How VPN Works

VPN today is one of the most popular applications worldwide. You’ve probably tried this service at least once, during browsing the web. And most likely you have a question: “How does a VPN work?” That’s why we’ve prepared an article with all the answers you need. It will be useful even if you have never used it but are curious about how to do virtual private network works. 

When George Orwell, whose real name is Eric Arthur Black, wrote his “1984”, he surely couldn’t even imagine how true his book will be. Our society is a society of surveillance, and even if the secret police cannot send us to the black site, it is possible to use our private information to someone’s benefit.

What is a VPN?

In case you want to protect your personal data and browsing information, you can use VPN software. Its goal is to provide you with a safe, encrypted connection. It is a so-called middleman between your gadgets and the Internet. From this moment your ISP can’t monitor all your web connections. And of course, your IP address is hidden from now. 

How you use the Internet without a VPN and why is it dangerous

Take a look at an image that describes exactly how your web connection is going:

How you use the Internet without a VPN and why is it dangerous

At first glance, the scheme is incomprehensible but soon becomes apparent. Whenever you connect to the Internet, all your traffic goes through your provider. That means your ISP receives all the information about your actions online. Just think: they know what are you looking for, what are you downloading, which sites do you visit, and so on.

Of course, that might not be a huge concern for you or other users, but you should consider the following – almost all providers are complying with data retention laws. That means they have to store your private information, including your web activity. And they will share it with government agencies and authorities if needed. For example, in the US, they can even sell that data. Do you really want some third-party advertisers to receive your information? This is blatant interference in our personal lives – think a lot of people. And they’re totally right.

One more threat to remember besides are hackers. Using unsecured networks, you should consider that they can steal your private information. Once they manage with that, they can use it to their advantage. For example, they can steal money from your card, or just sell all your private data. And don’t forget that it isn’t the only thing that is exposed. Your IP address and geolocation are insight as well. So, what can other people do with that information? What should you be worried about? Think about targeted attacks that are a common thing nowadays. Now you understand.

How you connect to the web with a VPN

This is a picture that represents how your online connection would like if you were to use VPN software:

How you connect to the web with a VPN

What should you know about that? You need to install a VPN application to your devices or a VPN extension for your browser. It is needed to connect to a VPN server, that will be your middleman to access the web. The incoming traffic is sent in the same way.

You can compare this process with the following example:

Imagine a scene from an action film, when a villain escapes from a crime scene along a highway in a sports car. He is chased by a police helicopter. The car enters a tunnel with several exits. The helicopter pilot does not know from which exit the car will appear, and the villain gets rid of the chase. 

The VPN is your tunnel that is connecting a lot of roads. No one from the outside knows where the cars entering him will be. No one from the outside knows what is going on in the tunnel. It is encrypted also that means your ISP or other services can’t receive your personal data. Only the devices that can encrypt the information can decrypt it. Besides, the VPN server will create a new IP address for you that helps to hide your geolocation on the Internet.

So what is the main difference between these two options of browsing? After installing a VPN, you can enjoy private web surfing, knowing your data is safe and you have unlimited access to any content. For example, with VPN you can use torrents for downloading, bypass firewalls, and even geo-blocks. Some content might be available in particular countries only, and while using a VPN, you will reach it out.


How does VPN exactly work?

Let us give you a clear description. You are provided with a safe&smooth online experience, using a VPN that relies on a VPN client, VPN servers, and encryption protocols. The task of the client is to establish a connection to the servers. At the next stage, both of them encrypt and decrypt your online traffic and information. And they do that by using several types of VPN encryption protocols.


There is a simple overview of the 6 steps:

  1. You install the VPN application or extension and launch it.
  2. After that, the VPN client starts encrypting your information.
  3. This client reaches the particular server bypassing your ISP, and setting up the so-called “tunnel”.
  4. For this moment your IP address is replaced by its own and the VPN server starts decrypting the information received from you and redirects your connections to the Internet.
  5. Once the VPN server receives the online information you requested from different servers, it encrypts it and sends it to you bypassing your IPS.
  6. Receiving the incoming online traffic, your VPN client decrypts it for you.

There’re 3 essential advantages of using the VPN:

Though, you may not use a VPN all the time. Agree, some people are too concerned about their safety nowadays. However, if you use public WiFi often, travel a lot, or want to shield your web surfing from third parties. But are there any disadvantages? Of course! Let’s talk about them.

Disadvantages of using the VPN

The first thing to be considered is that the VPN is not an ideal solution. Using a VPN client by itself doesn’t mean that you are no longer afraid of Internet threats. Although it is a powerful tool, you should not indulge in a false sense of security and forget about caution. The Internet is full of threats that the VPN will not prevent, especially if you behave carelessly. For example, no VPN will protect your accounts from hackers if you set passwords that are too simple and obvious. And if you suddenly forget to connect to the VPN server, your online activities will not be encrypted at all. Only self-discipline and safety measures will help then.

Change passwords regularly, increase their complexity and be careful when opening strange messages or visiting insecure sites. Don’t forget to use antiviruses and firewalls to protect yourself against malware. The development of such habits in combination with the use of VPN will provide you with the highest level of security.

The second essential moment is about the price. To use the full potential of a VPN, you need a paid subscription. Unfortunately, premium subscriptions are sometimes expensive. Of course, there are a lot of free VPNs, but they cannot always provide the proper level of security. Some of them even sell personal information, and this completely violates the logic of their work.

Conclusion

So, how does VPN software work? This process can be described in several sentences or two pictures. The application or extension you use encrypts your requests to the server and vice versa. That’s why you can be sure your Internet Service Provider can’t receive information about your actions on the Internet. Also, it changes your IP address that allows you to bypass geoblocks, and to hide your geolocation when you’re online.

Though VPNs have some disadvantages and it may take you time to find a perfect solution, it’s always a perfect choice to rely on one. It will guarantee you anonymity, content access and, cyber security. No 1984.

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