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What Is VPN Obfuscation? Do You Need Them?

Juan Villarba
May 25, 2024


Ever heard the saying “Knowledge is power”? In the IT world, knowledge isn’t just empowering — it can actually be a security risk. That’s where server obfuscation comes in. It sounds like something straight out of a movie, but trust us, server obfuscation is real!


In this blog post, we’ll explain what exactly it is and how it works to protect you from potential hackers and malicious code. So if you’re looking to find out more about this invisible shield that protects your data from prying eyes, read on!



What Are Obfuscated Servers?


Obfuscated servers” sounds like a whole lot of intimidating tech jargon. But it’s actually pretty simple: obfuscated servers are friendly servers that hide your true identity from trackers, hackers, and other third parties. They work by concealing the destination of a user’s traffic, making it difficult for outsiders to monitor online activities or discover a user’s real IP address.


The best VPNs have this as standard, with some even offering dedicated obfuscated servers for maximum privacy.


It’s like having a really great friend who’s tall enough to reach the cookies placed on top of the shelf you can’t reach. They act as your proxy and provide you with all those delicious treats! Except, in this case, it’s blocked websites instead of snacks.


tall people as obfuscated servers

No need to brag, tall people. You’re very helpful, like obfuscated servers.



How Do VPN Obfuscated Servers Work?


VPN obfuscated servers keep your online activity anonymous through the use of virtual networks and encryption protocols, disguising the traffic sent through the server and making it difficult for third parties to detect. These servers hide the fact that you’re accessing the internet through a VPN, circumventing geo-blocking restrictions on certain networks.


Remember, any activity while connected to an obfuscated server is encrypted so your information remains private. This connection leaves no trail for hackers or surveillance agencies to follow. With this added layer of security, browsing the web becomes a more private experience for all users.



Why Would Anyone Want to Use Obfuscated Servers?


Simply put, obfuscated servers protect your identity, data, and browsing activity from potential hackers or snoops. They’re also incredibly useful for accessing content that may be restricted in certain areas due to censorship laws or geo-blocking policies. Some VPNs have a no-logs policy, but this does not mean that all traffic is completely secure, as it can still be traced back to the originating IP address.


However, when using an obfuscated server with a VPN, your traffic is routed through multiple servers around the world and encrypted so it cannot be easily traced back to you. This makes it incredibly difficult for anyone attempting to monitor your activities.


vpn and obfuscated servers beneficial to travelers

VPNs and obfuscated servers are beneficial to frequent travelers.


Here are a few reasons you want to use obfuscated servers:


1. You live in a country known for censorship


Obfuscated servers provide a way around government-imposed censorship laws, allowing citizens of these countries to access the internet freely without fear of repercussions. Regular connections may be completely blocked or severely limited and, in some cases, monitored by government agencies. But obfuscated servers can bypass these restrictions and provide unrestricted access to the web. A good example would be China.


2. You do a lot of online shopping or banking


Obfuscated servers are a must-have when using public Wi-Fi. Why you want to enter your credit card information using public Wi-Fi is beyond us! But if you really must, obfuscated servers keep your financial data safe from malicious actors and can help protect against identity theft. Because these connections are encrypted and hide your true IP address from potential hackers, it’s much more difficult for them to access your private data.


3. You want to stream blocked content


Geo-blocking policies make it difficult or impossible to access streaming sites like Netflix or Hulu in certain countries around the world. But obfuscated servers allow users to bypass these restrictions and access streaming content from anywhere in the world.


4. You don’t want your government to track you


Obfuscated servers are also a necessity when it comes to evading government surveillance. Routing your traffic through multiple encrypted servers is much harder for governmental agencies to monitor your activities and track your movements online. This is especially important if you live in a country where the government actively monitors its citizens’ web browsing.


two hackers working together

Obfuscated servers make it difficult for cyber criminals to get to your data.



What VPNs Offer Obfuscated Servers?


Many popular VPNs offer obfuscated servers, including NordVPN, Surfshark, and ExpressVPN. Not all of these services provide the same features, though. So be sure to read through their privacy policies carefully before signing up for a subscription.


Additionally, some of these services require specific configurations in order to use an obfuscated server. Don’t forget to read their tutorials and setup guides to get the most out of your VPN. Here’s what each VPN service offers:


1. NordVPN


NordVPN offers obfuscated servers in over 60 countries and provides a friendly user interface with easy setup for all platforms. Additionally, NordVPN guarantees military-grade encryption and a strict no-logs policy. It also offers dedicated IPs, Double VPN encryption, and an automatic kill switch.


2. Surfshark


Surfshark has obfuscation technology built into its networks and allows users to access content from more than 1,000 locations worldwide. It also has extra encryption features like double VPN, MultiHop, and a no-logs policy.


3. ExpressVPN


ExpressVPN has over 3,000 dedicated obfuscated servers located in 94 countries and offers a highly secure connection with fast speeds. It supports a wide variety of protocols and encryption algorithms to guarantee your privacy and security.


three people holding placard in shape of cloud

Most VPNs can connect to obfuscated servers to boost your security.


4. CyberGhost


CyberGhost has dedicated servers for streaming and obfuscated servers, available in over 91 countries. The service provides strong encryption and a no-logs policy. It offers servers optimized for streaming and downloading, making it suitable for P2P activities.


5. ProtonVPN


ProtonVPN has more than 1,700 servers and provides obfuscation technology in over 60 countries. It also offers both free and paid plans. The free plan includes access to three server locations and unlimited data. In contrast, the paid plans offer access to over 1,000 servers and additional features, such as Tor over VPN, Secure Core, and more.



How Do You Use Obfuscated Servers?


Connecting to an obfuscated server is as easy as one, two, three. All you have to do is start your VPN connection and select a suitable obfuscation server from the list. You’ll then be able to browse securely on any web page without worrying about potential risks or data breaches! And if you’re using a smartphone or tablet device, make sure that your Wi-Fi network connection is safe before connecting it for maximum protection against hackers.


To guarantee your data remains protected, the server employs various strategies such as protocol obfuscation, port hopping and DNS masquerading. Not only will this make certain that your information is secure but it also gives you access to websites or content which may be restricted in your current location.


You might be asking yourself how a server is obfuscated. Well, servers employ random IP addresses to veil your real location and make it look like you’re logging in from somewhere far away. This is possible because the VPN scrambles the traffic which conceals its contents from anyone trying to keep an eye on it.


Here’s how we connected to an obfuscated server on Surfshark:


  1. Log in to your Surfshark app.
    If you don’t have a Surfshark account yet, select “Get Surfshark VPN” on the home page. Select the plan you want, and then create an account.
  2. surfshark chekout page

    Surfshark is one of the most affordable services, and they also provide a 30-day money-back guarantee.

  3. After logging in, go to Settings.
    Scroll down to Advanced and select “Protocol“.
  4. Surfshark setting

  5. Switch the protocol to OpenVPN.
    After selecting Protocol, choose either of the “OpenVPN” options. Congrats, you now have an extra layer of protection!
  6. Surfshark protocol options



Concerns About VPN Obfuscation


Despite the benefits of obfuscated servers, there are some concerns about this technology. For instance, some countries have laws that prohibit the use of VPNs and other forms of privacy protection.


1. Does VPN obfuscation slow you down?


Obfuscated servers don’t slow down your connection speeds. If anything, they can help improve your online experience by providing faster access to content that may be blocked in your current location.


2. Is your traffic still encrypted?


Yes, your traffic is still encrypted even when you’re connected to an obfuscated server.


Obfuscation is a method of disguising traffic so that it looks like normal web traffic, which can help bypass certain types of censorship and deep packet inspection. However, the data is still encrypted, so your traffic will remain secure.


3. What about network neutrality?


Obfuscated servers can help protect your online privacy and allow you to access content that may be blocked in certain countries, but they don’t guarantee network neutrality.


Network neutrality is the principle that all internet traffic should be treated equally and not be subject to discrimination or interference. This means that traffic should not be blocked, throttled, or prioritized based on its content, source, or destination.


Unfortunately, network neutrality is not always respected, and obfuscated servers can’t always prevent it. It’s important to look for a VPN provider that has a strong commitment to network neutrality, so you can be sure your data is not being tampered with.


man gesturing NO

Some ISPs can still block obfuscated servers.



Are There Any Drawbacks at All To Server Obfuscation?


There are a few potential drawbacks to using an obfuscated server. For instance, some ISPs may detect and block connections to obfuscated servers, which can limit your access to certain content. Additionally, some websites may detect and flag connections from these servers, which could lead to further restrictions.



Server Obfuscation: Another Layer of Protection


Stay one step ahead of hackers and third parties and protect your data with obfuscated servers.


Just make sure to double-check the laws of where you live, plus ensure a secure connection with encryption—and poof! Your online security will be secured like never before.



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