What is VPN and how does it work? If you are an internet user, the answer to this question should be known to you. In this era of digitalization, to know the concept of VPN is important. The major reason for why you should know about VPN is network privacy. Okay! Now it’s fine to be happy on getting free wi-fi! But while your device is connected to a public network you should be more careful about your online activities. It is wise to use VPN in such cases. Moreover while you are working on confidential and private data you should know how to protect your network from hackers. Using VPN is important here. There are more benefits of using VPN. Also few limitations are there, which we will discuss in the later part of the article.
What is VPN?
Virtual private network or VPN, as the name denotes is a private network that protects your online data traffic from external access. VPN forms an encrypted connection of the data over internet by masking your IP address and helps in safe transmission of sensitive data. In corporate sector VPN is used widely.
Types of VPN
There are two major types of VPN-
- Intranet based VPN
Let’s take an example to understand this better- suppose an organization has different branches in different places and they are connected through a site-to-site virtual private network type, this is termed as intranet based VPN.
- Extranet based VPN
Extranet based VPN is nothing but when an organization uses site-to-site virtual private network type to connect with other organizations, it is termed as extranet-based VPN. Moreover, when an employee who is working remotely wants to have access of his office network, the VPN type he uses is termed as remote access VPN.
How does a VPN work?
To understand how does a VPN work, let us take an example and try to simplify it. Suppose you and your partner are sitting in a hall and want to exchange a paper note. But you don’t want to share it with the two friends sitting between you or with the guests around. Now the solution is that you can use some codes or symbols that are known only to you and your partner and can’t be understood by others. This way even if someone gets that paper note they can’t read or understand what’s written. In case of VPN this is done by the secure tunnel. Over the internet your traffic passes through many routers on the way till it reaches the final destination or source. In this way any government agency, network admin or hackers can have access to your data over the internet.
As explained in the example by encryption of data you make it non understandable by third parties on the internet and does protect you information. Simply, working of VPN is two devices connected over the internet exchanging information in such a way that no parties in the middle can read or understand the information. It is like you are logging your device into a network that is not in the place that you are currently in.
What is the use of VPN?
Whether in private or in corporate sector, the uses of VPN are many. Following are some of the important reasons why one should use a VPN.
- Security of data: VPN encrypts your online traffic and ensures security of online data. This is the main purpose of using VPN.
- While using public wi-fi: When you connect your device to a public wi-fi, there is high chance that your data can be viewed or stolen by hackers. VPN encrypts the traffic and secure it from cybercriminals.
- While working remotely: This is one of the greatest benefits of VPN. In case you are working remotely, from home or any other place you can have access to the office network information at any time with VPN.
- Sharing files to a group: If you are working with a group of people that needs to share files for a long period of time VPN can be used.
- Security of online banking: The most important thing that needs to be protected over the internet is your online banking details. When you are connected to public network it becomes easier for hackers to get access to your banking details. Using of VPN can save us in such cases.
- Security of crypto currency: Just like the bank details the crypto information should also be secured over the internet. VPN can ensure better security for this.
- Ad-blocking: Another benefit of using VPN is you can block the unnecessary advertisements that annoy you a lot! Some VPNs have ad-blocking features by which you can block those popping up ads that irritates whenever you brows something.
- Unblocks geographical restrictions: Some content on the streaming platforms like Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Disney+ come up with geographical restrictions. Some websites too are not allowed in every country. But by using VPN you can access it from any location you are in.
- Buy things at cheaper rate: Prices of things like airline ticket booking, hotel booking, buying video games, subscription to some online courses etc. sometimes differ according to your location and IP address. So if you are in a place where these services are of very high rate, by using VPN you can buy those in a cheaper rate.
Limitations of VPN
For protecting network from hackers VPN is indeed a good solution. But there are also few limitations of using VPN in regards to protect your online traffic and other such uses. While using VPN you can’t be sure about how much encrypted your data is. Even on using VPN in some cases your data might be viewed or hacked by third parties. In some countries like China using VPN is not legal. There you can use only government approved VPNs. Moreover there is change that your internet speed might decrease while using VPN.
Almost everything on earth comes up with plus and minus. VPN too is not different. Though VPN has good number of advantages, it has some limitations too. So it is up to you how you use it. Think and analyse everything properly before you use it.