If you’re reading this, I assume you’re either already aware that a VPN is a virtual private network or you’re about to find out. There are many different types of VPNs out there, with many providing awesome benefits while also having some drawbacks. Which one should you choose? That depends on your personal preferences and the type of activity you’re looking to protect. Let’s take a quick look at what a VPN is and why you might want to use one.
What Is A VPN?
As its name would suggest, a VPN is a protocol that enables you to create a private network over the internet. The main goal of a VPN is to allow users to safely access content from public networks such as Facebook or Twitter, while maintaining their personal privacy. Essentially, using a VPN allows you to browse the web privately and securely without risking your personal information. For example, if you visit a site that you shouldn’t have accessed in the first place, you can be sure that your personal data will be protected because all of that traffic is encoded and secured using strong encryption protocols.
It’s also important to note that not all VPNs are created equal. Some VPNs are better suited for certain tasks or tasksets, depending on the type of encryption, geographical restrictions, and so on. When choosing a VPN, it’s important to find one that’s right for your needs.
Why Use A VPN?
There are several good reasons why you might want to use a VPN. Here are just a few:
- To protect your privacy
- To secure your personal data
- To stay anonymous while browsing the web
- To access content restricted to private networks
For privacy and security reasons, using a VPN is a no-brainer. If you’ve ever visited a site that you shouldn’t have accessible from your public IP address, you’ll know the pain of having your personal data exposed. The best VPNs offer additional protections such as military-grade encryption and unique authentication protocols, ensuring your personal data is always protected.
If you’re looking to access content that’s restricted to private networks such as corporate networks or educational institutions, you’ll need to look into their VPN policies before applying. The same goes for accessing content that is geo-blocked, based on your current location. If a site is available in your country, but not in others, you may encounter restrictions. This is usually due to licensing issues or geo-restrictions placed on the site by the content owners. Fortunately, most VPNs offer great flexibility in terms of the locations that they support.
Types Of VPNs
There are several different types of VPNs, including:
As mentioned, not all VPNs are created equal. Each type of VPN has its perks and drawbacks, so it’s important to know what you’re getting into before making a choice. Let’s take a quick look at a few of these types of VPNs.
L2TP/IPsec is one of the more popular VPN protocols, due to its simplicity and ease of use. It’s also a relatively old protocol, initially developed back in the 1990s. While the VPN protocol itself is simple, implementing and configuring L2TP/IPsec can be extremely complicated and challenging, especially if you’re a beginner. One of the main advantages of L2TP/IPsec is that it runs on top of an existing, widely supported transport protocol called TCP/IP. This means that most devices and software packages already have support for it, making it easier for developers to create applications using it. Due to its age and compatibility, L2TP/IPsec is probably the safest and most popular type of VPN available. However, if you’re looking for something stable and secure, you might want to avoid it.
OpenVPN is one of the more popular VPNs, due to its ease of use. It’s also one of the more flexible types of VPNs, which means it can be set up and configured in a variety of ways to meet your specific needs and requirements.
To start, let’s examine the basics of OpenVPN. OpenVPN is based on the principle of separating your personal and professional life. This means that while you’re using the service, you’re not identified by your employer or school affiliation, nor are they able to access your personal information. For example, if you use OpenVPN to connect to a VPN server located in Ireland, your IP address, email address, and any other personal information will be protected.
OpenVPN is mostly considered to be a secure and stable choice among experts and developers, due to its strong encryption protocols and privacy-oriented features. However, if you’re looking for a VPN for day-to-day use, OpenVPN might not be the best choice. Depending on your location, you may encounter problems connecting to some servers because of licensing restrictions.
Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP) is a VPN protocol that was initially developed by Microsoft and later incorporated into their Windows operating system. It’s a relatively simple protocol, which means it can be implemented and configured with relatively little effort. When initially created, PPTP was a proprietary protocol and could only be implemented and used by hardware and software made by Microsoft. These days, thanks to security loopholes and design decisions made by Microsoft, PPTP is now considered to be a relatively insecure and unreliable protocol. Despite this, it still sees widespread use due to its simplicity and compatibility with most devices and operating systems.
One of the reasons why PPTP continues to be so popular is that it’s easy to set up and use. To start, you’ll need to determine the IP address of the VPN server you wish to connect to. In most cases, you’ll be given this information by the VPN provider, which you’ll need to register with. From there, you can simply enter the IP address of the server (e.g., 126.96.36.199) in your device’s browser and hit enter to establish a secure connection.
Since PPTP is based on the TCP/IP protocol, most devices and software packages already have support for it, making it easier for developers to create applications using it. This also means that most existing networks and network settings will automatically work with it, further simplifying the setup process. Due to its popularity and simple design, PPTP is probably the safest and most reliable type of VPN available. However, if you’re looking for a fast and easy way to connect, you might want to avoid it, as it’s not encrypted.
IKEv2 (Internet Key Exchange Protocol version 2) is another popular and versatile VPN protocol. It’s an improved and more secure version of the IKEv1 protocol, which is why it sees such widespread use. While IKEv1 may see some limited use today, due to its age and security flaws, IKEv2 is widely considered to be the gold standard for VPN protocols. Thanks to its strong encryption algorithms and anonymous design, IKEv2 is also one of the more secure and private types of VPNs available. Like PPTP, IKEv2 is also based on the TCP/IP protocol, which makes it compatible with most existing networks and equipment. As a result, most experts and developers consider IKEv2 to be the safest and most reliable type of VPN. It’s also worth noting that if you’ve ever used a WPA or WPA2 compatible wifi network, you’ll be able to connect to IKEv2-capable VPNs using that network configuration, as IKEv2 is natively compatible with WPA and WPA2.
How Do I Set Up A VPN?
To set up a VPN, you’ll need to contact the VPN provider of your choosing and ask them for help. Most providers offer quick and easy-to-follow setup guides that will walk you through the process step-by-step. Alternatively, you can also find help online by searching for the VPN provider you intend to use and looking for their support forums.