can use it after Camino as well).
 

Delia90

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Plan - Camino Frances
Guys, you are amazing, thanks so much for your help!
Also, yesterday I read a bit about VPNs, and I found a lot of articles that public WiFi hotspots are unsafe and that is why VPN is a must. Any opinions or experiences about that?
 

marylynn

Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
2011-12-14-15-16-17-18-(19) CF
2013 Arles/Aragones
2015 & 2017 HærvejenDK
Many albergues have wifi, but many donativo albergues do not. I was going to suggest using the public libraries, but maybe they are not secure?
 

Pilger99

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
addicted since 1999 (Aragones, CF), lots of caminos in Spain and Portugal since then
The VPN is for your own security! Security is something that you can't expect in an albergue. I even saw Windows XP on an internet PC last year. Wifi often has the same password that they put in while starting., e.g. "Albergue2012". So hacking is not really required, for anyone who is interested in. And if you are in a wifi hotspot it's normal to see all uncrypted traffic that's going to anybody who's logged in. Bad thing for the hacker, he needs to have physical access to the wifi hotspot, so he needs to stay <100m around you.

https encryption helps you to stay more private, but if someone gets hold of the wifi router/firewall instantanous decryption is relatively easy and you will not noticing it! Decryption of formerly saved traffic is always possible, it's just a matter of time.

For the relatively new "wi-fi 5" and 5GHz wifi hacking is a bit more complicated, since the hacking tools support only a few hardware adapters. Try to choose 5Ghz and https if you just look for the weather, tourist information or the forum. Banking on unknown wifi hotspots is not recommended!

Getting a prepaid SIM with internet avoids the local hacking part. The provider is still able to look into your data, but the hacker next to you can't do it.

The other benefit of an VPN is getting another IP address which can help against geo-blocking. youtube, netflix and tv-channels do block by IP-range, but they also know a lot of VPN-provider adresses. If you need to connect into servers at work, tell them in advance that you will connect from Spain/France.

PS: Losing your cell phone or diary (filofax) can have much more privacy impact than surfing once a while in unsecure hotspots. Using antivirus tools is again another topic.
 

tomnorth

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances: September 24 - October 31 (2015); Fall (2020) I hope
Hey everyone! I am starting Camino Frances on May 22. Unfortunately, every Monday I will need to work remotely. So I have two questions. 1) Is that true that almost all albergues have Wi-Fi? 2) Do I need a VPN? I don't want to get a free app, and those popular providers are too expensive for me, so I am thinking about Surfshark. Any other opinions or suggestions?
In general, the WiFi in albergues is awful. If you will be relying on bandwidth for work, I’d get yourself a prepaid SIM card with a decent amount of data once you get in Spain.
 

cozumel

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Madrid (Easter 2019); Frances (summer 2019)
My 2 cents: yes I would get a sim card with data, first wifi on the camino is not reliable, at all, and you'll have a degree more safety that being on wifi too. As for a VPN I would choose a well known one with options to choose your location so you don't get caught with a slow connection. Personnally I use "Express VPN" on all my devices and doesn't slow down my connection. I haven't had the same experience with the free ones: Vyper or Tunnel Bear, they can also limit your connection time. Hope it helps ;-)
 

Telboyo

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
I intend to leave the UK the day Before Brexit and walkMarch -April 2019 Camino Frances
If you are coming from an EU country youcan use your home tariff in Spain at no extra cost. Whilst roaming I foind there was a good 4g signal along the whole CF.
 

Delia90

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Plan - Camino Frances
After all your suggestions I decided to buy a VPN just to be sure that my work (and personal) information is safe while using public Wi-Fi during my Camino.
So on Friday, I bought Surfshark just because I found a coupon code on Reddit with a huge discount. So far had no troubles, but in case I need, there's 30 money back guarantee. I will keep you updated how it goes.
 

Delia90

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Plan - Camino Frances
So after a little bit more than a week with Surfshark, I can say that it works as promised. No speed problems and it unblocks US Netflix. I hope it will unlock all my work websites in Spain too 👏
By the way, I am starting on Wednesday!
 

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