The full meaning of the acronym VPN is Virtual Private Network.
A Virtual Private Network is a network that makes it possible for you to secure a connection by setting up another network on the internet.
These Virtual Protection Networks can be used to gain access to websites that are region-restricted. They also offer a high level of privacy for internet users. They do this by protecting your activities while browsing from the public Wi-Fi.
VPNs were originally created as means of connecting various business networks together. Its major purpose was to make sure those connections were secure. It also made it possible for one to connect to a business network from home.
In essence, VPN sends all your network traffic through the VPN network. This is where you are able to access the local network from a remote place. It also makes it possible for you to go past internet censorship.
How does it work?
Now you know what a Virtual Private Network is. The next step is understanding how it works.
A VPN works by creating a tunnel providing network access that is encrypted between you and a remote server. This server is usually operated by a VPN service.
Your browsing activity is secure and away from prying eyes. This is because your network traffic passes through that tunnel created by the VPN. Thereby shielding it from Intruders and outsiders.
In simpler terms, a VPN connects whatever device you are making use of, be it, a personal computer, phone, or tablet to another computer called a Server.
This server is located on the internet. It gives you access to the web using the computer’s own internet connection.
What this means is that, if you wish to access a server in another country, you can. Irrespective of regional restrictions. This kind of access cannot be granted normally without the help of a VPN.
When you are making use of a VPN to browse the web, your computer uses the encrypted VPN connection to reach the website.
What the VPN does is use that secure connection to forward your request to that website. It then uses that same connection to forward the response from the website back to your computer.
To understand better, here are two visual representations. The scenarios will give more understanding of what VPN does in simple terms.
First, imagine you are in a school environment, perhaps the library. It happens to have public WiFi that everyone connects to.
Naturally, you would connect too because there’s nothing like free WiFi.
Now, do you know that these public WiFis could be monitored by someone? Someone could be tracking your browsing activities and even try to hack your device through such a network.
Using a VPN gives you that assurance that no one can pry on what you are doing on the internet. Not even the operators of the network can see your browsing activities.
How about when you are in the comfort of your home? Yes, you might be safe from spies and prying eyes because you are using your own network provider.
Have you heard of ISP? ISP means Internet Service Provider. It is the company that provides you with an internet connection. At home, your ISP monitors your activities online. ISPs are also under an obligation to sell their customers’ data and network activity when needed.
This means your browsing activities are not as safe as you think at home. This is where VPN comes in. By being a private network, any activity done using their encrypted tunnel cannot be accessed by prying eyes.
The second instance is when you are trying to connect to a server abroad.
Most times you encounter problems like “this content is not available in your region”. You could also get to the website but not be able to understand the content because it is not in your language. These are regionally restricted websites.
Only a VPN can help you gain access to some extent, to those websites that have been blocked because you are not in that region. All it does is create encryption that makes it look like you are browsing from that country or region. It spoofs your location, so you can gain access and not be tracked.
Why you need a VPN
You need a VPN for the following reasons:
- To gain access to region-restricted websites.
- Stream media on Platforms like Netflix. Those contents you cannot access because it is not available in your country.
- Protection from Wi-Fi hotspots that are not secure.
- It protects you from prying eyes.
- Keeps you anonymous and hides your location.
- To protect your device from being logged while bypassing.
Other uses of VPN
VPNs can be used for a range of other things like:
● Gaining access to the network you use for your business.
This means that while traveling, you can use VPN to access your business network without any restrictions. You can also do this in a secure way because your local resources will not be exposed to the general internet.
● Gaining access to your home network
While traveling, you can still access your home network through the use of a VPN. You can gain access to your local files and do other things online as if you were in that location.
● Prevent your ISP from monitoring your browsing activity
Because you are using an encrypted tunnel to browse, VPN hides your activities from outsiders.
This means, not even your Internet Service Provider can see your browsing activity.
● Gain access to geographical-restricted areas
Whether you are traveling abroad and you wish to access websites that are not within your region. Or you are remotely trying to gain access to foreign platforms and contents are not open to your area, VPN can help with this.
All you need to do is connect to a VPN located in that area or country.
● Bypass areas of the internet that are censored.
VPN gives you access to the entire internet. This includes the parts of the internet that are censored.
For example, in China, the great firewall is a type of internet censor. Residents use VPN services to bypass it.
● To download things
VPNs can be used to download torrents, including legal ones.
If your ISP is interfering with your traffic, just use VPN. It won’t interfere again. Downloading files will be faster and more secure for you.
Things your VPN won’t do
- Your VPN won’t be able to give you complete anonymity online. It can only hide your identity to an extent but you can still be traced.
- VPN won’t completely protect you from external eyes. Things like malware might need strong antivirus software to deal with that.
- It cannot stop cookies from giving companies access to track your internet usage.
How to get a VPN
You need a VPN on all your devices. It can be connected to your phone and computer.
Depending on what your needs are, you can access the VPN from your place of work. You could also create a VPN server or host one outside your home.
All you need to do is visit one of the VPN sites, sign up and download the app.
A Virtual Private Network (VPN), helps you to find a secure connection with another network on the internet.
You need a VPN to bypass any restricted network. You also need it to hide your identity while browsing. It also protects you from prying eyes.
A VPN is also necessary on all your devices. Whether it is at home or away from home, you need to ensure your VPN is always on.
The additional security it provides, helps you benefit a wider range of things from the internet without being monitored or hacked.
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