A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, creates a virtual encrypted tunnel between you and a remote server operated by a VPN service.VPNs can be used to access region-restricted websites, shield your browsing activity from prying eyes on public Wi-Fi, and more.
In very simple terms, a VPN connects your device to another a server somewhere on the internet, and allows you to browse the internet using that computer’s internet connection and thusly that connections security restrictions.
All your network traffic is sent over a secure connection to the VPN. Because your computer behaves as if it’s on the network, this allows you to securely access local network resources even when you’re on the other side of the world. You’ll also be able to use the Internet as if you were present at the VPN’s location.
When you browse the web while connected to a VPN, your computer contacts the website through the encrypted VPN connection. The VPN forwards the request for you and forwards the response from the website back through the secure connection. So if that server is in a different country, it will appear as if you are coming from that country, and you can potentially access things that you couldn’t normally.
Benefits of an VPN:
Bypass geographic restrictions on websites or streaming audio and video.
Accessing files on a local network.
Protect yourself from snooping on untrustworthy Wi-Fi hotspots.
Gain at least some anonymity online by hiding your true location.
Whilst many peoples main use for a VPN is to bypass geographic restrictions to watch content in a different country, it’s worth noting that they are still very useful for protecting yourself while working at a location out of your office or home network.
How Do You Get a VPN?
Depending on your needs, you can either use a VPN from your workplace, create a VPN server yourself, or sometimes host one out of your house — but realistically the vast majority of people are just looking for something the simplest way to stay safe and connected.
Other Benefits for VPNs
VPNs are a fairly simple tool, but they can be used to do a wide variety of things:
Access a Business Network While Traveling: VPNs are frequently used by businesses when employees travel and need to access their business’ network, including all its local network resources, while on the road. The local resources don’t have to be exposed directly to the Internet, which increases security.
Access Your Home Network While Travelling: You can also set up your own VPN to access your own network while travelling. This will allow you to access a Windows Remote Desktop over the Internet, use local file shares, and play games over the Internet as if you were on the same LAN (local area network).
Hide Your Browsing Activity From Your Local Network and ISP: If you’re using a public Wi-Fi connection, your browsing activity on non-HTTPS websites is visible to everyone neraby, if they know how to look. If you want to hide your browsing activity for a bit more privacy, you can connect to a VPN. The local network will only see a single, secure VPN connection. All the other traffic will travel over the VPN connection. While this can be used to bypass connection-monitoring by your Internet service provider, bear in mind that VPN providers may opt to log the traffic on their ends.
Access Geo-Blocked Websites: One of the most common current uses of VPNs today due to Geo-blocks, which is when content is only available in certain geographically locations. This is mostly found on video and audio streaming platforms as rights differ from country to country. For example if you wanted to access the American version of Netflix you would be able to access these region-restricted services if you connect to a VPN located in the USA.
Bypass Internet Censorship: Many Chinese people use VPNs to get around the Great Firewall of China and gain access to the entire Internet. (However, the Great Firewall has apparently started interfering with VPNs recently.)
Downloading Files: A frequent issues, especially on home networks is ISP throttling, which is when an ISP slows down your connect speeds which most commonly happens during peak periods. You can use an VPN connection to get faster speeds when downloading files, such as large email attachments. Although some ISP may interfere with VPN traffic itself.
For any assistance or help with establishing a VPN with your organisation. Please feel free to get in contact with us.