what is a vpn

What is a VPN & How does it Work


Every now and then, we keep hearing the news regarding data breaches, hacking, and cybersecurity of even large organizations getting compromised. To stay safe in the virtual world and to safeguard your identity and sensitive information, a VPN could be a game-changer.

With technology becoming engrained in our lives and everything turning online, the role of VPNs is growing with every passing day. There are many benefits associated with it, one of which is that VPN enhances people’s online experiences. It helps them stay safe.

However, just like most of the tech surrounding us, a lot of people may not even know what is a VPN, how it works, and the good things about it. If you are one of those, this piece of writing is for you. We’ve explained most aspects of the VPN, and after going through it, you’ll know a lot about this online tool and how it secures you.

What is a VPN?

VPN, or Virtual Private Network, is a technology that helps hide your identity online. It establishes a secure and encrypted connection between the device and the internet to ensure your privacy. Hence creating a private route for your data and communications.

Internet traffic encryption to disguise your online identity makes it hard for third parties and hackers to track your online activities and steal data. Simply saying, this masking software encrypts, secures, anonymizes internet traffic, and unblocks content worldwide.

A brief history of VPNs

A VPN was invented by Microsoft way back in 1996. Its purpose was to enable remote employees to access the company’s internal network in a safe and secure manner. It helped the company double its productivity, and other companies followed the lead. This way, corporate VPNs allowing remote work became a common practice.

Tech experts realized the potential of VPNs and thought that this encryption and creation of a ‘secure tunnel’ could be used by ordinary people who want a secure connection between their computers and the internet. Thus, they have now become a cornerstone of online privacy.

How does a VPN work?

Now that you know what is a VPN, let’s move on to how it works. As mentioned above, it creates a private connection between your device and the server/internet. This private connection acts as a tunnel through which you can transfer data and access the internet without anyone tracing your location.

You’ll appear in the location of the VPN server you are connected to. It hides your identity, and this anonymity lets you access the internet without restrictions. If you don’t connect to a safe server through a VPN, whatever you do online can be traced like your exact physical location, and the device you are using.

Whatever device you use to access the world wide web, it has a unique IP address. If you are using a VPN, your actual location and IP address are replaced by your server location.

All leading Virtual Private Networks provide access to servers worldwide. This gives you a lot of options to access the internet, from choosing the server of your choice.

Types of VPN

These are the three basic types of VPNs you should be aware of. You can also call them the technical types.


It is not uncommon for employees in a company to have access to a company laptop for remote work. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses struggled with a shortage of equipment for their employees.

In these cases, employees often started using personal devices such as PCs, laptops, tablets, or mobile phones. To address this issue, companies often rely on an SSL-VPN solution that is usually set up through a hardware device.

To use this solution, employees usually need a browser capable of HTML-5, which is used to access the company’s login page. There are HTML-5 compatible browsers available for most operating systems. Access is secured with a username and password. Moreover, if you want to protect your password you can also use password managers since they’ll help you in keeping your secret information secure.

Interesting read: VPN Explained: What is Mobile VPN and How Can I Use It?

Site-to-site VPN

A site-to-site VPN is a private network that provides a secure connection between separate intranets and allows users to access each other’s resources. It is ideal for businesses with multiple locations, each with its own LAN connected to the WAN.

Site-to-site VPNs are also suitable for situations where you want to transfer files between two intranets without granting direct access to users from one intranet to the other.

Moreover, they are commonly used in large organizations and can be complex to set up. They may not offer the same level of flexibility as SSL VPNs, but they provide the most secure and effective way of communicating within and between large departments.

Client-to-Server VPN

Connecting through a VPN client is like connecting your home computer to your company’s network using an extended cable. Employees can log into the company’s network from their home office using a secure connection and work as if they were in the office.

However, for this to happen, a VPN client must first be installed and configured on the computer. With this connection, the user is not accessing the internet through their own Internet Service Provider (ISP) but through the VPN provider.

This shortens the tunnel phase of the VPN connection. Instead of using the VPN to create an encrypted tunnel over the existing internet connection, the VPN encrypts the data before it reaches the user.

This type of VPN is becoming increasingly popular, particularly for those who use public Wi-Fi networks. It keeps third parties from accessing the network connection and encrypts the data all the way to the provider. It also stops ISPs from accessing unencrypted data and circumvents any restrictions on the user’s internet access (such as government-imposed restrictions).

This VPN allows employees to enjoy increased productivity and seamless access to all company resources. If the proper telephone setup is in place, workers can effectively simulate being at their workplace by connecting to the company’s system with a headset.

This makes it so that customers cannot distinguish whether the employee is actually at the office or working remotely from home.

What are the benefits of a VPN connection?

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a secure and encrypted connection that protects your online data and activities. By disguising your data traffic and hiding your location, a VPN provides an additional layer of security and privacy while you are online.

Secure encryption

One of the primary benefits of using a VPN is its ability to secure the data being transmitted online. Without encryption, unsecured data can be viewed by anyone on the network. VPNs use encryption keys to secure the data, making it unreadable and inaccessible to hackers and cybercriminals.

Hides or disguises your whereabouts.

Another advantage of using a VPN is that it helps hide your location by acting as a proxy on the internet. The VPN server, located in a different country, masks your real location, making it impossible for anyone to track you.

Some VPN providers do not store logs of your activities, while others may keep a record but do not share it with third parties, ensuring your online behavior remains private.

Access to regional content

A VPN also allows you to access restricted content that may not be available in your area. Certain services and websites limit access based on your location. Standard internet connections determine your location using local servers, limiting your ability to access content while traveling and from your home country.

However, with the help of a VPN, you can change your virtual location by connecting to a server in another country, thus allowing you to access previously restricted regional content.

Secure data transfer

Finally, VPNs benefit remote workers who need to access sensitive files on a company’s network. VPNs connect to private servers and use encryption methods to minimize the risk of data leakage and ensure secure data transfer.

This makes it a reliable solution for transferring sensitive information while working remotely.

Considering all these benefits, a VPN becomes an essential tool for anyone who values online security and privacy.

Downsides of a VPN

As there are many advantages of a VPN, there are certain downsides to it as well. Some of these are:

Slower speed

Your browsing speed may lag a bit. When connected to a VPN, the web traffic passes through more hurdles than usual. With a majority of VPN users complaining about this issue, many VPN service providers have taken it into consideration.

Many have achieved success in countering slower speeds and optimized their performance exponentially. Their users stream and game at higher speeds than others. Still, many VPNs slow down the speed, and their users experience hiccups.

No Quality-of-service gauging

QoS, or quality of service, denotes the performance of a service or network. Until now, Virtual Private Networks don’t have a standard for measuring or analyzing such metrics. So, to know which VPN would serve you the best and which comes with some downsides, you don’t have any way other than to rely on professional reviews or personal suggestions.

VPN blocks

Most businesses, in today’s time, have become smart and know that VPNs have given users complete freedom to access whatever they want. For this reason, large businesses are countering by blocking access from known VPN IP addresses.

To fight back, VPNs are also playing it smart by turning on new addresses to mask the users’ identities again. However, this cat-and-mouse game doesn’t seem to end anytime soon and comes as a downside of a VPN.

No cookie protection

We all know that a VPN keeps you hidden, and your data encrypted. However, a VPN may not be able to block all cookies, which are required by sites to work correctly. Some unwanted cookies automatically get stored in the browser to identify your location and who you are.

A VPN doesn’t mean complete privacy

A VPN blocks your ISP and hides your identity; hackers, government, and VPN service providers can see your location and activity. This is why it is essential to choose a completely reliable VPN that doesn’t keep logs of your online activity, like tracking the sites, apps you use, and content you consume.

Even though there are some disadvantages of VPNs, if you want to keep your online activity hidden and your data encrypted, VPN is the best choice.

When should you use a VPN?

If you are concerned about your privacy and data, use a VPN whenever you connect to the internet. Whatever task you are doing, like chatting, transferring files, downloading, streaming, gaming, or anything, a VPN runs in the background. So, it doesn’t hinder any of your tasks. You’ll have peace of mind that your tasks and privacy cannot be detected easily.

Here are some instances when using a VPN can be highly beneficial.

Interesting read: 5 Best Phones for Privacy and Security: Protect Your Sensitive Data in 2022

When traveling

If you are trying to explore the world or other regions of your homeland, a VPN can make it secure and take care of your privacy. You can still choose your location without any concerns.

When relaxing

The best time for a VPN is when you are relaxing. Now, you can enjoy leisure time without the restrictions put on by your local ISP or Wi-Fi network. You’ll have peace of mind without anyone knowing it.

When on public Wi-Fi

You must be aware that connecting to public hotspots at cafes, airports, etc., can be dangerous. Your valuable data could be at stake. A VPN in public places keeps your information safe and encrypted.

When gaming online

A VPN lets you do and enjoy intense gaming with people from other countries without leaving you vulnerable to DDoS attacks. A VPN also helps to lower ping and overall lag by connecting to a server closer to the game server.

When file-sharing

Peer 2 Peer sharing of files could endanger your privacy and may reveal your IP address, letting strangers track your downloading. Keep your anonymity intact by switching to a VPN.

When shopping

VPN is the key to shopping affordably. Many e-commerce businesses reveal different prices to people from different countries. Mask your identity and your country of stay to explore hot deals and shop at the best rates, irrespective of your region.


A large percentage of adults worldwide use a VPN for both official and personal purposes to stay anonymous. It safeguards them from hackers and cybercriminals trying to gain control of their systems and access their data for heinous purposes.

Among the other benefits of a VPN, one notable advantage is that it lets you browse the internet with complete peace of mind. It helps to bypass geo-restrictions to enjoy video streaming, gaming content, and websites otherwise locked in one country.

It is essential to note that not all VPNs come with the same features. So, when choosing a VPN for official or personal uses, make sure it comes with:

  • No-logs policy.
  • A kill switch.
  • Multiple server locations.
  • Mobile support.
  • Support for multiple operating systems.
  • High-speed servers.
  • Affordable price.
  • A free trial version.

Now that you know what is a VPN and how it works, don’t forget to tell us what privacy software you love the most and suggest it to our followers.

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