A virtual private network (VPN) allows users to connect to private servers or networks through public telecommunications connections in a secure and encrypted fashion. While similar in name to a traditional private network, a VPN server is different in that it provides public access to its clients who are physically located anywhere, as long as they have an Internet connection.
Why Create A VPN Connection?
There are several reasons why you might want to set up a VPN connection, but the most popular ones are:
To Stay Anonymous On The Internet
If you’re using public Wi-Fi networks, you’re probably already aware that these can be unreliable at best and completely insecure at worst. Having your personal data (e.g., credit card numbers) intercepted and sold by cybercriminals is a reality that many people are living with. However, with a VPN connection, all of this is kept anonymous and private.
Even better, you can utilize VPNs to create public/private (or hybrid) networks so that you can securely access resources such as servers, other devices, or websites that you may not want others to see.
To Unblock Websites And Services That You May Not Want To Access
If you’re keen on exploring new sites and services, but are restricted by your country’s Internet regulations, you might not want to open many of those sites and services in your browser because they could be blocked by your country’s Internet Service Provider (ISP).
While there are ways to work around these blocks, it’s often easier and more convenient to create a VPN connection to unblock sites that you may want to access. A VPN connection provides a safe, private, and secure connection to your router which translates into greater freedom of choice when browsing the web.
To Securely Access Public Networks (e.g., Wi-Fi)
Whether you’re at home, work, or another public location, your ISP isn’t necessarily the safest place to get your Internet connection. When you’re on a public Wi-Fi network, your data is open to potential interception by any number of eavesdroppers. A VPN connection can help protect your personal data by tunneling all of your Internet traffic through a secure network protocol which prevents outsiders from eavesdropping on your communications.
If you want to set up a VPN connection for online security, you should look into purchasing a VPN router which will make the process much simpler. When you connect to a VPN router, all of your Internet traffic is tunneled through the secure network so that even your ISP can’t see what you’re doing.
Types Of VPN Connections To Know
Before you begin setting up your VPN connection, you should understand what kind of VPN you should use. There are several different types of VPNs, and it’s important to pick one that fits your needs.
A VPN connection provides confidentiality, integrity, and authentication when performing network communications. Different VPNs offer varying levels of security, with the more secure ones (e.g., PPTP, L2TP) using encryption algorithms (e.g., 128-bit AES) to ensure the confidentiality of your data. With a VPN connection, all of your Internet traffic is encrypted which makes it harder for eavesdroppers to intercept and read your communications. Even your ordinary WiFi network is not completely safe from prying eyes because some wireless networks (i.e., poorly protected ones) can be easily cracked and used to access your personal data. A VPN connection acts as a protective shield ensuring that your personal information stays secure regardless of where you choose to connect (whether it’s at home, work, or another public location).
A VPN connection (e.g., IPSec) also allows you to specify what degree of encryption to use. This is done through a configuration file which, when opened in a text editor, will usually look like this:
protocol = IPSec
mode = Transport
auto-cert = yes
identity = MyDomain.com
cert-common-name = MyVPN Domain
Here, you can see that we've selected IPSec protocol, which is an Internet Protocol security standard that provides authentication, encryption, and compression of network data. When using IPSec, you must also select the Transport mode which determines how your data is transported (encapsulated) over the Internet (e.g., UDP, TCP, or SCTP).
How To Create A VPN Connection In Step-By-Step Details
Setting up a VPN connection is relatively simple. However, due to varying levels of user-friendliness and varying degrees of technical support, it's not necessarily easy for a novice or intermediate user. In this section, we'll walk you through the process of creating a VPN connection step-by-step in order to ensure that you set it up correctly.
Step 1: Select The Right Country
The first step is to choose the country you're going to connect to. This may not be the country you are physically located in, but it's the one you select for network purposes. For example, if you're located in the U.S., but you want to connect to a Danish server to check your bank account, you would select Denmark as your country. This is because Denmark has a data-privacy law which states that financial institutions must store customer data within the country and cannot transfer it to other countries without explicit consent.
It's important to keep in mind that not all countries are created equal. Some countries might not offer the same level of privacy or data protection as others. Make sure you're doing your research before selecting a country because the consequences of selecting the wrong one could be severe. For example, if you're located in Denmark and you try to connect to a Swedish server, your personal data could be exposed to a third party.
Step 2: Select A Service Provider
In step two, you will need to select a service provider. A service provider is an entity that provides Internet access (e.g., broadband or 3G/4G) to customers. A VPN connection uses a service provider's network to tunnel all of your Internet traffic which ensures that your personal data stays private. You can use a service provider in your country or abroad. It depends on your needs.
If you're connecting to a server in your country, you should look into using a VPN provider that is licensed and regulated by your country's Internet service provider. This ensures that you're getting a safe and reliable service. For example, suppose you're located in Sweden and want to connect to a German server to check your bank account. You would select a German-licensed service provider because, as we mentioned previously, data privacy is seriously restricted in Sweden.
Step 3: Select The Type Of Network Interface
In step three, you will need to choose the type of network interface. A network interface is a device (e.g., a hardware or a software-based router) that allows you to connect to your service provider's network. You must select either a wired or wireless network interface. If you have both wireless and wired network interfaces, it's often simplest to just connect to the wired one.
If you have a dedicated wired network port at home, you can use it to connect to the Internet (e.g., through a cable or DSL modem). If you have a wireless network port (e.g., through a wireless router), you can use it to connect to the Internet (e.g., through a smartphone or other wireless devices).
If you have a wireless network port but no wired one (e.g., through a smartphone or other wireless device), you can use it to connect to your service provider's network (e.g., through a smartphone hotspot or other wireless devices).
Step 4: Configure NAT Firewall With Your Country's I.P. Address
In step four, you will need to configure a NAT firewall with your country's I.P. address. A NAT firewall is a device which lets you assign a private (local) IP address to a computer or a router. The downside to a NAT firewall is that it has to be configured manually which is a fairly complicated process that requires technical knowledge. Unless you have a tech specialist available to help you, it's best to avoid using one.