What is VPN and How does it work? - A Complete Detailed Guide

What is VPN?  

VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. It is a technology that enables users to connect privately and securely to the Internet or a network over a public network. VPNs are frequently used for internet privacy and security and for remote access to corporate networks.


What is VPN

Data supplied by a user to a VPN server is encrypted and sent across a secure tunnel. The server then decrypts the data and sends it to its destination. This encryption and tunneling procedure shield the user's data from eavesdropping, interception, and other illegal access.


To create and maintain the encrypted tunnel, VPN technology uses several protocols, including OpenVPN, L2TP/IPSec, PPTP, and SSTP. Various VPN protocols offer varying degrees of security, speed, and compatibility.


How does a VPN work?

For a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to function, a user's device must establish a secure, encrypted connection with a VPN server, which then serves as a proxy for the user's internet connection. These are the fundamental steps in how a VPN operates:


1. Through their ISP, the user accesses the Internet (Internet Service Provider).


2. The user chooses a VPN server to connect to and starts the VPN client on their device.



3. The VPN client establishes a secure and encrypted connection to the selected server using a VPN protocol like OpenVPN or IPSec.


4. All internet traffic from the user's device is routed to the server through the encrypted VPN tunnel.


5. The VPN server acts as a proxy for the user's internet connection, accessing websites and other online resources on behalf of the user.


6. Internet traffic is encrypted and protected from prying eyes like the user's ISP or hackers, and the user's IP address and location are masked from websites and online services.

7. The user can access geo-restricted content, including websites and streaming services that might not be accessible in their area.


8. Users can access internet information that could be geographically prohibited and safeguard their online privacy and security by utilizing a VPN. Individuals, companies, and organizations frequently use VPNs to secure remote network access, safeguard sensitive data, and improve online security and privacy.


What are VPN's Functions?

VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) have several functions that make them valuable tools for online privacy and security, remote access, and bypassing censorship and geo-restrictions. Listed below are some of the primary purposes of VPNs:


1. Secure and private internet connection: A VPN masks the user's IP address and encrypts the user's online traffic, protecting the user's online activities from prying eyes. While accessing public Wi-Fi networks, where cyber threats like hacking and espionage are frequent, this is especially crucial.


2. Remote access: VPNs allow remote workers to securely connect to their business networks, access files and resources, and communicate with coworkers. This function is vital for firms with workers working from multiple locations or for people who work from home.


3. Bypassing geo-restrictions: VPNs can access websites, streaming services, and social media platforms that are restricted or blocked in particular countries. Users can access content unavailable in their location by connecting to a VPN server in another country and making it appear like they are accessing the Internet from that location.


4. Online privacy: By concealing their IP address and location, VPNs can assist users in maintaining their online privacy. Those who wish to hide their online actions may find this valuable, as may journalists and activists who wish to safeguard their identities while obtaining critical data.


5. Improved security: By encrypting the user's data, VPNs give an extra degree of security, shielding the user from online dangers like malware, phishing, and hacking. This feature is crucial for customers who frequently access sensitive information online and businesses that deal with sensitive data.


What are VPN Protocols?

The technologies used by VPN services to provide a safe and secure connection between a user's device and the VPN server are known as VPN protocols. Various VPN protocols offer varying degrees of security, speed, and compatibility. Following are some of the most common VPN protocols:


1. OpenVPN: OpenVPN is an open-source VPN protocol that leverages SSL/TLS encryption. It is supported by most hardware and operating systems and is regarded as one of the most secure VPN protocols.


VPN Protocols

2. IPSec/L2TP: Internet Protocol Security (IPSec) is a popular VPN protocol with robust security features. To provide an additional layer of encryption, it can be utilized with L2TP (Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol). To access corporate networks remotely, IPSec/L2TP is frequently utilized.


3. PPTP: PPTP (Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol) is an older VPN protocol offering faster speeds but lower security than other VPN protocols. Various devices and operating systems extensively support it.


4. SSTP: Microsoft created the Secure Socket Tunneling Protocol (SSTP), a VPN protocol that employs SSL/TLS encryption. It offers robust security protections and is mainly used on Windows-based devices.


Compared to other VPN protocols, WireGuard is a more recent VPN technology that provides quicker speeds and better protection. Because it works with so many different devices and operating systems, it is becoming increasingly popular among VPN providers.


Users should select a VPN protocol that satisfies their security, speed, and compatibility requirements because each has unique strengths and drawbacks. A trustworthy VPN provider that implements secure and dependable protocols should also be chosen.


What are some Virtual Private Network Providers?

Numerous Virtual Private Network (VPN) providers have various features, costs, and security levels. Here are a few well-known VPN service providers:


1. ExpressVPN: ExpressVPN is a well-known VPN service provider that provides quick connections, robust encryption, and a variety of server locations. It features a user-friendly interface and is compatible with various hardware and operating systems.


Known for its robust security features, such as double encryption and a no-logs policy, NordVPN is a well-known VPN provider. It is compatible with a wide range of devices and operating systems and has a massive number of servers spread across numerous nations.


2. Surfshark: A more recent VPN service provider, Surfshark provides strong encryption, unlimited simultaneous connections, and reasonable pricing. It is compatible with a wide range of hardware and operating systems and has a growing number of server locations.


3. CyberGhost: CyberGhost is an easy-to-use VPN service with many server locations, strong encryption, and specific servers for streaming and torrenting.


4. Private Internet Access (PIA): It is a VPN service that provides no-logs protection, low prices, and robust encryption. It is compatible with a wide range of devices and operating systems and has a massive number of servers spread across numerous nations.


These are but a handful of instances of VPN companies. While selecting a VPN company, it's critical to investigate its offerings, costs, and level of security and read customer reviews to assess its dependability and effectiveness.


What is the security of a VPN?

Virtual private networks, or VPNs, are intended to give an extra layer of privacy and protection for online activity. They also cover the user's IP address and location to safeguard user data from prying eyes and utilize encryption. But not every VPN offers the same level of security. While assessing a VPN's security, keep the following points in mind:


security of a VPN

The security of a VPN is greatly influenced by the strength of the encryption it employs. Most VPNs employ AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) encryption, which is considered exceptionally safe and uses 128-bit or 256-bit keys. Some VPNs additionally provide further security measures, like complete forward secrecy, ensuring that prior conversations cannot be decoded even if an encryption key is compromised.


Protocols: A service's security is also impacted by its VPN protocol. While specific protocols, like PPTP, are seen to be less safe, others, like OpenVPN and WireGuard, offer robust encryption and security capabilities.


Logging rules: A VPN specifies how much user information, including online activity and IP addresses, is kept on file. VPNs with a strict no-logs policy are considered more secure since they do not store any information that might be used to track or identify users.


Domain Name System (DNS) leaks: It can happen when a VPN incorrectly sends DNS requests through its encrypted tunnel. This could expose user information. VPNs send all DNS requests through an encrypted tunnel that protects against DNS leaks. This makes sure that no data is lost.


Locations of the servers: A VPN's security may also depend on the quantity and location of its servers. VPNs with servers in countries with strict data protection laws and no legal requirements to keep data longer are safer.  


Overall, VPNs include several features that make them valuable tools for remote access, censorship circumvention, and online privacy and security. Choosing a VPN provider you can trust and understanding its limits and risks is essential.