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What Is A VPN ?

What VPN Stands For?

VPN stands for virtual private network. VPNs are becoming more common with internet users around the world because of how they provide an open and free internet.

What A VPN Does?

VPNs allow internet users to access blocked content on the web. They also provide end-to-end encryption. Both of these features have helped to spark the growth of VPNs over the past several years. With more countries installing online censorship, residents are turning to VPNs to access content online they want to see. And with hackers and third parties trying to get their hands on your personal data, a VPN is a great way to keep your online activities anonymous.

How Do VPNs Work?

A VPN connects internet users in one particular location with servers that might be located anywhere in the world. For example, a VPN user in France can access a server located in the United States, which in turn makes it seem as if the French user is located in the US. Encryption keeps your online communications secure while you surf the web. The secure tunnel created from the user’s device to the VPN server acts like a firewall, protecting critical data and providing anonymity.

Smartphones

Tablets

Laptops

Desktops

VPNs can work on a wide range of devices, including smartphones, tablets, laptops, desktops, and other mobile devices. You can download a VPN app in the iOS app store on your iPhone, or download one from a variety of websites from your laptop computer. Some VPNs can even be setup in just a few clicks.

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What Is A VPN Router?

A VPN router enables multiple VPN devices set in different locations to connect and communicate. VPN routers allow the core packet routing and network communication services within VPN. Many VPN routers can be configured anywhere and are considered portable, as long as there is an internet connection present.

What Is A VPN Provider?

VPN providers are the companies that offer internet users VPN services. VPN providers offer products with different features: for example, one VPN provider might have servers in more locations than another. Another VPN provider might claim to have faster service than another. Different VPN providers even use different types of encryption. Make sure to read up on the features of the VPN providers you are considering.

How To Use A VPN?

Using a VPN is relatively simple. Once you install the app on your mobile device or install the browser extension in your web browser on your desktop or laptop, usually connecting to a new server only takes a few clicks. Some VPNs allow you to choose which server you’d like to connect to. Once you are connected, you can start browsing the internet securely.

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What Are VPNs Used For?

VPNs have a wide range of uses. They are often thought of for personal use – streaming videos, watching sporting events, accessing forums and other information online that might not be available in a particular location because of content restrictions. But VPNs also have commercial usage, due to their strong encryption and security capabilities. Companies with proprietary information can use VPNs to ensure that their data is protected while their employees work remotely, for example.

Why You Need A VPN?

VPNs allow you to bypass content restrictions, and that is a major reason for their increased popularity.

  • If you have ever been blocked from streaming a sporting event online, you need a VPN.
  • If you have ever traveled to another country that restricts the internet, then you need a VPN.
  • If your school or place of employment blocks social media, then you need a VPN.
  • If you are looking to secure your files and online activities from hackers, third parties, and government actors, then VPNs are definitely for you.

Different Types Of VPNs?

There are two main types of VPNs, remote access and site to site.

Remote Access VPNs

allow users to connect to a private network remotely. An example might be a business employee accessing a private corporate network while traveling. This type of VPN is also used by individuals who want to bypass local content restrictions based on geo-location.

A Site To Site VPN

is often used by businesses to connect networks to each other. A network in one location can connect to another distant network through a site to site VPN. This allows multiple networks to create a virtual tunnel between them that is private and secure.

Types Of VPN Protocols?

There are several different types of VPN security protocols. Each protocol offers a different level of security and speed, along with other features.

IPSec
This protocol works by securing online communication over an IP network. This is done by authenticating the session and encrypting each data packet during the connection.
L2TP
L2TP is a tunneling protocol, it is typically paired with IPSec. IPSec provides the encryption in that instance, while L2TP provides the tunnel for the secured data to travel through.
PPTP
PPTP creates both a tunnel and encapsulates the data packet. It is one of the most commonly used VPN protocols on the web and has been around for decades.
OpenVPN
OpenVPN is highly effective for both site to site and point to point connections. Its security protocol is custom and based on SSL and TLS.
SSL & TLS
SSL and TLS protocol is often used by ecommerce websites. Most web browsers are actually integrated with both protocols. You’ll notice you are using SSL when your URL begins with https instead of http. This protocol creates a VPN connection where the browser acts as the client with access to certain applications.
SSH
SSH establishes a VPN tunnel where data can be transferred. This protocol also ensures the tunnel is encrypted.

What Makes A Good VPN & How To Select One?

When looking for a VPN provider, you obviously want to look for security, and the number of servers they have. And of course, speed is an issue too. You should take a look at the protocols they support to determine how secure the VPN is. You'll want to skip PPTP due to security concerns, and L2TP/IPsec is more secure but not as fast. OpenVPN is the fastest and most secure option. You’ll want to see how many servers there as well – the more the better, especially if they are in multiple countries. It is also important to know how many concurrent connections are allowed, since you will likely be using more than one device as you connect to your VPN.

What VPNs Do Not Do?

It is important to know what VPNs do not do. VPNs are not anti-virus software. If your computer is already infected with malware, installing a VPN will not solve the problem. VPNs cannot stop internet companies who already have your personal data from selling it. If your information has fallen into the wrong hands before you downloaded a VPN, installing one will not change that either. VPNs are used to maintain secure connections, online anonymity, and to access blocked content online.

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