Cloudron Business Idea: VPN
Proposal: Cloudron should establish a VPN (Virtual Private Network) service and partner with some hosting companies to provide the service.
Newbies could download a client from Cloudron, provide credentials and connect to the VPN. Other options could launch an interface for the Cloudron website/Application store.
Very many people these days pay an annual subscription to have a VPS in order to provide themselves some anonymity on the internet and improved security when online.
I think VPN subscribers would be an excellent market segment to target for Cloudron, as such people already are quite familiar with technology and often might be using services that Cloudron provide too, for example "Simple Torrent" or "Transmission".
People might say to themselves, I am paying for a VPN anyway, why not pay Cloudron for one, and have all the benefits of the Cloudron App Store too. (There could be two prices: a lower one for just the VPN, and a higher one for the VPN + Cloudron App Store.)
People often ask about and mention VPNs and they are far more a part of the public consciousness than Cloudron.
Hopefully, an increased number of users would better fund Cloudron and could even be used to lower prices. Cloudron might benefit from an influx of knowledgeable developers too.
@loudlemur I appreciate the desire to support Cloudron, but I feel this is not viable for a number of reasons :
VPNs are about trust. While I trust Cloudron, there are VPN providers out there with far greater established trust levels : ProtonVPN, NordVPN, Mullvad. It would take Cloudron a long time to establish similar trust levels, and cost a huge amount of marketing money, and probably require a sizeable increase in Cloudron team size. I don't think the increase in business would compensate for all those costs for a considerable time.
as a new user not knowing much about Cloudron, I would be suspicious of a Cloudron-provided service, until it was fully established. That again is a time question.
Cloudron is all about self-hosting, not using the services of the platform as a service provider. Unless there is something I don't understand, Cloudron installed on my VPS does not call home to Cloudron, nor do my apps. [Someone tell me if this is wrong !]. I fully trust Cloudron, but that's partly because they are giving me a tool to use myself, not providing me a service.
Cloudron supports OpenVPN as an app : if you want a VPN, just install the OpenVPN app and use it as a connection mechanism. Then all your Cloudron apps are available over that VPN. True that means all traffic is associated with a single IP, unlike e.g. ProtonVPN where your traffic is cost in all the other users. Depends what you are trying to achieve with your VPN. If it's anonymity, then using your own OpenVPN app or probably Cludron's VPN service will not achieve that as well as an existing VPN provider who have the scale to allow your connection to be lost amid others.
I and I suspect others would not be very happy at all for our Cloudron subscription to increase in cost to generate the necessary funds which would be needed to launch a Cloudron VPN service. It would be considerably more than e.g. the $35 p.a. that I pay for a NordVPN service (in addition to running my own OpenVPN app on Cloudron).
Sorry if that sounds negative, I understand the desire to support Cloudron, a great tool and a great team. But I am not keen on this kind of expansion or diversification. Lots of associated risks, which would put at risk the core business, which I would want to see protected, not threatened.
Having this as a crowd based app, would be interesting for me.
Like having the option to install a openVPN like app and if you wish to enable public access to establish a community based VPN cluster.
VPN federation? Do I make sense here? TOR like networking?
But while writing this and thinking about this, hmmm.
The legal tail behind this... nah not worth the trouble.
I use Cloudron myself for my private E-Mail, Nextcloud yada yada.
Having external people use my server as VPN and doing illegal stuff which is then traced back to my server.
And there are more problems behind my thinking.
If doing so the app needs to be validated if the public connection is enabled. yada yada yada
Thinking VPN honeypots.
Cloudron seems to be using a very similar marketing strategy already, though arguably not advertising it adequately:
Whilst on this topic, some hosts are a bit nervous about Cloudron's email capability, or perhaps they are just nervous in general about email. (I think they don't want mass-mailing, emailing of newsletters, etc.) Perhaps somebody could give us some guidance or suggestions related to this?