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What Does VPN Connection Mean

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What Are The Two Main Types Of VPNs

WHAT IS A VPNâ? Simple, non-technical explanation of how a VPN works!

Most of us are familiar with the concept of a LAN, a local area network. That’s the private network inside one physical location — be it a home, a corporate building, or a campus. But many businesses don’t run out of one location. They have branch offices, departments, and divisions that are geographically dispersed.

In many cases, each of these offices also has LANs. But how do the LANs connect? For some very specialized solutions, companies lease private lines to connect the offices. That can be very expensive. Instead, most companies opt to connect separated private LANs over the public internet geographically. To protect their data, they set up VPNs between offices, encrypting the data as it traverses the public internet.

This is a corporate or enterprise VPN, and it’s characterized by the same organization controlling both endpoints of the VPN. If your company controls the originating point and the endpoint , you can be quite well assured that your data is securely transmitted.

The second type of VPN is a consumer VPN. This is for those of you who compute in hotels or at coffee shops and connect to web applications like social networks, email, banks, or shopping sites. Consumer VPN services help ensure that those communications are protected.

VPN Device Limit Complications

One problem with limiting VPN access by device is the provider must come up with a way of recognizing which device you’re using. That’s more difficult than it sounds, and introduces various other annoyances and problems.

CyberGhost warns that if you reinstall its app or update your operating system, it’ll be counted as a new device, presumably because the device identifier has changed. Now you’ve a single device taking up two of your slots, making it more likely you’ll hit the limit. You can fix this by going to your web account and manually removing the duplicate, but it’s a hassle you won’t get with VPNs which use connection, rather than device limits.

Managing these device identifiers introduces a small privacy issue, too. Instead of just recording a total number of connections, the provider must keep a record of all your devices, allowing them to recognize which hardware you’re using, and when.

When we last logged into our KeepSolid VPN Unlimited web dashboard, for instance, the service had logged our Windows laptop computer name, the name of the user account and the date and time we’d last logged in. There’s not a lot KeepSolid can do with that, so it’s not a significant concern, but it’s still more logging than you’ll get with many other VPNs.

Even if you can live with that, wait, we’ve not finished yet. There are more big device management gotchas waiting with some providers.

Activate The VPN App And Start Browsing The Internet Safely And Freely

Activate the VPN by pressing the connect button, and the VPN connection will be established. Generally, you wont even notice its activated, since the software runs in the background of your device.

And thats all there is to it! While the VPN is enabled, youll be able to browse the web far more securely, privately, and freely. The illustration below will shortly review the steps youll need to take to set up a VPN on your computer:

If you want to learn how to install a VPN on a specific device, such as a smartphone or smart TV, have a look at our VPN setup section. The installation may vary, depending on your device and operating system. If you want to know exactly how a VPN works, keep on reading. Well explain that and more below.

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So What Does A VPN Do

A VPN lets you use another server to access the internet. This means that while you are sitting in your home in Berlin, for example, you can browse the Web from a server in New York. And the internet will see you as a US resident, giving you access to US-only content.

Still, the relocation of your virtual self isnt the sole benefit of using a VPN. It also protects your data, allows you to surf the Web anonymously, and encrypts your information. Most VPNs come with an extra jugful of built-in features like ad-blockers, integrated firewalls, etc. all of which come in handy.

If you are looking for a VPN already check out our research on the top-rated VPN services out there.

As you can see, a VPN provides many benefits for the average internet user. Now lets see what makes it tick.

Should You Always Use A VPN It Depends On These 7 Things

The Best VPN for Windows

A virtual private network, or VPN, is a powerful tool that prevents corporations and cybercriminals from accessing your personal information. When you use a VPN, your data travels to a remote server via a secure connection. The remote server masks your IP address, so it looks like you are accessing the internet from another location, which also allows you to .

Because of this, VPNs have grown in popularity over the past few years, particularly in countries like China, where online censorship is rampant and sometimes dangerous. However, people all over the globe use VPNs to protect their privacy, anonymity, and unrestricted access to the internet. But is it necessary to have your VPN switched on and connected at all times?

Well, it depends on why youre using a VPN. To help you decide if a constant connection is necessary, we have compiled a list of frequently asked questions and their answers.

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What Is A VPN And How Do They Actually Work

Building on what we just discussed, a good VPN will likely have thousands of servers, based in dozens of countries across the globe. When you start the VPN client software on your machine, you choose to connect to one of these many VPN servers via the aforementioned encrypted tunnel.

Incidentally, that encryption can come in a number of different forms, known as VPN protocols. Any of the best VPNs out there will use a modern highly secure protocol, as youd expect, with that often being OpenVPN .

So, the benefit from robust encryption is super-tight security, and the benefit of having a choice of thousands of servers is the ability to change your location with all manner of options. As mentioned, the VPN connection will make it seem like the VPN computer is where your data is coming from, and not your own PC. Therefore, to all intents and purposes, you will actually look like youre based in that location hiding your true location and giving anonymity. Furthermore, you can gain access to content that might otherwise be blocked in your home country .

For a more in-depth look at exactly how all this happens, see our dedicated article on how a VPN works.

What Is A VPN

A VPN, or virtual private network, is a secure and private network connection through the public internet. VPN services protect your personal data, hide your IP address when you use the internet, and let you bypass censorship, content blocks, and website restrictions.

VPNs hide your IP address and physical location while encrypting your internet traffic so that no one can tell who you are, where you are, or what youre doing online. Thats why VPN means virtual private network its an on-demand private tunnel through the internet.

This comprehensive beginner’s guide to VPNs will explain exactly how a virtual private network works and why you should use one. Youll also learn how to choose a VPN service depending on your needs. VPNs aren’t just for desktops or laptops you can set up a VPN on your iPhone, iPad, or Android phone, too.

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Why You Need A VPN

Think about all the times youve been on the go, reading emails while in line at the coffee shop, or checking your bank account while waiting at the doctors office. Unless you were logged into a private Wi-Fi network that required a password, any data transmitted during your online session was likely vulnerable to eavesdropping by strangers using the same network.

The encryption and anonymity that a VPN provides protects all of your online activities: sending emails, shopping online, or paying bills. VPNs also help keep your Web browsing anonymous.

Can A VPN Guarantee My Privacy

What is a VPN and How Does It Work?

Oh, heck no. A VPN can help ensure you’re not snooped on when connecting between your computer and a website. But the website itself is quite capable of some serious privacy violations. For example, a VPN can’t protect you against a website setting a tracking cookie that will tell other websites about you. A VPN can’t protect you against a website recording information about products you’re interested in. A VPN can’t protect you against a website that sells your email address to list brokers. Yada, yada, yada.

A VPN does help protect you in the situations we’ve discussed in previous sections. But don’t expect a VPN to be a magical privacy shield that will keep everything you do private and confidential. There are many, many ways your privacy can be compromised, and a VPN will be of only partial help.

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Advantage : Access To Your Companys Network

More and more companies are giving people the possibility to work from home, or abroad for instance. Some people connect to the internet via a VPN to access the company network at home. This enables people to work from home safely and efficiently.

To read more about the different reasons why people use a VPN please read our article on the subject: What are the advantages of a VPN?

How Secure Is A VPN

VPNs secure your public internet connection by encrypting your information and shielding your online activity from cybercriminals and even your own Internet Service Provider, or ISP. In terms of your online privacy, the most secure VPNs are also likely transparent about their privacy policies, take steps to fix leaks, and wont keep logs of your browsing history.

Heres how an internet connection works without a VPN. When you type a website address into a browser, your ISP taps into your router that device in your living room with an impossible-to-remember password to forward your internet traffic to that website. Your ISP also assigns a unique number, called an Internet Protocol address, to the router, and each computer or phone connected to that router. Some websites, ad networks, and platforms such as Google, for example use your IP address to track your location information for marketing purposes.

When you use VPN software, your device connects to the VPN providers servers. Your internet traffic passes through the VPNs internet connection, meaning your private information is cloaked from your ISP and websites so they cant log your web browsing. As the VPN server mixes your web traffic with others on the server, your IP address appears to match the one associated with the VPN. These steps make it harder for others to monitor and gather information about where you go and what you do online.

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What Is A VPN And How Does It Work

When you switch it on, a VPN creates an encrypted tunnel between you and a remote server operated by a VPN service. All your internet traffic is routed through this tunnel, so your data is secure from prying eyes along the way. Because your traffic is exiting the VPN server, your true IP address is hidden, masking your identity and location.

To understand the value of a VPN, it helps to think of some specific scenarios in which a VPN might be used. Consider the public Wi-Fi network, perhaps at a coffee shop or airport. Normally, you might connect without a second thought. But do you know who might be watching the traffic on that network? Can you even be sure the Wi-Fi network is legit, or might it be operated by some nefarious individual?

If you connect to that same public Wi-Fi network using a VPN, you can rest assured that no one on that network will be able to see what you’re up tonot other users snooping around for would-be victims, nor even the operators of the network itself. This last point is particularly important, and everyone should keep in mind that it’s difficult to tell whether a Wi-Fi network is what it appears to be. Just because it’s Starbucks_WiFi doesn’t mean it’s really owned by a well-known coffee purveyor.

Should I Use A VPN On My Phone Or Tablet

Free VPN

Both Android and iOS come with basic VPN capabilities to allow you to connect to your corporate networks securely. Your IT organization will generally advise you when you should use this feature, but as we’ve discussed, when away from your home or office, and especially if you’re using an open, public Wi-Fi connection, you should.

If you’re connecting to web applications like email or Facebook, you should consider using a VPN service — particularly if you’re connecting via an open Wi-Fi network. Most good VPN services offer both iOS and Android clients.

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Are There Any Free VPNs I Can Use

Sure there are plenty of free VPNs out there. But I dont recommend using one, and Ill tell you why. First of all, most of them are full of loopholes that are designed to trick you. They promise a high-quality service, only to fall short in the areas that matter most.

Free VPNs have a highly limited number of servers, slow speeds, data limits, and seriously lacking security measures. They usually cant get past geoblocks, making them useless for streaming. And they could even threaten your privacy, which totally defeats the purpose.

Not every free provider is a total scam, however. Weve found a few free VPNs that offer a safe and reliable service with only a few restrictions but not on privacy or security, so youll only have to put up with limits on data, bandwidth, servers, and other features.

Are P2p VPNs Safe

A P2P VPN offers additional protection for your online activities and ensures that your data wont be exposed to malicious sources or your ISP, apps, websites, or government agencies.

If youre downloading files from a peer-to-peer network, using a VPN provides a layer of security that protects your identity and activity. This should guarantee that no one can track this download to you.

That said, a P2P VPN can only keep you safe from having your data exposed. It cannot protect you from malicious files. Because a peer-to-peer network relies on data thats hosted by many different devices, theres a risk that there may be a malicious actor within the network.

Likewise, if you download a file that is intentionally mislabeled or contains a virus or other harmful software that could be executed on your device, your VPN wont be able to protect you from this. Your VPN keeps your data safe, but itll not keep you safe from bad data.

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What Does A VPN Kill Switch Do

Put simply a VPN kill switch kills your internet connection if it detects that your VPN’s connection has failed. There are generally two types of VPN kill switches.

The first runs in the VPN client app on your computer, so if the VPN connection fails while the VPN client app is running, that VPN client app can turn off the computer or mobile device’s internet connection. However, if your VPN connection has failed because the VPN client app itself crashed, then the kill switch may not work, and your IP and data may leak onto the internet.

The second type of VPN kill switch is at the operating system level. These are usually driver-level systems that run whether or not the VPN application is running. As such, they provide a bit more protection for your surfing activities.

Given that so many VPN products we reviewed in our directory support a kill switch, we recommend choosing a client with a kill switch feature. There may be a slight annoyance if you lose your connection, but that’s more than made up for in the added security.

What Is VPN Encryption

What is a VPN?

VPN encryption is the process of using data encryption to create a secure tunnel for your data to travel through. If anyone examines your VPN connection, theyll see scrambled data. Only your device and the VPN server youre using can encrypt and decrypt, or unscramble, your data.

While many encryption methods, or algorithms, exist, most VPNs use the 256-bit AES algorithm. This level of encryption is so secure that its used by banks and governments worldwide as well as by AVG Secure VPN.

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Untrustworthy VPNs Can Compromise Your Privacy

If you use a less reputable VPN provider, theres no way to be sure that it wont access your browsing activity or share it with third parties. If your VPN is based in a country thats part of the 5/9/14-Eyes Alliance, it could even be forced to turn over this information to the government.

Luckily, its easy to avoid this problem by choosing a reputable VPN with a strict no-logs policy and other measures in place to protect your privacy. When in doubt, go for one with RAM-based servers and/or headquarters in a country with favorable privacy laws. For example, ExpressVPN is based in the British Virgin Islands, which has no mandatory data retention laws.

Is Using A VPN Safe For Banking

Because a VPN encrypts the data you send, such as when you enter your log-in credentials, it can protect you while you are visiting your banks online portal. Snoops wont be able to see your log-in information if you first connect to a VPN. This is especially helpful if you must access your online bank through a public Wi-Fi connection. You should only do this in an emergency because such online connections are so vulnerable to hackers. But by logging onto public Wi-Fi through a VPN, you can block your browsing activity from cybercriminals, hackers, and other spies.

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