A Personal Internet

Jul 15, 2021

Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) have been around forever. Unfortunately, you probably have to use one to access internal resources at your corporate job, and it's probably a terrible experience. But that all changed with a project called WireGuard by Jason Donenfeld.

WireGuard is a fast and straightforward modern VPN. It's easier and quicker than using IPSec or OpenVPN. Companies like Tailscale build on top of WireGuard. I imagine we'll see corporations switch over to this faster and better alternative. But making VPNs extremely easy to configure and use has even more significant implications.

VPNs let us have our own secure slice of the internet. I can access my phone from my server without anyone else being able to. I can access services running on my server from my laptop on stable IPs and domains with a bit of DNS magic. I can access internal corporate sites from a coffee shop.

Before, developers needed to use tools like ngrok to access local services securely through complicated networks or firewalls without exposing them to the world. Now, it's as simple as using hostnames on their VPN. Using a tool like this solves many local development headaches.

If you take VPNs to their logical extreme, you might end up with a fragmented internet layer built on top of the internet. Imagine if everyone had their own VPN but was also part of many other VPNs. You might have to pay to access specific VPNs which allow access to a variety of sites. Different interest groups will create their own VPN-based communities, not visible to the outside world.

But we are pretty far from that future. So at least we won't have to deal with crappy corporate VPNs much longer.

Here's a link to the WireGuard whitepaper.

Subscribe for daily posts on startups & engineering.