VPN – advantages and shortcomings

 VPN – advantages and shortcomings

VPN or Virtual Private Network is a service that allows a safe internet connection using a secured network. All internet traffic goes through a process called “tunneling”, where your device is connected to another network in which your IP address is hidden and your data encrypted.

The idea of VPN

The basic idea behind a VPN is data protection. VPN users that require the highest level of security are usually banks and companies with a lot of sensitive data they need to protect. For personal use, VPN is mostly used for:

  • Connecting to public networks, for example, coffee shops, where we cannot know who will have access to our data
  • To protect our data from internet providers
  • Using torrents
  • Free access to the internet in countries with limited internet access like China, Turkey or Russia

In the last case users should be careful because VPN services in these countries are considered illegal.

How does VPN work

When you connect to VPN, you use the internet as an infrastructure in which a “tunnel” is created through which all the data is transferred and to which only you have access. In practice, this means that you are connected with an encrypted connection to a VPN server on the internet. Then that VPN server connects to other internet locations that you visit, and the returning data goes through the same connections. That means that the VPN server serves as a “shield” because the internet doesn’t see you as a user but only a VPN server. For it to come to you, they need to break through VPN server protections, which is very unlikely. VPN uses IP protocol, Open VPN, PPTP, L2TP, and other protocols. Depending on the protocol used, traffic can be faster or slower, and the network more or less secured. VPN can be used both by users or providers.

Shortcomings

Aldo generally very useful VPN has its shortcomings. This tool is not supported by all the devices, it can slow down internet traffic and free versions are often limited, but you can still find some that work very well like JustFreeVPN i VPNBOOK.

Full or partial anonymity

All in all, even with its shortcomings, VPN allows a high level of security on the internet, but have in mind that there is no full anonymity unless you are willing to go through relatively big and cumbersome steps to achieve it.

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