5 VPN alternatives for securing remote network access

Abeerah Hashim Last updated: September 17, 2022 Read time: 11 minutes Disclosure

VPNs are an essential tool in the current digital environment. Modern and valuable still, they are not always the right tool for every business to completely secure network access. This article tells you about the tools that will let you improve a VPN's security.

Sneak peek at using alternatives to VPNs

VPNs are excellent tools that are a necessity in the current digital ecosystem. However, they’re not perfect. Sometimes you need a different tool that will give you extra advantages in anonymization, security, and privacy.

Having a top-notch VPN is such a fantastic thing! So powerful, versatile, safe, and many more things come to mind. So why could you make you want to find any alternatives? The answer is control. Even the best VPN is not designed to be compatible with your local area network and its policy structure. This is a context in which the VPN gets in the way because if your network’s policies can’t be consistent across every connection, your security becomes vulnerable.

VPNs have been around for a couple of decades already. However, the time and continued development have rendered their traditional limitations obsolete. However, the variety we have in VPN services across the market is such that some won’t even deliver on the VPN’s most essential task of masking your connection.

So VPNs have shortcomings. They’re very complicated and can make a user overconfident about security. This last problem can make the old IT risks explode and even create some new ones. Organizations whose activities need secure web connections, consistent access policies, and anonymity of users in apps and websites are much more vulnerable to these VPN-genic security issues.

In short: some organizations need to do better than a VPN. They need to combine a better mechanism for security and anonymity that gives the organization increased transparency and control over IT matters. Does it sound contradictory? Only on the surface. Some alternatives allow achieving both goals simultaneously. Let us see them.

Organization Free Version Private Network Anonymity Isolation
Silo No Yes Yes Yes
VPN Yes Yes No No
OpenWRT Yes Yes No Partial
Tor Yes No Yes No
Whonix Yes No Yes Yes
Tails Yes No Yes Yes

Five VPN alternatives: The quick list

Maybe you’re already conversant with privacy technology besides VPNs and don’t need a full description for each option. However, if all you need is the gist of it because you’re already in the know or are in a hurry, here it is:

  1. Tor. The Onion Router is one of the internet’s most widespread, reliable, and secure technologies. It’s slow but foolproof.
  2. OpenWRT. A powerful and versatile network administration tool kit will get you further away than a VPN by correctly managing your routers.
  3. Silo. It works by locating the source of one of the VPN protocol’s most significant weaknesses and eliminating it.
  4. Whonix. A live Linux distro that turns data volatility into your best friend regarding privacy.
  5. Tails. It’s Linux, it’s live, and it’s Debian. So it scores a check-in many of the things that privacy enthusiasts (especially within Linux) want.

5 best alternatives to VPN to secure your network – Detailed list

VPN alternatives

1. Tor

The Tor (The Onion Router) network daisy-chains a mesh of nodes to anonymize the activities of every user in the network.

So whenever you request a site, your request gets encrypted and then goes to an entry node. The entry node encrypts your data and encrypts it again as it sends it to another node called “relay.” The process continues until it reaches the site you wanted, with every node in the Tor network adding a layer of encryption and IP masking.

That’s how Tor deals with TCP traffic. Every new request follows a different path because the routing is random. 

So Tor allows users to bypass censorship, keep their activities from ISPs, and network admins to monitor an employee’s activities. So there’s always the chance that Tor gives users a little more freedom than a corporation would like. 

Tor’s power is beyond any question. But the many layers of encryption and routing through a network of volunteers makes navigation exceedingly slow compared to VPN. So while this is an utterly secure protocol and probably the best anonymization technology on the internet, it’s not suited for any activity. If you need speed or high data volumes, Tor won’t do unless you have an Onion over VPN combo.

2. OpenWRT

Using OpenWRT to manage your network needs a bit of a learning curve. However, once you have the hang of it, this tool will solve many VPN headaches you’ve wanted to get rid of. So routing a complete connection through a given node, isolating a peer, scaling, and much more.