What Is VPN? Here's an Explanation and The Benefits

What is VPN? Well, it stands for Virtual Private Network. It is a technology that creates a secure network connection over a public network, such as the Internet, or, a private network leased by a service provider.

VPN was once the domain of big business, educational institutions and government agencies, used for remote employees to securely connect to a private network. However, home and small business users can now use the great security advantages... and at low cost!

1. What is VPN Compared to a Web Anonymizer?

A VPN will automatically anonymously encrypt your entire internet connection so that all applications on your computer will be secured. With a web proxy you'll need to configure certain applications manually (such as your web browser). A web proxy masks your IP address but may not encrypt your connection, though some will. VPN's use much stronger encryption methods and are, therefore, considered much more secure than web proxies.

Virtual private network technology is based on special tunneling protocols, which connects the client (you and your PC) to a VPN server. These tunnels employ sophisticated encryption to ensure security. VPN tunneling involves encapsulating data, or wrapping data with a header. The header provides routing information that enables the data to travel the internet to reach its endpoint. Packets of information that are intercepted are indecipherable without the encryption keys.

2. Will a VPN Slow Internet Connections?

Compared to your 'normal' internet speed, the variable that can slow speed is the distance between your physical location and the location of the VPN server nodes you connect to. The closer you are to your VPN server locations, the less chance you'll experience speed loss. There can also be a delay associated with the encryption/decryption process and this can depend on the VPN service you purchase.

In order to check you are not losing speed to an unacceptable degree, try a service that has a free trial or money-back guarantee.

After buying and testing a number of VPN and web proxy services, because of their slow connection speeds I now use Hide My Ass! Pro VPN (HMA!)...

  • You can try for 30 days and get a full refund if you are not satisfied, for any reason.
  • HMA! software has an in-built 'Speed Guide' feature which will determine the fastest VPN server for your connection. Given the fact that there are servers in 51+ countries, speed shouldn't be a problem with this service.

3. Do I Need to Configure My Firewall?

You should not need to open any ports or adjust your firewall settings to establish VPN connections, as the ports required are open by default for most systems.

4. What Is VPN Tunneling Protocol?

There are a number of VPN protocols in use that securely transports data traffic over the internet. Each protocol varies slightly in the way that data is kept secure...

  • IP security (IPSec)... often referred to as a "security overlay" because of its use as a security layer for other protocols.
  • Point-To-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP)... has the advantage of a pre-installed client base on Windows platforms but analysis by cryptography experts has revealed security vulnerabilities.
  • Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol (L2TP)... often used in tandem with IPSec (which acts as a security layer) and uses a shared key or certificates to validate connections.
  • Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and Transport Layer Security (TLS)... use cryptography to secure communications and Open VPN uses this protocol. Most web browsers have SSL capabilities built in.

Hide My Ass! Pro VPN offers you the choice of Open VPN,PPTP and L2TP protocols. To find out more, go to the Hide My Ass! website or read my article, What is VPN? Hide My Ass! Has the Features and Service

You can also use, Hotspot Shield Elite, which is much cheaper but only has a servers in 3 countries. You can take a Free Trial before committing.


Other VPN Articles

  1. What To Look for In a VPN Service
  2. The Features and Benefits to You of Hide My Ass! VPN Service
  3. When and What To Use As A Free VPN Service

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