How Do VPNs Work?

VPNs have become an increasingly popular way for internet users to keep
personal information safe when browsing the net. While the purpose of the technology has
increasingly well understood among the majority of internet users, how the VPN actually
remains a mystery to many. In part, this is because most of the major VPN companies have
done such
an excellent job of making their services straightforward and easy to use. This means that
technical settings which once required heavy study by VPN users are no longer seen by the
majority of people.

However, having at least a basic understanding of the tech that sits behind a
VPN network can help
users to get more out of the service that they are paying for. This article will explain how
work in the simplest terms possible, assisting the users in understanding what they are
paying for
and how it is helping to keep their personal information safe.


What Happens on Your Computer

Usually, when you visit a website, your internet service provider (ISP)
creates a connection between
your computer and the server that hosts the website that you wish to access. This means that
sorts of personal information about you and your computer are exposed to the website that
you are
browsing. Even if the internet connection that you are using is ‘secure’ (usually indicated
by a
padlock shown somewhere on your browser), this doesn’t mean that you are browsing the
anonymously. In fact, a lot of information is collected from you, from your location and the
websites you have visited before to your IP address (basically an identifier for your
connection); this is exposed to every website that you visit while you are browsing the

This may not sound like a significant problem, but many websites and
advertising networks use this
information to keep track of individuals and their browsing habits. The websites that you
visit tell
a very detailed story about who you are and what you are interested in. By working this
backward, advertising networks such as Google and Facebook are able to build a very detailed
of people and serve targeted ads to them based on this information. If you have ever
wondered why an
ad served to you while you were browsing the internet seemed so spookily appropriate, it is
because an advertising network somewhere has been keeping an eye on you and your IP address
as you
have gone from one website to another.

A VPN changes all this by masking your IP address, location, and all the
other personal information
that you usually expose when you are browsing the net. They do this by routing all of your
traffic through a server that they own. This server doesn’t have to be in the same city or
as you. In fact, many people specifically use VPNs in order to make it look as though they
located in another country.

When you are using a VPN, any website that you connect to will see
the IP address, location, and all
the other details of the server that you are using, rather than your own computer. This
means that
websites and ad networks will not be able to track you and your browsing history by using an
address. In general, you will be assigned a different IP address every time that you connect
to a
VPN server, and if you really want to make sure that you cannot be tracked while you browse
the web,
it may well be worth selecting a different VPN server every time that you connect to the
Many of the big VPN companies have dozens of servers located in cities all
the world. If you select a different server each time you log on or simply make sure that
remember to change servers every day or so, it will be much more difficult for your activity
to be


How to Get the Most Out of a VPN

The simplest way to use a VPN is to download an app to your computer, cell phone, or another
These apps route all traffic from that particular device through the VPN server. However, other
devices on your network will not benefit from this protection. This means that you will have to
up the VPN individually on every device that is connected to the network. This may not even be
possible on devices such as games consoles and connected TVs that do not allow their users to
install custom software.

The best way around this problem is to set up your VPN at the router level. This is more
involved than simply using an app on an individual device, but most VPN operators provide
easy-to-follow instructions on their websites that allow users to set this up. It’s also a
process; once you have set up VPN access at the router level, you will not have to repeat the

This process works by sending all of the traffic that leaves your network to the VPN server of
choice. This provides all of the same protections that you would be able to enjoy if you
to a VPN using an app on your computer. Some VPN companies make it easy for you to change which
server you are connected to by using their app on your computer or cell phone in the same way
you would if you were connecting to the server directly from your computer. If you do have any
problems setting up this type of access, most VPN companies have a technical support service
will be able to give you step-by-step instructions.

Issues to be Aware of with VPNs

Using a VPN can make your connection slightly slower than connecting to the internet
normally. This
is because all of your internet traffic will be routed through an intermediate server on its
way to
and from your computer or router. In general, this slowdown is hardly noticeable. If you do
encounter any problems, a good way around them can be to select a VPN server that is
located close to you. Most VPN companies will also provide an indication of how busy each
VPN server is when you connect to them. Choosing a less active server will generally lead to
speeds and a more reliable connection. Some VPN companies even offer a setting that will
automatically switch you to the fastest possible server in response to changing demand
This is good for anyone who wants to set up their VPN connection and not worry about
between servers in order to keep their connections running smoothly.

Overall, while knowing how a VPN works can help you to get more out of a service that you are
for, they are generally so easy to use that in-depth technical knowledge is simply not
required. It
is certainly possible to maximize the value of the service by learning how to do tasks such
setting up a VPN at the router level, but this is not required for those who simply want to
their internet connection.