What is a Virtual Private Network & How it Works

Last updated on August 15th, 2023 at 04:56 pm

 What is a (VPN) Virtual Private Network?

The Internet is a public network that is growing every second, thousands of new websites are being launched, and thousands of new people are joining the Internet every day. Because of this online growth, many organizations, businesses, and individuals are trying to build online markets and portfolios to get their businesses suitable for the next generation.

It is a major security concern to manage a business over a public network because, on the public network, there are lots of people and organizations that can trace you, intercept your communication, check your browsing history, or even your confidential data such as usernames and passwords.

Unlike the public network, a private network is way more difficult to access, therefore most businesses often use private networks for intercommunication but these private networks have some limitations. A private network can’t be accessed directly outside of the organization.

To overcome this issue, a system was needed to access the private network over a public network (Internet), and the solution to this problem was to make the exposed private network (over the Internet) secure enough that no one can access the network. And this security was achieved by virtualizing the private network.

a visual with a VPN sign and written How VPN works, what is a virtual private network
How VPN Works

VPN stands for Virtual Private Network, which makes a secure connection between the source and destination and provides an extra security level by encrypting the transferring data and hiding the user’s identity, thus it is difficult to trace the user’s identity or intercept the communication.

VPNs have many functionalities like providing security, protecting privacy, encrypting communications, and more.

It can change the IP address also, suppose any online service let’s suppose YouTube is banned in your country & you have to check out some music videos there, you can’t access YouTube with your local IP address. The VPN assigns you another country’s IP address and makes you enabled to access the blocked services, and spoofing the IP address provides an advanced level of anonymity to the user.

The devices connected over a free or Open Wi-Fi network without a VPN connection are considered more compressible because anyone can monitor the data transfers easily.

How a Vpn works visual

A Short History of VPN

In 1996, Microsoft employees discovered a way to communicate Point-to-Point securely, and that is now called Point-to-Point or Peer-to-Peer Tunneling Protocol (PPTP). This protocol was capable of transferring data over the internet through a secure path (Tunnel) in an encrypted form, this protocol bought a massive change in networking.

Before the year 2000, PPTP and a few other VPNs were used by the majority of people and organizations. As soon as people became aware of online data breaches, they increased the usage of VPNs as the demand increased by the time more VPN providers came up with more VPNs and Tunneling Protocols.

How VPN works?

When a client wants to connect to a website and types the URL into the address bar suppose www.google.com is typed, the browser immediately converts the typed URL into an IP address and sends the request with the senders IP to the ISP (Internet Service Provider), & ISP checks the request whether the requested website is allowed for access to the user or not.

If the website isn’t blocked the communications will go normal and in case the website is blocked, ISP shows the message to the client that the service you are trying to access is restricted.

The VPN client application makes a secure connection between the client and the server which can be assumed as a tunnel to hide the message from the ISP. After the successful connection between the client and the VPN server, the message to access a website sent to the ISP is protected and secured under encryption which can’t be decrypted by the ISP. The source address (the client’s IP address) and the destination address (the server address) are the only information that can be seen by the ISP.

The encrypted message received at the VPN server is now decrypted, and the VPN server processes the client’s request to connect to any web service. The reply messages also follow the same pattern, and the received packets are decrypted at the client-side so that the ISP can’t track the packets. In simple words, we can say that the data path through a secure tunnel on the internet is called a Virtual Private Network.

Types of VPN

There are two main types

1. Remote Access VPN:

This type of VPN service enables employees of an organization to access official devices from a remote location. A remote-access VPN is useful in work-from-home situations, it makes a secure connection to the private network over the internet to access the computers and network used by the organization. It allows only a single device to access and manage the data available on the office’s computer.

Lots of companies over the globe use remote-access VPNs to securely communicate with their salesmen. The salesman can update their sales progress online through a remote-access VPN service provided by the company.

Example of Remote-Access VPNs
TeamViewer VPN
Remote PC
VNC Connect

2. Site-to-Site VPN: 

A Site-to-Site VPN connects two or more offices or branches of a business, and it remains active. This type of VPN connects an entire site to another site of the same business. Site-to-Site VPN connects the private networks (LAN) which are used as internal networks in each separate branch.

Consider if VPNs didn’t exist, how could companies and organizations afford the private wired or wireless connections over a long distance. That’s why these types of VPNs are used to communicate and share data securely.

Examples of Site-to-Site VPN

Nord VPN

Express VPN

Here are the top-ranked and most valuable VPNs

1. NordVPN:

Nord VPN is one of the best VPN applications in the market, made by a cybersecurity and software company registered in Germany, NordSec Ltd. The company claims NordVPN is the fastest VPN with state-of-the-art features. Although this is not a free VPN, it is powerful enough to cross the great firewall of China.


2.  Hola VPN:

Hola VPN is one of the high-tier free VPNs, that uses advanced techniques for routing and provides a low-latency, fast VPN with free access. Hola VPN supports all types of streaming platforms.

3. Express VPN:

The Express VPN is also the best VPN with a 4.7 stars rating on the Apple store, Although it is a paid VPN but provides quality service. It provides 160 locations in 94 countries with unlimited bandwidth. A 30 days money-back guarantee with 24/7 customer support. This VPN is the most famous one and is widely used across the globe.

4. ProtonVPN:

ProtonVPN is a product of Proton Technologies AG, the parent company of ProtonMail. ProtonVPN has 1700+ VPN servers in 63 Countries and a massive bandwidth capacity of 2000+ Gbps. Proton VPN has four pricing plans Free, Basic ($4/m), Plus($8/m), and Visionary($24/m).


5. OpenVPN:

OpenVPN was released in 2001 and was developed by OpenVPN Inc. It is widely used by businesses and individuals for Peer-to-Peer and Site-to-Site connections. OpenVPN applications are available for every platform, and easy availability makes them more demandable in the market.

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