Written by: Bogdan Patru
Yes, you can. The issue is not that the ISP has a beef with VPNs per se.
The problem, to be more precise, is torrenting through the VPN when connected to the Mediacom network. This is what many users have had and still have problems with.
Apparently, their overall internet speed gets throttled down excessively if they have an active torrent downloading. Some have purposely tried to close the torrent client, attempted to load some websites that wouldn’t load before, and, magically, they worked.
This could only lead one to think that Mediacom tracks your traffic and knows when you’re trying to use a torrenting client. Theoretically, the VPN should encrypt your connection and stop everyone from checking you out, including your ISP.
However, there is something most people overlook, and that is DNS leaks. Your VPN might be leaking, making your real IP visible. With this, your ISP can easily know what you’re doing and penalize your accordingly.
Why is Mediacom to be taken seriously though? Because of the “three-strikes policy”:
While this sounds scary indeed, and a bit oppressive to be honest, many users have said that it’s simply not true. Some have claimed, for example, that they received five notices in the span of a few months with nothing happening.
It may be just a scare tactic that they use to prevent users from torrenting material protected by copyright laws. Either way, Mediacom does receive many DMCA notices from copyright holders, pinpointing certain IP addresses that have downloaded their materials.
As such, some users have received notices from Mediacom insisting that they would terminate the users’ services for “copyright infringement”, even though those users had been using a VPN.
The only reasonable and plausible theory for why the speed would be plummeting when using a VPN with Mediacom or why you receive notices is that the VPN itself is to blame.
I’m uncertain whether Mediacom is actively throttling the speed of VPN users, but considering that there are a lot of companies that use VPNs and have no problems, the problem seems to be elsewhere entirely.
As such, we should talk about how you can easily manage your VPN to get rid of any leaks, and how you can prevent Mediacom from sending you any notices. For the speed throttling, my gut instincts say that it’s also coming from the VPN.
In all probability, this is where the crux of the issue resides. With a little tech know-how, you should know that a VPN encrypts your traffic, changes your IP address, and basically shields you from any foreign tracking.
No one, absolutely no one, not even your ISP, will be able to decrypt and see what you do on the internet. This is why it’s highly unlikely that Mediacom is to be blamed. They don’t know that you are torrenting because the digital data they receive is encrypted.
As such, here are a few tips and tricks that you can use to build an impenetrable digital shield around you:
1. Run the VPN through the router you were provided with. That is the best way of using it. It ensures total encryption of your traffic.
Just get on the router’s admin page, go in the ”security” or “connection” section, depending on the page layout. You should see a VPN section. Type in the name of your active VPN, the server hostnames, and the username and password.
Enable it, and voila. All your traffic will be fully encrypted from now on.
2. For added security, and just to make sure everything is alright, check for any leaks. Access any website that searches for DNS leaks, like “ipleak.net”, and see whether the IP you get is that of the VPN or your actual one.
If it’s your real IP, then you have a problem. Try deactivating WebRTC in your browser. Chrome, Firefox, and Opera all have this option activated by default.
3. Make sure the kill-switch feature is enabled, just in case the VPN stops working out of the blue. Some users had a better idea – setting up your Firewall to only allow internet traffic if the VPN is functioning properly.
If, for some reason, the VPN stops working, the firewalls cuts of the internet connection immediately.
Presumably, it responds even quicker than the in-built kill-switch, and it’s way more efficient and reliable.
There were complaints about how Windows 10 would interfere with the connection protocols of VPNs as well, and that leaks would appear no matter what you did. However, there is also a fix that solves this problem – a plugin for OpenVPN.
I think it’s also a good idea to say that some VPNs are utter garbage, a complete waste of money (or security, if they’re free), and that you should avoid them entirely.
Try using the most popular ones like NordVPN, ExpressVPN or CyberGhost. These three are in the top of any list, and for good reason as well.
NordVPN, for example, provides you with:
From what I could gather up on the forums, the vast majority of users experienced excruciatingly slow speeds when trying to torrent through a VPN-based Mediacom connection.
As I said previously, this is most likely caused by the VPN acting behind the scenes and interfering with the P2P process. That or the VPN itself naturally causes your speed to plummet, due to insufficient resources – a hallmark of a bad product.
As for why users receive threatening notices from Mediacom, even when under protection, it’s most probably because of DNS leaks. Fix that and there will be no more notices coming your way.
Either way, to concisely answer the question, you can use a VPN with Mediacom.
Just pay attention to how you set up the technical settings and make sure you subscribe to a trustworthy, reliable VPN if you’re at it.