Freeware that enables the creation of a VPN
Windows 8 / Windows 7 / Windows Vista / Windows 2003 / Windows XP / Windows 2000
Hamachi is a networking utility of use to those who wish to simulate local area network (LAN) connections over the public Internet. The program works by setting up virtual private network (VPN) connections, and it does so with little or no configuration in most cases. It can communicate with most modern routers and firewalls to open the necessary ports for its activities automatically, and it features a user-friendly interface that makes it easy for users, even for those with no networking background to create VPN connections.
While most modern computer games have built-in server browsers or other networking features that make it easy for players to connect to one another for multi-player sessions, some only support local network connections. In fact, when it comes to older games, a majority of users only work with connections of this latter sort. Hamachi is quite popular with players of these LAN-only games because it offers an easy way for players to get connected using their existing Internet connections. The VPN connections it creates between players make it seem to gamers as if the two players were on the same local network so that the games' built-in networking functions work without trouble.
Hamachi is also of great use to those who need to access distant LANs for other reasons. Many businesses, for example, allow access to their important documents and data only to clients who connect from within the company LAN, refusing such access as a matter of policy to connections made through the Internet. Given appropriate software on a company's LAN, Hamachi can create a VPN connection that can allow employees working from home, for example, to access sales databases and other important assets.
The program is a well-designed one, and part of its popularity undoubtedly stems from its ease of use. Hamachi strives by default to create VPN connections with a minimum of intervention from users, but advanced configuration options are available for special cases and when these automatic efforts fail. Its clean, simple user interface makes it especially easy to set up and use VPN connections, and once established and verified to be working, these rarely need adjustment thereafter.
The free version of the program provides enough power that many users, especially game players, find it satisfactory. Paid subscriptions are available that enhance the program's capabilities, adding in such useful features as the ability to run Hamachi full-time in the background. While these subscriptions represent reasonable value, some who might otherwise benefit from them may find that other VPN software becomes more attractive when relatively advanced features of this sort are called for or necessary.
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