What Is A VPN And How Does It Work?

As any business continues to grow, it expands across geographical locations which might be countrywide or even worldwide. Hence it is very important for all the people working across these locations to work in a secure and reliable way to share information. With the whole world bound by computer networks, it’s especially important to ensure that data transfer takes place in a secure and reliable mode without giving out sensitive data. Not just businesses, even individuals need online anonymity and protection from unwanted hacking. This is where a VPN comes in. A VPN network is similar to creating a tunnel from your computer to any server which is accessed across the world. The connection is encrypted and your PC is protected by the IP address of the VPN server. Read on to find out more about VPNs and how they work.

What is a VPN?

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is an important privacy and security tool you should install on your PC. A VPN changes your IP address and encrypts your internet traffic offering you online security, privacy and helps bypass online censorships. VPN networks help protect your identity and your financial information and help you maintain your anonymity while you browse the Internet. A Virtual Private Network or VPN encrypt all of your traffic sent over the Internet connection and sends it over a secure connection to the VPN server.

For example, Assume you are in the United States Of America, and you are connected to a VPN server located in Japan. Then, you access some websites. Your web browsing traffic is sent over the Internet through an encrypted connection to the VPN server. Your Internet service provider can not see you are connecting to those specific websites. They just see an encrypted connection going to an IP address in Japan. Those websites just see you as someone located in Japan.

Why do you need VPN services?

With people using the internet from every nook and corner of the world, there is an increase in malicious threats as well as cybercrime and user security is compromised. Hence the need to maintain anonymity on the internet arises. Lack of online privacy leads to unwarranted situations like targeted ads and inaccessible content as well. Hence, users need an anonymous VPN service to browse the web in private. A good VPN service ensures that your identity is protected while you use the Internet and is very safe.

How does a VPN work?

Before we proceed on to how a VPN works, here is a set of terms like the protocols and rules followed by VPN in providing you a secure network.

  • SSL or Secured Socket Layer assures proper authentication between the client and server machines.
  • IPSec or IP Security Protocol works in the tunneling mode or transport mode helping secure a VPN connection.
  • L2TP or Layer Two Tunnelling Protocol enables the tunneling of data between two geographical sites in the VPN network
  • PPTP or Point-To-Point Transfer Protocol connects a user at some remote location with a server in a VPN network

Now that you have a good knowledge of the various protocols involved, here’s a look at the working of a VPN.

In the case of a public network, all your data is flowing through a tunnel with the data of other users. So your data packets can easily be accessed from the network. However, a VPN provides you a secret tunnel within this tunnel to ensure your data is encrypted and protected.

When you opt for a VPN, the whole process begins when you run the VPN client. You can get connected to a VPN server and start sending data through your ISP. All your data will now be encrypted by the above protocols configured in the server.

Once the encrypted data reaches the VPN server, it will be decrypted and forwarded to the designated web server. The data received from that web server will be encrypted by the VPN server and sent to you through your ISP. Once you receive it on your device, the VPN client will help decrypt it for you.

This ensures that anybody who tries to communicate through a VPN has a ‘tunnel’ established between the VPN client and VPN server where all your data is encrypted.

Another important point is that the VPN server will hide your IP address and replace it with its own address. This will help you hide your geo-location on the Internet; as a result, you gain more privacy, and can also bypass geo-restrictions and firewalls.

This way it ensures anonymity, data privacy as well as access to geo-restricted sites.

Payment for VPN services is in monthly installments. Some VPN services provide tiered services, ensuring you choose the features you need. You can also use VPNs on your mobile devices by downloading the app from your service provider.

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