What is a VPN?

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a service that protects your online privacy and sensitive data.

Find out how VPNs help you use public Wi-Fi safely, hide your online activity, and so much more.

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what is VPN meaning

What are the benefits of using a VPN?

Protect your IP address and your location

Your unique IP address tells the Internet who you are, what you do, and where you are in the world.

Using a VPN, you can change your IP address to any country within seconds so you can get international content and stay private online.

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Travel without censorship with a VPN

Travel without censorship

A VPN helps you browse the internet with freedom by hiding your real location. You can use a VPN in flights and with public WiFi almost anywhere.

You can also use your VPN for private browsing at school or work.

Secure your online activity

When you go online, your Internet Service Provider (ISP) and businesses – like advertisers – can see what you do online.

A VPN makes it impossible to monitor your online activity so you can browse in private.


Protect your family’s online privacy

Add a VPN to your router so you and your family can enjoy the Internet with peace of mind.

VPNs for routers allow you to protect all of the devices connected to your home WiFi.

Why should I use a VPN?

Use a VPN to take care of your Internet security. A VPN runs in the background of your device. This means it won’t get in the way of your online activities while it protects you. Here are some digital scenarios where you might need a VPN:


Be free of location blocks

Stream more of your favorite content from around the world.

Choose from 6,500+ PureVPN servers in 78+ countries so you can get past location blocks with ease.


Share and download P2P files

Hide your real IP address from websites, hackers, and scammers.

Upload and download P2P files with complete privacy and security for your internet connection.


Stay safe on public WiFi

Enjoy private browsing in your favorite coffee shop, at the airport, or wherever you are.

Protect your online activity with powerful, built-in security features and protocols like WireGuard, IKEv2, and more.


Secure gaming experience

Reduce lag and ping times on your gaming console so you can get more gametime.

Defend your gaming servers with a Dedicated IP add-on so you can play your best games with confidence and privacy.


Get around censorship

Access important websites and services blocked by your government.

Add a strong layer of protection to your online activity so you can browse your favorite content in peace.


Privacy that goes with you

Stay logged in on up to 10 of your devices so you can travel with private internet.

Get the most out of your Internet or data connection with PureVPN’s lightning-fast speeds of 20Gbps.


Stop ISP throttling

Hide your IP and online activity from your ISP so you can enjoy faster online browsing.

Keep your online activity private so you can do the internet your way with security, and more peace of mind.


Avoid DDoS attacks

Enjoy safer e-commerce and gaming servers by stopping threats before they start.

Protect yourself and your teammates with always-on DDoS protection so you can get back to doing what you love.


Limitless crypto trading

Conceal your IP so you can unlock more crypto exchanges.

Give your transactions the best security with IP masking and encryption so you can trade with confidence.

How does a VPN work?

Many layers make up the process of protection that a VPN provides. There are 5 key steps in the workings of a VPN.

  • 01

    You connect to the VPN. Right away, the server gives you another IP address which hides your real IP.

  • 02

    All your online activity passes through a secure VPN tunnel that makes it impossible for outside trackers like your ISP to read it.

  • 03

    Your VPN encrypts your traffic, and forwards it to the intended destination.

  • 04

    Once the server receives the data you requested, it’s encrypted and sent back to you.

  • 05

    The right destination decrypts the data you sent out, sending encrypted data back through the VPN.

VPN client

The app you use to access and customize the VPN service.

VPN tunnel

An encrypted environment that your data passes through between your device and the server.

VPN server

A massive data center configured to host and deliver VPN services. Servers can be either physical or virtual.

What are VPN protocols?

VPN protocols are the processes a device uses to connect to a VPN server. Some protocols are ideal for security, others are suitable for speed, or work best in specific situations. There are 9 VPN protocols


One of the most commonly used VPN protocols, OpenVPN provides a good balance between security and speed.


L2TP doesn’t offer any security by itself and is used in conjunction with IPsec for authentication and encryption.


The fastest VPN protocol, making it perfect for activities like streaming. However, it’s outdated and not recommended for security.


A more recent VPN protocol that’s fast and compatible with all major mobile operating systems.


IPsec is often paired with L2TP and IKEv2, but can be used as a standalone VPN protocol on its own as well.


WireGuard by PureVPN is the latest VPN protocol. It’s open-source, ultra-fast, and uses state-of-the-art cryptography.

What types of VPN can I use?

There are four main types of VPN that you can get for your devices


Free VPN

There are free VPNs. Free VPN options can track you by collecting your data, and have less security options than a paid VPN option.


Personal VPN

You can get a VPN for your personal use. A personal VPN gives you all the tools you need for a private online connection with more freedom.


Business VPN

VPNs in business are used for safety by remote or in-office team members to access the internal company network and the external internet.



Some tech pros create their own VPN. Making a DIY VPN can exclude security features like shared IP addresses and servers locations in multiple countries.

How can I set up a VPN?

Setting up a VPN is super simple All you have to do is follow these steps:

Step 1


Subscribe to PureVPN

Choose your PureVPN subscription.

Step 2


Download the app

Download and install the app for your device.

Step 3


Connect to server

Log in, and press “Connect”. Enjoy your online privacy!

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Which of my devices works with a VPN?

Computers and smartphones

You can create a VPN connection on your mobile phone, tablet, or computer.

Visit the VPN website or your app store, download the app, and start protecting your online privacy.


Web browsers

Adding a browser extension is a simple and quick way to protect your online privacy with a VPN.

You can get VPN extensions for browsers like Chrome, Brave, Firefox, and Edge.

Smart TVs, routers, and so much more

You can use a VPN on smart TVs, gaming consoles, and streaming sticks, and boxes. By using a VPN on your router, you can enjoy a safer connection on the devices connected to it.


What are the limits of a VPN?

Every technology has limits to what it can do. A VPN is no exception. These are the 4 main limits of a VPN:

  • Your internet connection may slow down a little so it can handle the security processes of your new VPN.

  • A VPN does not protect your devices from viruses. It cannot scan what you download for harmful code. For file scanning, you need an antivirus software.

  • VPN blockers on streaming services are gaining strength stronger. This means you may have to try a few different servers before you can stream your favorite content.

  • A VPN alone doesn’t guarantee complete anonymity on the internet. You can combine a anti-tracking browser with a VPN for an added layer of online privacy.

Are there any VPN alternatives?

Yes, you can use VPN alternatives for other reasons, and to add another layer of security to your VPN.

Here are 3 VPN alternatives:



A proxy is a server that works in between your device and the internet.

Proxy servers can be used as firewalls and filters that defend your devices and online connection.

Smart DNS

Smart DNS

Smart DNS is a service that uses your Domain Name Server (DNS) to get past location barriers onilne.

It masks your real DNS details and replaces it with a different set of DNS data.



Tor is a free network of servers that randomly move traffic between each other. This hides the origin of your data.

Tor offers excellent anonymity from outside trackers like your ISP.

What other features does a VPN offer?

You can add even more security features to your VPN


Dedicated IP

Get your own IP address that hides your real one, so you can stay safe online and enjoy the convenience of content in other countries.

Smart DNS

Port Forwarding

Play your favorite games, access your remote desktop, and speed up your downloads by using port forwarding.


DDoS Protection

DDoS attacks are like deliberate traffic jams. Stay protected against DDoS attacks on your server or business before they can even start.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do I choose a VPN that’s right for me?

    We understand you have a lot of VPN options. That’s why we wrote you a guide full of facts to help you make the right choice for you and your family:

  • Can I be tracked if I use a VPN?

    While free VPNs can leave you at risk of being tracked, PureVPN cannot see or track what you do online.

    VPNs change your IP address and encrypt your online activity, hiding it from your Internet Service Provider (ISP).

    This level of protection also makes it difficult for third parties like advertisers to link your online activity back to you.

    Using a VPN is only part of the story of Internet privacy.

    There are many more things you can do to protect your online privacy, including installing an antivirus and using your discretion when you share on social media or click on links.

    For more details on how PureVPN handles your data, have a look at our Safe Zone.

    Visit Safe Zone

  • Can a VPN give me total online anonymity?

    No. It is not possible for anyone to have or give complete online anonymity.

    There’s good news, though: VPNs make it much more difficult for outside people or businesses to track your online activity.

    A reliable VPN provider will only store basic information like your email address for customer service; and won’t have access to or keep records of your online activity.

    For more details on how PureVPN handles your data, have a look at our Safe Zone.

    Visit Safe Zone

  • Will PureVPN slow down my Internet connection?

    We built PureVPN to work alongside the speed of your Amazon Fire TV Stick.

    That’s why PureVPN runs at a speed of 20Gbps – which is faster than Internet speeds available in most homes and enterprises.

  • Is it legal for me to use a VPN?

    VPNs are legal in most countries.

    There are a few countries where VPNs are 100% banned. As of October 2022, these countries are: Belarus, Iraq, North Korea, and Turkmenistan.

    In a few other countries, VPNs are restricted. As of October 2022, those countries are: China, Iran, Oman, Russia, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates.

    If you’re unsure about the use of a VPN in your country, check your local laws.

  • Can I just use a free VPN?

    Although there are free VPN options, free VPNs can track and collect your data and still leave your connection open to online threats.

    We don’t track you and we go the extra mile to make sure PureVPN is safe for everyone to use.

    The place where we store PureVPN’s source code is also protected by a Multi-Factor Authentication process.

    You can try PureVPN free for 7 days.

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    For more details on how PureVPN handles your data, have a look at our Safe Zone.

    Visit Safe Zone

  • How do I get a VPN?

    You can start using PureVPN in 3 simple steps:


    • Step 1: Choose your PureVPN plan and subscribe.
    • Step 2: Download and install the PureVPN app on your device.
    • Step 3: Open the app on your device, and click/tap the connect button.

    Enjoy your private Internet connection!

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  • How can I contact PureVPN support?

    We’re always available to help you with PureVPN.

    There are 3 quick ways you can get support for PureVPN.

    From inside the PureVPN app: Tap “Menu”, then tap “Live Chat”.

    Live Chat with our 24/7 support team

    Contact support now

    Or, visit the support center on our website.

    Visit our support center