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A Guide to VPN: What is Virtual Private Network?

Although most of us do not technically know what VPN is, we have an idea of what it does. Sometimes we use it to access blocked content, sometimes to do our work remotely by establishing a secure connection with our workplace.

Internet traffic is monitored by government agencies in every country in the world. It is observed that people tend to use VPNs to protect their online privacy. (The issue of trust in VPN companies may be the subject of a separate article)

The prohibition of access to resources due to the oppressive and prohibitive attitudes of some countries and the fact that users turn to VPN in order to overcome these prohibitions, VPN usage has increased significantly.

The purpose of this article will be to cover what you need to know about what a VPN is and its benefits, theoretically and practically.

What is VPN?

A virtual private network (VPN) provides online privacy and anonymity by converting a public internet connection into a private network.

VPNs conceal your internet protocol (IP) address, making your online activities practically anonymous. Most importantly, VPN services provide private and encrypted connections that provide more privacy than even a protected Wi-Fi hotspot.

A virtual private network (VPN) is a type of technology that enhances your online security and privacy. When you use a commercial VPN service, you connect to a VPN provider's server over an encrypted connection. In other words, all data transmitted between your machine and the VPN server is encrypted so that it cannot be read by anyone else.

Since your data is encrypted, your Internet service provider(ISP) is unaware of any activity . Because your VPN provider may observe your Internet activities, VPNs should always be viewed as protecting your confidential info rather than offering anonymity.

The History of VPNs

A VPN is used by one out of every four persons in the globe. Their reasons for not utilizing a VPN range from wanting privacy and security to avoiding censorship and enhancing internet browsing. So, what exactly is a VPN and how did it come to be? Let's take a look at a quick VPN history to get a sense of how VPN usage has changed over time and where relevant encryption technology is heading.

In 1996, Microsoft's Gurdeep Singh-Pall created PPTP (Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol), a mechanism for establishing virtual private networks. Singh-Pall accomplished this to guarantee that consumers have a secure Internet connection and can operate productively and safely from home. This is a turning point that sets the basis for the growth of VPN.

Various forms of VPN technology have evolved throughout the years. VPNs are classified into two types: corporate VPNs and personal VPNs, each with its own set of protocols (L2TP/IPsec, OpenVPN, PPTP, and SSTP). There are also many forms of encryption that are used to safeguard users (hashing, symmetric, asymmetric). As a result, VPN technology is rather varied.

Google trends for VPN

Figure 1. Google trends for VPN

Encryption is continuously growing and improving as more and more tech firms employ encryption to protect their consumers' privacy and security.

Developing VPN technologies reached the highest points in the history of VPN use in 2020-2021 due to the Covid 19 epidemic and access restrictions by some states. We can easily see this in the Google Trends query.

How Does a VPN Work?

A VPN conceals your IP address by routing it through a specially configured distant server hosted by a VPN host. This implies that if you use a VPN to access the web, the VPN server becomes the source of your data. This means that your Internet Service Provider (ISP) and other third parties will not be able to see the websites you visit or the data you transmit and receive online. A VPN acts as a filter, converting all of your data into "gibberish." Even if someone were to obtain your data, it would be worthless.

What is VPN

Figure 2. What is VPN (Virtual Private Network)

What Are VPNs Used For?

VPNs are used for the following reasons:

  • To Change your location: Using a VPN alters your IP address, which is the unique number that identifies you and your location on the internet. With a new IP address, you may browse the internet as if you were in the European Union, USA, Canada, Japan, or almost any other country where the VPN service has servers.
  • To Protect your privacy: Using a VPN to change your IP address protects your identity from websites, applications, and services that seek to monitor you. Thanks to a layer of strong encryption, good VPNs also prevent your internet provider, cell carrier, and anybody else who may be listening from seeing your activities.
  • To Increase your security: Using a VPN protects you from a variety of security vulnerabilities, such as packet sniffing, rogue Wi-Fi networks, and man-in-the-middle assaults. Travelers, remote workers, and other on-the-go professionals utilize a VPN whenever they connect to an insecure network, such as free public Wi-Fi.
  • To Unblock websites: If you live in a country where access to Google, Wikipedia, YouTube, and other sites and services are restricted, utilizing a VPN will allow you to restore access to the free internet. A VPN can also be used to circumvent firewalls on school or business networks.

.What is VPN Used for

Figure 3. What is VPN Used for

What is Secure Remote Access?

Secure remote access refers to any security strategy, solution, method, or procedure that exists to prevent unauthorized access to your network, its resources, or any confidential or sensitive data. In essence, safe remote access is a combination of security measures rather than a single technology, such as a VPN.

VPNs, the most widespread and well-known type of secure remote access, generally connect to a private network resource over an encrypted tunnel over the public Internet.

VPN tunnels can be remote — in which individual users connect to a private network over the Internet — or site to site — in which whole networks are linked via the Internet

Can VPNs Be Used for Network Optimization?

VPN optimization should not be overlooked while optimizing the network. It is inevitable to use a VPN to increase security while optimizing. Corporate companies communicate with site-to-site connections between two locations. Due to different packet processing overheads such as encryption and the addition of extra network protocol header(s) (such as IPv4/IPv6, IPSec, and so on), VPN networks may reduce network performance.These connections will of course have a load on the network, but optimizing an unsecured network will not be possible. A quick answer for the question, we can say that VPN optimization is a necessity for network optimization.You can find more information about network optimization

What Are The Benefits of a VPN Connection?

Because the necessity to transport encrypted data through a network is so important in today's world, VPN technology has grown in strength and is being more widely used in both the private and business worlds.

In this section, we'll go over some of the most important VPN advantages:

1. Security: VPNs provide several benefits for increasing our online safety and privacy when surfing the internet, not simply from hackers, governments, and telephone operators per DNS Leakage. We could, however, go without a VPN if you browse the web from any region. However, connecting to a public WiFi network using a Virtual Private Network is preferable. Your genuine IP address will be protected while concealing your true location, and your data will be encrypted to protect it from possible intruders.

2. Privacy: It should be explained what kind of a benefit VPN has in terms of privacy.

VPN gives an opportunity for being anonymous on the internet by simply masking your IP address, location, and search history, you can prevent websites, internet browsers, cable companies, internet service providers (ISPs), and others from tracking you by using VPN

Depending on who you ask, anonymity is either one of the Internet's greatest tenets or one of its major issues. However, once your identity is out, someone or something will come along to abuse you and your data. Furthermore, there are some online behaviors that we just do not want to be linked to us

You may use a VPN to access web applications and websites while being completely anonymous. As a result, a VPN is significantly superior to incognito modes and web proxies, which do not entirely secure your identity or data.

note

If you use a VPN to hide your identity, you should use it for the correct purposes.

3. Geographic Blocking: A VPN, by altering your IP address, makes it appear to content providers that you are surfing in another region, allowing you to access content that may not be available in your present location. You should read the terms of service to understand what your streaming service allows and to be aware of any country-specific fines.

If you're wondering if a VPN to hide your identity, circumvent bans, and protect your privacy online is legal, there's a simple answer: Yes, it is. However, this answer may differ in different countries.

The laws of countries regarding the use of VPNs may vary. These laws apply not only to those living in these countries, but also to those who travel to these countries in some cases.

Currently, only a few nations restrict or outright prohibit VPNs. Belarus, China, Iraq, North Korea, Oman, Russia, and the United Arab Emirates are just a few examples. Others implement internet censorship regulations, making the use of a VPN hazardous. Depending on the jurisdiction, governments may penalize both the citizen and the VPN service provider for using an unlicensed VPN. VPNs are permitted in some jurisdictions for usage by banks and businesses. In general, governments defend these actions by citing the need to prevent terrorist or criminal activities.

What Kind of VPNs Are There?

A VPN is helpful for enhancing your online privacy, security, and autonomy, but have you ever wondered how many different varieties of VPN there are? Let's explore the many VPN kinds to determine which one best meets your requirements.

1. SSL VPN: In the simplest terms, we can say that SSL is a service that hides your real IP address and allows you to connect to the internet through a different IP address. Since the VPN tunnel encrypts all the data you send and receive, it can also be used as a security system that does not allow third parties to see what you are doing.

SSL VPN

Figure 4. SSL VPN

Also, SSL VPN is abbreviation of

"Secure Sockets Layer Based Virtual Private Network". In addition to remote access to corporate networks and facilitating information sharing, it is aimed to increase efficiency by reducing the cost in terms of use of resources. It is easy to manage, much faster to access and extremely secure.

SSL VPN has conveniences such as:

  • All networks connected by VPN work as if they were on the same network.
  • A network architecture is created that is fast and has only installation costs.
  • No license fee is paid for the user or the software.
  • No additional hardware is required.
  • An SSL-certified encrypted communication is provided between institutions, branches and regions.
  • A centrally manageable network structure is provided between the center and other locations.
  • A data transmission environment that is secured with SSL technology is created without changing the local network infrastructure or IP addresses in the networks.

2. Site-to-Site VPN: Site-to-site VPNs operate in a different way; their primary purpose is to allow numerous users in different fixed locations to access each other's resources.

Site-to-Site VPN

Figure 5. Site-to-Site VPN

Here's how it works: you work in the California branch of a large corporation, and you're presently interacting with colleagues from the İstanbul office. Your local area networks (LANs) are both connected to the same wide area network (WAN) thanks to the site-to-site VPN you're utilizing – in other words, you may safely transfer information and resources amongst each other.

3. Client-to-Server VPN: In this type of VPN, the user connects to the internet through the VPN provider, not through his own internet provider. When a connection is created in this way, the VPN encrypts the existing internet traffic instead of creating a VPN tunnel.

This is a growing type of VPN that is especially beneficial for suppliers of insecuree public Wi-Fi. It prevents unauthorized access to and compromise of the network connection by encrypting data all the way to the provider.

It also prohibits ISPs from seeing any data that has been left unencrypted (for whatever reason) and circumvents any limitations placed on the user's internet access (for example, if the country's government imposes an online curfew).

How Do You Setup a VPN on Your Windows Computer?

In this section you will be able to set up a VPN on a Windows 10 PC.You may connect to a virtual private network (VPN) on your Windows 10 PC for business or personal use.

VPN on a Windows 10 PC

Figure.6 VPN on a Windows 10 PC

You must have a VPN profile on your PC before you can connect to a VPN. You may either establish your personal VPN profile or set up a work account to obtain a VPN profile from your organization.

  1. Select the Start button, then select Settings > Network & Internet > VPN > Add a VPN connection.
  1. In Add a VPN connection, do the following:
  • For a VPN provider, choose Windows (built-in).
  • In the Connection name box, enter a name you'll recognize (for example, My Personal VPN). This is the VPN connection name you'll look for when connecting.
  • In the Server name or address box, enter the address for the VPN server.
  • For VPN type, choose the type of VPN connection you want to create. You’ll need to know which kind of VPN connection your company or VPN service uses.
  • For Type of sign-in info, choose the type of sign-in info (or credentials) to use. This might be a username and password, one-time password, certificate, or a smart card if you’re connecting to a VPN for work. Enter your username and password in the respective boxes (if required).
  1. Select Save.
  2. If you need to edit the VPN connection info or specify additional settings, such as proxy settings, choose the VPN connection and then select Advanced options.

Connect to a VPN

When you have a VPN profile, you’re ready to connect.

  1. On the far right of the taskbar, select the Network icon .
  2. Select the VPN connection you want to use, then do either of the following depending on what happens when you select the VPN connection:
  • If the Connect button displays under the VPN connection, select Connect.
  • If the VPN section in Settings opens, select the VPN connection there, then select Connect.
  1. If you're prompted, enter your username and password or other sign-in info.

When connected, the VPN connection name will display Connected underneath it. To see if you’re connected to the VPN while you’re doing things on your PC, select the Network icon on the far right of the taskbar, then see if the VPN connection says Connected.

Connect VPN on a Windows 10 PC

Figure.7 Connect VPN on a Windows 10 PC

How Do You Install a VPN on Your Mobile?

It's time to set up the VPN on your phone after you've chosen a provider. This can be accomplished in a few different ways.

The first and most basic option is to buy and download a VPN app from the Apple or Google Play stores.

Adhere to the setup guidelines. In general, even novices will find these programs simple to set up. They're also simple to keep up with because they can be set up in a variety of ways.

The second option is activating VPN for connecting your school or company network.

When you're not present, you can connect your phone to a private network, such as your school or company's network. A virtual private network (VPN) is used to establish this type of connection (VPN).

For Android Devices

Step 1: Get VPN Information

Your administrator can provide you with your VPN information. It's possible that you'll need to download and set up a VPN app. It's possible that the program came from the Google Play Store or was given to you by your administrator.

Step 2: Fill up the VPN information.

  • Open the Settings app on your phone.
  • Select Network & Internet from the menu. Then Advanced, and finally VPN.
  • If you can't find it, type "VPN" into your search engine. If you still can't find it, contact the maker of your device for assistance.
  • Tap Add in the top right corner.
  • Fill in the blanks with the information provided by your administrator.
  • Save the file.

Step 3. Connect to your VPN

  • Open the Settings app on your phone.
  • Select Network & Internet from the menu. Then Advanced, and finally VPN.
  • If you can't find it, type "VPN" into your search engine. If you still can't find it, contact the maker of your device for assistance.
  • Select the VPN you want to use.
  • Enter your e-mail address and password.
  • Connect by pressing the Connect button.
  • The app opens if you're using a VPN.
tip

When you're connected, you'll see VPN on .

Also, we strongly recommend you to read our articles about WireGuard which is a fast , modern and secure VPN protocol:

Are VPNs Free?

The basic rule is that if it's free, you're the product.

There are an infinite amount of free VPNs available. The fact that they sell information on their customers to make money is a major disadvantage for the majority of them. No one in the VPN industry is in it for the money - it's a business.

There are various excellent and free VPN services available. They try to persuade you to spend a few dollars a month on their premium services by providing a portion of their services for free.

According to TechRadar’s Free VPN rankings

1-ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN is a premium VPN service, although it does provide a free trial for some mobile devices. Furthermore, all memberships have a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can give us a try for a month with no risk if you change your mind.

2-NordVPN

Because of NordVPN's strong money-back guarantee, you may obtain NordVPN with a free trial. You may obtain a full refund for any NordVPN plan within 30 days of purchase for any reason – this means you can check out the world's fastest VPN without risking your cash!

3-SurfShark

Is Surf Shark VPN a free service? No, however you are entitled to a 30-day money-back guarantee. That means you can test Surfshark risk-free, and if you don't like it, you'll get your money back.

Is VPNs Secure?

It is critical to understand that VPNs do not function in the same manner that complete anti-virus software does. While they will safeguard your IP address and encrypt your online history, that is all they can do. They will not protect you if you visit phishing websites or download hacked files, for example.

Even if you utilize a VPN, you are still vulnerable to:

  • Trojans
  • Bots
  • Malwares
  • Spywares
  • Viruses

If any of them made it onto your machine, they might do damage regardless of whether you were using a VPN. As a result, it is critical to utilize a VPN in conjunction with sophisticated anti-virus software to provide optimum protection.

Also using Free VPN tools poses a threat to your virtual security. By using free VPN tools you may encounter problems as follow

  • First of all, the use of Free VPN tools poses a threat to your virtual security. Studies have shown that with free VPN, users have encountered results such as breaching their personal data or damaging their systems due to viruses and worms infecting user devices. 38% of VPNs were found to be harmful in the study of ICSI Networking Group on android VPNs.
  • Secondly, Free VPN tools track online behavior: A secure VPN should safeguard a user's online activity. However, some free VPNs do the reverse by recording users' online activity. According to the same ICSI study, 72 percent of free VPN providers evaluated included third-party monitoring mechanisms in their software.
  • As a third problem, Free VPN tools restrict data usage. VPNs are excellent for safeguarding data or concealing a user's location when watching a movie from a streaming service that is not accessible in their country. A free VPN, on the other hand, generally limits the amount of data customers may use using the service. This may include restricting the amount of data they can use per month, limiting the time the VPN is accessible each surfing session, or simply unblocking specific websites. As a result, free VPN programs are not appropriate for those who wish to secure their data or hide their location for an extended period of time.
  • Users' internet speeds are slowed by free VPNs. Similar to the data-limitation issue discussed above, free VPNs may deliver slower internet speeds than paid solutions. Even respectable suppliers' free VPN services will give a slower internet connection than their paid-for options. They will also prioritize internet speeds for their paying clients, which may cause their free services to slow down even more.
  • Free VPN tools target users with advertisements:.Because free VPNs rely on advertising to generate income, users' data may be shared or targeted without their knowledge. Users are irritated because advertisements might potentially slow down their internet connection or contain viruses. Ads on a free VPN service might also be a privacy problem because the operator is likely sharing users' internet behavior with third-party businesses. Paid VPNs offer ad-blocking technologies, as well as services such as virus protection and unlimited bandwidth, which help to keep customers' data secure.

What are the Best VPN Softwares?

When looking into which VPN solution is the best, the results suggest that three VPN providers stand out.

VPN evaluation result of Tech websites

Figure.8 VPN evaluation result of Tech websites.

The rankings of technology sites which we can call the authority on VPN evaluation, give the same results.

Best VPN ranking in 2021

Figure.9 Best VPN ranking in 2021

1.ExpessVPN

ExpressVPN is top of the list for best VPNs, it offers fast connections, serious security measures, extremely easy to use, excellent customer support – even free cloud backup. Best and you can try it risk-free for 30 days.

2.NordVPN

NordVPN is jam-packed with features, unblocks a ton of streaming providers, and comes with added privacy protections like "Double VPN" security and an independently verified no-log policy.

3.Surfshark

Surfshark is one of the best value VPNs, with servers in over 63 countries, advanced security protocols, and unlimited bandwidth for unlimited devices. The verdict is as follows: In terms of security, speed, and accessibility, ExpressVPN is the clear victor. Surfshark is a fantastic low-cost quality VPN service.