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What is a VPN and How Does It Work? A Beginners Guide

Today, most of the websites you visit collect your cookies.

Now, these cookies can be used to analyze your online behavior, follow your digital footprints, and track your location without your consent.

Without any doubt, you need a tool that can help keep your online activities anonymous while you take back control of your privacy.

In fact, according to a survey by CISCO, 86% of people reported they care about data privacy and want more control. Look, your online privacy is very important because today, most of us use the internet to work from home, attend online classes, and bank online.

When you connect to the internet through a VPN server, you can hide your online activities from prying eyes.

And this is why you need to know how a VPN works.

In this article, I will take you through what a VPN is and how it works.

Let’s begin.

What is a VPN?

A virtual private network provides you with an opportunity of browsing privately.

It acts as a middleman between you and the internet. In return, a VPN presents you with a secure, encrypted connection anytime you browse the web.

Plus, a virtual point network ensures that your online activity is restricted from anyone trying to snoop around. It does this by simply masking your IP address with one of the shared IP addresses which helps you be anonymous and untraceable.

A shared IP address gives you a little more anonymity. Unlike a dedicated VPN IP address which can be used to follow your digital footprints because you are the only one using that unique IP address.

Furthermore, with a VPN, you can unblock internationally restricted content on streaming platforms. In a nutshell, Once you have the VPN client installed in your system, you will have a secured device and access to global content safely.

How does a VPN Work?

Well, once you install a VPN client on your device, your transmission is taken through a complex process.

Don’t fret just yet, all this happens in the background and you won’t even notice it.

So here is how this process goes…

First, the VPN client software encrypts all your traffic and pushes them to the VPN server through a secure tunnel. It’s important to note that data will go through your ISP but appear totally gibberish to them.

Once your encrypted data reaches the VPN server, it’s decrypted and sent to the intended destination on the internet.

After the website replies to your query, your data is then encrypted again and sent back to you. After which, the VPN client on your device decrypts the data so that your device can read and make sense of it.

This combination of an encrypted tunnel and the VPN servers ensures that your online activities are safe and secure from prying eyes.

Types of VPNs

Without any doubt, different needs require different types of protection.

Fortunately, many VPNs work directly with the default settings of an operating system such as Windows, Mac OS, iOS, and Android.

Obviously, this ensures that every app that connects to the internet from your devices such as browsers, banking apps, or social media apps is secured. Since there are many different setups to choose from, here are the two main types.

Site-to-site VPN

In simple terms, these are private networks designed to hide private intranets.

Site-to-site VPN is configured separately for both networks and allows users to securely access each other’s resources.

In addition, it’s one of the cheapest methods to merge a single intranet and the most effective way for communication between large departments.

Remote Access VPN

A remote access VPN is a temporary encrypted connection between a business’s data center and you.

On the other hand, it allows users to connect to another network, whether it’s on the internet or their company’s internal system. This happens through a private encryption tunnel.

In a nutshell, remote access VPN is primarily used by businesses to securely access applications and data in a central hub via a VPN tunnel.

Why do you Need a VPN?

Now that you know how a VPN works, here are 3 reasons why you need one.

1. Security on Public Wi-Fi

We come across public WiFi networks almost everywhere today.

After all, they are free and connect to the internet easily.

In fact, according to a survey by HighspeedInternet, 47% of people say they use public Wi-Fi regularly. But public WiFi is a convenience that comes at the expense of our security and safety online.

Here’s what I mean, anytime you connect to these open networks, obviously, you are not the only person connected to them. This means that anybody with bad intent can be tracking your online activities.

When you use a VPN to access this public WiFi, your data will be encrypted and nobody on these networks can track you.

2. Data Privacy From Your ISP

You might feel safe because you are connected to your home WiFi but you are not free from your internet service provider.

Your ISP can collect your data and sell it to third parties, not to mention that if your personal information lands in the wrong hands, you will practically be doomed. But with a VPN, you will totally be out of your ISP’s radar.

3. Data Privacy From the Apps and Services You Use

Sadly, your internet service provider isn’t your only potential liability.

Many of your favorite apps are collecting and using your data without your consent and this is more reason why you should know how a VPN works so that you use it.

Virtual point networks will prevent apps and websites from collecting your data. Moreover, a VPN will also mask your IP address and hide your location.


Today, internet privacy is a myth if you are browsing the internet freely.

Having said that, nobody should collect or use your data without your consent. And if you learn how to use a VPN, you can avoid this.

By subscribing to a VPN service, you will actually hide your online identity and online activities from your internet service provider (ISP), government bodies, and the websites you visit.

Moreover, a virtual point network ensures that you have a secure private experience when you are using the internet.

This is why In this article I have discussed what a VPN is and how it works. With a VPN you can circumvent censorship and geo-location blocks.

Make sure you keep safe by signing up for one.