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What Is a Virtual Private Network: A Guide To How a VPN Works?

Read our detailed guide on “what is a virtual private network, how VPN works and why it is important to start using it” to protect your company from cyber spies and hackers, especially if working remotely.

As the internet has become ubiquitous, so have privacy and security issues. Since we can access the web from almost any location, there are increased threats from hackers, identity thieves, and even governments.

Fortunately, a VPN or Virtual Private Network is a technology gaining massive acceptance globally. It can make a huge difference in your privacy and security online.

What Is a Virtual Private Network (VPN)?

A virtual Private Network, often called VPN, is a service that provides an encrypted connection between a device and a network over the internet. These encrypted connections make it possible to transmit sensitive information securely.

A Virtual Private Network can help you avoid data theft, identity theft, and other nasty situations.

As a result, users can work remotely as unauthorized people, like hackers, the government, and your internet service providers (ISP), cannot eavesdrop on the traffic.

How Does a Virtual Private Network (VPN) Work?

When you connect to a VPN (via smartphones, tablets, or PC), the internet connection is routed through the VPN’s private server instead of your internet service provider (ISP).

Acting as an intermediary, a Virtual Private Network creates a private “tunnel” from your gadget to the internet and hides your IP address and vital data through “encryption.”

Furthermore, if your data is hijacked, it becomes unreadable until it reaches its intended destination.

Your employees can work remotely and securely connect your company’s network as a corporate body.

Why should you use a VPN connection?

When you connect to the internet, your ISP normally configures your connection. It monitors you through an IP address. Your network traffic passes through your Internet service provider servers and this record and discloses every action you take online.

Although your internet service provider may appear reputable, it could disclose your browsing history with the government, security agents, advertisers, or any other third parties.

Similarly, ISPs are vulnerable to cyber criminals. If hacked, your personal and confidential information may be stolen.

Furthermore, you will need a VPN if you use public Wi-Fi networks regularly. Without one, your internet traffic could be monitored, and your data, passwords, or payment card details stolen.

Benefits and Advantages of Using a VPN

Avoid Censorship:

Most states’ governments go to greater lengths to monitor and control their citizens’ information.

There are certain countries where a circumventing government restriction is illegal, but we believe in unadulterated freedom of speech.

Access Restricted Website:

VPNs allow you to tunnel through institutions, like companies, libraries, and even schools that restrict access to specific web pages.

Stream from Anywhere:

Some streaming accounts restrict access to people from certain blacklisted countries, or certain shows might be unavailable to your region. With VPN, you can access the location IP address and enjoy your favorite shows from your area.

Avoid Price Discrimination:

Companies can use your location to sell their products at higher costs, especially when you live in places with high incomes and costs of living. Price discrimination might also occur due to your ISP monitoring your preferences and purchases. It then sells your data to product manufacturers. A VPN’s privacy and anonymity protect you from this type of targeting.

Prevent Unauthorized Tracking:

VPN prevents hackers, cybercriminals, companies, the government, or your ISP from following and monitoring you. Maintain your freedom from oppression, targeting, and prejudice.

Types of Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) and Their Protocols

Remote Access

Remote Access VPN is an encrypted connection that allows business users and employees to securely connect to their company’s private network through the internet and remotely access its files, services, and resources.

Client-to-server VPNs or Client-based VPNs are other terms for remote access VPNs.


A Site-to-Site VPN often recognized as a Router-to-Router VPN, is frequently used in large corporations.

Intranet-based VPN: Site-to-Site VPN connections between multiple offices of the same organization constitute an intranet-based virtual private network (VPN).

Extranet-based VPN: A company uses the site-to-site VPN to connect to another company’s office.

Personal VPN

A personal VPN service links you to a third-party server, functioning as an intermediary for your device and the internet services you want to use.

Often known as a “commercial” or “consumer” VPN, a personal VPN encrypts your connection, hides your identity online, and allows you to bypass regional restrictions and blocked websites on the internet.

Types of Virtual Private Network (VPN) Protocols

Tunneling protocols offer comprehensive guidelines on packaging the data and what checks to execute once it arrives at its destination. These various types directly impact the process’s security and speed.

  • Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP): The oldest VPN protocol and regarded as one of the least secure methods.
  • Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol (L2TP)
  • Internet Protocol Security (IPSec)
  • Secure Socket Layer (SSL)
  • Transport Layer Security (TLS)
  • Secure Shell (SSH)
  • Internet Key Exchange version 2 (IKEv2)
  • Open-source Protocol (OpenVPN) – It is one of the most secure.

What should a good VPN do?

IP address encryption:

The basic function of a VPN is to conceal your IP address from your Internet Service Provider and other third parties. Therefore, you can send and retrieve information online without different prying eyes except you and the VPN provider.

Protocol encryption:

A VPN should also protect you from leaving traces, such as your search history, internet history, and cookies. Cookie encryption is significant since it prevents unauthorized third-party access from accessing private information such as personal data, financial details, and other website content.

Two or multi-factor authentication:

A powerful VPN verifies everyone who attempts to log in using various authentication methods. For instance, you may be required to provide a password and type in a code sent to your mobile phone. These security means to prevent unauthorized third parties from accessing your encrypted connection.

Kill switch:

Whenever you lose your VPN connection, you will also lose your secure connection. A good VPN can reduce the risk of data compromise by detecting sudden downtime and terminating selected programs.

Choosing a Reliable VPN Service Provider

You must select a VPN provider you can rely on to provide website traffic disguise and maximum security.

Although your ISP won’t view your online activity, your VPN provider will. Any compromise to your VPN affects your connected devices.

Virtual Private Network (VPN) FAQs

Does a VPN encrypt traffic?

Yes, a VPN encrypts traffic. Virtual network traffic is securely transmitted by creating an encrypted connection across the internet, referred to as a tunnel. VPN traffic from smartphones, tablets, and PCs is encrypted while traveling over this tunnel.

Can I use a VPN on phone or other devices?

Yes. You can use a VPN for your smartphone and other internet-connected devices. Download VPN software, like Avast SecureLine VPN, from Apple App Store and Google Play. In addition, with one account, Avast SecureLine VPN covers up to five devices – Android, iOS, PC, and Mac. Avast’s VPN also works on smart TVs running Android TV.

Does using a VPN protect you from viruses?

A VPN does not protect your devices from viruses or provide you alerts if your device is infected. It encrypts your data and allows you to circumvent restrictions like censorship and website blockage. For maximum protection against malware, use anti-virus software like Avast Premium Security.

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