What‌ ‌is‌ ‌a‌ ‌VPN?‌ ‌

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a service that protects your privacy and sensitive data by creating an encrypted tunnel and masking your IP address. VPNs let you use public Wi-Fi safely, hide your browsing activity, access restricted websites, etc.

what is a vpn

A Video Explanation of VPN

Using a VPN is the simplest method to secure your internet traffic and keep your online identity under wraps. After all, your communications are passed through an unbreakable tunnel that no one can look into, be it cybercriminals, governments, or internet service providers.

Benefits of Using a VPN

hide your ip address with a vpn

Switches Your Virtual Location

Your IP address tells the internet who you are and where you “live” in the world. With a VPN, you can change your IP address to any country within seconds, allowing you to browse as if you were physically there and unlock geo-restricted streaming content.

change your location

Bypasses Censorship

Are you in a country that restricts access to sites and services like Google, Facebook, and Skype? A VPN lets you browse the internet with freedom by hiding your real location and making it appear you’re elsewhere. You can also use it to sneak around firewalls at school or work.

secure your privacy with a vpn

Improves Your Security

When you connect to the internet via your ISP, the data you transmit is unencrypted and can be viewed by anyone. Using a VPN is your best bet to stay protected as all your information is encrypted and can’t be deciphered by any prying eyes.

Protects Your Privacy

Governments, advertisers, ISPs, and websites track everything you do online and use that information as they see fit without your knowledge. A VPN masks your actual identity by assigning you a shared IP address, so your internet activities can’t be linked back to you.

secure your internet with a vpn

Why Should I Use a VPN?

If you care about your privacy, using a VPN whenever you access the internet is a great idea. A VPN app or client runs in your device’s background, meaning it won’t get in the way of your online activities. Here are some scenarios in which a VPN is particularly useful:

stream without restriction with a vpn

Stream Restriction-Free

Choose a VPN server in another country and unlock geo-restricted streaming services like Netflix, HBO Max and Amazon prime from anywhere.

secure and anonymous on internet with a vpn

Download P2P Files Anonymously

Conceal your true IP address from prying eyes and download and upload P2P files with greater anonymity.

secure on public wifi with a vpn

Use Public Wi-Fi Privately

Stay protected on unsecured public Wi-Fi networks in parks, cafes, and restaurants with top-of-the-line encryption.

do better gaming

Better Gaming Experience

Unlock games early, beat price discrimination, play on different servers, and resolve high ping and lag issues.

access blocked websites

Get Around Censorship

Evade your government’s censorship efforts and access blocked websites and services in a matter of seconds.

travel safely for less with a vpn

Travel Safely & For Less

Score the best deals on flight tickets, car rentals, hotels, and secure your internet connection while abroad.

bypass isp throttling

Bypass ISP Throttling

Shield your online activities from your ISP and experience throttle-free browsing, streaming, p2p, and gaming.

stay secure from ddos attack

Avoid DDoS Attacks

Stop DDoSers from getting their hands on your real IP address and ultimately rendering your network unusable.

secure-crypto-trading-with-a-vpn

Limitless & Secure Crypto Trading

Unlock unavailable crypto exchanges and give your transactions the best protection with IP masking and encryption.

How Does a VPN Work?

Knowing how a VPN works can help you understand it better. Here’s what happens behind the scenes when you hit the Connect button. The VPN app (also known as a VPN client) on your device is authenticated with a VPN server in any country of your choice. All your traffic passes through a VPN tunnel and is encrypted using protocols, making it impossible for third parties like your ISP to read it. The VPN server gives you another IP address (thereby masking your geo-location), decrypts your traffic, and forwards it to the intended destination. Once it receives the data you requested from a web server, it’s encrypted and sent back to you. The VPN client decrypts the incoming traffic for your device.

vpn client

VPN Client

The VPN app (also known as a VPN client) on your device is authenticated with a VPN server in any country of your choice.

tunnel

VPN Tunnel

All your traffic passes through a tunnel where it’s encrypted using VPN protocols, making it impossible for third parties like your ISP to read it.

servers

VPN Server

A VPN server is a type of server (either physical or virtual) configured to host and deliver VPN services.

What Are VPN Protocols?

VPN protocols are the processes by which a device connects to a VPN server. Some are ideal for security, some are suitable for speed, and some work best in certain situations.

OpenVPN

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

L2TP

Like IKEv2, L2TP doesn’t offer any security by itself and is used in conjunction with IPSec for authentication and encryption.

PPTP

PPTP is the fastest VPN protocol, making it perfect for activities like streaming. However, it’s outdated and not recommended for the security-conscious.

IKEv2

IKEv2 is a rather new VPN protocol that’s secure, fast, and compatible with all major mobile operating systems.

IPSec

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

Wireguard

Wireguard is the latest addition in the world of VPN protocols. It’s open-source, speedy, and uses state-of-the-art cryptography.

Different Types of VPN

There are four main types of VPN available, including:

Free VPN

These are VPNs that you can use free of cost, but they come with a long list of limitations and downsides like limited server locations and collection of user data (and thus are not secure).

Personal VPN

Personal VPNs offer their services to individuals for a fee. You get all the tools you need for a secure, private, and restriction-free online experience.

Business VPN

A business VPN, also called a corporate VPN, is commonly used by remote employees to securely access their company’s internet.

Do-It-Yourself VPN

Some tech geeks create their own VPN. However, a DIY VPN lacks must-have features like shared IP addresses and servers locations in multiple countries.

How to Set Up a VPN

Setting up a VPN is not rocket science, really. All you have to do is follow these steps:

step 1 for setting up a vpn

Subscribe to PureVPN

Get yourself a PureVPN subscription.

step 2 for setting up a vpn

Download the App

Download and install the app for your device.

 step 3 for setting up a vpn

Connect to Server

Log in, select a server, and browse privately and without restrictions!

What Can I Use a VPN On?

setup vpn for different operating systems

Computers & Smartphones

Whether you have an Android phone, Windows PC, iPhone or a Mac computer, installing an app is all it takes to create a VPN connection. Just go to the respective app store to download it, log in with your account credentials, connect to the server of your choosing by hitting a button, and you are good to go

setup vpn on different browsers

Web Browsers

Adding an extension to your browser is a simple and quick way to protect your privacy online with a VPN. These are available for popular browsers such as Chrome, Firefox, and Edge, to name a few.

setup vpn on different devices

Other Devices

A VPN can also be used on smart TVs, gaming consoles, and streaming sticks and boxes. By using it on your router, you can enjoy connectivity on just about any internet-capable device.

Are There Any Disadvantages to a VPN?

Like any technology, a VPN has certain limitations as well. Some of these include:

  • Due to the encryption process, your internet speed might take a hit when connected to a VPN.
  • The anti-VPN measures used by streaming services like Netflix and Hulu are becoming stronger, which means you may have to connect to several servers before you can access the streaming platforms of your choosing.
  • If you’re a newbie, coming across terminology such as protocols and servers could confuse you.
  • Contrary to popular belief, a VPN alone doesn’t guarantee complete anonymity on the internet.

Some VPN Alternatives

Are there any alternatives to VPNs? Yes. There are other tools that can be used, but they have certain disadvantages too. These include:

Proxies

A proxy is a server that acts as a middleman between your device and the internet. However, most of them are slow and don’t provide any privacy or security.

Smart DNS

Smart DNS is a service that relies on using your Domain Name Server (DNS) to unblock geo-restricted content. Like proxies, though, your data is unencrypted.

Tor

Tor is a free network of nodes or servers that randomly move traffic between each other to hide the origin of your data. It offers excellent anonymity, but it lags behind in the speed department.

What Else Does a VPN Offer?

Not all VPNs have premium add-ons available, but some do for things like:

Dedicated IP

Enjoy instant access to IP-restricted networks, smooth (plus safe) online banking, and more via dedicated IP.

Port Forwarding

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

DDoS Protection

Stay protectedagainst unwanted DDoS attacks, no matter what their size and intensity.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Choose a VPN?

There are literally hundreds of VPNs available, which makes choosing the right one for you a complicated endeavor. To make sure you don’t subscribe to the wrong one, go through our in-depth guide to choosing a VPN service.

Can I Be Tracked If I Use a VPN?

VPNs change your IP address and encrypt your traffic, meaning it becomes challenging for ISPs and other third-parties to link your online activity back to you. Using one, you can minimize your risk of being tracked on the internet, but it also comes down to your digital literacy such as how much you share on social media or whether or not you can identify phishing links.

Why Should I Pay for a VPN?

You should pay for a VPN simply because free VPNs can’t match the service and features of a paid provider. Your experience is likely to be subpar, courtesy of over-crowded servers, poor or no security, irritating ads, and limited bandwidth.

Are VPNs Legal?

VPNs are used by companies and individuals in many countries across the world, which wouldn’t be the case if they were illegal. However, there are some countries that have outright banned VPNs, like China and Russia. It’s also important to mention that using a VPN to indulge in criminal activities will land you in legal trouble.

Will a VPN Slow Down My Internet?

A VPN can slow down your internet connection, but you’ll barely notice a difference with the right provider. In fact, a VPN might speed up your internet if your ISP throttles your traffic. Nevertheless, if your connection has slowed, take a look at these solutions to increase VPN speed.

Am I Completely Anonymous with a VPN?

NO. There’s no such thing as complete online anonymity. That said, a VPN does improve your security and privacy, making it difficult for anybody to decipher your online activities. A reliable VPN provider will only keep minimal information about you like your email address and not store logs of any kind.

Are VPNs Safe?

Absolutely. Using a VPN is entirely safe, provided that you’re using a trusted provider. The same can’t be said for free VPN apps, however, as quite a few of them have been found to contain malware. This is another reason why you should steer clear of these services.