What is a VPN and How Does it Work

What is a VPN?

What is a VPN? VPN technology has been around for years. However it has only managed to gain popularity as the rise in cyber crimes increased over the years – especially recorded during the Covid-19 pandemic.

It also gained attention due to the many restrictions put on streaming services these days. If, however, you’re new to this unique software, this guide will show you all there is to know about a VPN service and in layman language.

What is a VPN?

A VPN, is short for Virtual Private Network. It’s a security software created to secure your network, and hide your IP address. With a VPN, you can safely access streaming services or websites, especially in countries with harsh surveillance or censorship. It even helps bypass ISP throttling and passes all online traffic through an encrypted tunnel.

A VPN allows users to maintain privacy and anonymity over the internet, even while using a public Wi-Fi. Most users aren’t aware of the fact that every ISP or WiFi provider can see your search history. It becomes risky while using public or unknown hotspots.

All you need to do is connect to any one of the VPN’s servers. iProVPN allows you to use its remote servers around the globe to spoof your location and connect to the internet in a secure way.

How does a VPN work?

Now that you have a small idea about what a VPN is, let’s move on to how a VPN works.

As mentioned above, a VPN hides your IP address. When connected to a VPN, it creates a way for all traffic on your network to route through securely configured remote servers. These servers are run and provided by a VPN host.

In simpler terms, it means that when you connect to a VPN and to any of its servers, the VPN itself will transform into the main source of data. So, when you surf the internet, all your internet service provider will see is that you’re using a VPN server. They won’t be able to see or monitor your traffic, nor the websites you visit, nor your IP address.

Does a VPN slow down connection speeds? Not exactly, but it depends on the provider you use. What a VPN does do is help users bypass ISP throttling, making the connection speeds consistent.

Using a VPN is also one of the safest software to access the dark web. For users who want to access the Dark web or Dark web links, you’ll need a TOR browser. Even though TOR comes with encryption, a VPN with it hides your IP address from being detected. iProVPN supports TOR, and can offer safe access to the dark web.

Here’s a better way to understand how a VPN works: 

  1. When you download and install a VPN, connect to it, the VPN establishes a connection between your device and the VPN server.
  2. Through this connection, all your data that is sent or received is protected with a selected encryption protocol.
  3. The VPN then creates a secure encrypted tunnel, passing all your data through it, to the internet, and to the final destination.
  4. There are two concepts on VPN tunneling, one is encrypted tunnel and the other is encapsulated tunnel. As seen in point 3, the VPN first creates a secure tunnel for data to pass through, and then moves on to encapsulating it. This means it wraps the data in an outer packet, keeping it secure while being transferred.
  5. When all data reaches the final destination via a server, the decryption process begins – removing the outer encapsulated packet.

How a VPN Server Works

The Internet Service Provider (ISP) handles your requests, such as what websites you want to visit. Opening a website is a process that involves the ISP to initiate a DNS query to return the correct web address.

The glaring problem with this usual way is that the ISP knows exactly what you are doing on the web. It knows everything from the websites visited and timestamps of the visits. In countries with strict surveillance and censorship, it is a serious concern. Because exposing your web activities that don’t align with the laws of a country can land in trouble.

By connecting to the VPN server, you delegate the responsibility of handling internet requests to the VPN server instead of the ISP. It adds the VPN server in-between the ISP and the destination server.

Think of a tunnel that shrouds a train as it passes by. Like the train that is concealed by the brick walls, data is concealed inside a virtual tunnel that connects your device to the VPN server. Encryption provides security on top against third parties.

Encryption Explained

We gave you an example of how an ISP is able to see every web activity. VPN’s ability to hide online activity is thanks to encryption.

Encryption is everything today. It’s on the web, it’s on your phone – it’s everywhere. Encryption is a complex process, yet the takeaway is simple to understand. It hides your data. It applies mathematical algorithms to convert plain-text into cipher-text, thus making it unreadable.

The process is known as encryption, and it’s done with a key that is mathematically created. And only that key can decrypt the data. And in the case of Asymmetric Encryption, a private key decrypts the data encrypted by a public key.

iProVPN uses AES 256-bit encryption for security. It is one of the highest symmetric encryption standards used for VPNs. What it means for you is security and privacy online.

How do you choose a VPN

Just because a VPN allows the best online security, privacy and anonymity along with access to regional content while traveling, doesn’t mean every VPN is reliable. You need to choose the best VPN by following a certain criterion.

Here’s how to choose a VPN:

  1. Security and encryption of a VPN plays a vital role. When you choose a VPN make sure it offers industry-standard AES 256-bit encryption. Look for other VPN features like a Kill Switch, DNS leak protection and OpenVPN protocols. iProVPN offers this and more!
  2. Most users require a VPN while traveling so that they can unblock regional content from back home. A VPN can help you do that by offering numerous servers to connect to. iProVPN offers a reliable network coverage for you to access both regional and international content – allowing you to mask your IP.
  3. Choose a VPN that can help you bypass ISP throttling. iProVPN offers unlimited bandwidth and speedy servers.
  4. Also note to never use free VPNs because they come with vulnerabilities that can sometimes be irreversible. They’re slower in comparison, come with a lack of features,a and log data.
  5. Lastly, also choose a VPN that offers multi-device support. With the iProVPN app, you can add a connection to your Windows, Android and iOS mobile apps, Firestick, macOS, routers, Xbox and more! It allows up to 10 multi-device connections.

iProVPN secures your connection with the best encryption and protocols. It offers speedy servers, doesn’t log your data, is DNS leak protected, and comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee. This allows its users to test the VPN.

Setting up a VPN

  1. Subscribe to iProVPN. Choose a package.
  2. Download and install the VPN on your device.
  3. Launch the VPN
  4. Connect to a server
  5. That’s all!

There are some devices like Xbox or PlayStation that don’t support VPN apps, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use the VPN with it.

All you need to do is set the VPN up on a compatible router and extend the connection. iProVPN supports an app for routers and supports multiple other devices.

How does a VPN Protect You Online

The digital world is different from just ten years ago. The internet has reshaped our lives for the better, but it has come at the cost of privacy.

Your digital footprint is tracked to create a profile for targeted advertisements. Your behavior online – what websites you visit, what you search online, the likes, and reactions on social media platforms – molds a digital persona against which advertisers target you.

One way to gain such data is by working with ISPs or services such as free proxy websites and free VPN services. Since every visit is noted, the service can sell that data to advertisers.

Moreover, the threat of hackers is real. Public Wi-Fi hotspots are particularly unsafe for browsing due to weak security. It’s very easy for someone on the same network to create a fake access point and act as a proxy. By connecting to this fake access point, you are revealing your browsing history as well as sensitive information like bank account details.

Although with HTTPS today, much of the internet is secure from such intervention, these Man-in-the-Middle (MITM) attacks can redirect users to fake login pages to steal information easily.

VPN’s encryption is a fundamental pillar that keeps your data and online activities private.

Why Zero Logging is Crucial

Logging refers to the practice of recording user activity by a service. It’s mostly done by free proxy and VPN services that offer free access in exchange of your privacy.

Finding a service that does not log user activity is as important as hiding activities from the ISP. iProVPN commits to a zero-logging policy, which dictates that you will never be tracked online. What you do online is your business, and iProVPN will never record your sessions for any motive.

It is our commitment to you. Our unique position as a service provider operating in the British Virgin Islands lends us the freedom to uphold that commitment.

What are the benefits of a VPN connection?

A VPN is now crucial for online protection and with that said, there are many benefits that it offers:

  1. A VPN disguises all online traffic and protects it through an encrypted tunnel. Through it, no one can hack, monitor or steal your data or personal information.
  2. You’ll be able to access regional and international content while traveling abroad. For starters, if you live in India, and travel to the US, a VPN will allow you to bypass blocks and access your local bank accounts and more.
  3. It’s a great addition to businesses, securing all the company’s data through remote access servers.
  4. Bypass ISP throttling.
  5. Mask and shield your physical IP address.

Conclusion

So, that should just about answer the “What is a VPN?” question. A VPN might not be 100% secure or reliable as no software is, but it all depends on the provider you choose. Choosing a VPN should first be according to your preferences, on whether you need it for streaming, online privacy and security or others. Let iProVPN help you with solving all your requirements! Plus side? It hardly costs a thing!


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