What is it?
If you’re a tech savvy internet user, you’ve probably heard of the term VPN (Virtual private network). But what exactly does it mean? The abbreviation might seem like a complicated IT-term, or might come off as a mysterious anonymity tool for advanced hackers. However, it’s fairly simple and above all, useful in many cases.
VPN is a group of computers in a larger network that communicate through encrypted traffic. A VPN can be accessed through a program on your computer and it will then take over your network to become a part of the group.
Since traffic is encrypted, your conversations are completely private. And even though you use the same cables and routers as the rest of the internet, you will remain in your own private little network. The computers in this type of network consist of two different kinds; clients and servers. A server has different functions, bust most commonly they act act as a gateway. It can communicate with the VPN network aswell as the external network. And when logged into a VPN network, you can reach the rest of the internet with these gateways.
A VPN is useful for many things. Companies for example use it to make sure that employees reach the company’s private network with files, mails, etc – that otherwise could only be accessed when using the local network, behind the firewall.
- VPN stands for Virtual Private Network
- VPN is a group of computers in a private network that communicate through encrypted traffic
- VPN allows you to have completely private conversations
- A VPN consists of two types of computers; clients and servers
- VPN is useful for companies that want employees to be able to access private information without having to be at the local office and in the local network
Why use it?
When you try to reach a website on the internet, you first connect to your internet supplier (ISP) whom redirect you to the websites you want to visit. All your internet traffic passes through their servers which means that they can see and log everything you do online. They can even give your browser history to advertisers, government authorities or third parties.
This is where VPN comes into play. The service redirects your internet traffic through a configured remote server. This allows you to hide your IP-adress and encrypt all data that you send and receive. The encrypted data looks like gibberish to whomever picks it up, which makes it impossible to read.
And even if you don’t have anything to hide, no one likes the feeling of being watched or tracked. So the main reason to why internet users choose VPN services is security. Another great thing about VPN is that you get access to the global internet wherever you are. You can with an VPN service connect to hundreds of remote services in different location to avoid censorship.
All in all, a few examples of the most common cases where a VPN service would serve useful are;
- You often use public Wi-FI networks: Even if it’s password protected, a VPN service could be very useful. Public surf zones can be risky and hackers have many methods of how to pick up your web traffic to steal your password, files, etc. A VPN service allows you to do those risky things like check your mail, make bank transactions, and shop online – safely on a cost free and public Wi-Fi.
- You travel a lot: A VPN service can help you access all the services you need that aren’t typically available in the country you’re visiting. If a country blocks a website like Facebook, or certain content on streaming sites you can still access this. VPN changes your IP-address to make it seem like your visiting the website form another location. So no matter where you are, you can always access your favourite content.
- You want to protect your data from third parties: A VPN service here means that you can avoid being bombared with ads relating to your recent browser history.
- You don’t want government surveillance: Snowdens leaks and years of follow-up reports have shown us the extent of the global surveillance. It should be illegal for police to search your home without a warrant, but despite this the government can still track and save your browser history, messages, social media and other private data. They also share this information over country borders. By using a reliable VPN service you can protect yourself from surveillance, not only from your internet supplier, but extensive government surveillance.
When you’re at a local cafe and using the Wi-FI network, you usually don’t really think about it, but do you really know who monitors the network traffic? Maybe it’s monitored by hackers that want to get a hold of your personal data like passwords, bank numbers, credit cards, and all private data that you send every time you connect. VPN provides an extra layer of security when you’re surfing an open Wi-FI. Since all traffic is encrypted, it will be much harder, if not imposable, to hack unprotected computers in the network.
VPN is a group of computers in a larger network that communicate through encrypted traffic. A VPN can be accessed through a program on your computer and it will then take over your network to become a part of the group. Since traffic is encrypted, your conversations are completely private. And even though you use the same cables and routers as the rest of the internet, you will remain in your own private little network. The service redirects your internet traffic through a configured remote server. This allows you to hide your IP-adress and encrypt all data that you send and receive. The encrypted data looks like gibberish to whomever picks it up, which makes it impossible to read.