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What is a VPN and What does It Do?

Last updated on October 19th, 2023 at 07:11 pm

We share a lot online without realizing it. 

This includes the information we visit on websites, the posts we make on social media and the files we download. 

This is a summary of our internet exposure.

It is important to remember that the majority of internet traffic is sent via unsecured connections. 

This makes it possible for anyone to access any information they need, even if they don’t want to.

If data are collected and material is censored, people may feel censorship.

There is an easy solution: a VPN can secure your data. 

You can protect your online activities from prying eyes by using a VPN. How do VPNs work? 

This guide will explain what a VPN is and how it works. 

It will also provide tips on how to test for potential leaks.

VPN Definition

VPN (virtual private network) is a secure connection that connects the internet to your device. 

Online identities and traffic are encrypted. 

You can surf safely online without worrying about interference or third-party control.

Why Do We Need a VPN?

A virtual private network (VPN service) is necessary to protect your data from prying eyes. 

Your information could have been stolen if you were on the road, accessed your bank accounts while in the banking lounge, or opened your email while eating out. 

Any data sent over a public or unpaid WiFi network can be intercepted and used by other users.

A VPN service offers many benefits, including anonymity and encryption. 

This will help you protect your online activities like shopping online, checking emails, and paying your bills. 

VPNs can help protect your data by keeping your web surfing anonymous.

What Does a VPN Do?

Virtual private networks (VPNs) hide your real IP address and encrypt your internet connection. How does it work in practice?

Your IP address is hidden by your Internet Service Provider (ISP). A virtual private network, or VPN, hides your internet activities and search history. 

Only the VPN server sees encrypted data.

VPNs allow you to change your virtual location by connecting with a server in another nation. 

This allows you to access local content that might not be available in your area (e.g. US Netflix if it’s outside the United States).

No-logs VPNs allow you to torrent and join P2P networks, without any tracking.

How Does VPN Actually Work?

Although it may seem daunting to use a VPN, it is actually quite simple.

Your traffic goes through the VPN provider’s servers first before it can connect to the internet. It then goes straight to the server hosting it.

Your IP address is replaced by the VPN’s when you connect to a VPN.

All traffic sent through the VPN server is encrypted from this point onwards. 

This transforms all your data into a code that restricts the access. 

Even if someone captures your messages they won’t understand them.

You can imagine driving down the highway in your convertible to understand how VPNs work. 

Satellites can see all we do from the sky, but your internet service provider (ISP), websites, and servers that you connect to will have unencrypted access to your traffic. 

A VPN encrypts traffic so only you can access it – just like if you were driving around with your top-up in your convertible.

A tunnel is the best way to hide your movements from prying eyes. A VPN will hide the tunnel exit from others.

When you type a domain name (web address) into your browser, the resolution process starts immediately. 

For example, “itsmything.com”, for instance. The DNS (domain names system) is a telephone book that matches text-based website addresses with IP addresses associated to a website’s servers. 

You could be tracked by DNS requests to see what websites you visit.

VPNs can help you protect yourself from hackers, ISPs, and large corporations. 

DNS requests, such as when you enter a website address, will appear to be coming from the VPN service and not from you. 

If you connect to a VPN, your ISP won’t be able to see what you do online.

What are the Different Types Of VPN Protocols?

VPN protocols, which are basically rules that govern how data is transmitted over VPNs, can be summarized as follows: 

The most popular protocols are SSTP, PPTP, IKEV2, L2TP, and OpenVPN. Here is a quick overview of each protocol:


PPTP was created by Microsoft and is one of the oldest protocols currently in use.

It’s easy to set it up and it works with older computers.

Reminder: PPTP may not be the best option today. 

Security standards have improved and changed since the protocol was first created. 

PPTP is therefore less secure than other options. 

Look elsewhere if a VPN provider offers only this option.


The L2TP/IPsec protocol works in principle, and it uses keys to secure data tunnel security at each end. 

However, execution is a problem. Moreover, IPsec does not improve security. 

There are numerous reports that the NSA can break this protocol and view transmitted information. 

However, these reports are not verified. It should be obvious that there is some truth to these reports.

It’s more secure than PPTP, and is available on all devices.


SSTP is the latest type of VPN created by Microsoft. It uses SSL/TLS encryption for connection establishment. 

Symmetric-key cryptography is the key to this technology’s strength. 

It allows only the two parties involved in data transfer access to decryption keys.

It is not available on Windows Vista Server 2008 or later. If properly configured, it is very secure.


IKEv2 is another Microsoft-created protocol. 

It is an upgrade to Microsoft’s existing protocols and is significantly more secure. 

It is the most current standard and works well when properly implemented. 

The protocol has an easy-to-use interface that allows for customization. 

This protocol can be used to reconnect your connection if it is lost because your router or home network is overburdened. 

It also works if your connection has been disrupted due to insufficient bandwidth or a faulty connection.

It is faster and more secure that SSTP.


OpenVPN combines the strengths and weaknesses of many protocols to create a unique hybrid. 

OpenVPN uses SSL/TLS to its foundation. 

It also benefits from the power of open-source projects which allow it to draw on hundreds of regular developers who are constantly improving it. 

OpenVPN uses keys that are only accessible to the devices at either end of transmission. 

This protocol is the best in terms of protection and versatility.

OpenVPN is a secure protocol that’s accessible on all devices. 

Although it can be difficult to set up, it is very reliable once it is.

Most VPNs allow you to choose which protocol to use. 

Your entire session will be safer if you choose a more secure protocol (OpenVPN or IKEv2).

Although all devices can theoretically use these protocol, there will be some limitations. 

Microsoft products are more compatible with each other, while Apple devices might have trouble connecting. 

L2TP/IPsec, for example, is the preferred protocol for iPhones. 

As anyone who has connected Android devices will tell you, they don’t always work well together.

VPN for Personal Use

Virtual Private Networks, also known as VPNs, are not only useful for business purposes but can also be used to protect your personal information. 

It protects your online activity from being tracked and allows you to access geo-restricted content. 

VPN services will hide your IP address and geographic location. 

You can find many different providers, each offering its own unique benefits and features. 

Before choosing a provider, consider factors such as encryption level and speed.

What Are the Different Types Of VPNs?

VPNs are essential tools for both business and personal users. 

There are many types of VPNs available for security. 

We’ll be discussing three types in this article.

Remote Access VPNs

Remote-access VPNs can be used to access private networks. 

One example would be an employee who requires access to company intranet while on vacation but can’t connect due to restricted connectivity or firewall problems at their host machine or between their device to the company’s servers.

Site to-Site VPNs

Companies with remote employees or multiple offices can benefit from a site-to-site VPN. 

These individuals can securely connect to their company network and share files and data with other employees.


A VPLS (layer 2 VPN) uses MPLS to create a point-to multipoint topology. 

This is a method service providers use to provide customers with a secure, private network connection. 

This private, secure network helps large businesses remain connected. 

VPLS makes use of existing infrastructure such as the internet to connect multiple sites quickly, reliably, and efficiently.

There is a VPN that can help you increase your privacy, security, and access to geo-restricted content. 

There are many VPNs available, so it is important to find the one that suits you best.

The Benefits of Using A VPN

You will enjoy many benefits from a VPN service, such as:

It prevents your ISP from seeing your online activity

This will make it harder for the government to monitor you on a large scale. 

Websites cannot see your IP address or any information about your internet provider. 

They can only see the IP address of the VPN server. 

This is what many VPN users use to protect their identities.

Unfortunately, ISPs often keep logs of your activities, which they can use later to identify you and then charge you for. 

Many VPN services do not have such a policy. 

Many privacy-focused VPN companies even go so far as to erase all connection logs. 

They do this to ensure that they don’t have any connection logs that could be used to connect customers to their online activities.

It encrypts your IP address so that other websites cannot see it.

Your Internet Protocol address (IP) is what identifies your online identity. 

Your actual IP address changes when you connect to a VPN. 

This makes it harder for websites to identify your identity.

Your IP address, which is the unique number that is assigned to your device from a server over the internet, is what you see online. 

This protects your privacy online and makes it harder for advertisers to target you with targeted ads.

It’s possible to use it to subvert government censorship.

A VPN is a great way to get around the internet censorship laws in countries like China. 

You can connect to a server located in another country to bypass government restrictions and gain access to the internet without restriction.

If your ISP has placed bandwidth throttling restrictions on your internet connection, a VPN may be able to help. 

It is common to prevent users from downloading large files or streaming videos. 

These restrictions can be bypassed by connecting to a VPN server located in another country. 

This will allow you to get maximum speed.

Watch Content from Different Streaming Services

You can access streaming services from other countries via a virtual private network (VPN), regardless of your location. 

Connect to a VPN server from another country to appear to be there.

You might not realize the potential benefits of a VPN server connection. 

Did you know that a US-based VPN server can allow you to access Netflix content that is otherwise blocked? Netflix’s American version has more TV shows and movies than any other country’s. 

This is why streaming with Netflix via a VPN has become so popular.

A VPN can be used to access Netflix content that is not available in your area, such as YouTube videos. 

You can pretend you are in another country to access the video you desire.

Protects you from Cybercriminals

Online security is something you can’t ignore, especially when you use public WiFi. 

While free WiFi can be convenient, it can also expose you to cyber threats

VPNs (virtual private networks) are able to protect your data by encrypting it when you use public WiFi. 

Even if someone were to steal your data, they won’t be able read it.

VPNs will protect you against government or ISP surveillance. 

A VPN service that is of high quality will encrypt your traffic so that only you can see it.

Protects you from being tracked when using P2P torrents.

A good VPN service is essential if you are a torrenter or use P2P file sharing. 

A VPN not only protects your identity and keeps your activities private, but also prevents others from spying on you. 

When you use a VPN for torrenting, your IP address is hidden from peers downloading the same torrents. 

This also protects you from malicious attackers looking to steal your information or compromise your system.

Torrenting is a great way of downloading movies, music and other files quickly and efficiently, but it’s important to do this safely. 

VPNs will ensure that your connection is secure and encrypted so that no one can monitor what you are doing online.

Which VPN provider is best for you? How do you choose the right one?

It can be difficult to choose the right VPN provider for you among the many available. These are some key points to consider:

Security Vs. Cost

The amount of security a VPN service provides is often directly proportional to its price. 

Most users will find a reliable and affordable VPN provider that provides excellent service for between $4.99-12.99 per month. 

While researching VPN providers is not the scope of this article, it is worth reading reviews and choosing a provider that has a track record of protecting users. 

Reddit user, who was very helpful, even created a comprehensive listing of all the available VPN providers.

No log Vs

This topic is fraught with confusion. Do logs make sense? You have two choices: not having logs or having them. 

Providers are distinguished by whether they keep records of user activity and data. You gain anonymity if they don’t. 

If they do, these records could be used to track you down if someone puts in the effort.

IP Sharing

IP sharing refers to multiple users using the same IP address. Some providers allow multiple users to share one IP address. 

If this happens, it can make it more difficult to identify the user as a result of the many surfers using the same IP address. 

This extra level of protection is offered by some service providers.

Server Location

It’s easy for people to believe that the internet has no physical wires because of how often they use it. 

For these situations, a VPN site with a wide range of options is a great option. 

For example, if you live in Kansas and want to stream UK content, make sure your provider has servers both on the US and London coasts. 

Depending on the content you require, it might also be important to check server location. 

If you require an IP address from Japan, ensure your provider allows you to connect there.

Number Of Servers

A service’s number of servers can be a significant factor. 

A service that has more servers means they are more likely to be near you. 

This often leads to faster speeds. You also have more options to navigate around geo-restrictions. 

You won’t get crammed onto too many servers, which can slow down your connection speeds.

Unbounded accessibility

Make sure you have a VPN provider that can handle multiple devices. 

There are many providers that limit the number of devices you can connect at once. 

This varies from one supplier to another, but can be anywhere between two and six devices. 

There are also different options for connecting to different devices. 

Before you sign up for a VPN service, make sure to check the number of devices that it allows. 

Most providers let you connect five devices at most.

IP Leaking

The best way to test a VPN service is with a free trial. 

Join up, then tunnel in and go to this site. This will inform you if you have an IP leak. 

This means that your real location is being exposed. 

You should consider switching to a more secure VPN service if your ISP or physical address is displayed on this page.


Let’s take a look at how the software works. Is it easy to use? It is easy to change between locations. 

It is it simple to change the location where your VPN tunnels are located? 

Although you may not use your VPN software often, it is comforting to know that you can access it when you need it.

Does My VPN Work?

You can contact your provider to verify that your VPN is on or conduct a test to determine if your IP has changed. 

Go to WhatIsMyIP.com to compare your VPN provider’s IP address with the one on the site. If they match then all is well. 

If not, contact your VPN provider or check your connection for assistance.

What is a VPN leak and how does it happen?

When your VPN leaks personally identifiable information (PII), it is called a ‘leak’. 

This refers to your IP address or DNS records, as well as your geographical region.

Leaks, on the other hand, expose you to hackers as they reveal your identity to your ISP and government. 

A leaking VPN is therefore useless.

VPNs understand that you want this information to be protected, and they set themselves accordingly. 

Most VPN protocols are not privacy-oriented.

By default, protocols send DNS queries to the designated servers. 

They can leak IPv4 traffic if they have to be reconnected and they often are completely unaware of IPv6 traffic. 

These issues are the only way to ensure security.

Types Of VPN Leaks

IP address leaks: If your VPN fails to hide your IP address using one of its own, IP addresses are exposed. 

This is a serious privacy issue because your ISP and all websites you visit can link your activities back to yours.

DNS Leaks:

Your VPN should send DNS queries to its DNS servers. 

DNS leaks occur when your VPN sends your DNS queries to your ISP’s DNS servers instead of yours. 

This can expose your surfing habits as well as any websites you visit that are monitored by other snoopers. 

Our tool will help you identify which servers are being used.

WebRTC Leaks:

WebRTC can find your IP address even if you have a VPN enabled. 

The best VPNs will block WebRTC requests to avoid this problem.

IPv6 Leaks:

IP leaks: IPV6 is an IP address that very few VPNs support. 

If you are on an IPv6 enabled network security, your IPv6 address could be used to expose it.

How do you test for VPN leaks?

It is essential to protect your privacy online. One way to do this is to regularly check your VPN for potential leaks.

It is important to keep in mind that creating a privacy solution such as a VPN can be complicated. 

Many factors need to be considered, much like Windows’s operating system. 

It can lead to problems when VPN connections are broken if even one of the elements related to third-party apps, internet browsers, firewalls, or other web browsers is not considered.

These are the top tips to make sure your VPN is not leaking.

You can download and install VPN software, but securing the connection requires more effort. 

You will need to have the technical knowledge and skills necessary to properly test security.

Anyone can access the internet and find a website that detects leaks in DNS, IP addresses, and WebRTC. 

Although no site can detect all types of leaks accurately, they are useful for those who don’t have the technical knowledge or experience.

It is easy to check for active VPN leaks. 

After you have turned on your VPN, visit a testing site online. This site will run a series test to determine if there are any leaks.

The next step after your VPN has started is to cut off the connection. 

You can either unplug the Ethernet cord or kill the WiFi signal to do this. 

After that, wait 10 seconds before reconnecting to check for leaks. 

These tests will reveal if there are DNS, IP addresses, or WebRTC leaks. While this test isn’t foolproof, it is better than no test. 

Although this method will not give you an exact answer to your security, it will provide a starting point without the need for additional tests.

How to Fix a DNS Leak

It is important to be aware of IP, DNS, and WRTC VPN leaks. 

They can expose your online privacy. There are a few simple steps you can take to avoid these types of leaks.

1. A VPN with DNS leak protection is recommended.

2. Configure your operating system so that you can use a secure DNS server.

3. A VPN service should offer IPv6 leak protection.

4. Regularly test your VPN for leaks.

5. Make sure your firmware and software are up-to-date. You should run a leak test if you suspect you might have an IP, DNS, or WRTC VPN problem.

There are many online leak testers that can help you find any leaks. 

You can fix the leakage problem once you have identified it.

Will a VPN Slow Down My Internet Connections?

It is difficult to know for certain. While most VPN services will experience some slowdown, it is not usually noticeable if the provider is reputable.

A VPN can help speed up your Internet service provider’s speeds. 

Top-level bandwidth is available from Tier-1 providers to provide the best VPN services. 

The farther you connect to a server, the more noticeable the speed differences you will see.

Is it legal to use a VPN?

Some people may find it strange that the internet does not have a single authority to regulate it. 

Before you sign up for a VPN, make sure that it is legal in your country.

Some countries have strict regulations regarding internet usage, like the United Arab Emirates (UAE). 

You could face fines up to $500k if you are caught using a VPN service in the UAE.

China has just passed a law restricting the use of unapproved VPN service providers, as many would guess. 

This law is intended to “control” illegal cross-border operations by VPNs. 

While we all know that it is just another extension to China’s Great Firewall and not a new one, the government insists they are doing something special.

You could be fired or suspended if you try to circumvent your company’s firewall of censorship by using a VPN.

Why are VPNs Illegal in Certain Countries?

This question is still unanswered. 

Based on current observations, VPN ban countries often have a stronger grip on their citizens’ lives. 

These countries can monitor all digital movements of their citizens more easily by banning VPNs.

There are three main reasons.

1. Moral Reasons (e.g. Singapore)

2. Political Stability (e.g. Jordan, Libya)

3. National Security (examples: India, Russia).

4. These are the major problems that all of the above-mentioned countries face (North Korea, China).

The Drawbacks of Using a VPN

  • It is possible for your internet connection to become slow. You must protect your data and send it via VPN servers, which might be located far from you. NordVPN, an ultrafast service, can reduce the impact of such slow speeds.
  • Although some VPNs might not work with all sites, the best VPNs are fast replacing blocked servers. These sites are unable to keep up with demand.
  • Even if VPNs are free or inexpensive, they may still collect personal data. There’s always the possibility that your data will be kept by VPN providers because it travels through their servers. This danger can be reduced by ensuring that your VPN provider has a strict no-logs policy, and that they aren’t located anywhere where data disclosure is required. To see how your data will be handled, make sure you read the privacy policy.
  • VPNs may be blocked in certain countries, such as China, Turkey, or Iraq. However, it is possible to still use them if the authorities are willing to allow you to do so. Before using VPNs, make sure you check the laws in your area. It is possible to be hacked. It is possible that your data could be intercepted as it passes through the VPN server. Although this is rare, it does happen. If you use a cheap VPN service that has weak security features, this is more likely to occur.
  • Although free VPNs are readily available, they often have limited features and pose higher security risks. A great VPN is available for less than $10 per month. It offers many benefits and is well worth the price. Even with a VPN you may still be in legal trouble for downloading copyrighted materials.
  • VPNs that are free or inexpensive may log your personal data. You are at risk of your data being stored on a VPN provider’s servers. You can prevent this from happening by choosing a VPN provider that has a zero-logs policy. Also, make sure the company is not based in a country that requires businesses to share customer information. To find out how your data will be used, make sure you read the privacy statement.
  • VPNs may be banned in certain countries. You could be in trouble if you use a VPN from an illegal country. VPN use in countries such as China, Turkey, or Iraq is forbidden. Before you proceed, make sure to verify that a VPN is allowed in your region. Your data could be compromised. This is not a common occurrence, but it could happen. Your data could be intercepted as it passes through the VPN server. If you are using a low-cost VPN that has weak security features, this is likely to happen more often. To decrease
  • Low-quality VPNs offer a limited number of servers and IP addresses. Each server has a number of users, so each user’s IP address will appear the same. You may have your IP address blocked by different sites if someone is bad while using VPN. In other words, you could be held responsible for the bad acts of someone else. This situation can be avoided by using a VPN that has dedicated IP addresses.
  • It is not possible to install a VPN on all devices. You might not be able to find applications that work on older platforms or with operating systems that aren’t as popular. These cases will require you to manually set up the VPN, which can prove difficult.

Is my VPN Service Vulnerable to Being Blocked?

Some countries are now blocking VPN services to block access to blocked websites. 

Even though they cannot decrypt the data VPN blocks in these countries have been observed to block VPN access by blocking access to ports commonly used by VPN methods.

One example of China’s many ways to protect the public is through monitoring all information systems.

Are You Looking for the BFnetwest VPNs?

Here is a quick overview of the top choices in the VPN market.

NordVPN This powerful option comes with military-grade security features, and a strict no logs policy.

ExpressVPN Fast and reliable VPN service with strong security features. You can get a 30-day guarantee.

Surfshark A low-cost VPN that offers advanced security and an intuitive interface.

CyberGhost An easy-to-use VPN that offers good security and a guarantee of a refund within 45 days.

IPVanish A reliable and fast VPN with strong security features.

Hotspot Shield Fast and reliable VPN service with a guarantee of 45 days.

It can be hard to choose the right VPN. We hope that this list will help you make an informed decision. 

Before signing up for any VPN service, make sure you read the privacy and terms of service.

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