Articles
Pages
Products
Research Papers
Blogs
Search Engines
Events
Webinar, Seminar, Live Classes
Tuesday, 09 July 2019 06:48

How Does A VPN Work?

Author:  [Source: This article was Published in forbes.com BY TJ McCue]

[Source: This article was Published in forbes.com BY TJ McCue - Uploaded by AIRS Member: Robert Hensonwn]

This story was written in collaboration with Forbes Finds covers products we think you’ll love. Featured products are independently selected and linked to for your convenience. If you buy something using a link on this page, Forbes may receive a small share of that sale.

In my previous “What Is A VPN” post, I outlined that a virtual private network (VPN) encrypts and protects your identity, location, and data. It isn’t bulletproof, but A VPN provides a way to reduce the tracking of your web activities. So far, I have looked at market leaders such as NordVPN and ExpressVPN, but Pure VPN and SpiderVPN are two that I have added to my research list.

Here's how VPNs work and how they protect you:

  • VPNs disguise your actual IP address and location.
  • The network service scrambles your data in a process known as encryption.
  • The VPN service puts your internet data into a capsule, of sorts, to send it through a private tunnel to the website you requested.
    In order to understand how a VPN works, let’s cover a few basics and a quick history lesson about the internet.

The internet was designed to send packets of information (data) as efficiently as possible. The core idea involved moving data on top of what’s known as the Internet Protocol (IP), a set of rules that govern how packets move from one place to another.

In those early days of connecting computer servers over long distances, users simply wanted to make sure data would keep flowing. If one network node failed, the information packet would move to another one. Security of data was not the primary concern - getting it from point A to point B was, and still is, the main focus.

This means the internet is still, by design, largely insecure. Many services still send your information without any security measures at all. Just one common example: if you are checking your bank or credit card information from that local cafe or your local library, it might not be that safe. Once you are inside the bank website or app, on its secure server, you are mostly safe, but getting to and from that server, your information is vulnerable and unsafe.

The MDN Web Docs site, formerly known as the Mozilla Developer Network (the fine folks who bring you the Firefox browser), have an excellent, simple breakdown of How the Web works:

“For now, let's imagine that the web is a road. On one end of the road is the client, which is like your house. On the other end of the road is the server, which is a shop you want to buy something from... When you type a web address into your browser (for our analogy that's like walking to the shop).”

I like this analogy to explain how public your internet requests really are—people can see you walking from your house to the shop unless you use a VPN, which is like going to the shop at night wearing sunglasses and a dark coat via back alleys.

So, the VPN encrypts those request packets at the originating point (your home), hiding not only the data but also the information about your originating IP address (again, your home). The VPN software on your end then sends those packets to VPN server at some destination point, decrypting that information. Then it sends them over the public internet to the website server. The information comes back through that same process. Expanding the Mozilla analogy, it is like you hire a person to go to and from that store for you, wearing the dark coat and sunglasses.

Why use a VPN? Here is a simple breakdown of the steps:

  1. All of your internet traffic, these requests for website information, move securely from your location to the VPN.
  2. Your computer appears to have the IP address of the VPN server, masking your identity and location, as you make this request to any website.
  3. When your data reaches the VPN server, it exits onto the public internet. Even if someone managed to grab this data on its way from point A to point B, it would be very difficult to trace the data back to you, because it looks like it came from the VPN server.

Many readers will have some familiarity with VPNs through their employers, who also know that the internet is not that safe. Corporations have historically used them to grant employees remote access to the corporate server. A VPN would give you access to the software and company resources while you were not in the office. You can now affordably do the same thing to access your home network while traveling locally or internationally or simply whenever you connect to the internet. Many people think that the “private browser” tab on Google Chrome or Firefox will shield all of their activity. It will not.

Leave a comment

Get Exclusive Research Tips in Your Inbox

Receive Great tips via email, enter your email to Subscribe.
Please wait
online research banner

airs logo

AIRS is the world's leading community for the Internet Research Specialist and provide a Unified Platform that delivers, Education, Training and Certification for Online Research.

Subscribe to AIRS Newsletter

Receive Great tips via email, enter your email to Subscribe.
Please wait

Follow Us on Social Media