What is a VPN? What is the VPN meaning? A virtual private network, popularly known as VPN, is a secure connection from a device to a particular network over the internet. The encryption of this connection ensures that highly-confidential sensitive data is transmitted safely. This bars unauthorized individuals from accessing your network traffic, allowing you to work remotely. This technology is prevalent in the corporate world.

Besides encrypting your internet traffic, virtual private networks also hide user IP addresses and physical locations. This way, no one can tell who the user is, where they are from, or the type of activity that they are conducting online. A VPN is an on-demand internet tunnel. You can set up a VPN on several gadgets, including your desktop, laptop, iPhone, Android, and iPad.

What does a VPN do?

Now that we covered what is a VPN, it's time to move on to how a VPN works. A VPN performs its tasks by utilizing encryption protocols to funnel all internet traffic through an encrypted tunnel between a computer and a virtual private network server. Hence, it can secure your data and hide your IP address, preventing unauthorized parties from intercepting it.

In the absence of VPN hosting, your traffic is more likely to be exposed to advertisers, the government, your internet provider, and other individuals on the same network. Setting up a VPN on your computer is pretty simple. After subscribing to your VPN service provider, all you have to do is download and install this software. Next, you’ll choose the server you want to connect to and leave the rest to your VPN. 

Once this connection is established, this is what happens to your data:

  1. First, your device’s VPN software encrypts the data traffic, sending it to the server via a secure connection. Your data also goes through the ISP, but they cannot eavesdrop due to the encryption.
  2. Your VPN server decrypts your computer’s encrypted data.
  3. The server sends your data to the internet for a response intended for the user.
  4. Once again, the VPN server encrypts your internet before transmitting it back to you.
  5. Lastly, the VPN on your computer decrypts the data such that you can understand and use it as intended.

The VPN works in the background hence why you can access the internet as you usually would. You wouldn’t notice any difference apart from the fact that you’ll now be able to circumvent online restrictions.

What is VPN encryption?

VPN encryption refers to utilizing encryption protocols to create a strengthened tunnel for the data travelling through. If anyone attempts to examine your VPN connection, they’ll only be able to see scrambled data. Only your VPN server and gadget can encrypt, decrypt and unscramble this data. There are numerous encryption methods currently.

Most VPNs utilize the 256-BIT Advanced Encryption Standard algorithm. It is a very secure encryption level, so much so that it is used by governments and banks worldwide.

Two main types of VPNs

Virtual private networks fall into two main categories: remote access VPN and site-to-site VPN. Typically, individual users tend to use remote-access VPNs. On the other hand, big businesses tend to utilize site-to-site VPNs for corporate uses. Here is a deeper look into these two virtual private networks.

1.   Remote Access VPN 

Remote-access VPNs allow users to connect to private networks and remotely access all their resources and services. The user and private network are connected via the internet, and this connection is private and secure. Remote access VPN is ideal for both business users and home users. 

Staff can use a VPN network to connect to their organization’s private network while they are out of their station. Additionally, they can use it to access resources and files on the company’s private network. Where home users or private users are concerned, they can use VPNs to sidestep online regional restrictions and access blocked sites. 

Users familiar with internet security also use virtual private networks to heighten internet privacy and security.

2.   Site-to-site VPN

Site-to-site VPNs are also referred to as router-to-router VPNs and are commonly used by large enterprises. Companies with branch offices in various locations can connect to those in different locations using site-to-site VPN. You can further categorize these connections as:

  • Intranet-based VPN – An Intranet-based VPN is one where several of the same organization’s offices are connected using a route-to-route VPN.
  • Extranet-based VPN – An Extranet-based VPN is one where companies utilize a site-to-site VPN to connect to another company’s office.

A site-to-site VPN creates an imaginary bridge between different networks at offices in different geographical locations. It creates a connection, sustaining private and secure communication between these networks. In this type of virtual private network, one router plays the role of a VPN client while the other plays the VPN server role because it is built on a router-to-router communication.

Communication is only initiated once the authentication between these two routers is verified.

Types of VPN protocols

“Tunnel” is the common name for the encrypted connection used in VPN connections. Several different protocols can be used to set up a VPN connection to ensure the safety and privacy of your data. Some common VP protocols are:

  1. OpenVPN: This is undoubtedly among the most popular VPN protocols. This open-source protocol uses encryption based on the SSLv3/TLSv1 and OpenSSL protocols. Most virtual private network servers support OpenVPN, and most users consider it the best option. OpenVPN is available on different platforms such as Linux, Windows, and Android.
  2. PPTP: In full, PPTP is Point to Point Tunneling Protocol. In the beginning, it was one of the most used protocols. However, it contains a couple of potential risks, so it is advisable to use it if you are more interested in speed than safety. An example of an instance where it might be appropriate to use this protocol is when you want to circumvent streaming services’ restrictions.
  3. WireGuard: This protocol is relatively new in the market and is steadily gaining popularity. It is Linux-based and is intended to perform better than other protocols such as OpenVPN. Because it is still undergoing development, preferably, go with OpenVPN. 

Take away      

Many companies and governments use VPNs to safeguard their networks and prevent confidential data from falling into the wrong hands. Hence, it would be good to get VPN hosting for your personal use. We hope that this article managed to explain in detail what is a VPN, the VPN meaning and how it works. 

You can also get it for your business. Several credible providers offer different VPN packages and services online, so finding one shouldn’t be difficult.

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