How To

 How does a Virtual Private Network (VPN) Work?

According to recent reports, by 2026 the Virtual Private Network (VPN) segment is expected to grow in leaps and bounds by another 17% with new companies taking full advantage of its incredible potential. 

Privacy while on the internet has become critical to most businesses and business owners. Before deciding to purchase your first VPN, you will need to know what a VPN is and how it works. We are here to help you understand the workings of a VPN and why it should be an essential part of the protection of valuable documents when sharing with others both inside your business as well as outside your business. In this article, we will also go over VPN’s important features when you are ready to buy one.

What Is VPN?

VPN, or Virtual Private Network, encrypts your data and masks your online actions from unknown people spying on you.

When you go online to a website, your computer connects to the server where the website is hosted. The website can see a certain level of data regarding you and your computer. If you have a VPN, you will be connected to a private server which will scramble your data, making it more difficult for third parties to track what you are doing.

You can use a VPN for your small business to provide remote access to your business network. You can also set up a VPN in your home for admission to computers and files on your local network from remote locations. No matter what you are trying to do, your VPN will forward your internet traffic to a private network. For public use, you will be connected to a private network of secure servers before getting on the internet. For private use, you will have access to files without risking these documents’ safety on the internet.

If you have devices that rely on Android, not to worry, you can have an APK version of VPN as well.  APK is a file extension that is compatible with Android VPNs. Most legitimate VPN providers will let you locate and download the APK file for your Android devices.

What A VPN Can Do

Among many other things, a VPN can change your IP address. Every computer has a unique IP address when you are connected to the internet. It tells other computers where you are located. Using VPN, you connect to another computer before you get online by effectively telling other computers you are at a different location. With most VPN services, you can choose your fake location by yourself.

When you have a new IP address, there are so many possibilities available to you.  If you are using a streaming platform like Netflix, you will get different content for different areas of the world. Your VPN will change your digital location, allowing you access to streaming libraries from other countries.

Some governments around the world use geo-blocking which is a technique for region-locking content to block your IP address from websites and services. A VPN can get around these hurdles by changing your IP address to make it appear you are connected to the internet from a different location.

On the other side of the scale, a VPN will remove accountability so those who use them for peer-to-peer file sharing (torrenting) copyrighted content while they engage in various illegal activities online.

Here is a brief breakdown of some things you can do with a VPN:

Torrenting

Torrenting is not always illegal. You can use it to deliver personal content and public domain. Keep in mind, downloading copyrighted content through torrents is illegal in most countries.  That said, it is illegal to torrent this kind of content with a VPN and use it to hide your identity.

Bypass Censorship

Some countries (governments) block access to certain websites and services for their citizens. A VPN changes your virtual location which allows you to bypass censorship and see available content in other areas of the world.

Unblock Streaming Platforms

Some streaming platforms are only available in certain areas and have different libraries for various regions. A VPN will let you unblock streaming platforms so you can browse content anywhere around the world.

Stop Tracking

VPN services offer an encrypted tunnel by blocking your internet service provider and website from tracking data including your IP address, geographical location, and browser metadata.

Access To Private Networks

You can use your VPN to connect remotely to a private network  Even though you still use the internet, a VPN offers a barrier between a private network and the web. If your devices run on Android, the APK version of VPN is an excellent option.

One of the best features of a VPN is encryption. Encryption scrambles your data. Your data goes through an encrypted tunnel before hitting the internet.  This allows you to hide metadata that your browser automatically sends when you connect to a website. Browsers carry a lot of data including your time zone, content-language, your operating system, and even your screen resolution.

Although the information is unique to you, it can be used to identify you through a process known as browser fingerprinting. Because VPN hides metadata and browsing history, no one including your internet service can tell what you are up to.

How Does VPN Work?

VPN is an added security for your internet connection. You can change your IP address saying you are connecting from a different location. VPN uses encryption as an added layer of security for you. A VPN protocol is a set of instructions that tells your computer how to communicate with the VPN server.

The internet is like a tunnel, the tunnel is wrapped in layers of encryption to keep others from seeing what you are doing. This is the same thing your VPN does. The difference is, you pass your data on to a VPN server where it becomes anonymous before you go online.  VPN providers use AES cipher with a 256-bit key. This is the industry-standard block that breaks data up into blocks and then encrypts it.

Your VPN and computer share information to establish an encrypted connection. In other words, it verifies you are connecting to the server you intended to. Your data and browsing history are protected from anyone outside the tunnel, data will not pass through the VPN server.

Does VPN Really Work?

There are still many people that are not sold on the effectiveness of VPNs. As an example, Facebook offered to pay mobile users each month to connect to a VPN. According to an investigation by TechCrunch, the VPN, referred to as Project Atlas, was actually a data siphoning operation that allowed Facebook to access mobile devices.

What To Look For In A VPN

When you decide to get VPN, there are certain features you should look for:

  • Top Security

Always make sure it has AES-256 encryption. If the VPN only uses PPTP or L2TP, look somewhere else. And Stay Away From Free VPN, you’ll be stung!

  • No Logging Policies

Keep in mind what Facebook did with Project Atlas!  There are many VPNs that do not have a logging policy which means you can’t keep your personal information on record for future reference.

  • Wide Server Selection

Most VPNs have tons of servers and the more servers you have access to, the better.  You will have more options when you need virtual locations.

  • Streaming Performance

Most streaming platforms have some form of VPN block in place. It’s important to pay attention to the streaming performance before making a decision. Almost all VPNs claim to unblock every streaming platform, in reality, that’s just not true.

  • Speed

Unless you are already under ISP throttling, a VPN will slow down your internet connection. ISP throttling means your service provider (ISP) has deliberately restricted your internet bandwidth or speed without letting you know. Some services slow down your speed more than others. Check out their independent reviews.

Above and beyond all else, it’s important to choose a VPN service with a very good reputation. As long as you do your homework, you can find a VPN that will protect your privacy while online.

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