What Is A VPN? Virtual Private Networks Simplified

A Virtual Private Network is a connection method used to add security and privacy to private and public networks. Free WiFi Hotspots and your home Internet connection can both be encrypted using a VPN. In short, this provides you with private Internet access.

Virtual Private Networks are most often used by corporations to protect sensitive data. VPNs are becoming more popular because interactions that were previously done in person are now done online.

Privacy is increased with a Virtual Private Network because the user's IP address is replaced with one from the VPN. Subscribers can obtain an IP address from any gateway city the VPN service provides.

You may be connecting to the Internet from New York. With a VPN, you can spoof your IP location where your connection looks like you're based in Chicago. Therefore, using a Virtual Private Network is preferred if you want to hide your IP address. The same method can be used for streaming services when you're out of country.

VPNs are sometimes incorrectly referred to as a Virtual Protected Network or Virtual Personal Network. Although both Protected and Personal are seemingly correct, the P in VPN stands for Private.


A VPN can be used over WiFi, but is NOT a WiFi connection. Therefore, it's impossible to compare VPN vs WiFi. VPN connectivity should always be encrypted to protect your data.

What Is A VPN Used For?

A secure VPN encrypts the data from your connection point to the connecting server point using a tunneling protocol. Those connection points include websites, mail servers, game servers, or chat servers. Basically, all of your internet traffic is encrypted while you're connected to a Virtual Private Network.

Why do I need a VPN?

  • Should I Hide My IP Address

Connecting to a Virtual Private Network often conceals your real IP address.

  • Change Your IP Address

Using a VPN will almost certainly result in getting a different IP address.

  • Hide My IP Address

With a Virtual Private Network, users can choose the country of origin for their Internet connection.

  • Encrypt data transfers

A Virtual Private Network will protect the data you transfer over free WiFi.

  • Access blocked websites

Access government blocked websites with a Virtual Private Network.

Virtual Private Network Security

Security is the main reason why corporations have used Virtual Private Networks for years. There are increasingly simple methods to intercept data traveling to a network. WiFi spoofing and Firesheep are two easy ways to hack information. Much like a firewall protecting your computer from a connection intrusion, a VPN protects your data on the web.

VPNs use advanced encryption protocols and secure tunneling techniques to encapsulate all online data transfers.

VPN clients will connect to a VPN server using software that creates a secure connection. These connections can be made from laptops, desktops, mobile devices, and even routers.

Most savvy computer users wouldn't dream of connecting to the Internet without a firewall and up-to-date antivirus software. Increased security threats and a growing reliance on the Internet make a VPN an essential part of our Internet connection needs. Integrity checks ensure no lost data and the connection is not hijacked. Since all traffic is protected, Virtual Private Networks are preferred over proxies.


Setting Up a VPN

Setting up a Virtual Private Network is a straightforward process. It's often as simple as entering a username and sever address. The dominant smartphones can configure Virtual Private Networks using PPTP and L2TP/IPsec protocols. All major operating systems can configure PPTP VPN connections.

OpenVPN and L2TP/IPsec protocols require a small open source application (OpenVPN) and certificate download respectively.

Virtual Private Network Protocols

The number of VPN protocols and available security features continue to grow with time. The most common protocols are:

PPTP - PPTP has been around since the days of Windows 95. The main selling point of PPTP is that it can be simply setup on every major OS. In short, PPTP tunnels a point-to-point connection over the GRE protocol.

Unfortunately, the security of the PPTP protocol has been called into question in recent years. It is still strong, but not the most secure.

L2TP/IPsec - L2TP over IPsec is more secure than PPTP and offers more features. L2TP/IPsec is a way of implementing two protocols together in order to gain the best features of each. For example, the L2TP protocol is used to create a tunnel and IPsec provides a secure channel. These measures make for an impressively secure package.

Open VPN - OpenVPN is an SSL-based Virtual Private Network that continues to gain popularity. The software used is open source and freely available. SSL is a mature encryption protocol, and OpenVPN can run on a single UDP or TCP port, making it extremely flexible.

Virtual Private Network Providers

There are many choices when it comes to VPN providers. There are some Virtual Private Network providers who offer a free VPN service and there are some which charge. In short, paid VPN providers seem to be preferred to the free VPNs. You can secure your internet connection with VyprVPN, or other similar VPN services.

Therefore, paid Virtual Private Network providers offer robust gateways, proven security, free software, and unmatched speed. Compare VPN Providers using the data our friends over at VPN.com have compiled to find the right VPN for you.  So the VPN meaning of added security, privacy, and locations can also come with many Virtual Private Network providers.