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VPN 101: The Basics of a VPN

3 min read | Nov 10, 2022

How a VPN Can Minimize Your Online Footprint

With concerns over data privacy on the rise, many internet users are taking their own steps to protect their online identities. Many have relied on private networks that shield their IP address, also known as VPNs. Continue reading to learn more about what a VPN is, how they work, the different types and if they’re a good choice for you.

What Exactly is a VPN?

VPN is an abbreviation for “virtual private network,” or a secured network that establishes a private connection between your device and the Internet. Using a VPN encrypts all of your data and communications with a tunnel (the encrypted link between you and an outside network), keeping your data from being intercepted or tracked while shopping, banking or just browsing the web.

How Does a VPN Work?

By using a VPN, your internet traffic will route through a VPN server instead of your Internet Service Provider (ISP). This way, the source appears as a VPN server instead of your personal device and its associated IP address—the unique numerical sequence associated with your online presence. The VPN will mask your IP address from web users, as well as add an encryption tunnel around your identity while you browse.

What are the Different Types of VPNs?

The majority of VPNs will fall into one of three categories.

Remote-access VPN

A remote-access VPN allows you to connect to a remote network, which typically requires that you install specific software. If you’ve ever worked while traveling, or even worked remotely, your company may have required you to use a remote-access VPN to securely access the network and your data.

Personal VPN

A personal VPN will connect you to a VPN server that encrypts your data, hides your IP address and can even be used to change your geographic location. This is different from a remote-access VPN, as you’re not gaining access to a private network.

Site-to-Site VPN

A site-to-site VPN allows multiple networks to join together. These networks are typically used by larger corporations that have multiple office locations and branches, allowing them to safely share resources and information with one another.

Why Would I Want a VPN?

Privacy and accessibility are the two main reasons why Internet users decide to use a VPN. Keep your data safe while browsing public Wi-Fi networks in high-traffic areas (e.g., coffee shops, airports, etc.) and minimize your online footprint with a VPN.

How Benton Technology Can Help

Benton Technology takes a proactive monitoring approach for hardware and software applications, as well as identifying potential threats including malware, viruses and spyware. In addition, we offer a number of other IT services including support for cloud and voice capabilities. For more information, contact an IT specialist today.