Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why does my connection speed seem slower when I use

When you use, your network speed can be a bit slower. This is because there's an extra hop through Instead of going to the website (or server) directly, your information goes through the servers. There is extra work involved in encrypting your data as well.

The actual results depend on your location. For some locations, may actually be faster. The servers sit on a low-latency, high-bandwidth Internet backbone, so it may actually be faster to download content through

For best results, use a speed test with and without The one at bandwidthplace seems to be pretty good.

NOTE: if your connection is terribly slow, and web pages take forever to load, you might be running into the MTU issue. See below for more information.

2. I'm having trouble connecting via L2TP/IPsec?

Some Wi–Fi providers don't support L2TP/IPsec over their networks. If L2TP/IPsec doesn't work, try using PPTP instead.

3. Isn't PPTP less secure than IPsec?

The way PPTP was designed makes it easier for a hacker to guess your password. The best way to prevent this is to use a password phrase that has two or more words in it. Examples of these kinds MTUof passwords would be "my car is a 77 Ford," "I work downtown," or "fish and chips." It's more difficult for hackers to deal with sentences than single words due to the way the attacks are performed.

4. Can I use outside the United States?

Yes, you can use when you're overseas. As an additional benefit, you will bypass your host country's Internet filters (if any) because your Internet gateway is in the United States.

5. I can't seem to send mail through my Internet Service Provider (ISP) when I'm connected via What can I do?

Some ISPs block access to their outgoing (sending) mail server if you are not connected to their network. If you can't send mail via your ISP, first see if they have "Authenticated SMTP." With Authenticated SMTP, you can use your ISP username and password to send mail.

If your ISP doesn't support Authenticated SMTP, you can use the mail server. Instructions on using the SMTP server are here.

6. When I try and connect to via PPTP, I get the following error: LCP: timeout sending Config-Requests. What does that mean?

If you see that error in your connection log, that usually means that your Internet Service Provider (ISP) doesn't allow the GRE protocol on their networks. You can ask them to turn GRE on, or try connecting with L2TP/IPsec.

7. I don't like using PayPal®. Is there any other way to pay for a connection?

Yes, you can pay for your connection using MasterCard, Visa, American Express, Discover, or JCB.

8. Why does ask me for my email address? asks you for an email address so we can contact you if there are any issues with your account. We also use it to find your username if you forget it and optionally use it for marketing information and surveys. We will never sell or provide your email address to third–party marketers.

9. Why do I need when I use 802.1x?

A full discussion of 802.1x is beyond the scope of this FAQ. However, T-Mobile®, the largest 802.1x-enabled Wi–Fi® HotSpot™ provider, recommends using a VPN even when connected via 802.1x. For more information, read the T-Mobile® security statement.

10. Does work when I'm connected to a mesh network?

The answer is "it depends." Some mesh networks will route VPN protocols, and others won't. Contact your ISP to see what VPN protocols are supported.

11. Does support SSL VPNs?

Currently doesn't provide an SSL VPNs. However, SSL VPN support will be forthcoming, and based on OpenVPN. You can, however, use your SSL VPN across for added security.

12. Can I use with a T-Mobile® HotSpot?

Yes you can! To use with T–Moble® you can use either PPTP or L2TP/IPsec.

13. Is there a Mac OS 9 VPN client?

The only available Mac VPN client is TunnelBuilder. Although it's an unsupported product, it's still available. An evaluation version of TunnelBuilder for Mac OS 9 can be found at the Siemens web site. More information on TunnelBuilder can be found at the NTS web site.

14. How do I check my connection status?

To see if you're connected to, go to our Connection Status page at For Mac OS X 10.4 users, download our Dashboard Widget!

15. Should I use PPTP or L2TP/IPsec?

Currently, we recommend using L2TP/IPsec. More and more hotspots aren’t allowing PPTP connections, so L2TP/IPsec is the safe choice.

16. I’m connected to, but I can’t seem to collect email or download any web pages. What can I do?

If you can’t download your email and/or web pages get stuck when you’re connected to, that usually means you have an MTU issue. While we have attempted to minimize any MTU issues, some may crop up occasionally.

Some background information: each internet connection has a property called the Maximum Transmission Unit, or MTU. The MTU specifies the size of the largest chunk of data that can flow over that connection.

Modern operating systems automatically detect the MTU of the connection and adjust themselves appropriately. However, some locations have routers that confuse the MTU discovery algorithms. In addition, Windows XP and Windows 2000 have fixed MTU settings for VPN connections, which causes problems with some routers.

For Mac OS X

If you're using Mac OS X, try doing this. Launch terminal, and type the following, depending on your connection.

If you're connected to the interenet via AirPort, type this:

sudo ifconfig en1 mtu 1200

If you're connected to the internet via an Etherent connection, type this:

sudo ifconfig en0 mtu 1200

You'll be prompted for your admin password. After the command completes, connect to and you should be able to surf and check email again.

For Windows

For Windows users, the solution is more complicated. The MTU setting for Windows Vista/XP/2000/NT/98 should be 1200. To change the setting, you should follow the instructions in this Microsoft KB article. The section to read is called "Change the MTU Settings for VPN Connections."

Alternately, download this set of registry settings for Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 2000. Unzip the file (named and double–click the VPNMTU.reg file, apply it to your registry, then reboot your PC.

17. Do you support Pocket PC?

Unfortunately, no we don't. There is an incompatibility between Pocket PC's PPTP implementation and's servers.

18. I'm using ZoneAlarm or some other firewall and can't seem to connect to PublicVPN. What can I do?

If you're using ZoneAlarm or some other software that blocks outgoing connections, you'll need to allow outgoing access on port 1723 and the GRE protocol for PPTP access, and UDP ports 500 and 4500 for L2TP/IPsec. You might also have to enable the ESP protocol for L2TP/IPsec, depending on your setup.

19. Do you support Windows Vista?

Intiial testing shows that PublicVPN is compatible with Windows Vista. Look for setup instructions soon! .

20. Do you support VoIP?

While using commercial VoIP traffic over our service is prohibited (ie: you can't run your phone company over our network), individual use of VoIP services is OK. doesn't restrict VoIP specifically, though your MTA may not work over our network due to NAT issues. Soft phones like Skype™ seem to work fine, as do Vonage MTAs in certain configurations (multi–homed PCs via ICS).

21. I'm getting certificate errors in Windows. What does that mean?

When you switch VPN types in Microsoft Windows, Windows erases your pre-shared key — even if you change your VPN type from Automatic to L2TP/IPsec and click the 'cancel' button. If this happens to you, you'll need to re-enter your pre-shared key after you set the connection type to L2TP/IPsec.

22. I use a cellphone to connect to the Internet. Do I need PublicVPN?

If you're using your cellphone instead of WiFi™ to connect to the Internet (via 3G, EDGE, GPRS, etc), you don't need PublicVPN. Why? Because the cell signals are already encrypted. No, really!

23. I'm having problems connecting at Panera Bread. What can I do?

At Panera Bread, we've found that you have to try to connect a few times (two or three times) before you can connect to our servers. If you can't connect, try to connect two more times. It seems like their network needs a few failed attempts before it allows a VPN connection through.

24. Do you support the iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad?

Yes, all iOS devices work fine.

25. Do you support Pandora?

Pandora seems to be fine, on all devices.

26. Do you support Skype?

Skype seems to be fine, on all devices.

27. Do you support IPTV/Video, like Amazon/Hulu/BBC Player?

While you can connect, the video quality is dependent on where you're connecting from. We suggest creating an account and asking support for a day or two of access so you can test and see if the video quality is acceptible.

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