How do VPN Services Actually Work?

A Virtual Private Network, or VPN, is a private network that uses a public network – the internet – to connect users no matter their physical distance from one another. It routes “virtual” connections through the internet from a business’s private network to a remote employee, for example, and uses encryption to keep the data sent along those connections secure. But how does it work?

Why Do VPNs Use the Internet, Rather Than A Physical Connection?

The connections created by a VPN are rather like building a bridge between one location and the other. Although this can be done with physical means, by wiring computers into a network, it becomes less and less feasible the greater the distance between users. If your salesman is currently in Dubai and your main office is in New York, for example, you’re going to need a pretty long cable to keep you connected.

VPN services solve this problem by using the internet as that connecting cable. It’s speedy, dependable and can be expanded as and when you need to add new users. Most importantly, it doesn’t matter how spread out the people on your network are – a VPN will work at any distance.

How Remote-Access VPNs Allow You Network Access

The most popular style of VPN service is the remote-access VPN, which allows individual users to establish secure connections with a computer network and access everything on that network as though they were directly plugged in. A remote-access VPN uses a network access server, otherwise known as a media gateway, to require that users input valid credentials before signing in to the network. Users can then use dedicated software provided by the VPN service to access the network. A site-to-site VPN, which differs slightly, is designed to allow multiple offices in different locations to connect with one another securely. It extends the established company network, allowing users in different offices access to the same information and resources. It’s the VPN of choice for companies with international branches.

How do VPN Services Actually Work

How VPN Keeps Your Browsing Private

VPNs use a tunneling protocol to layer packets of information within other packets before transporting them across the internet; the outer packet keeps the contents hidden from prying eyes. Tunnel interfaces at either end of the network tunnel encapsulate outgoing packets and reopen incoming packets. This adds security that protects a packet along its journey – much like wrapping a gift in pretty paper to make sure the recipient doesn’t see its contents before you want them to. By encrypting the data that enters the tunnel and decrypting it at the other end, it can’t be accessed for nefarious purposes along its way. And thus a VPN service is capable of carrying data between computers based anywhere in the world, and making sure that data stays secure along the way.

Rank Provider
Starting Price MoneyBack
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ExpressVPN $8.32/month 30 Days visit expressvpn site
2 VyprVPN $14.95/month 7 Days visit vyprvpn site
3 IPVanish $10.00/month 7 Days visit IPvanish Site
4 Hidemyass $6.55/month 30 Days visit Hidemyass site
5 StrongVPN $21/ 3 Months 7 Days visit strongvpn site
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