Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Does my Hosting Provider offer VPN services?

Ok, I'm not really sure why but I hear this all the time. Does my Hosting Provider offer VPN services? The answer is very simple, YES!!! Even if the provider tells you they don't.

I have been a part of several sectors, health, financial, consulting and for most of my career in the hosting industry. What's astonishing is that I hear it from seasoned IT professionals that know their stuff.

If your hosting provider tells you that they do offer VPN services do your homework as some tend to be well overpriced.

If you need a site to site VPN along with remote user VPN clients you may be billed for the site to site (I have seen this priced at $250 per site to site tunnel), and for each VPN client connection (usually ranging from $15 to $25).

Now if you have 2 remote offices and 5 sales guys roaming around does it make sense to spend up to $625? Hell no!

Approach your hosting provider with these questions:

What VPN gateway do you use?

Chances are that it will be a shared Firewall/VPN gateway. Depending on the provider these can be beefy expensive CISCO or Juniper boxes, or a cheap clone server running OpenVPN or PPTP. Know what you are paying for. Hosting providers reasonably spend hundreds of thousand of dollars setting up Highly available Firewall/VPN gateways to support thousands of servers and clients. But ask yourself do I need a pair of Juniper ISGs for 5 sales guys bumming around? Probably not.

What VPN client do you provide?
IPSEC, PPTP etc. Just an FYI, if it is a PPTP client most likely the Hosting Provider gateway is not very expensive. That does not mean that it is not a stable and secure solution. Most likely an open source package that has little overhead to setup and manage.

So to keep your VPN solution in line with your budget ask your hosting provided to either provide a small dedicated VPN appliance that will do both site to site and remote client VPNs. The average purchase price of these appliances are usually $500 to $800 each. Reference this cost to the quote, keeping in mind that there will be a management fee to ensure the appliance stays up and most likely a small markup.

If your hosting provider refuses to provide you with the custom dedicated service or they just don't provide VPN services, buy a vpn appliance, get a 1U colo with the provider, drop the appliance off and you can save up to $500 of monthly recurring costs.

If you know what you're doing or you have an IT guy that does, there are a lot of good open source solutions that you can deploy. If you know freeBSD than you're golden.

If you need any info on hosting vpn services or suggestions on open source packages to use shoot me an email at anthony@claritywebhosting.com.

I really don't care if you host with Clarity or not, but please do your homework. If your VPN services quote is more that $150 per month do your research.

Clarity Web Hosting