Over the last couple years, seeing the abbreviation VPN (meaning Virtual Private Network) has become commonplace for those that browse the internet. However, many people seeing the term ‘VPN’ still have no idea what it means. This article will break down and answer the question “What is a VPN and how does it work?”.
What Is A VPN?
They may also analyze their users’ browsing habits to sell their data to advertisers and the like for small profit. VPNs make it nearly impossible to do so. Not only does it hide browsing history from different internet service providers (ISPs) by masking the IP, but it also encrypts the data being sent by that device. It’s the best way to ensure that users have online privacy and a secure connection to whatever sites they visit.
How Does A VPN Work?
This is where things get a bit complex. One of the best analogies for using a VPN is that it acts like a buffer and a shield. It’s like a shield because it secures the connection between a device and the internet. This makes it impossible to track the user’s IP, browsing history and other information.
The buffer comes into play through the user connecting to the secure VPN server instead of the ISP’s server. This means that all data leaving the device must go through here first, where it is encrypted, and then sent. It’s not exactly unsafe to operate without a VPN, but subscribing to this service reinsures that all users will be protected.
Types Of VPN
That answers the question “What is a VPN and what does it do?” on a basic level. The level of encryption, number of features, and overall coverage will depend the on the VPN provider you choose. Additionally, there are 4 types of VPN, standalone, router, browser extension, and corporate VPNs. Each has their own purpose and user base:
- Standalone – Used for homes and small businesses.
- Router – Those with multiple devices that need to be connected to the internet.
- Browser Extensions – Used solely on browsers such as Chrome and Firefox.
- Corporate – Large businesses with many employees.
There are plenty of other VPN services available and will depend entirely on the individual. No matter the VPN provider chosen, using one is the most effective way to protect online activity. However, if you’re using a slow or old computer, using a Web Proxy could be a favorable alternative.