What is a VPN?
A VPN is a "Virtual Private Network" and it is meant to extend/create private network access over a public network. It allows users to send and receive data over a public network securely as if they were connected to a private, password-protected network.
Why Might I Need a VPN?
Users who are trying to connect to their Summit server might need a VPN for a few different reasons, but the most important is that they need to access their server without the risk of compromising any of their company data.
At Summit, we think that the security of your server and your information is the most important thing that we can offer to our clients. While you are able to connect to your server from virtually anywhere within the continental US and Canada, you might not be able to connect while traveling or living outside of North America. Our firewall systems are set up to block a great number of countries and regions outside of our borders and we do this to minimize the risk of any compromises. For these reasons, you might find it useful to have a VPN service on your local computer when traveling and needing to connect.
To check in advance if the country or region you plan to be in is blocked, please see this list in our Knowledge-Base.
A VPN service can allow you to connect to your Summit server from anywhere in the world, and it does so by creating a private network that masks your computer from any outside threats while connected to a network that might not be secure. When installed and configured, your VPN can give your computer a secure IP address that is actually from the US or Canada, and in turn that will allow you to connect to your Summit server and access your information.
When it comes to VPN services to choose from, there are all sorts of companies that offer great VPN software, but one of the most commonly used options by clients (and Engineers) at Summit is called Private Internet Access (PIA). This VPN service gives you a completely private and secure connection to the internet and allows you to pick a location within the US or Canada in order to connect to your Summit server without issue. Other great VPN services to choose from might be ones such as NordVPN, ExpressVPN, or AtlasVPN among many others.
How do I get it and set it up?
Depending on which VPN service you choose, each setup process will be different. You will need to work directly with the vendor of the service you choose if you have any troubles getting your account and VPN connection set up.
While Summit won't be able to assist you with the set-up and configuration of your VPN software, we can at least point you in the right direction in order to get everything configured properly. For example, Private Internet Access (PIA), if you choose to use this service, can be purchased on their website here. Once you've selected the plan that is right for you, you will be able to download the software and get started on the setup. Below are links to PIA's set up guides depending on the operating system of your computer:
Windows Client Installation Guide: https://www.privateinternetaccess.com/helpdesk/guides/desktop/windows/windows-client-installation
Mac OSx Client Installation Guide:
If you have any other questions or problems, the PIA Support team would be the ones to turn to. They provide excellent customer service, offer a vast knowledge base for their end-users, and are the experts when it comes to the software and how it works.
After you have your VPN installed and configured to connect to either the US or Canada on your local computer, you should be able to connect to your Summit server without issue! If you do continue to have issues even after getting your VPN set up and connected, then please let us know by submitting a ticket with us at ticket.summithosting.com and we will be happy to help in any way that we can.