A VPN has been popping up in every conversation about the Internet lately. And for good reason. VPN technology was once a high-tech novelty, but today it's an essential tool. VPN technology protects your online data and privacy.
In this guide, you'll find everything you need to know about what is a VPN in simple words. After reading this article, you will fully understand how VPN technology works, what does a VPN stand for and its benefits!
What does a VPN stand for?
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a type of network that mimics a private network over a public network.
What does this mean for you? Well, a VPN allows you to use the Internet with increased security and privacy.
In a short, what is a VPN:
- Helps you stay safe when using public Wi-Fi hotspots.
- Hides your IP address.
- Encrypts your Internet traffic and makes your browsing more secure and private.
- Allows you to access more Internet content and bypass restrictions such as government censorship.
It also ensures that your Internet traffic is not tracked and recorded to be sold later by your Internet Service Provider (ISP), advertisers, or snoopers.
Are you looking for best VPN Australia? Read this article and choose VPN that suits all your needs.
How does a VPN work?
By encrypting and disguising your traffic, a VPN protects your connection. Data packets are diverted through one of the company's VPN servers.
Your visible IP address is changed when you use a VPN. When you use a VPN, it appears that you are browsing from the VPN server's location rather than your own.
As a result, a VPN allows you to seem almost anywhere in the world! This function, which dramatically improves your anonymity, is one of the two primary reasons why a VPN is so useful. Then there's the question of security. Let's have a discussion about it.
What does VPN do for you?
We've gone over the fundamentals of how a VPN works. Now let's look at what all of that technical jargon means for you!
⏺ When using public Wi-Fi, a VPN protects you.
If you're on the run, free public Wi-Fi might come in handy. Unfortunately, it is quite dangerous and leaves you open to even the most basic cyber attacks. When you use Wi-Fi in airports, coffee shops, or other public areas, a VPN encrypts your web data and helps protect your personal information. When you need to access sensitive information in public, such as online banking, emails, or crypto assets, it's useful to hide your web activities.
⏺ A virtual private network (VPN) hides your surfing and torrenting history.
To protect your online privacy, you must mask your IP address. Your location, browsing habits, and torrenting history are not directly linked to your identity when you use a Virtual Private Network. This manner, you can surf with confidence, knowing that no one is trying to influence your decisions.
⏺ A VPN connection allows you to access websites that have been restricted or censored.
Due to geo-blocking and censorship, several governments restrict access to numerous websites. By connecting to a VPN server located in a foreign country, you can unblock websites. This allows you to get around internet censorship and other geo-restrictions for things like content, social media, whistleblowing, and even research.
⏺ A VPN enables you to get the most out of Netflix.
You can access additional Netflix libraries throughout the world, as well as other streaming services like Hulu, Disney+, and HBO Max, with a VPN.
⏺ A virtual private network (VPN) can assist you prevent price discrimination.
Websites and businesses modify rates for their goods and services based on your location and cookies. When shopping online or purchasing plane tickets, you can avoid such marketing methods and save money by using a Virtual Private Network.
What makes your data useful when you browse without a VPN?
You constantly send and receive data packets when surfing the web. Because they need to know where to travel and return, these packets carry your IP address.
Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) and websites can see where these packets go and what data they carry if you don't use a Virtual Private Network. This enables them to track, log, and sell the information.
Why are they so concerned? Ad brokers and other service providers value your data because it exposes trends in your behaviour, such as your likes, hobbies, and interests. This information can then be utilised to create product offers that you are more likely to purchase.
The amount of data that these businesses collect and store has also become a privacy concern. Every year, billions of people are affected by data breaches.
All of that data eventually makes its way to the dark web. This can result in large-scale phishing attacks and possibly identity theft. It's therefore preferable to safeguard your privacy and data in the first place!
What is an IP address, and why is it visible to others?
An Internet Protocol (IP) address is a digital identification that allows networks to communicate with one another. It has the function of identifying:
- The host (you);
- Your network location so that it knows where to send the information to you.
This implies that if you don't use a VPN, your IP address will always be visible in data packets moving across the internet. Most online services can see it, allowing websites to collect information about you.
Because you're actually accessing the internet through a VPN server, a VPN masks your IP address and location. And it is to this server that information is sent before it is encrypted and delivered to you over a secure channel.
Is it true that using a VPN makes you anonymous?
No, even the best VPN Australia won't make you invisible. And don't listen to anyone who says otherwise.
Let's get one thing out of the way right away: online anonymity is a pipe dream. Yes, you read that correctly. On the internet, there is no such thing as true anonymity.
A VPN, on the other hand, dramatically improves your online privacy. Here's a table that shows what a VPN can and can't do:
|What a VPN does and does not hide||With a VPN||Without a VPN|
|E-mail you use to register||Hidden||Exposed|
|Credit card information used for purchases||Exposed||Exposed|
|Googling when signed in to your Google account||Exposed||Exposed|
|Information you put on social media||Exposed||Exposed|
|Targeted ads||Minimal||Very frequent|
To put it another way, there is no treatment for being careless. A VPN can help you avoid being monitored, but it won't assist you if you share your personal information on the internet. As a result, be careful what you reveal about yourself!
What exactly is encryption, and how does it function?
I've already addressed encryption, but let's take a closer look at how it works.
VPNs employ encryption to encrypt and secure your data. Unless they had a shared key to decipher an encrypted message, it would appear to be gibberish to anybody else.
When you first connect to a VPN, the VPN client and server produce and exchange this key.
This key is used to scramble and then unscramble your data as it travels through the encrypted tunnel.
So, just how strong is encryption? It depends on the encryption scheme you pick and the VPN protocol you couple it with (described below).
The AES 256-bit cypher is the best encryption method utilised by the US government, the National Security Agency, and the more trustworthy VPN service providers.
How secure is a VPN as a result of this?
In a nutshell, it's really safe.
Long answer – Things start to become interesting, look here:
The majority of security solutions rely on making themselves too difficult to break. For example, attempting to decrypt an encrypted session using “brute force,” i.e. guessing the correct key, might take trillions of years (depending on the computer utilised).
Even if it were cracked, several VPN providers have included a feature called Perfect Forward Secrecy (PFS). This means that every predetermined length of time, a VPN client creates a new key (about 7 minutes).
Cracking an encrypted session with PFS in place would only show what transpired during those 7 minutes. You'd have to crack it again after a fresh key is generated.
Scammers and hackers, in other words, would not try cracking an encrypted link. They prey on folks who aren't careful when using public Wi-Fi networks or online.
Protocols for VPN
Protocols are a crucial aspect of VPN security. They make it possible for you to connect to the VPN server. They're rules that govern how your VPN connections work from beginning to end.
Contrary to popular assumption, a VPN protocol has no impact on your connection's speed, reliability, or security. Protocols, on the other hand, can be effective in a variety of situations and will work differently for each device! Here are a few you might come across:
Shadowsocks for OpenVPN Wireguard® IKEv2/ IPSec PPTP and LT2P/ IPSec SSTP
How to choose a VPN service & What is the best VPN Australia
Let's pretend that I've already touched your heart (a writer can hope), and you've determined that you need a VPN. Are you ready to start testing it? Then I suggest to begin from NordVPN.
Even so, there are a few factors to keep in mind before selecting a VPN service provider:
- Coverage of the servers A good VPN company should have a large number of VPN servers located all over the world. This will provide you with more options and allow you to access more streaming material.
- Encryption via a VPN. It is critical to use a VPN encryption algorithm that is secure. Make careful to seek for the AES-256 cypher, which is the industry's current standard.
- Load on the server. Connection speeds will suffer and become poor if there aren't enough servers to balance the user load.
- Protocols for virtual private networks (VPNs). Protocols are essential for a VPN's security, and you may choose from a variety of them depending on your preferences. Look for VPN services that support OpenVPN, IKEv2, or WireGuard.
- Multi-hop is a VPN feature that allows you to route your traffic through multiple servers at once. It isn't required, but it can improve your online security.
- VPN servers that have been obfuscated. A VPN server will disguise your traffic as regular internet traffic when it is obfuscated (a fancy term for making things mysterious). This allows you to get around VPN blocks and beat your internet provider at hide-and-seek.
- Support for various devices. Before you buy a VPN, check sure it works with the device you want to protect. It happens all the time. We've all been in that situation.
- Any VPN service is increasingly relying on RAM-only servers. When servers run on RAM, they automatically delete all data when they are switched off.
- Read our reviews on NordVPN, SurfShark etc. and learn what is the best VPN for Australia
How to Set Up a Virtual Private Network (VPN)
It's quite simple to set up a VPN. We prefer downloading native programmes, but if you're more tech-savvy, you can always go with a manual setup.
- Install a VPN client on your device.
- Manually set up a VPN.
What is a no-log VPN or no-log proxy server?
No-logging refers to the treatment of a user's personal information without maintaining any logs or records of their online activities.
In a nutshell, a no-log VPN will not keep track of the following data about your online activities:
- Your Internet Protocol (IP) address
- Traffic on your network
- Your internet history
- Information about your bandwidth
- Timestamps of connections
- Information about the session
This ensures that your online connection is secure and that you may surf the internet with confidence.
And, speaking of surfing with peace of mind, you now have the information to take control of your online privacy.
Also, if you're interested in learning more about Virtual Private Networks, security, and privacy, visit our blog for more information.