I'm a student, and currently the Wi-Fi connection at my school is very slow (dead slow). I have an 8Gb 4G data-plan, but even with that, I'm running short at the end of the month.

I have set up a Debian headless at home (which has a 400 Mbps connection), and I'm already using it as an automated Seedbox, an L2TP-IPSec VPN, a BTSync server, and an Apache server. I started building two months ago — knowing I wouldn't get blazing fast internet connection — so I'm rather new to Debian

Here is my question:

Is it possible to efficiently compress data over a private VPN? I know some iPhone and Android apps like Onavo Extend can achieve that, and I was wondering how I could put this kind of system in place (if it is indeed effective enough) so that my 4G-data usage would be lighter. If I ever come to installing/building such VPN, it should be compatible with:

  • Debian (the server),
  • Mac OS (my computer),
  • and iOS (my phone).

If you have any other suggestion on how I could speed up my school's WiFi. I did some tests on it; ping www.google.com times out, arp -a takes a long time, but eventually displays a few peers, and any speedtest (when the bad connection gives me Internet access) return 0.28 Mbps Down-Speeds.

  • As far as I know l2tp ant pptp both provide compression. If it's not efficient enough for you, try openvpn instead. Maybe it can do better. Sep 12, 2014 at 17:58
  • @ScylddeFraud Do you have any link on how their compression algorithms compare to each other?
    – LaX
    Sep 12, 2014 at 18:08
  • Don't cross-post. Sep 12, 2014 at 19:01
  • @LaX: Only this comparission. It's about pptp vs openvpn but l2tp uses the same as far as MPPC method works on PPP layer. Sep 12, 2014 at 19:10
  • I don't know if this is the same: unix.stackexchange.com/questions/103379 Sep 12, 2014 at 19:39

4 Answers 4


What I found to be a good solution for me was Ziproxy.

It's an http compression proxy that is able to compress big html assets, like images, so that webpages are lighter. As it's a proxy, it works with or without a VPN. It's also very easy to configure.


Nomachine works really well. It can compress audio too.

X2Go is not bad, but it can't compress audio.

These are remote desktop solutions, but you can tunnel them through SSH.

I've tested both of these with the server on EC2, and with the desktop sized to fit whatever phone/desktop screen I'm using.

  • nomachine also works on Windows and Linux. It shows your desktop as if you had logged in locally and it does not mess with your opengl drivers on windows unlike remote desktop. Ive used it over radio links... Feb 27, 2021 at 5:55

As an alternative to Ziproxy, there is https://github.com/barnacs/compy, which seems to be more alive as a projct.


You can create a poor man's SSL tunnel from a local port with ssh:

ssh -D <local_port> -C <user>@<server>

Then you can browse via that proxy with Chrome/Chromium:

chromium --proxy-server=socks5://localhost:<local_port>

Things to keep in mind:

  • Port forwarding of the server's TCP 22 port (SSH) is required
    • However, this also means you do not trust a third party to gatekeep your server or peep at your traffic metadata.
  • The reasons I mention "poor man's" are:
    • The connection might drop, in which case the SSH client will be unresponsive.
    • You have to configure and trust applications to use the proxy, and they might have bugs making them misbehave in privacy-endangering ways.
    • it does not cost you any money, but it costs you time to remember/create a shortcut with the command line and server address.
    • I have not tried it on iThings.
  • 1
    In addition? What? The suspense is killing me...
    – M Granja
    May 8, 2019 at 13:23
  • @MGranja I don't remember exactly what the last point was, but I added plenty and rephrased the answer. Do you want even more? Thanks for the heads-up!
    – danuker
    May 9, 2019 at 15:18
  • It`s fine, thanks!
    – M Granja
    May 10, 2019 at 17:17

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