What is a VPN?

exalovpn iphone 4

A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, is a remote web that converts and conducts information while it goes from one spot to another on the net. Using a VPN to link to the net lets you visit sites confidentially and steadily along with getting permission to limited sites and avoid restriction blocks. VPNs are not only for computer or tablets — you may download a VPN on your iPhone, iPad, or Android smartphone as well.

This article will describe in which way the VPN technology operates and help you to make the right choice when thinking of which VPN client will fit you better.

How does a VPN service work?

Here is the way how exactly the VPN technology works to save your data:

When your device connects to the network with the VPN turned on, it connects to the VPN server, located elsewhere in the world.

Simultaneously, the server delivers your device the IP address, which is the set of digits, indicating your device. Therefore, your device surfs the Internet not under your address, but under another server’s one.

All the data, generated by your device while using the Internet is being encoded, which prevents hackers from stealing it.

Secreting your IP address lets you open the net confidentially and facilitates to avoid your surfing from being stalked or tracked. You are subsequently able to use the internet confidentially and safely.

Yet puzzled? We love to apply the nice old plane model for this. Here is what we have in mind.

You are steering down the interstate, sunspecs on, hair down, music on and there is a plane above your head.

FYI: this is not a usual plane. Its passengers are quite suspicious and here is why. They are hackers, your Internet provider, and the local government. All of them are tracking your browsing history and collect data about you. Some of them might steal your unsecure data or prevent your from surfing the resources you would like.

But here is your solution! A tunnel right on your path. Once you enter it, the plane and its passengers are no longer to see what you are doing. Keep hiding there and be confident that all your data is protected from undesired actions.

How a VPN works: the car and tunnel metaphor

Imagine the VPN service is a tunnel. When you enter it, it protects your device and all the data from hackers and other actors, who might track your activity. Every element kept in that tunnel is encoded and only you may see what it is. All that implies that every time you surf the Internet with the VPN service turned on, no one will be able to see your activity.

Encryption. What does that mean?

This is a process when the information is being encoded so as nobody might access it. This is what occurs when your device is being connected to the VPN network. All the data is encrypted and that prevents hackers from stealing the information about you.

Some may think that because of the process there is a confidential code. Once the information becomes encoded, the result is called a cypher. You have access to the key, which then helps you to read it again.

The most effective encoding standard is called AES (Advanced Encryption Standard). The most reliable VPN services apply this standard in their technology. It has 256 bits, indicating the extent of the cypher, applied in the code. The better is when the code is as long as possible. Then it becomes hard for hackers to make it out. This case has 256 digits, which might take enormous amount of various combinations. By the way, not only VPN providers use this technology, but also the most influential structures across the world, such as banks, governments, IT companies etc.

Let’s talk protocols

A protocol is a service, which helps the server to make sure your connection is fast, and you can surf the Internet conveniently without any lags. In its essence, VPN protocol is combined with the encoding standards and data-transfer protocols.

Illustration of a computer with data being encrypted by a VPN

Most known VPN providers employ OpenVPN protocol in their technology. It has proved to be the most reliable system, which protects users’ data most effectively among its competitors. Even the code is accessible for everyone, it still indicates the highest level of security, because in this way the VPN provider instantly checks your connection and reacts to any problem, which might occur while you are browsing the web. Nobody may use your code in his egoistic or evil purposes.

One more popular protocol is referred to as PPTP. It is not as safe as the previous one, but still it gives a good level of confidentiality. Mostly it is used by the free VPN providers. But if you are interested in the highest level of security of your data, this is not for you. Try to find the VPN with more reliable protocol.

Why are IP addresses important?

Essentially, the IP address is the unique code, which indicates the device, when it connects to the web. It is like your physical address in your country, but it is address of your device on the Internet. It looks like the following example: 172.217.22.14. connected to the web, any gadget must have this unique code. When you are surfing the Internet, tour device and the website you are connecting to are “exchanging” with the IP-addresses for you to be available to see all the required information.

The order of connecting to the server is as follows: first your device connects to your Internet provider and then it connects to the region server. If the server detects that the resource is restricted in your region, you will not be able to access it.

When you use the VPN technology, it means that your device is connected to another IP address of the server, which may be in just every corner of our globe.

While you turn on the VPN technology, you instantly get the IP address of the server from another region of the world. Once someone is trying to steal your data or detect your location or anything else, he will only see the IP address of the VPN server, but not your real one.

Moreover, remember about the cypher, which is created due to the VPN technology. Therefore, you must be sure that your activity remains confidential and no one will steal your data.

What should I look for in choosing a VPN?

We have a list below, contained of various characteristics which must be important for you in choosing the right VPN provider.

Paid VPN – They are protected, unspammed and professionally encrypted systems, unlike the free ones. Be careful and choose practically.

Shared IP – All the VPN suppliers which can grant you IP address that is shared between many users are good and reliable. As we mentioned above, such services provide the best protection from tracing personal activities of users.

Logs – Reliable suppliers of VPN must promise you the “no logging” policy. As we mentioned above, such feature guarantees you and your activities online not to be hacked, traced or watched above. VPN suppliers have only access to IP addresses of yours and the server.

Multi-device – You have to choose the VPN supplier that also offers you to protect not only your laptop or phone separately, but both of them and even your tablet too.

How does a VPN work

How does the VPN work? You pick a remote VPN server and communicate the internet from your gadget to it, not through ISP, making all the information coming from your device to server fully invisible for tracking, without your personal IP address. The main purpose of the VPN is to hide your IP address, which consists of several numbers given to you by the Internet provider. This protects your identity, confidential data and all other important details. Even if somebody manages to receive some sort of info from you, they won’t be able to read it until it comes to the end of the route.

Encoding is an essential basis of VPN, generating the hidden “path” through which all the information from your device communicates to the internet and becomes invisible.