What Is A VPN? And How Does It Work?
A VPN (Virtual Private Network) enables a secure Internet connection. It is privacy-oriented cybersecurity software that masks users IP addresses and encrypts online traffic, and no one who intercepts the encrypted data can read it.
How Does a VPN Work?
If your data is transmitted unencrypted, it can be viewed by anyone who has access to the network, for example, from your internet provider. A VPN creates a private “tunnel” between your device and the Internet, protecting your data using encryption.
The VPN server is an intermediary between your device and the target site. The target page answers the VPN server’s request and returns the data to the VPN server. There is no direct exchange of data between you and the target page.
VPN Connection Explained:
- A VPN program encrypts Internet traffic on your device (before sending it). Encryption keeps your data private.
- The encrypted data is sent to the VPN server.
- The VPN server decrypts the data and sends your request to the target site. The landing page only sees the IP address of the VPN server, so your IP address remains private. The IP address contains information such as the geographic location of your computer,
- As soon as the VPN server receives a response from the target site, the server encrypts the data and sends it back to your device.
- The VPN For Windows program on your device decrypts the received data.
Privacy & Security
Going online is like boarding an airliner. Security personnel, baggage handling, flight attendants and the flight counter require your data. Something similar happens on the Internet. Your data goes through different servers. If you’re surfing the web to pass the time, you might not have a problem with letting anyone see your unencrypted data. However, things are very different when it comes to business email, online banking, or other sensitive data. Without using a VPN, all of your online activity is traceable back to your physical location. With VPN access, you hide your IP address and create an additional level of security by encrypting your Internet connection.
Accessing The Company Network While on The Move
Businesses often use VPNs to access the company network while on the move securely.
Security on Public WiFi
When you use public WiFi, your browsing activities on non-HTTPS websites are visible. If you want to hide your browsing activity, you should connect to a VPN, and the network then only sees a secure VPN connection.
With a VPN, you can access geo-restricted services. For example, to access your Netflix account while travelling abroad.
Bypass Internet Censorship
Many people use VPN access to bypass internet censorship.
Accessing Your Home Network
To access your home network when you’re out and about, you can set up your VPN (Virtual Private Network). This allows you to access a remote Windows desktop, share local files, and play games over the Internet. As if you were at home on the LAN.
Is a VPN Difficult To Use?
After installing the VPN software, you usually only have to enter your user name and password. Then select a server, and off you go. Most VPN providers also offer detailed instructions.
Does a VPN Slow Down The Internet Connection?
Depending on the provider, a VPN can slow down the internet speed. However, with most reputable VPN services, a braking effect is usually not noticeable.
The farther away the VPN server you are connected to is, the more significant the drop in speed.
How Can I Check If a VPN Is Working?
- Determine your actual IP address, which you received from your Internet provider. To do this, search Google for “What is my IP address?”.
- Make a note of the IP address you have without a VPN.
- Turn on your VPN and recheck the IP address.
- You should now see a different IP address.
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