Networking

Five inexpensive third-party VPN clients

OpenVPN 1

This gallery is also available as a post in the TechRepublic Five Apps Blog.

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.

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.

Images by Jack Wallen for TechRepublic

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.

7 comments
red4
red4

Why should you use a third party ssl vpn solution over built-n pptp? Are you serious? M$ pptp uses CHAP, I believe its M$ Chap v2. This is so lame a security solution that there are ready made crackers out there for it. I believe that on a fairly recent Security Now podcast (www.twit.tv) that Steve Gibson covered this and said that some chaps had now come up with a cluster that can on average crack CHAP in in less than 30 minutes. He also clearly stated that OpenVPN is not as easily hit as its SSL not CHAP. PPTP may be braindead simple, but breaking into it is probably exactly the same.

okarsligil
okarsligil

OpenVPN clients do not come bundled with MAC or Windows. PPTP is not the preferred VPN protocol anymore. Many people switched to SSL VPNs for which there is no WIndows client built in. Similarly if you are using CISCO VPN you need a special client. If your platform does not support the vendor's client (up until a couple of years ago there was no 64bit Cisco VPN client) then you need a third party tool.

dwightwilbanks
dwightwilbanks

I've seen this type of comparison before, I read this, and the others and and have absolutely no idea what someone would want to use a third party ad-on instead of the build in windows, and mac client. If someone said, its more secure, that would be a strength worth mentioning, or if someone said it was easier it would be worth mentioning (I would call them a liar because both mac and windows is super easy with instructions provided by everyone) But, the complete lack of comment confuses me, Configuring pptp for windows is brain dead simple, and connecting does not require adding software that in the past has had compatibility issues. Please, someone tell me why I would want any of these?

TonyKl
TonyKl

I don't know why no additional info. Time and space constraints perhaps but the main point is to get the names and screenshots out there generating interest. After several unseccessful attempts some years ago to get IPSEC on W2k and XP to connect to a Netgear VPN appliance. I'll happily try one of these since Netgear was charging ~$50 per seat client. BTW Editor. Shrew is not spelled Shbre.

Kevin
Kevin

If it is so brain dead simple, perhaps you would let me hire you to figure out why I have had no success after dozens of hours of effort allowing remote internet access on my SBS 2008 server!

wyattharris
wyattharris

I think this is a good point. The gallery touches on each but not really why you'd use one over the other.

Realvdude
Realvdude

I did not have much luck using it to connect to a Netgear FVS114. I had to go looking when the Netgear client (from SafeNet) did not support Vista. I also use a Netgear SSL312, but Netgear never released a firmware update to include the client download that would support 64 bit Windows (Vista and newer). They do support newer OS on the enterprise level SSL device. New connections now go on our OpenVPN virtual appliance (openvpn.net), at $50/yr for 10 user license; with simple client deployment, it was a no brainer decision to forget about Netgear.