HideIP VPN is a simple, fast VPN provider that I’ve used in the past to help navigate around poor BGP routing issues that were slowing down my backups to CrashPlan’s online backup service. Specifically, the goal was to avoid any and all routing through Cogentco’s very slow route to CrashPlan Central (which increased my uploads by 350%). I’m optimistic that at some point CrashPlan will fix this problem by talking to Cogentco about how it’s affecting their service, but despite it being reported several months ago by many users on their forums, their only response is that they don’t believe it’s their problem (bummer).
However, configuring the VPN on each machine in my network was a pain I didn’t want to go through, so instead I set up a VPN on my DD-WRT router (Asus RT-N16) to direct all CrashPlan Central traffic through the VPN (which is faster than the direct connection BGP chooses for me to CrashPlan’s central servers).
This is all done in DD-WRT version v24-sp2 (mega build). In the DD-WRT GUI, choose Services –> VPN – PPTP Client –> Enable.
That brings you to this interface:
Now, let’s explain each of the options above.
Server IP or DNS Name: This is the address of the HideIP VPN server you wish to use. At the time I was doing this, here is how the IP addresses map to locations. The lines in bold are VPNs that actually do avoid Cogentco’s routing to central.crashplan.com, so if you’re trying to accomplish the same thing, I’d recommend you use one of those.
us1.hideipvpn.com resolves to: 188.8.131.52 - Houston, TX
us2.hideipvpn.com resolves to: 184.108.40.206 - Los Angeles, CA
us3.hideipvpn.com resolves to: 220.127.116.11 - Dallas, TX
us4.hideipvpn.com resolves to: 18.104.22.168 - NYC
us5.hideipvpn.com resolves to: 22.214.171.124 - Dallas, TX
us6.hideipvpn.com resolves to: 126.96.36.199 - Santa Ana, CA
us7.hideipvpn.com resolves to: 188.8.131.52 - Chicago, IL (the one I’m using above)
us8.hideipvpn.com resolves to: 184.108.40.206 – NYC
Remote Subnet: This is the range of addresses belonging to Central.CrashPlan.com. I chose a wide swath of addresses that includes the complete last octet of the IP address. 173.225.132.x, which is what the combination of remote subnet and subnet mask accomplishes above. Use those same values if you are backing up to central.crashplan.com. Realistically, this will cause some non-crashplan traffic to go over this VPN as well, but I don’t consider that a big problem.
MPPE Encryption: These options are necessary to connect to HideIPVPN’s service:
MTU/MRU/NAT: leave as default.
Username/Password” as provided by HideIPVPN
Once you’ve configured these options click Save, then Apply Settings. Then navigate to “Administration –> Reboot Router.” The router will connect to the VPN upon reboot. Make sure to give it 2-3 minutes to fully reboot and connect, after which you can test success by opening a terminal window and doing a traceroute to central.crashplan.com. In Windows, the output looks like this. The key that you are looking for is for the 2nd line to read something like below, an internal IP address on HideIPVPN’s network. After that, just check the route to make sure that it does not include CogentCo and you’re set.
In my case, going through CogentCo maxes me out at a ~500 Kbps to central.crashplan.com. When I establish the VPN through HideIP-VPN-NYC, I achieve ~1.8 Mbps (on a 3 Mbps uplink connection), a 350% improvement.