How Does A VPN Work? – What Is A VPN & Why It’s Needed?

Virtual Private Network (VPN), creates a safe channel for the users to access the geo-restricted content on the internet while maintaining the privacy and security of their internet traffic.

How Does a VPN Work


Short on Time? Here’s a Short Summary of How Does a VPN Work

A VPN or a Virtual Private Network is used to create a secure connection path between a user and a VPN Server. It creates a private and reliable channel from which the user can easily access content that is unreachable to a specific geographical location, it can also be used to alter your IP Address.

You can use a VPN easily by following these steps,

  • Sign up for a VPN plan.
  • Download the VPN client on your device. (If you’re using a phone, VPN apps are available on stores)
  • Launch your VPN app and log in with your VPN account.
  • Use the Connect button to connect to a default server and choose a server location manually.

A VPN can offer you,

  • Safe Web Browsing
  • Reliable Transfer of Data
  • Camouflaging the user from other sources by changing the IP Address.


How Does a VPN Work?

When you connect to a VPN, a secure bridge is formed between you and a VPN server. Now every operation that you perform goes through an encrypted tunnel. This makes you invisible as the VPN shields your real IP address by assigning you a VPN-generated IP address, eventually geo-spoofing your location.

Now IP addresses are a unique pair of numbers from which internet-connected devices are identified. It is your digital address. And once that is compromised, you’re pretty much vulnerable to malicious attacks on the web as your internet identity is exposed.

The internet and the world wide web is running on data. Every data has its value according to the hunters of those data. To make sure that you are hundred percent safe on the web, you must know how does a VPN work.

VPN

When you use a VPN, the data which you send out will have to cross several barriers before reaching its destination.

When leaving from your end, the VPN encrypts your data, and then it passes through a VPN server before reaching its destination.

This of course can consume a little more of your internet data as your traffic is hopping from one place to another. But not to worry about that, all you need to do is choose a top-tier VPN service.


How Does VPN Encryption Work?

Virtual private networks depend on encryption and decryption. Encryption and Decryption contain processes of encoding and decoding data by different means.

When you turn on your VPN, an encrypted connection or tunnel is formed between your device and the VPN server. Now on performing any activity, your internet traffic flows and passes the server through this encrypted tunnel.

The server assigns its IP address and location to your traffic and then it further flows and reaches the destination.

With this, all your traffic becomes the traffic of the host network or the VPN server. So you achieve complete anonymity as your actual IP and location are only known by the server and no one else.

VPN Encryption

Encryption can be done by developing a cipher with an intervention of a secret key from which the data can be encrypted.

With the help of a keyit is made sure that only the people who are meant to access a file, should access it.

The person with the key can decode the encrypted file only. It is done to prevent the data from falling into the wrong hands. There are different key mechanisms that VPN services use.

Secure Hash Algorithm (SHA)

SHA secures the data with Hash Function. It was first developed in 1993 namely SHA-0 with a 16-bit hashing technology. Later on, more enhanced versions were introduced like, SHA-1, SHA-2 with 256-bit and 512-bit technology, and SHA-3.

It works by altering the data with a hash function which consists of bitwise operations. Hence, all of these encryption methods were introduced to keep sensitive data safe and non-exploitable.

Symmetric Key

Symmetric Key uses the same key for encryption and decryption. In this encryption technique, a secret key is shared between the two parties (Sender and Receiver).

The sender encrypts the data with the key which turns it into a non-understandable form and sends it to the other party.

On receiving, the other party can decrypt that data with the help of the same key to turn it into an understandable form.

Public Key

Public Key Encryption Method or Asymmetric Key uses two different keys.

The data is encrypted using a public key and decrypted using a private key.

The Private key is only owned by the people meant to see the content.

The data which is encrypted by the public key can be only be decrypted by the private key. While the data which is encrypted by the private key can only be decrypted by the public key.

Handshake Encryption (Rivest-Shamir-Adleman)

The RSA algorithm builds the trust between two systems by a TLS Handshake.

In this encryption technique, only the private key is hidden, while the public key can be known by everyone.

The data is encrypted by using the public key but it can only be the person with the private key who has the authority to decrypt that information.

Sometimes, there is limited time to decrypt the encrypted message for security reasons.


How Does a VPN Work with Different Protocols?

VPN Protocols

A VPN protocol is a source of instructions or set of rules that decides exactly how your data is to be routed through a private network.

Every protocol has its specification. For suppose, WireGuard protocol ranks the speed higher to make sure the user does not have to face throughput speed issues.

While L2TP VPN protocol focuses more on encrypting the data with a strong encryption method for privacy and security.

For a secure connection between a device and a VPN, protocols play a vital role. The widely used protocols are,

IKEv2 (Internet Key Exchange Version 2)

It is a universal protocol that is one of the older protocols but still very reliable to use. IKEv2 is best when you need to connect to a server nearer to your location. It is a protocol that you can use on older devices. To use this protocol, get a value-for-money VPN service like ExpressVPN.

OpenVPN

Not so popular for its speed but it is one of the most secure protocols to use. OpenVPN is best when you need to connect to a server that is far away from your location. Probably the best choice for the users who work on a desktop.

Make sure to check out NordVPN, which is providing OpenVPN with TCP and UDP features.

OpenVPN (UDP)

It can be useful when the essential quality the user needs is speed, it works best on the activities of Video Calls, Gaming, Streaming.

OpenVPN (TCP)

It is used when the user wants no interruption in his/her activities like web browsing or file transfer.

PPTP (Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol)

It is a VPN protocol that has cross-platform compatibility, has a secure connection, and is proved to be very cost-effective having an easy configuration method.

PPTP has a 128-bit encryption method for the protection of data and thus, it can easily be breached because of having a low-security factor.

With IPVanish, you can easily connect and use the PPTP protocol.

L2TP (Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol)

L2TP has a 256 encryption method. It is more secure than the PPTP protocol.

L2TP is widely popular for its advanced security as it allows remote access to its users to connect to a private network.

It runs on a UDP protocol which is fast, being firewall-friendly in nature.

Surfshark has the highest rating L2TP protocol in the VPN market, make sure you know how Surfshark VPN works to know more about its rich-in-number protocols!

Shadowsocks

It is a protocol in which you can have the stealth mode on by working under the radar.

This protocol makes your internet service provider or government authorities unable to track you and thus makes the user invisible.

It is useful when a user is trying to access something while being connected to a restrictive network (educational institute or a hotel).

To make sure you don’t get noticed while browsing, go for TunnelBearVPN.

WireGuard

One of the latest protocols designed for its high speed and ability to work efficiently when the user has to switch a lot between WiFi network and Mobile data.

To check out this protocol, visit CyberGhost.


How Does a VPN work with Different Kinds?

Ever wondered how does a VPN work with different kinds of mechanisms?

VPNs can be divided into two main categories, Remote Access and Site-to-Site.

Each kind has its benefits. Remote Access is more for individuals to remotely carry out their operations with ease. You can connect to a remote server from your phone and geo-spoof your location in no time.

While Site-to-Site is for large businesses to make sure they are always securely connected. Explaining more on how these VPN kinds work,

Remote Access VPN

VPN Kind 1

A VPN type in which a user can access and use a VPN remotely by creating a secure tunnel between the user and a VPN server in such a way that eavesdroppers or government bodies can’t track the user business, keeping the factors of security and privacy alive for user data.

Site-to-Site VPN

VPN Kind 2

It connects one site (on one location) to another site (on another location), it is also called ‘Intranet Based VPN’.

This type of VPN is used by corporate offices of large magnitude, usually having offices located in different parts of the world by creating a ‘Virtual Bridge’ and connecting one site to another site.


How Does a VPN Work On My Computer? 

There are various ways you can install VPN client software on your computer, but it is essential to know how does a VPN work with different implementation methods,

By Installing A VPN On Router

In the scenario of multiple devices using the same connectivity, the VPN can be directly installed on the Router to make sure all the devices which are using that same internet connection can perform all the miscellaneous operations with a secure and private channel.

You can create a VPN server on your router that can host a VPN or if you have a router that supports third-party platforms then flash it and install firmware that supports VPN functionality.

Use A Browser With Built-in VPN

When browsing the internet, users needing secure browsing can use Standalone VPN Softwares for the reliability and security of their data. Some browsers need third-party VPN software but there are also browsers like Opera having their VPN Extensions to serve the user intent and ergonomics.

Use A Commercial VPN

Go for a third-party VPN by choosing one of the top-tier VPN services. Get a VPN subscription first by signing up for a VPN plan. Download and install the VPN client on your computer, launch it and connect to a server location in no time.


How to Use A VPN On My Smartphone?

Installing a VPN on your smartphone is not that difficult considering all the android and iOS devices are having user-friendly interfaces.

You can use a VPN easily, first, choose one of the premium VPN services and sign up for a VPN plan. Then download and install a VPN app from the Google Play Store (if you’re using an Android device) or App Store (if using an iOS device).

Log in to your VPN account and tap on the connect button, the VPN will connect you to the default server available at that moment. However, you can set up a VPN manually for a greater degree of privacy and security.

Most VPN services also offer the users to choose between different protocols and use them accordingly.


How to Set Up A VPN On Windows 10?

Windows 10 offers its VPN service to the users for their personal or professional use.

You can create your VPN in Windows or any other device (Mac, Android, or iOS) easily.

To have secure browsing on your Windows, follow these steps to use the built-in VPN,

Creating a VPN Profile

VPN in Windows 10 1

  • Go to your Windows Settings and select Network and Internet, select VPN and add your VPN connection.
  • Add Windows as your VPN provider.
  • You need to type a name in the Connection Box for you to select that name when connecting to your VPN connection.
  • Type the address in the Server Address of the VPN server.
  • You need to choose a VPN Type for a connection you need to create.
  • You need to choose a type of sign-in information in Type of Sign-in info for different types of credentials you can use i.e. Username and Password, One-Time Password, Certificate, or Smart Card when connecting to the Windows VPN.
  • Save the settings.

Connecting to VPN

VPN in Windows 10 2

  • Click the Network icon present in the taskbar.
  • Select the VPN connection which you have set up and connect to it.
  • If required, enter the credentials which you have set up for the VPN.

7 Reasons to Choose A Secure VPN Provider

There are various reasons for a user to choose a VPN provider wisely because he/she is trusting that VPN provider with private data so it is better to only choose a VPN provider after digging a lot to make a firm decision.

Some factors of choosing a secure VPN provider may be,

1. Safety and Privacy

Safety and Privacy

The main objective of any VPN is to make sure that the user’s data is encrypted properly and no other party (hackers or internet service providers) would have access to the user data.

Check if your VPN is working every time before browsing to make sure that your VPN connection is working properly and you’re surfing the internet with absolute anonymity.

2. Anonymity

Anonymity

The VPN company should be authentic enough to serve the users with the promised anonymity service from the bodies lying outside of the secure channel which the VPN has created for its user.

Make sure your VPN provider is offering the OpenVPN protocol and works on the AES 256-bit encryption method which is reliable enough to keep your data anonymous and safe, especially on public Wi-Fi networks.

3. Reliability

Reliability

A trustworthy VPN would serve its user by making sure that the reliability of the data is not compromised, the data shared by the user may remain private and may not get leaked in case of any breach in the company’s systems.

Most premium VPN companies have a strict no-log policy. They don’t log any user data including browsing sessions, browsing history, network information, or user traffic. Your VPN traffic doesn’t get tracked by the company itself so you remain anonymous.

4. Utilizing Subscriptions

Utilizing on Subscriptions

VPNs can change your Netflix region to give you access to geo-blocked movies and TV shows.

Streaming services have licensing agreements with producers to show their content in restricted regions. This technique is used by the producers to cover their investments which they spent on the production.

Now having access to the streaming libraries of different regions is no piece of cake. Streaming platforms like Netflix have tricky algorithms and they work hard to ban VPN servers cause it makes them look bad.

So choose a VPN company that offers a variety of servers that work on streaming platforms like Netflix, Hulu, BBC IPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, and many more. It can give you a lot more movies and TV shows to enjoy your movie night with some popcorn.

5. Get Rid of Hackers

Get Rid of Hackers

By connecting to a VPN, you eliminate the chances for the hackers to make you prey as it would be useless for them to track your traffic.

It is useful to have VPN software when a user connects to a public WiFi of an airport or an institute, hackers might find this opportunity useful and attack.

But if you’re connected to a VPN, your traffic turns into gibberish. So even if your traffic is compromised, it is of no use. Only the key which you and the VPN service possess can decrypt that traffic.

6. Outsmart Pricing Discrimination

Outsmart Pricing Discrimination

While shopping online, the store might charge every different individual according to their geographical location.

Stores set their prices according to their target audience. If their product has demand in your region, then you might end up paying a little extra.

But if you are using a VPN connection, you can outsmart the online shopping world by faking your location and making the most of it.

Other than that, every time you visit a website, they store your information by storing their cookies on your browser. This gives them an upper hand as they can monitor your purchasing behavior. Thus, they target you with relevant ads for maximum sales opportunities.

7. Speed

Speed

When you’re connected to a VPN, your traffic goes for a detour. The traffic passes through the VPN server and then to the actual destination to eliminate tracking from third parties and have secure access to the internet. This can slow down your internet speed as the traffic is committing additional rounds.

To escape this, choose a reliable and trusted VPN service provider that has high throughput rates and doesn’t slow down your speed while carrying out your internet activities.


Best VPN Providers

These are the best VPN providers available in the industry. They offer the best VPN services with unlimited features to make sure your VPN needs are fulfilled.

ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN_logo_new

 

View Plans
  • Server Count: 3000+
  • Locations: 94 Countries
  • Kill-Switch: Yes
  • Unblocks Netflix: Yes
  • Monthly Plan: $12.95
  • Simultaneous Connections: 5 Devices.

Best ExpressVPN Deal: One-Year plan (with 3 extra months) for $99.95.

NordVPN

NordVPN-4

 

View Plans
  • Server Count: 5200+
  • Locations: 60 Countries
  • Built-in Kill-Switch: Yes
  • Unblocks Netflix: Yes
  • Monthly Plan: $11.95
  • Simultaneous Connections: 6 Devices.

Best NordVPN Deal: Two-Year plan costing $89.00.

Surfshark

surfshark-2

 

View Plans
  • Server Count: 3200+
  • Locations: 65 Countries
  • Kill-Switch: Yes
  • Unblocks Netflix: Yes
  • Monthly Plan: $12.95
  • Simultaneous Connections: Unlimited

Best Surfshark Deal: Two-Year plan (with 3 extra months) for $59.76.

CyberGhost

cyberghost

 

View Plans
  • Server Count: 6800+
  • Locations: 88 Countries
  • Kill-Switch: Yes
  • Unblocks Netflix: Yes
  • Monthly Plan: $12.99
  • Simultaneous Connections: 7 Devices

Best CyberGhost Deal: Two-Year plan (with 2 extra months) for $58.5.

IPVanish

IPVanish

 

View Plans
  • Server Count: 1600+
  • Locations: 75 Countries
  • Kill-Switch: Yes
  • Monthly Plan: $10.99
  • Simultaneous Connections: Unlimited

Best IPVanish Deal: Two-Year plan costing $94.98.


Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs

 

The use of VPNs is legal all around the world, except for some limited regions. Regardless, all types of cybercrimes are illegal, whether they are carried out by a VPN or not.

There is no exact answer to how much a VPN would cost an individual. Various VPN providers have different pricing plans. But it can range from $2 to $7.

A VPN can provide a private and secure channel to a user. Every operation of the user is securely carried out, maintaining the reliability, security, and privacy of your personal data.

VPN can be a great source of anonymous browsing but unlike everything else, it has its limitations. If someone has an intention to bypass it, it is possible by malware attacks.

Netflix can be watched through a VPN very easily. Sign up for one of the top-tier VPN services. Download and install the VPN app and connect to a server that works on Netflix.

To torrent with a VPN is possible since VPNs hide the IP Addresses of a user. But it is risky if your VPN gets disabled without warning, you might get caught.

Free VPNs usually have limitations on their features. They don’t work on streaming services as it requires a lot of work for VPN companies to crack streaming platforms. So it is recommended to get a paid VPN instead.


Conclusion

The query, how does a VPN works can have different dimensions. It depends upon the protocols, types, and encryption techniques of various VPNs. Different VPNs have different qualities of their own but their sole purpose is the same.

VPNs are used for secure browsing, private sessions, and reliable shopping channels. The channel which a VPN creates is so secure that it is not possible for any eavesdropper or hacker to gain access to it, as the IP Address of the user is not the actual address, it’s a location faked by the user with the means of a VPN server.