(VPN) is called virtual private network it gives you online privacy and anonymity by creating a private network from a public internet connection. VPNs mask your internet protocol (IP) address so your online actions are virtually untraceable. Most important, VPN services establish secure and encrypted connections to provide greater privacy than even a secured Wi-Fi hotspot.
The Three Main Types of VPNs
VPNs can be divided into three main categories – remote access, intranet-based site-to-site, and extranet-based site-to-site. Individual users are most likely to encounter remote access VPNs, whereas big businesses often implement site-to-site VPNs for corporate purposes.
Let’s take a closer look at the different types.
Remote Access VPN
Ever had a VPN service for personal use before? If so, you already have some experience with the most popular type of VPN nowadays – the remote access VPN.
Simply put, remote access VPNs connect the user to a secure remote server in order to access a private network. The added encryption ensures that security isn’t compromised.
This is the foundation upon which the so-called commercial VPN services are built. Such providers allow you to use their own network when surfing the internet, hiding your sent and received data from local networks. As a result, you can browse away in privacy, access content on the internet that’s otherwise restricted to your regular connection, and keep your data safe from hackers and snoopers.
The main benefits of remote access VPNs are easy setups and hassle-free use. With the right software, this type of VPN can be easily accessible to newcomers and veterans alike, and is ideal for personal use. However, it may be unsuitable for (and even incompatible with) large-scale business needs.
Site-to-site VPNs work in a different manner – their main goal is providing multiple users in various fixed locations with the ability to access each other’s resources.
Here’s a simple explanation: you’re working in the London branch of a big company, and you’re currently collaborating with employees from the Berlin branch. Thanks to the site-to-site VPN you’re using, your local area networks (LANs) are both connected to the same wide area network (WAN) – in other words, you can securely share the information and resources between each other.
The above is an example of an intranet-based site-to-site VPN. The other type is extranet-based, and it’s used when a connection between two separate intranets is required, but without the possibility of one accessing the other directly. An example of that would be two separate companies working together.
Site-to-site VPNs are common in large-scale business environments where secure communication between departments all over the world is absolutely crucial. With that said, they aren’t easy to implement, as they require specialized equipment and serious resources. In addition, this type of VPN technology is built with a purpose, and doesn’t offer the flexibility that’s found in commercial VPN services.
Why do you need a VPN service?
Surfing the web or transacting on an unsecured Wi-Fi network means you could be exposing your private information and browsing habits. That’s why a virtual private network, better known as a VPN, should be a must for anyone concerned about their online security and privacy.
Think about all the times you’ve been on the go, reading emails while in line at the coffee shop, or checking your bank account while waiting at the doctor’s office. Unless you were logged into a private Wi-Fi network that requires a password, any data transmitted during your online session could be vulnerable to eavesdropping by strangers using the same network.
The encryption and anonymity that a VPN provides helps protect your online activities: sending emails, shopping online, or paying bills. VPNs also help keep your web browsing anonymous.
VPN privacy: What does a VPN hide?
A VPN can hide a lot of information that can put your privacy at risk. Here are five of them.
1. Your devices
A VPN can help protect your devices, including desktop computer, laptop, tablet, and smart phone from prying eyes. Your devices can be prime targets for cybercriminals when you access the internet, especially if you’re on a public Wi-Fi network. In short, a VPN helps protect the data you send and receive on your devices so hackers won’t be able to watch your every move.
2. Your web activity — to maintain internet freedom
Hopefully, you’re not a candidate for government surveillance, but who knows. Remember, a VPN protects against your internet service provider seeing your browsing history. So you’re protected if a government agency asks your internet service provider to supply records of your internet activity. Assuming your VPN provider doesn’t log your browsing history (some VPN providers do), your VPN can help protect your internet freedom.
3. Your browsing history
It’s no secret where you go on the internet. Your internet service provider and your web browser can track just about everything you do on the internet. A lot of the websites you visit can also keep a history. Web browsers can track your search history and tie that information to your IP address.
Here are two examples why you may want to keep your browsing history private. Maybe you have a medical condition and you’re searching the web for information about treatment options. Guess what? Without a VPN, you’ve automatically shared that information and may start receiving targeted ads that could draw further attention to your condition.
Or maybe you just want to price airline tickets for a flight next month. The travel sites you visit know you’re looking for tickets and they might display fares that aren’t the cheapest available.
These are just a few isolated examples. Keep in mind your internet service provider may be able to sell your browsing history. Even so-called private browsers may not be so private.
4. Your IP address and location
Anyone who captures your IP address can access what you’ve been searching on the internet and where you were located when you searched. Think of your IP address as the return address you’d put on a letter. It leads back to your device.
Since a VPN uses an IP address that’s not your own, it allows you to maintain your online privacy and search the web anonymously. You’re also protected against having your search history gathered, viewed, or sold. Keep in mind, your search history can still be viewed if you are using a public computer or one provided by your employer, school, or other organization.
5. Your location for streaming
You might pay for streaming services that enable you to watch things like professional sports. When you travel outside the country, the streaming service may not be available. There are good reasons for this, including contractual terms and regulations in other countries. Even so, a VPN would allow you to select an IP address in your home country. That would likely give you access to any event shown on your streaming service. You may also be able to avoid data or speed throttling.
How to choose a VPN
Here are some questions to ask when you’re choosing a VPN provider.
1a.How many devices can connect to the VPN at once?
Think of how many devices in your home connect to the internet. You have your laptops, tablets, smart phones, and voice assistants. You might even have smart appliances that access the web.
That’s why it’s important to work with a VPN provider that allows several devices to connect to it at one time. That way, you can have both your laptop and your children’s tablets routed through a VPN at the same time.
Some VPN providers might offer different plans that allow for a higher or lower number of simultaneous connections. In general, you can expect to pay more for a greater number of connections. Top providers allow you to connect 10 or more devices simultaneously.
Number of simultaneous VPN connections:
1b..Do they run the most current protocol? OpenVPN provides stronger security than other protocols, such as PPTP. OpenVPN is an open-source software that supports all the major operating systems.
2.Do they set data limits? Depending on your internet usage, bandwidth may be a large deciding factor for you. Make sure their services match your needs by checking to see if you’ll get full, unmetered bandwidth without data limits
3.Do they respect your privacy? The point of using a VPN is to protect your privacy, so it’s crucial that your VPN provider respects your privacy, too. They should have a no-log policy, which means that they never track or log your online activities.
4.Where are the servers located? Decide which server locations are important to you. If you want to appear as if you’re accessing the Web from a certain locale, make sure there’s a server in that country.
5.How much will it cost? If price is important to you, then you may think that a free VPN is the best option. Remember, however, that some VPN services may not cost you money, but you might “pay” in other ways, such as being served frequent advertisements or having your personal information collected and sold to third parties. If you compare paid vs. free options, you may find that free VPNs:
6.Will you be able to set up VPN access on multiple devices? If you are like the average consumer, you typically use between three and five devices. Ideally, you’d be able to use the VPN on all of them at the same time.
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