Thursday, 19 January 2017

The Meaning Of VPN And How To Use It


VPN is short for “virtual private network”, and by definition it extends a private network over a public one, allowing users to send and receive data privately from one machine to another, as if they were located in a LAN (local area network). Initially, this is precisely what VPNs were used for, before the Internet became as popular as it is now. Imagine having two computers, one at home and one in your office. By utilizing a VPN, you could connect both of those computers into a single network, despite the fact that they’re potentially located miles away. Then you could share files between them which would allow you to take your work home with you, or access an important file from your home PC when you’re at the office.



As the Internet became more advanced, though, using VPNs in this way kind of became obsolete, but at the same time they received a completely different, yet equally essential purpose. In this article, we’re going to be talking about what a VPN is, how it works and how to go about choosing the correct VPN for you based on your personal needs.

How Does It Work?

Modern VPN providers have servers all around the world to which ordinary users can connect to before they access the web, after which they can browse normally. A couple of things change the moment that you connect to this kind of server, though. First off, you get a brand new IP address, since you’re essentially browsing from another location, which has its own wide array of benefits. First off, all the information that an online server can get from your IP address is no longer available to them, since you no longer have your original IP address. Examples of such information are your approximate location, your browser’s user agent, your ISP and so on.

Additionally, since websites figure out your location with the help of your IP address, you can use a VPN to “cheat” certain websites into thinking that you’re browsing from a completely different part of the world. This comes in really handy if you want to access geo-blocked content on the Internet, and there’s a lot of it these days. For example, websites such as Hulu, Netflix, Pandora and Spotify all restrict access to certain areas of the world, meaning that if you're not in one of these areas, you simply can’t use their services. And even if you are, there’s always a chance that you’re going to be vacationing somewhere where the aforementioned services are unavailable.

And finally, connecting to a VPN server before browsing the web gives you a number of security-based advantages, which can mean the difference between being successfully targeted by a cyber attack and avoiding it completely. When using a VPN, all the data that you transmit over the Internet is split into packets in a process known as encapsulation, and then it’s sent to its destination through a secure tunneling protocol that encrypts all of your traffic. Additionally, many good VPN providers actually run powerful anti-virus software on their servers, meaning that you’re protected from most internet-based malware threats without having to have a third-party anti-virus installed on your own device.

Choosing the Right VPN for You

 Now that you know what VPNs are all about, the real question is how do you choose the right VPN provider to suit your own needs? Well, there are a couple of factors that you need to consider. First of all, you’re going to want to make sure your VPN provider can supply you with adequate connection speed. Since you’re going to be connecting to a VPN server, your overall speed no longer depends just on your ISP, but also on the speed of your VPN. 

Secondly, you’re going to want to try to find a provider that doesn’t keep logs of your traffic. Some VPN services are obliged by law to share traffic logs with the government under certain circumstances, so if a VPN is located in an area governed by one such law, it’s highly likely that they have to keep logs for legal reasons.

And finally, you’re going to want to look at the security itself. Most VPN providers nowadays use the modern and highly secure OpenVPN protocol for encrypting your connection, but some still haven’t introduced support for it and still use PPTP and L2TP, which are definitely less secure variants.
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