What Does a VPN App Do & How Does It Work?

If your life revolves around the Internet, VPN is a necessity. This digital security tool is right up there with antivirus software and firewalls.

Probably, everyone has heard or knows of VPNs. But not many are aware of what all this tool can do and how it accomplishes them. So, here’s a crash course for you on all things VPN. 

What Is The Meaning Of A VPN?

The letters’ VPN’ stands for virtual private network. VPN is an encrypted tunnel between a network and your device.

By encoding all of your web traffic and IP address, the tool hides everything you do online in unreadable code so you can browse the Internet completely anonymously. 

What Does A VPN Actually Do?

A VPN application connects your computer or phone to the VPN service. You will need to configure your connection, select a server and virtual location, and access your VPN’s advanced features. 

It is essential to select a reliable VPN application because this can make or break your anonymity and digital security.

What Do VPNs Hide?

The encrypted tunnel essentially hides the following essential categories of information:

  • IP addresses – VPNs encrypt IP addresses, which is the market identifying your device and its location. Disguising the IP address makes it difficult, if not impossible, for third parties to track your online activities. 
  • Browsing activity – The VPN hides all online behaviors, which means nobody can see what you are doing or where you are going online. Additionally, the tool encrypts all information that you send and receive online. So, whether you upload confidential files and documents from home to the organization’s network or check your bank accounts, you can rest easy knowing it is secure and safe. 

How Does A VPN Work?

You’ve heard a lot about how VPNs protect your privacy online and let you surf the web anonymously. But do you know how they accomplish these things? 

VPNs create an encrypted tunnel or connection between your device and the remote service you are connected to.

This ensures the secure and safe transfer of data. Once you have established the connection, this is how your data will be transmitted via an encrypted tunnel:

  • The VPN app on your device encrypts the data traffic and sends it to the VPN server via a secure connection. The data goes through the ISP or Internet Service Provider, but it gets scrambled because of the encryption. Therefore, the ISP cannot decipher the data. 
  • The encrypted data from your device is decrypted by the VPN server. Then, the data is sent to the Internet and receives a reply meant for the user, which is you. 
  • Again, the VPN encrypts the Internet traffic and sends it back to you. The VPN application on your device decrypts the data so you can understand what it says and use it. 

VPN applications run in the background and don’t interfere with anything else that might be active on your device.

This is a tool that simply adds an extra layer of protection to your Internet connection. When you are using this digital security tool, you can safely connect to public Wi-Fi networks and complete your Internet-related tasks. 

What Is The meaning Of VPN Tunneling?

The process of safeguarding your device’s connection with a VPN server is called VPN tunneling. Before the data is sent over the web, it is split into multiple pockets.

At the VPN tunneling’s core is the process known as encapsulation, and this wraps an outer pocket around the original data pocket so that it is encrypted and cannot be intercepted by cyber attackers. 

The protection received when using a VPN application is based on the tunneling protocol used. Also, it depends on whether you are using split or full tunneling.

The difference between them is defined by the traffic that goes through the VPN. A split tunnel sends only the traffic you or your employee wants to protect, while a full tunnel sends all the data through an encrypted VPN tunnel. 

How Do The VPN Servers Operate?

Once the secured VPN tunnel is established, your device will send the VPN server the protected information, like a website you want to visit. The server decrypts this, masks your IP address, and sends the data to the site’s server.

To the website you are visiting, your IP address will appear to be attached to the VPN server. Then, the server encrypts the data sent back to the Internet server and sends it to you.

When the site’s data arrives back at your computer or mobile device, your VPN client will decrypt the data. 

Is It Safe To Use A VPN?

An essential factor to consider is VPN safety. Your web traffic is redirected and runs through the servers of your selected VPN provider.

Therefore, the VPN service provider you choose will be able to see everything you do if it doesn’t have proper privacy policies in place. 

Hence, it is essential to select a trusted VPN provider that doesn’t keep logs of user data. VPNs with a strict no-logs policy are your best bet.

This ensures your data isn’t shared with third parties, and also, the VPN provider doesn’t keep any logs of your data. 

However, several VPN providers are indulging in shady privacy practices, and you must be aware of them. These providers are also known to sell data to advertisers.

This is particularly true of VPNs offering free services. They are not safe because they don’t have the required security options and even abuse IP addresses by assigning them to someone else. 

The best way to choose a reliable VPN provider is to do your due diligence. You must invest a lot of time and effort in conducting independent research before you start using a VPN. 

The Bottom Line 

Now you know what a VPN is and how it works. So, it is high time you include VPN as part of your digital security measures. This will maintain your online privacy and security. 



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