Networking

Five lesser known less expensive VPN clients

Selecting the right VPN client for your users and your infrastructure is crucial to a successful deployment.

Many businesses depend upon the ability to access their servers and documents from multiple locations. To enable that, many take advantage of the Virtual Private Network (VPN). When proposing this to end users, it is very often met with fear and uncertainty. It is change and people don't like change. To make that easier for end users, selecting the right VPN client is key. Some VPN servers (such as Sonicwall and Fortinet) require you use their own proprietary clients. But other VPNs allow the use of third party clients.

This blog post is also available in a TechRepublic Photo Gallery.

As for the third-party clients, there are quite a lot of them out there. Some are free, some are cheap, some are worth your time, and some are not. I have gathered together five of the clients I believe to be worth looking into. Each client may or may not meet your VPN needs - that will depend upon the server you are running. But each client offers plenty of features and each offers different levels of user-friendliness.

Five Apps

1. OpenVPN Client

OpenVPN Client is a full-featured SSL VPN client that seamlessly integrates into an OpenVPN server. This client is as simple to use as any VPN Client and makes connecting to the OpenVPN server a snap. OpenVPN Client is free and is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux. For Windows, this client is compatible with all versions of Windows, including Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, and Windows 2000. Of course, you will have to have a working OpenVPN server to connect to. Fortunately, that server is incredibly easy to set up.

2. Gadmin VPN Client

Gadmin VPN Client is another means to connect to the OpenVPN server. This tool is part of the Gadmin Tools suite of administration tools (you can even install a Gadmin VPN Server GUI to help you easily set up an OpenVPN server). This particular client tool is available only for the Linux platform, but offers tons of options for configuration. Of course, because of the amount of available options, Gadmin VPN Client isn't the best tool for users who are less familiar with how VPNs work.

3. Shrew Soft VPN Client

Shrew Soft VPN Client is an easy to use client for IPSec Remote Access VPN servers. This client is available for Windows 7, Vista, XP, 2000 (both 32 and 64-bit flavors) as well as the Linux platform. This client was originally developed to connect to open source servers such as FreeSWAN and OpenSWAN, but now can connect to VPNs by Cisco, Juniper, Checkpoint, Fortinet, Netgear, Linksys, Zywall and many others. Shew Soft VPN Client is free.

4. VPN X Client

VPN X Client is one of two VPN clients on the list that has a price attached. That price depends upon the license type and how many licenses you need (check out the Pricing page and check out this comparison matrix.) The VPN X Client will only connect to the VPN X Server. You will find the VPN X Server quite easy to set up and secure enough for small to medium sized businesses.

5. Viscosity VPN Client

Viscosity VPN Client is a cross-platform client (Windows and Macs) that makes connecting to an OpenVPN server a breeze and will only cost you $9.00 USD. Viscosity is used in Fortune 500 companies, continuously monitors your OpenVPN connection, fully integrates with OS X's advanced DNS system, can work with AppleScript and Batch/Vbs scripts, and offers Smartcar/token (PKCS#11) support, multiple connections, proxy integration, IPv6, and more.

Bottom line

Having a VPN doesn't mean you have to use a client your end users can't grasp or will put you and your IT budget out of business. These five clients work with different VPN servers and offer different levels of complexity and costs. If you're looking for a new VPN client, or replacing your VPN architecture all together, give these clients a look to see if one of them will fill a hole in your IT infrastructure.

Also read:

About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

15 comments
ashdolalove123
ashdolalove123

I am using british VPN its easy to connect and fast enough.

JuliaVladez
JuliaVladez

Can you run a personal VPN alongside these? I want to keep my ExpressVPN on while doing that. I asked (https://expressvpn.biz) but it depends on the other VPN.

jcram123
jcram123

I agree with alex, I have been working with unotelly for the past 3 months and it works really well with services such as netflix or hulu. They also have a free 1 month subscription on their gold membership, which includes a VPN solution. Highly recommendable.

sara_mith
sara_mith

article along with links for my further personal research on VPN and other security issues. We are using UK VPN, its one of the cheapest solution.

kamaki
kamaki

I like a lot Open vpn, is one of the best. At the moment I'm using also another vpn service, Vpn One Click, because it is free for 1 year and very easy to use.

alanwade
alanwade

Not each VPN supplier offers services for a mackintosh software system. This can be why you've got to pay lots of your time observing every VPN. You will notice an honest VPN supplier, however if it doesn't provide a association to mackintosh package, then it's useless. The software system is simply totally different than the favored Windows package and needs to be connected otherwise to the VPN. Obtaining a Mac VPN can secure any of your net traffic and still give you all the services you'd get with the other laptop operational systems, however is ready up otherwise. This can be why finding the right VPN is such a challenge. http://www.purevpn.com/vpn-service/mac-osx-leopard.php

feetsdr
feetsdr

What do people think of hamachi vs. these other apps / hardware?

dkerber
dkerber

What I really want is a 3rd party client for Cisco AnyConnect. Do you know of any?

Alex144
Alex144

Great article Jack. For me, the cheapest solution is Unotelly. With 5$ they offer DNS which is the best way to stream online movies. On the other hand, with 8$ they offer DNS + VPN so I can access any geo-blocked site I want. Highly recommended.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

What server and client does your organization use to manage VPN access?

Editor's Picks