I know you have at least heard about VPN, not only heard but it may be possible that you have used one before. But do you know what does What is a VPN. It stands for Virtual Private Network. VPN helps you to provides privacy to your data over the internet. Well, this is just a teaser of a VPN. It helps us in many ways, so in this article, we will not only find the answer to What is a VPN but will also find How it works, What are its features, and many other things related to VPN.
This article is for all types of viewers whether they are new to VPN. So without wasting much time, let’s get started.
What is a VPN?
Let’s understand this thing in a very simple and layman way. All of us use the Internet, we are using it on our laptops, mobile devices, etc. Our devices on which we are using the Internet are connected with a public Internet connection. As this connection is a public connection, so anyone can track your activity or maybe your boss or someone can spy on your Internet activities.
Another case here is when we are using a public Internet connection, there are many resources that are banned. The ban can be because of demographic factors. Many times we want to do something anonymously on the Internet. But we can be tracked by our IP address.
So, now is the solution time! A VPN allows you to create a private internet connection on your public Internet connection so that your privacy can be maintained. If something is banned in your demographic region, you can use VPN to access that resource by changing your demographic region. And your privacy is also maintained as your IP address is changed to some other location so that you can work anonymously on the Internet.
See how cool VPN is! Currently, the internet is a huge thing with millions of networks connected over it and still, you can be untraceable on the Internet using a VPN. It creates a mask on your network so that no one can see your real identity, just like a mask hides your real face. It passes your connection from a different route so that your government, ISP, maybe your boss or head can’t spy on you, like what you are searching on the Internet.
You know there is another great and important feature of VPN and it is security over the internet. For me, this is the most important feature of a VPN. And do you know-how? I will tell you. It encrypts your connection over the internet so that no data breaches can alter or steal your data and this will help when you are using public wi-fi, hotel wi-fi, etc.
Currently, in the market, we have many companies which are providing VPN services like ExpressVPN, Surfshark, NordVPN, Avast Secureline VPN, etc. So, I conclude this definition part of VPN, is a software which includes security, anonymity, privacy to your Internet connection.
I hope till now you have understood What is a VPN, right! Now next we will move on to a more technical part that is working of VPN. In the next part, we try to understand how it works in more technical terms.
How a VPN works?
Now, the technical part, but first we will understand this part in a simple layman term, then we will move to the technical part.
Let’s take an example, you visit a website maybe Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, etc. Here what you normally do is type the domain name of the website. That domain has an IP address, this IP address is like a house address containing numbers. So, when you enter any domain name, it will further convert into an IP address. Our computer has an IP address, mobile phone, wi-fi router, etc all these devices have an IP address. So, these IP addresses also go along with the website’s IP address.
Now, that IP address has a location on a server. So by IP address, we find that server and retrieve data from that server to our computer or mobile device. Now the problem part, still it seems everything is going well, but it is not safe, I’ll tell you why.
In this process, the other server can note down your personal information, because when we are sending our IP address, it will send other important information too and that information is enough to trespass on your computer.
Now we will see what VPN will do in this case. When we are on VPN, it changes our server from our ISP’s server to another private server, so when we transmit our data over the internet, then it will transmit from a different server, not from our native server. It will also hide our IP address and create a covered tunnel so that no one can see our personal information.
It basically acts as an intermediate between our computer and the server. By this intermediation, it makes our IP address so complex or encrypted, that if still, someone breaks down this tunnel, he/she isn’t able to decrypt the IP address. Every encryption data has a key to decode it and this key is available at your point and at destination point only.
So, now let’s put all these things into a sequence so that we conclude this part. In the following points, I will try to explain the process, how the working flows in VPN
First, we start by connecting our device with VPN software. Now, VPN will create a secure covered path for your data transmission over the Internet.
After that when you start transmitting your data, it will encode it by encryption, so that it becomes unreadable for someone who tries to snatch it.
Along with tunneling, your data and IP address will also be changed to VPN’s private server, and still, it is being shown that you are a local network server.
As a conclusion of these points, the data will not directly be transferred to the destination and also not directly received from the destination server, in both cases, it will pass down from your VPN server where it will travel inside a safe and encrypted tunnel.
So, with these words, the working part will be completed. Now in this article “What is a VPN”, we move to its importance, we try to find is it worth it for us?
Why is it important to use a VPN?
Before moving further in this article “What is a VPN” let me ask you a question. Do you think that privacy is important? Ask this question to yourself.
Presently, we are almost totally dependent on the Internet. If we are at the office we are working using the Internet, if we are working from home then we are working because of the Internet. If we are stuck at different places, we find the right path using the Internet, booking rides, ordering food, etc, etc…
If we are doing all this stuff then we actually share so much on the Internet and we share these things with known identity (Your IP). And we also don’t know what he or she might do with these data. He can use your identity as a fake profile in illegal activity or he can spy on you or he can manipulate your data.
Let’s take an example. You are sitting in an office or restaurant, where you find a public wi-fi connection and you connect your mobile device with that wi-fi. So, in reality, you are now connected to an unknown server. And in this case, anyone who has admin access to that wi-fi can find your IP address and do illegal things also he or she can find your demographic information.
This is a venerable case, now this can become safe if you use a VPN on your mobile device. VPN will hide your IP and encrypt your data so that no one can misuse it. There are many such other cases that also happen in our day-to-day life. So, it becomes important to use a VPN for your own security.
Is the use of a VPN also secure?
Currently, in the market, there are a number of VPN services available with different features and different costs. But before buying any VPN, you should check it properly, like what technology it uses and what protocols it follows. After telling you What is a VPN, let me introduce you to the most commonly used protocols:
- Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol (L2TP/IPSec):
According to Wikipedia, In computer networking, Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol (L2TP) is a tunneling protocol used to support virtual private networks (VPNs) or as part of the delivery of services by ISPs. It does not provide any encryption or confidentiality by itself.
- Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP):
According to TechTerms, The “point-to-point” part of the term refers to the connection created by PPTP. It allows one point (the user’s computer) to access another specific point (a remote network) over the Internet. The “tunneling” part of the term refers to the way one protocol is encapsulated within another protocol.
- Secure Socket Tunneling Protocol (SSTP):
According to Wikipedia, Secure Socket Tunneling Protocol (SSTP) is a form of virtual private network (VPN) tunnel that provides a mechanism to transport PPP traffic through an SSL/TLS channel. SSL/TLS provides transport-level security with key negotiation, encryption, and traffic integrity checking.
- Internet Key Exchange, version 2 (IKEv2):
This is a result of Microsoft and Cisco and the result of this collaboration, it meant that this protocol is one of the secure protocols available currently.
- Open VPN:
According to Wikipedia, OpenVPN is an open-source commercial software that implements virtual private network (VPN) techniques to create secure point-to-point or site-to-site connections in routed or bridged configurations and remote access facilities. It uses a custom security protocol that utilizes SSL/TLS for key exchange.
So, a good practice before buying any VPN is to check its protocol. Now, moving in this article “What is a VPN”, we will summarize the whole work.
Now, it’s time to conclude our article. We first discuss what is a VPN, then its definition, then we looked at its working, next, we moved on to its importance in our day-to-day life. I tried to explain all these things in a simple layman language so that it doesn’t affect beginners, who are actually new to these terms. So, don’t forget to put your remarks in the comment section, we are waiting!
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