What is VPN and why do I need it?

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Internet is now very popular because of its irresistible features. It has been accepted massively as the only medium of fast communication, transferring of data in a fraction of seconds, free of cost entertainment and such other qualities has made it necessary for every human to have it.

VPN

Previously internet connection to a particular network was provided through leased lines. Leased lines gained fame due to their enhanced secure services but they were too costly. Today, leased line connections are replaced by a revolutionary approach known as Virtual Private Network (VPN).

VPN facilitates users to enjoy the full fledged features of internet without even being physically connected such as in large business organizations (an employee can work from any place other than that of the office) and University Campuses (a student can access resource anytime he/she wants) it has really proved very helpful.

What is VPN after all?

Virtual Private Network widely known as VPN can be thought of as a private network, as the name suggests, a network of several computers or a network of networks connected together.  Within a VPN any computer acting as a host can send and receive data to all the computers present in a network.

VPN administers with all the functionalities of a normal private network. In a VPN a virtual point-to-point connection is established using encryption and other dedicated mechanisms.

You create a VPN client on your computer whenever you are connected to a VPN. Once you and your server exchange the trusted keys with each other, a secure connection is established, preventing from any kind of security breach. Most importantly a VPN secures the information transmitted via a network through encryption.

Who all need a VPN and why?

You need a VPN simply because you need to send or receive data and access resources from those systems which are out of your reach physically. A VPN not only lets you exchange information throughout a network but also enhances this exchange of info with a secure channel.

Now who all needs to use VPN is actually based on the certain categories represented as follows:

  • Students/professionals: Students/Professionals frequently need to access the resources from their school or college or company’s data, being anywhere at home or while travelling. During such circumstances having a VPN helps a lot in fulfilling their task smoothly without even being present at that particular place.

  • Frequent Downloader: VPNs are safe to satisfy the desire of downloading for downloaders either legally or illegally.

  • Private communicators: For these people privacy is the most sensitive issue to be taken care of. Hence, VPN is the best solution for these kinds of people as they “feel at home” while communicating in an encrypted network.

  • Traveler: VPN provides anything they want like watching a football match, favorite TV shows, surfing, reading news and current affairs, listening to radio, downloading new applications etc all under one roof without any geographical limitations.

  • Others:  You may be the one belonging to all the categories stated above or belonging to none of the above even though you can benefit from VPN.  Rather than using an untrusted connection of others like Wi-Fi you should opt for VPN. It provides security as well as the same feel of being connected to a private Internet network.

What all are required for a perfect VPN?

A perfect VPN will give the feel of being a King or so as it has speed, bandwidth, anonymity and above all security. VPN is all set to suit the needs of every specimen be it an occasional user, a regular downloader, a secure communicator and so on.

Following stuffs are a must for a perfect VPN:

  • Protocol: For transferring data within a network VPN uses a concept called tunneling. Tunneling simply refers to encapsulating a protocol within a protocol. It allows encrypting the connections over the protocols and hence ensuring a safe communication. VPN makes sure that even if the data sent over the network are traceable, they remain as it is in their encrypted form.

VPN allows secure internet protocols namely:

  • IPSec (Internet Protocol Security),
  • SSL/TLS (secure socket layer/transport layer security),
  • PPTP (Point to point tunneling protocol),
  • L2TP (layer 2 tunneling protocol),
  • DTLS (Datagram Transport Layer Protocol),
  • MPPE (Microsoft Point to Point Encryption),
  • SSTP (Secure Socket tunneling Protocol),
  • Open SSH (Secure Shell).

Big Corporate and other such entities dealing with large amount of exchange of sensitive data offshore must use SSL and IPSec protocols while others may use PPTP and L2TP.

Sever Locations

Another important point to be volunteered is of server location. A VPN must have servers in more than one location. Suppose you are having a VPN of US based; but obviously it going to follow the terms and conditions of US Law. But you need to use it in location other than that of US based VPN then you have to have a VPN having server accessed in other locations also.

Logs

Once you are connected to a VPN, you are safe from eavesdropping of your data from outer world but the systems within your VPN can log your data if desired so. If you are not comfortable with this, then before signing for the VPN check for the logging policies of the provider.

Apps for mobile

Go for the VPN connection which can secure your laptop and mobile at the same time and in the same connection. Never think of signing two different VPNs for securing more than one devices.

Malware detection

Having a secured VPN connection is not enough to protect your integrity from vulnerabilities. Make sure that you are using HTTPS and be careful while downloading the contents from the websites. Many VPN providers does provide anti-malware and anti-spyware scanners that checks for the viruses and Trojans, choose those providers only.

There are some free VPN providers as well as paid. Free VPN providers may flood your websites with ads. Also they may monitor the behavior of your surfing and display ads related to that. They even don’t fulfill the privacy requirements as per the commitment.

In case of paid VPN providers you can expect a lot more. They ensure high privacy level along with minimal display of ads as they are getting paid for that. However you should keep in mind the above points of consideration before choosing a VPN provider.

Switching off to a virtual private network connection is a good idea as it is very much beneficial in terms of use and mobility.

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Vishal Gaikar

Article by Vishal

I am Vishal Gaikar, Software Engineer, Web Addicted, Living in Maharashtra, India. If you like This post, you can follow Tricks Machine on Twitter, also you can add me on Google+.

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