A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a technology that creates a secure and encrypted connection over a less secure network, such as the internet. VPN technology was developed as a way to allow remote users and branch offices to securely access corporate applications and other resources.

When you connect your computer (or another device, such as a smartphone or tablet) to a VPN, the computer acts as if it’s on the same local network as the VPN. All your network traffic is sent over a secure connection to the VPN. Because your computer behaves as if it’s on the network, this allows you to securely access local network resources even when you’re on the other side of the world.

How Does a VPN Work?

A VPN works by routing your device’s internet connection through your chosen VPN’s private server rather than your internet service provider (ISP) so that when your data is transmitted to the internet, it comes from the VPN rather than your computer. The VPN acts as an intermediary of sorts as you connect to the internet, hiding your IP address – the string of numbers your ISP assigns your device – and protecting your identity.

Furthermore, if your data is somehow intercepted, it will be unreadable until it reaches its final destination. A VPN creates a private tunnel from your device to the internet and hides your vital data through something known as encryption.


Encryption is the process of encoding messages or information in such a way that only authorized parties can read it. In an encryption scheme, the intended information or message, referred to as plaintext, is encrypted using an encryption algorithm – a cipher – generating ciphertext that can be read only if decrypted.

For technical reasons, an encryption scheme usually uses a pseudo-random encryption key generated by an algorithm. It is in principle possible to decrypt the message without possessing the key, but, for a well-designed encryption scheme, considerable computational resources and skills are required. An authorized recipient can easily decrypt the message with the key provided by the originator to recipients but not to unauthorized users.

Types of VPNs

There are two basic types of VPNs, namely Remote Access VPN and Site-to-Site VPN. Both of these types have their pros and cons, and most companies will have a defined VPN policy stating which type of VPN is used in certain situations.

Remote Access VPN allows a user to connect to a private network and access its services and resources remotely. The connection between the user and the private network happens through the internet and the connection is secure and private. Site-to-Site VPN, on the other hand, is mostly used for business cases and is also known as Router-to-Router VPN. This VPN type is also called as LAN-to-LAN or Site-to-Site VPN.

Remote Access VPN

Remote Access VPN is useful for business users as well as home users. A corporate user can use it at home to access his/her company’s private network. It is also a suitable option for employees who are constantly on the move, companies which require more secure and reliable connections for their remote employees. Home users can use it to access geo-restricted services or to provide security when surfing the internet.

It uses IPSec, PPTP (Point-to-Point Tunnelling Protocol) or SSL (Secure Socket Layer) to secure the connection. However, SSL VPNs are becoming more popular because they provide a flexible option for telecommuters and business travellers. VPN clients can use these protocols to ensure a secure connection to the VPN server.

Site-to-Site VPN

Site-to-Site VPN is a type of VPN which is mostly used in corporate environments when a business has offices at different locations. As the traffic is encrypted, intranets and extranets can be securely shared with other offices. The VPN network is often compared with a long Ethernet cable. The difference is that the data travels over the internet or via a public network.

There are two types of Site-to-Site VPNs: Intranet-based VPN and Extranet-based VPN. If a company has one or more remote locations that they wish to join in a single private network, they can create an intranet VPN to connect each separate LAN to a single WAN. Extranet-based VPNs let multiple VPNs from different corporate entities use the same VPN infrastructure.

Benefits of Using a VPN

There are several benefits of using a VPN service, these include: enhanced security, remote access, anonymity, bypassing filters and censorship, improved performance, and reduced costs. A VPN provides a higher level of security by encrypting and anonymizing all your online activity. Communications between your computer and the server of the VPN are encrypted so even if someone were to intercept your data, they would not be able to understand it.

VPNs allow users to access a network from any location in the world, which is particularly beneficial for businesses as it means employees can work from anywhere. This not only increases productivity but can also lead to a better work-life balance for employees. VPNs also provide anonymity by hiding your real IP address. They instead give you one of their server’s IP addresses, making it harder for trackers and hackers to pinpoint your exact geographic location.

Enhanced Security

When you connect to the network through a VPN, the data is kept secure and encrypted. In this way, the information is away from hackers’ eyes. If you surf the web without a VPN, there are chances that hackers may pick up your data from the web. When you are using a VPN, the risk of getting your data stolen is almost negligible.

Also, VPNs can protect you from other threats, such as if you connect to a public or unknown network. The VPN will encrypt your data and make sure that no one else can see which websites you visit or what data you send and receive online.

Remote Access

Using a VPN means your staff can access your network from anywhere in the world. This means they can work just as efficiently even when they are not in the office. This flexibility can lead to an increase in productivity, as workers can maintain the same level of work quality regardless of where they are.

Furthermore, as the VPN masks your IP address and encrypts your data, your browsing activity is hidden from your ISP. This means that you can access any website or web-based service without your ISP knowing about it. This is particularly useful if your ISP has a habit of throttling your connection based on your data usage.

Drawbacks of Using a VPN

While VPNs are a great tool for protecting your privacy and data online, they do come with some drawbacks. These can include slower internet speeds, a lack of support for certain devices, and potential compatibility issues with certain websites and services.

Because your data has to travel further and is encrypted and decrypted, using a VPN can slow down your internet connection. This can be particularly noticeable if you are using a VPN server that is far away from your actual location. Additionally, while most modern devices support VPNs, some older devices may not. This can limit your ability to protect all of your devices with a VPN.

Slower Internet Speeds

One of the main drawbacks of using a VPN is that it can significantly slow down your internet speed. This is because your data has to travel a longer distance to reach the VPN server, and because the encryption process can take time. The impact on speed can vary widely depending on the specific VPN service you use, the distance to the VPN server, and the level of encryption used.

However, in some cases, a VPN can actually improve your internet speed. This is because ISPs sometimes throttle bandwidth for certain types of internet traffic, such as streaming video. By using a VPN, your ISP can’t see what type of data you’re transferring, so they can’t throttle your bandwidth.

Compatibility Issues

Another potential drawback of using a VPN is that it can cause compatibility issues with certain websites and services. Some websites and online services block traffic from known VPN servers to prevent people from circumventing their regional restrictions. This can make it difficult to access these services when you’re connected to a VPN.

Furthermore, some devices and platforms don’t support VPNs, or only support certain types of VPN protocols. This can limit your ability to use a VPN with all of your devices. However, most modern devices and platforms support a wide range of VPN protocols, so this is becoming less of an issue.


In conclusion, a VPN is a powerful tool that can help protect your privacy and secure your data on the internet. While it does have some drawbacks, such as potentially slower internet speeds and compatibility issues, the benefits of using a VPN often outweigh these drawbacks. Whether you’re a business looking to secure your communications, a traveler who wants to watch your favorite shows while abroad, or just a regular internet user who’s concerned about privacy and security, a VPN can provide the security and privacy you need.

However, it’s important to remember that a VPN isn’t a magic bullet for online privacy and security. It’s just one tool in your toolbox. You should still practice good internet hygiene, such as using strong, unique passwords for all of your accounts, keeping your devices updated, and being wary of phishing attempts.

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