It’s that time of year. All my services subscriptions are either ready to renew or it’s about time I review what I’m paying for year-round. I currently have three especially problematic services:
- VPN (hard to connect to, iffy service, interference with Google),
- Offsite backup (Java engine that completely destroys my Mac and creates a wind tunnel — I’ll probably be switching to Backblaze soon), and
- An Internet provider whose service degrades if more than three people look at my site at once (I’ve heard good things about Digital Ocean, if you have alternate recs I’d love to hear them).
I’ve been with all three current providers for years and years. As of today, I’ve now managed to ditch at least one of them. Today, I threw my credit card at Cloak VPN. I’ve been testing the service for the last week and I’m hooked.
It’s a very Apple-aware iOS-designed provider. (I haven’t used the OS X component because my daughter, as you might have read here, has appropriated my laptop so I’m currently laptopless.) Most importantly, the service just works. When I connect to an untrusted WiFi network, the VPN service automatically switches on. When I’m home to my recognized WiFi, it switches off. Cell service is automatically trusted as a default setting.
In my daily life, I’m surrounded by attwifi and xfinitywifi hotspots. Now, my iPad knows that it can automatically connect to these and switch on my VPN cloak. Yesterday, as I was sitting at the car shop, I suddenly noticed that my iPhone was getting unusually good response speeds. Turns out that it had connected to a recognized big-name hotspot provider and sure enough, cloak was already there and protecting me.
This morning, Cloak got my money.
Service plans start from $2.99/month for 5GB bandwidth but if you consume a lot of data, for example with a laptop or at home, there’s an unlimited plan at $9.99/month or $99.99/year. The plans extend to an unlimited number of devices but they are one-person each. The company politely requests you don’t buy a single plan for an entire family, company, or dorm.