VPN is an acronym for virtual private network. It is a service that enables you to stay private when online. It does so by establishing a secure, encrypted internet connection between your device and the internet. This provides a tunnel for communications and data to be transmitted through when one is on the internet.
There are several risks associated with having your online identity exposed. You can be targeted by cybercriminals or get discriminated against when trying to access some online resources due to your location. Other sites also follow you around the internet to know what you intend to do. A VPN helps hide your identity from such websites so that you cannot be tracked.
Here's an overview of VPN.
How Do VPNs Work?
In a typical internet connection, your device sends information or internet traffic to the internet service provider (ISP), such as downloads, uploads, and online searches. However, when using a VPN, the traffic is routed through another server before it gets to your ISP. This way, the ISP receives data from the VPN server and not from your device. Therefore, they cannot tell that you actually sent the traffic.
Whenever you send some internet traffic, a special number called an IP address shows where you come from. It is visible to your ISP and the website that you visited. This is what makes it easy for these sites to track you. However, a VPN masks your IP address by rerouting your traffic so that the identifying number is not seen at the destination.
In addition, it adds encryption so that the data cannot be tapped as it moves from your device to the intended internet resource. This also allows you to access websites that have been restricted to specific locations or jurisdictions.
Here is an example. If you are looking to play in a casino that does not allow players from your location, you can use a VPN to access these sites. While there are some platforms that do not allow people to connect using a VPN, there are several VPN friendly casinos out there that you can join. Check if your preferred offshore casino accepts connections using a VPN.
Types of VPN
There are several VPNs, depending on where they are used and the size of the intended connections. Here are the most popular types of VPNs.
Remote Access VPN
This is the most common type of VPN on the market. It allows users to connect to other sites or networks using a VPN on their device.
This type of VPN is also called router-to-router VPN. It is most commonly used by corporate organisations to create a secure connection between branches in different locations. It creates a closed internal network where these branches can connect with each other. Such networks are called intranets.
Types of VPN Protocols
Just as the name suggests, a VPN protocol is a set of rules that define how the data moves between the user's device and the VPN server. These protocols guarantee a stable and secure connection that can be relied on for the entire period of browsing.
When you browse the internet with a VPN, it transmits your traffic via encrypted tunnels and assigns your device a new IP address. The protocols determine how the tunnel would actually be formed. Each protocol has advantages and disadvantages that influence its suitability for specific applications.
This is the most popular tunnelling system that makes use of TCP and UDP internet protocols. These protocols allow for longer-lasting connections with the recipient as well as faster data transfer rates. This VPN is open source, versatile, secure and bypasses most firewalls.
This protocol was developed by Cisco and Microsoft to enhance stability when making encrypted connections. It uses an IPSec tool called Multi-homing and Mobility to create a stable connection, especially for mobile devices. It also works with leading encryption algorithms.
This is a lean encryption standard that is free and open source. It is easier to employ, audit and debug than the two above. However, it is still experimental and does not offer a high level of anonymity. However, it has the potential to be the leading protocol in the future.
Layer 2 Protocol is a tunnel protocol that neither authenticates nor encrypts data sent from your device to the VPN server. However, VPNs use other tools to provide these services. However, due to its slowness, most VPNs tend to avoid it.
SSTP is another protocol by Microsoft that supports AES-256 encryption. It is able to bypass most firewalls without causing a disruption of communication. However, since the code is not available to independent testers, most VPNs do not use it for fear that it may have backdoors.
Why Should You Use a VPN?
Here are the benefits of a VPN.
â€¢ Access blocked sites: A VPN allows you to access platforms that are geo-fenced because they are not able to establish your true location.
â€¢ Avoid censorship: Where the government controls information, a VPN may help you access resources that are not available in the general public domain.
â€¢ Stream from anywhere: If your streaming platform restricts some content to particular regions or countries, a VPN helps you stream when overseas by logging in as if you were in the home country. This is common with sites like YouTube and Netflix.
â€¢ Avoid getting tracked: A VPN hides your internet activity from cybercriminals, hackers and corporations that may want to know what you are doing. It saves you from discrimination, targeting and repression.
â€¢ Beat price discrimination: Most sites have a set of prices depending on the region or IP address. If you are in a location where there is a higher cost of living, merchants may show a higher price for items. You can circumnavigate it by hiding your IP.
Consider using a VPN whenever you go online. It keeps you safe and anonymous for privacy and enhanced security.