What Is a VPN?

What Is a VPN?

VPN, short-form of the virtual private network, is a software tool that allows users to have a secure connection to another network on the internet. They are useful for several reasons. By utilizing one, users can access region-restricted sites, protect their identity while downloading, hide various online activities, and many more.

VPNs were mostly used by online businesses before they become widely available. Today, they are getting increasingly popular among individuals too. Before we dive into various uses of VPNs, first, let’s see how do they function.

How VPN Works

How VPN Works

A VPN is there to encrypt your connections over the internet. This is possible by routing your device’s internet connection through a private VPN server. To accomplish that, both the network server and your device must need dedicated software. You can then connect to the remote access server (RAS) by using the software on your device. 

There are various required protocols to access a RAS to keep the connection safe. Some protocols perform better in connection speed, while some are better for security. Popular protocols often offer a balanced mix of reliability, connection speed, and security.

Other than these protocols, the software also establishes a tunneled and encrypted connection to the RAS. When you visit a website or watch a stream, hosting sites can only view the VPN server’s IP address, not yours. So your information will stay hidden as you are using an IP address provided by the client.

What Can a VPN Hide?

A user sends lots of data while going online to visit a site, watch a stream, or simply to use an app. These data can put the user at risk for a variety of reasons. A virtual private network can hide most of this user information. Some of them are:

IP Address and Location

Your IP address can give away valuable data inputs such as your proximate location. By hiding your IP address from various sites and apps over the internet, you can maintain your online privacy. A virtual private network uses a different IP address than your own so that you can keep your ID address hidden from other parties. 

Browsing History and Web Activity

Almost all sites, apps, and internet service providers (ISP) track their users. They keep this information for long periods of time. So they can show you targeted ads, sell your data, link your various online activities to you, know what apps you are using, and many more. 

Devices

We have many devices that can connect us to the internet, including laptops, desktops, smartphones, tablets, etc. Without a VPN client installed on your devices, hackers, or other users with malicious intent acquire detailed information about them. They can use this information to learn the most vulnerable part of your security systems.

Uses of VPN

Uses of VPN

VPNs can be useful for various situations and even necessary in some. We listed some of the main uses of them right below:

Anonymous Downloads

Torrents and peer-to-peer downloads are getting increasingly popular. While most of these downloads are illegal in most regions as they infringe copyright laws, there are countless legal cases. You can set up a virtual private network on your device to make anonymous downloads. So you can keep your download data private.

Access Geo-Blocked Sites

Geo-blocked site means that users need to be in a certain region or country to access the site. While using a virtual private network, your device behaves as if connected to the internet from its server location. This way, you can access geo-blocked sites for your region. Keep in mind that you need to use a VPN provider that offers region selection to access geo-blocked sites freely.

Hide Online Activities

Certain professions in the world, such as journalism or activism, might require constant online protection. A VPN server can help them to avoid being tracked. So they can access sites and communicate with other people freely.

Access to Business Computer

A VPN can help you have a secure connection to your business computer virtually from anywhere in the world. So you can log in to your device remotely through a fast and secure connection. Most businesses install a VPN client on their employees’ devices to work remotely by eliminating any chance of interference from other parties. While sharing local files between colleagues, they transmitted through the same server. This way, businesses greatly improve the security of their files as files are not exposed to ISPs, trackers, and more.

Access to Home Computer

Access to Home Computer

You can set up a VPN to access your home computer and its’ network remotely. You can play games, share files, and more as if you are connecting from the same local area network (LAN).

Avoiding Tracking

Many ISPs, websites, and apps track their users. While there are many reasons for this, selling data to third-parties and targeted advertising are the most prominent ones. You can use VPNs to keep your browsing history, location data, app usage details, etc. safe from trackers.

Public WiFi Security

Free WiFi is offered in many places, including but not limited to hotels, airports, libraries, coffee shops, and main city squares. These public WiFi stations most often don’t have strong security. So other users and even the provider might view your data without consent. It is always a good idea to use a virtual private network to avoid any interceptions. 

FAQ About VPN

What VPN service is the best one?

VPNs have lots of benefits, but choosing the best provider can be time-consuming as there are more than 400 providers on the market. While choosing one of them, you should mainly look for their device compatibilities, server locations, no-log policies, connection speeds, and security features. 

What is a VPN tunnel?

A VPN tunnel is an encrypted link between your device and the internet. This link is solely dedicated to your device and surrounds your data, similar to a tunnel. There are various tunneling protocols used by VPN providers. The most common tunneling protocols are Point to Point Tunneling Protocol, Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol, Secure Socket Tunneling Protocol, and Generic Routing Encapsulation.

Why businesses use VPNs?

VPNs provide great levels of security for businesses. They are cost-effective, useful, and easy to use for the common internet user. Besides these reasons, they offer high-speed connections between employees while denying third-party access. 

Should I use a VPN every time?

If you are concerned about your privacy or often using connecting from public networks, you should always use it. Other than these, you can use a reliable service in certain situations such as transferring money, visiting geo-blocked content, or to prevent bandwidth throttling.

Do VPNs work on mobile data?

Whether you are connecting through WiFi or mobile data, it doesn’t matter for VPNs. However, using the fastest connection is better in all situations.

Conclusion on What a VPN is

VPNs are important tools to create secure connections over the internet. They can help internet users to hide location, avoid trackers, stay anonymous, and more. This article explained various qualities of VPNs, how they function, and their different uses. If you somehow expected it to function as an adblocker let us direct you to this article where we discuss how to block videos on YouTube.

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Ralph

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After working for so many years in the screenwriting business, Ralph decided that he needed to be more involved with the digital world. Therefore he became a content writer by putting his skills into practice after learning about subjects he's interested in, mostly social media.

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