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To answer the question what is VPN we first have to understand how VPN works and what was the reason it was created. So let’s briefly take a look into VPN history.
VPN (Virtual Private Network) is a technology developed decades ago and it was initially created for big companies and governments who needed a secure transfer of information between their headquarters and employees who worked remote. But, as the Internet evolved, the need for a commercial VPN started to grow stronger. Issues like geo-blocking from many websites, government surveillance, censorship in schools, companies, and in some entire countries, also an increasing hacking activity that endangered private data made VPN services necessary for the everyday users. It was only natural for the VPN to evolve and became, in our days, commercial and available for any user who wanted a secure and private connection.
Statistics say that, now, 1 in 4 internet users access VPN services, all around the world. In America, the number of VPN users is growing, but the increase is slow compared with other countries. Only 16% of American citizens are using VPN, while in Indonesia the percentage of adult VPN users is 41%, in Thailand 39% and in Turkey 36%.
VPN is a network technology that creates a secure connection over the Internet. It’s safe because when you are using it you connect to a server run by a VPN provider. This way all data traveling between your device and the VPN server is encrypted so that only you can see it. It’s like having a secret and safe passage between computers or between a user and Internet.
So what is VPN good for? To protect you from hackers who couldn’t break the encryption even if they steal your data, to protect your online privacy and anonymity, because through a VPN server your IP becomes hidden so nobody, and by that we mean literally nobody can track your activity, to bypass censorship, restrictions or geo-blocks and so on. Basically you get an unrestricted, safe and private Internet. Find out more reasons why to use VPN and how VPN can help you.
A VPN service provider, or a VPN host is the company that manages the servers equipped with encryption standards and that also provides VPN services to the end users. Basically, in order to go online you first have to go through the VPN servers managed by the VPN service provider. The servers encrypts all the traffic that comes or goes from your device. So what is a VPN provider? Just imagine a bunch of guys that work around the clock to maintain top quality servers and to provide you safety and privacy services that earlier in the history of VPN were only reserved for big shot companies and governments.
A VPN works by encapsulating and encrypting all information that comes and goes from your device through a gateway protocol for internet traffic and then routed through servers from different countries. The main purpose of this mechanism is to stop any third party to read or steal data from your online activity, but also to ensure online anonymity, bypass geo-blocking and avoid censorship. The procedure is efficient because the traffic is encrypted. The ESP has unique instructions regarding the way information is encoded and, after reaches destination, decoded, so nobody else except the VPN server and VPN user can read it. Essentially all the information that you access or you send from your device goes, for security reasons, through an encryption procedure. Besides that VPN will hide your IP address and change it instead with the VPN server’s IP address and location, so nobody could track you.
A VPN server is a regular server with a specific configuration in order to be compatible with VPN server software. Usually has more communication ports and uses one or more protocols for connectivity and communications. In order to have access to VPN servers and use the VPN services, you have to be validated as a VPN client. After you connect to the VPN server you have access to the client program that encrypts the data you transfer and your entire online activity before ISP gets it. The process it’s similar to a sealed tunnel where only the receivers from both ends can read the encrypted information. The ISP can only carry the packets of data to the VPN server without being able to see what’s inside or to decipher them. So, after the ISP makes the delivery, the VPN server makes the decryption sends the actual request to the website, gets the information back makes once again the encryption and then gives it to your ISP who brings it back to you. The final decryption is made for your eyes only by the VPN client.
A VPN connection is similar to a WAN connection, but more secure. It forms a link between one or more network devices and it is created through a VPN manager (client/server) that uses VPN protocols like OpenVPN, SoftEther, L2TP or other. In other words a VPN connection builds a tunnel between the user and the VPN server in order to establish a secure traffic of data.
A VPN Client Software is a program that is used to authenticate users and connect them to VPN services using tunneling protocols. The software has automated methods for safely connecting to VPN services using passwords, biometrics or other methods of identification. VPN providers play a big part not only in managing the VPN client software but also in developing new features that have the role to enhance user experience with VPN services. For instance they program the VPN software and develop apps in order to add advanced features for the most popular operating systems. A good example is the SmartyDNS VPN app.
If you are not interested in technicalities the answer to the question what is VPN lays in your certitude and comfort that VPN is a sure passage to enjoy Internet without any restriction and in complete privacy. By using a VPN connection you can keep hackers at a distance, you can forget about being watched by your ISP, you can stop worrying about surveillance or censorship from your government, place of work or school, you can feel free to access any website you like without geographical restrictions and so on. It’s your personal free pass to the Internet you need, not the Internet others want you to use.