While taking a much closer look at how things are going in the VPN market, you might think they are moving into the mainstream. The situation turns at 180 degrees if you invest a little time into reading between the lines. Not only that, there are continuous updates, new market trends, or fresh protocols (like WireGuard) developed and launched. In the meantime, VPN providers continuously improve their apps, service performance, server infrastructure, and features.
One of the features not many Internet users know about is the obfuscated VPN specialty servers. Such special servers take VPNs out of the ordinary and place this technology on top of any list of technologies and solutions meant at helping users circumvent restrictions, bypass VPN blocking, firewalls, and avoid internet censorship.
Stay with me if you’re thirsty for tech and curious about finding out everything you need to know about what is an obfuscated VPN server and why you need to use an obfuscated VPN server for secured, fast, private and easy web surfing.
The Transylvanian explanation of what is an obfuscated VPN server
We all love Halloween and the way it makes us creative when it comes to the costumes that we wear. One of the biggest Halloween fans you will ever meet is TomBat. Why? Because he always dreamed about being a superhero and this event always gave him the perfect occasion to transform into one. The only problems with the Halloween parties organized in Castlevania were the late hour and the threats lurking at the corners. These are the main reasons why TomBat’s parents never agreed for their little BATby to leave the cave.
Helped by his creative spirit, TomBat was always able to identify a way to leave the cave and bypass his parents’ restrictions.
One of the best examples of how he tricked his parents into thinking that he is leaving the cave to spend the night with a friend was when he hid his superhero costume under a huge raincoat and left to his friend, not to spend the night over but to meet him and go to the party.
This is what happens when you connect to an obfuscated server. If you use a VPN, you are already a superhero. Yet, some firewalls can intercept your traffic, and be aware that you are using a VPN. In such a case, your access gets blocked, and you are not able to unblock the resources that you want. When you use an obfuscated server, you camouflage your superhero costume under a raincoat, so firewalls and ISP won’t be aware that you are using a privacy tool.
What is VPN obfuscation?
Obfuscation is a common term used in programming and software engineering. This technique is used mainly to hide certain values, exact code lines, and their logic. Therefore, obfuscation helps obscure and distort certain messages, to ensure data security, in the first place, and online freedom.
Translating this into the VPN language, we can almost guess what this technique is used for. Since this blog is not a place for guessing, let’s discuss this topic properly, shall we?
What is an obfuscated VPN server and how do they work?
Obfuscated VPN servers are like the unicorn of VPN servers. An obfuscated VPN server will make the traffic generated through VPN appear like regular web traffic (HTTPS).
The “disguise” process is not as simple as you might think, as when you use a VPN connection, the OpenVPN encrypted data contains two parts that are visible as data generated via VPN traffic:
- The first part is the header that includes the routing information and the packet identification.
- The second part is the Payload representing the data that the VPN server forwarded to the web address you want to access.
So, now the magic kicks in.
To remove all the information indicating OpenVPN traffic/VPN encryption from the header, an obfuscated VPN server disguises the data and makes it look like regular HTTPS traffic. The most convenient way is the one when the OpenVPN packet is double encrypted using the SSL or TLS protocol. This process is like encrypting traffic that is already encrypted, to make it undetectable by firewalls and DPI (deep packet inspection).
Why should I connect to an obfuscated VPN server?
If you can access popular websites like YouTube, Facebook, or streaming services like Netflix or BBC iPlayer, you must know that you’re a lucky internet user. There are people located in certain countries worldwide where accessing popular online content is limited and, even worse, it’s completely banned, so bypassing restrictions is mandatory.
VPN can help users facing censorship bypass restrictions and gain access to the websites of their choice. The only problem is that some of these websites use specialized algorithms that can track, detect, and block VPN traffic. In this case, a VPN becomes useless unless it uses special power-ups to trick websites into seeing the traffic as normal HTTPS traffic.
Alongside advanced options like Shadowsocks, there are complimentary VPN features to help users surf freely. Obfuscated VPN servers can easily be included in this category. Due to their advanced encryption method, users can easily bypass internet restrictions, government censorship, the Great Firewall of China, and network firewalls.
Therefore, the main reason why you would want to focus on using obfuscated VPN servers is to regain the much-deserved online freedom and get access to any website with just a click.
How can firewalls or the ISP tell that you use VPN?
Internet service providers and the detection algorithms used by firewalls can identify that you’re using a VPN only by looking at the traffic. Since VPN uses advanced techniques to encrypt your traffic, your data is not visible in plain text, so your traffic pattern looks very different than the regular HTTPS one.
Therefore, the prying eyes spying on your traffic can detect that you use a VPN, but your identity and data are a complete mystery.
Obfuscated VPN server vs regular VPN server
The VPN server is one of the three main components of a VPN, alongside the VPN protocol and the VPN encryption. The VPN server works like a bridge between your device and the internet, being a combo of hardware and software technologies.
When you enable a VPN connection, you automatically connect to the VPN server, which changes your IP address and encrypts your traffic. Due to these two capabilities of a VPN server, you can surf privately and anonymously, gaining access to blocked content.
Remember that I said that VPN usage could be detected and blocked? In this case, the VPN server needs the obfuscation power-up.
Therefore, an obfuscated VPN server is an improved version of a regular VPN server, which uses obfuscation in order to encrypt the data packets using additional SSL/SSH encryption. So, it applies a second layer of encryption to hide the data and prevent trackers from identifying that you are using a VPN.
Obfuscated VPN server vs double VPN server
While describing how obfuscated VPN servers work, I mentioned that the main step to trick websites into seeing your traffic like HTTPS one, this type of server uses a second layer of encryption. As I don’t want you to confuse obfuscated servers with double VPN ones, I thought that it might be a good idea to tell you a few things about double VPN as well.
Double VPN is a type of VPN developed to allow VPN users to enhance their level of encryption while going online. The technology behind this advanced security solution allows users to browse anonymously and securely by connecting to a chain of VPN servers.
In super easy terms, we can say that when you connect to a double VPN server, it’s like adding a VPN on top of another VPN or is like creating a VPN tunnel inside another VPN tunnel.
Besides the military-grade encryption that a regular VPN server provides, a double VPN server will enhance your internet anonymity and cybersecurity by cascading your VPN server. When using this kind of solution, you can chain more than two VPN servers in one connection. The result is a highly secure connection. Even so, cascading more than two VPN servers would definitely affect your internet speed and VPN performance.
So, even if both solutions use two (or more, in case of a multiple VPN cascading) layers of encryption, the mechanism behind the process is different therefore, the result is different. Obfuscated VPN uses the second layer of encryption to secure your connection, hide the metadata, and disguise your VPN traffic, while double VPN uses double encryption to enhance your security but, your VPN traffic remains detectable in front of firewalls and advanced tracking algorithms.
Other options to enjoy the perks of an obfuscated VPN
Stealth VPN not only guarantees your online freedom but also assures your security based on its encryption level.
Online privacy and freedom are not only necessities but are also your RIGHTS. Would you allow your neighbor to read your emails? No? Then why would you let your ISP?
The word “Stealth” is a popular term used to describe the Airforce planes. Stealth planes’ design and features allow them to overfly any area because radars can’t detect them.
Stealth VPN is a protocol that uses obfuscation to allow a user to bypass any restriction he might face while browsing the internet.
The best obfuscated VPN
Obfuscation is all about disguising VPN traffic and helping internet users browse freely, securely, anonymously, and avoid throttling. To accomplish all of these requires using a performant service. When it comes to providing obfuscated VPN servers, there are a handful of VPN providers known for their top-notch services, lite apps (for the most popular OSes, like Windows, Android, iOS, Mac, and even Linux), and complex and complete lists of features including the most-wanted KillSwitch, Smart DNS, proxy, split tunneling, or specialty servers (gaming, double VPN, or P2P servers).
My main three picks of best VPNs that provide obfuscated VPN servers are:
I must agree with what the provider states on the website, ExpressVPN is the VPN that just works. With a list of fine VPN apps, a huge global network, advanced VPN features, and even their own VPN protocol (Lightway), ExpressVPN provides obfuscated VPN servers as well.
So, if you look for the proper way to surf securely and trick websites into thinking that your internet traffic is an eligible one, ExpressVPN is clearly one of the best solutions you could try!
The second on the list is another popular VPN service. NordVPN is on every VPN user’s lips due to its impressive capabilities, lite apps, and care to bring innovation through every implemented solution.
As expected, NordVPN provides obfuscated VPN servers in plenty of VPN locations around the globe that are waiting to be tested.
Surfshark humanizes digital security to make it accessible to all, being an excellent VPN service, providing a lot of strong security features that the average VPNs won’t offer, it’s fast and super user-friendly, eating other VPNs alive. And, since it’s on this list, besides the fact that it offers lots of options you can choose between, it also provides obfuscated VPN servers. So, feel free to give it a try and test its performance by yourself!
Before closing the book on the obfuscated VPN servers topic, I feel the need to do a bit of recap.
An obfuscated VPN server is one of the best options to consider if you look to avoid internet censorship and firewalls while keeping your data secured and a low profile. This advanced VPN solution was developed to grant Internet users all around the world access to blocked websites and media content.
The great news is that this solution is tested by VPN providers, and it has been proved to work even for users located in countries like Iran, China, Russia, Turkey, or Egypt.
Therefore, if you strive for online freedom at your fingertips, obfuscated VPN servers are the right solution for you. And, if you strive to learn as many things as possible about VPNs, the right thing to do is to subscribe to my newsletter by using the form below. It takes less than 10 seconds, and it makes the Transylvanian baby bats happy!