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How does VPN work?

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In this article, we are going to see what is VPN and why you should use on, along with how VPN works. If you are new to VPN then we would suggest that you read the initial few sections to get a good idea about it. But if you already know what it is, then you can skip to how VPN works section.

How does VPN work?

What is a VPN?

So, what is VPN? VPN stands for “Virtual Private Network”, and as the name suggests, it provides you with a secure and private network to browse the internet on. You can understand it as a tunnel that protects you from hackers and online tracking.

A VPN will hide your IP (Internet Protocol) address which helps you stay somewhat anonymous online while browsing the internet. This is why many people prefer to use VPN while using the internet as it keeps them safe online.

Now if you use any VPN, then it will not only reduce the risk while exploring the internet but also prevent your ISP (Internet Service Provider) from tracking you online. And if you decide to visit any unsafe website, then VPN will hide your IP and your actual location.

If you are not aware, websites can get your location and even your street name just from your IP. This is why it’s very important to keep your identity safe online.

What does VPN indicate on iPhone?

What does VPN mean on iPhone, VPN creates a secure encrypted tunnel that prevents anyone from seeing your IP or location on iPhone. The concept is the same, It does by connecting you to a proxy server and the website will get that server’s location. If you are not understanding proxy servers, then don’t worry since we are going to learn more about them later in the article.

Another awesome use for VPN is to stream content from all around the world. If you are using Netflix and you want to watch a movie that is only available in the United Kingdom. Then you can do this easily with the help of a VPN, simile selected a server in the UK and you are all good to go.

how does VPN work?
How does VPN work?

How Does a VPN Work in Practice?

When you use a VPN, it hides your real location and provides the website you are visiting with a different location. This allows us to access content that is not available in our region. It’s not only limited to content since you can get services that are restricted to certain countries. For example, if you want to use the Xbox Cloud gaming, and you live in Asia. Then you can just use a VPN and select countries in which it’s available and done!

This is how you can see things that are not available in your region and without a VPN. You would not even be able to see that content if not for a VPN.

But now let’s see how a VPN works in practice when you use it.

NOTE: If you want to see how VPN technically works, please skip to the “VPN encryption” and “VPN protocols” sections. In this section, we will see different features and how VPNs achieve them.

Protecting Browsing History

Whenever you are using a browser to surf the internet, then your activity is tracked by the browser as well as your ISP. This affects your online privacy, which is at this point non-existent. Then all the collected information is sold to advertisement companies which use it to show personalized ads. These ads are very effective since they are made to make you spend. Not only this, your data is used to create your online profile and sold to companies.

Now, VPN helps you with keeping your information private by creating a secure encrypted tunnel. This tunnel keeps all your data secure and away from malicious companies. This data can include, your age, medical information, travel plans, family information, and more.

Securing IP Address and Location Data

Your ID address is similar to your house address, it can tell a lot about you to anyone who has it. This is why IP address needs to be kept private and secure when browsing the internet.

Whenever you open any website on your browser, the website owner gets your IP address. Now, if you visit an unsafe website, then that data can be used in any way.

Now, when you use a VPN, the website you are visiting will get the IP address of the VPN server. This way, you will be completely safe no matter what you surf online. And since you can use any VPN server in the world, your IP address will be different every time. This way, your search history, and other data can not be collected and used against you later.

Hiding Streaming Location

This is perhaps the most used feature and the most in-demand nowadays. Whenever you are using any online streaming platform like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+, and more. You are limited to the movies/series which are available in your area. And you can not watch content that is available in other countries. For example, if you want to watch anime that is only available in Japan on Netflix, then you can use a VPN.

Now VPN can do this since you are connecting to their server, and their server requests Netflix for anime. This is why your actual location is kept safe from websites and your ISP.

Protecting Devices

VPN is very crucial in protecting your devices such as laptops, phones, tablets, and more online. Since cyber criminals try to intercept your network and infect your devices with malware and viruses. This mostly happens when you use public WiFi without a VPN. This type of attack is known as the “Man in the middle” attack. This is why you mustn’t use public WiFi without protecting yourself. But it’s not limited to public WiFi, any network can be intruded and your devices can be compromised.

Ensuring Internet Freedom

This is the major reason for using a VPN, it allows you to visit any corner of the internet without feating about your online privacy. Since nobody will be able to track your online activities or your browser history. This is why VPNs allow their users to have total and absolute online freedom.

VPN Encryption—All You Need To Know

Many people might be wondering does a VPN protect your data online. Is my data encrypted and nobody can decrypt it while using a VPN?

Any VPN uses its type of encryption which is used to keep its users safe while browsing the internet. This keeps you safe online and keeps your data secure. We already discussed how VPN creates a secure tunnel, even if a hacker gets your data from this tunnel. The data will be unreadable since the encryption can’t be broken easily. It means that your data is completely unreadable by anyone who is not authorized. An encryption key is maintained by the VPN server and this key is used to encrypt and decrypt all your data. And without it, nobody can read or even get an idea about your online activity.

Now different VPN providers use their encryption, and some are better than others. But in a nutshell, a typical VPN will create a tunnel secure enough to provide a safe online experience. So, whatever data is going to and forth between your device and server is kept completely untouched. Your IP address is masked by the server and your IP address is safe.

VPN Protocols

All VPN providers use a set of VPN protocols that ensure that you are secure online while having the fastest possible connection. You can understand it as a set of rules which the VPN must follow. This also keeps all the data that is transported between your phone and the VPN server.

Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP)

This is one of the oldest protocols which was first created by Microsoft and it uses the TCP “Transmission Control Protocol”. Along with it, PPTP also uses GRE (Generic Routing Encapsulation) tunneling protocol.

These protocols are used to keep your data from getting lost or compromised when being transmitted. The PPTP comes under Layer 2 of the communication protocols which is used in transmission between two routers. It is used to implement security functionalities, and you can learn more about it online.

But to summarise, PPTP is a fast and simple way to deploy applications for people who are using a very old version of the Windows operating system. Now since it’s a very old protocol, it is not very secure and can be compromised easily. This is why, for any VPN which uses PPTP, you should avoid using it.

Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol (L2TP)

This protocol is a combination of PPTP and the L2F (Layer 2 Forwarding) protocols. It increases the strength of the data tunnel which is provided by PPTP. However, it does not provide users with privacy capabilities or encryption.

This is why the protocol is typically used in combination with a security protocol like IPsec (Internet Protocol security).

Secure Socket Tunneling Protocol (SSTP)

SSTP was also created by Microsoft to improve upon previous protocols. It is more secure since it transports PPP traffic through a secure sockets layer (SSL) or transport layer security (TLS) channel.

SSTP provides features such as negotiation, encryption, traffic integrity checking, and more. Due to this, only two parties can decode the data that is being transmitted. Using SSTP over TCP port 443 is more secure and preferred since it can travel through proxy servers and firewalls.

Internet Key Exchange Version 2 (IKEv2)

The IKEv2 is used to handle requests and responses to ensure that the traffic is secure and authenticated. This is usually done by using IPsec since it establishes the security attributes of our device and server.

IKEx2 supports 256-bit encryption and supports popular ciphers which are nearly impossible to decypher such as AES (Advanced Encryption Standard), Camellia, IKEv2, ChaCha2.0, and more. These are very effective when it comes to mobile devices and your smartphone/tablet use it.


OpenVPN is considered the best open-source VPN technology and it is used widely across the globe. It is completely free to use and use “pre-shared certificates” along with secret keys, passwords, usernames, and more to authenticate every server and device.

OpenVPN uses open secure sockets layer also known as OpenSSL, it is an encryption library and TLS along with custom protocols that utilize TLS or SSL. This is why OpenVPN can protect its users on a wider scale, unlike other protocols.

If you have not used OpenVPN, then we would suggest that you use it since it provides some advanced features. But if you are looking for plug and play tool, then there are multiple VPNs available.

NOTE: If you want to pick a VPN, we would suggest you use a paid VPN service since free VPNs may store your data and use it for their revenue. But if you just want to stream content and do other trivial things then a free VPN will work fine. You should check what are the different options available in the market before you make a decision.


We saw what is a VPN along with what features

In the article, we saw what is a VPN along with what features it offers and how it works in practice. We discussed what encryption VPNs use and what you should look for when picking a VPN in the market. We also see different protocols, it was more of a general idea than a detailed guide. If you want to learn more about protocols, then there are many great resources available online.

If you have any queries then we would suggest that you go through the protocols once. But if you still have any queries, then feel free to drop them down in the comment section below.

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