You’ve probably heard of a VPN before, it’s even possible you’ve used one before, but do you know how VPN works?
A VPN stands for Virtual Private Network which basically means it gives you privacy online. Originally VPNs were only used in business settings, where big businesses, organizations, and governments wanted to secure their data. Since people work remotely and needed to connect online, businesses needed to create secure connections. Otherwise, they were at risk of hacking and other loss of data.
Nowadays, VPNs are used by everyone, specifically, because it ensures your location stays private, your data is encrypted, and that you can surf the web anonymously. But how does it works?
To learn how VPN works, first, let’s understand how the internet works.
When you visit a site like FACEBOOK or TWITTER, you type in the domain name, that domain is basically a nickname for the website’s IP Address, and IP address is just like your home address but only it consists of numbers and not street names. Since it’s much easier to remember names instead of numbers, we give websites domain names and a server translates them. The server that translates those domain names is called a DNS (Domain Name System). Your computer has an IP address too and so does every device browsing the Internet.
When you type in the website’s domain name in the browser, whether you are using Chrome, Firefox, or even Internet Explorer, you send your data into the internet until it reaches a server, that server then translates the data and sends you back the website you requested. The problem is when you send that data to the server, you are sending them your IP Address and a lot of other information too. This is where Hackers can intercept your information.
For example, you are using the internet on public wifi in a coffee shop and want to check your bank account. Someone else with a laptop can easily log in to the network and can get hold of your passwords, emails, and other information you might have. But if you use a VPN, they won’t be able to access that.
The websites you visit can also gather your information, but they tend to do it in order to study their demographic. Usually, it’s not a problem, but sometimes you want to protect your identity and privacy. So how does a VPN protect my privacy?
When you send information online, a VPN creates a tunnel that encrypts your information. This way if someone gets a hold of your data, they won’t be able to read it. The tunnel also makes it harder to hack in, but don’t get fooled, it is still possible, just much harder to do.
A VPN also adds in an extra server. We spoke about how you send data from your computer to a server, and then that server pings you back with the website. But with VPN, the data goes to their server first, and then it’s sent out to the website. This extra step helps in a lot of ways.
First, it can change your location. A lot of video streaming websites like NETFLIX and PRIME VIDEOS have strict content depending on your Geo-Location. Let’s say you want to watch your favorite content on NETFLIX, but it’s not available in your country. So in order to watch it, you can use a VPN and send your information to one of the VPN’s servers which are available in the country where that content is available, and then that VPN server sends it to the NETFLIX website. NETFLIX now thinks you are in that country, where that particular content is available, and you can stream your show without any problem. A VPN tricks them into thinking you are in a different location because the signal is coming from a different server, clever right?
Second, changing your location can also be helpful when booking a hotel or flight. Researches have shown that hotel or flight prices change depending on your location, and a VPN could potentially save you lots of money, but let’s get back to your privacy.
Remember how we mentioned websites sometimes collect your data. Well many times governments can request this information and use the listed IP Addresses to track your location, but with a VPN, your information only reaches the VPN server, they can’t track you back to your original IP Address. See how cool that is?
Many VPNs also have a NO LOGS POLICY, which means they don’t record what sites you visit. So if the government requests the VPN provider for tracking logs, your information won’t be there.
VPNs are really handy when it comes to keeping your privacy safe on the web by changing your location, encrypting your data, and ensuring your privacy. It’s no wonder so many people use them these days.
VPNs are a more secure way to surf the internet as more and more data is shared on the internet every day. So, if you think it can help you keep secure your data related to work or anything private, use a VPN.