Written by Sunny

Modified & Updated: 31 May 2024

Jessica Corbett

Reviewed by Jessica Corbett

What is VPN

The abbreviation VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. The VPN is software that intervenes between your computer (or your phone) and the internet to make you completely anonymous and untraceable. For this, it uses two complementary means of security: It encrypts your data, and it provides a new IP address to your computer.

The VPN encrypts your data.

Your data is all the information that identifies you when you browse the web. Once scrambled by the VPN, they become inaccessible. This means your internet service provider no longer has access to them, and neither do the sites you visit. Any potential hacker will no longer be able to retrieve any information about you. Your service provider only knows that you have connected to a VPN.

The VPN provides a new IP address to your computer.

The VPN passes your internet connection through a server located in a country other than yours, and thus assigns it another IP address. The sites you visit can therefore no longer locate you. They only see the IP address provided by the VPN service. Even your Internet Service Provider (ISP) will not be able to track your communications. This is useful because some ISPs are known to slow down the connection of users of Netflix, torrent files, or even online video games.

What is an IP address?

The IP address is the equivalent of a postal address for the Internet. It takes the form of a series of numbers that reveal in particular your place of connection and your access provider.

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How does a VPN work?

Using a VPN to ensure the protection of personal data is very simple:

  • Once you are connected to the internet with your VPN service activated, you will be connected to one of the VPN provider’s servers. You can choose an internet connection server located in another country or a city other than yours.
  • At the same time, they will provide you with a virtual IP address. Instead of using your own IP address, you use one that belongs to the VPN provider. The VPN system passes all your browsing data through this fictitious address. For example, if you choose a VPN server based in Colombia, the VPN for Colombia will provide you with a Colombian IP address. Your internet connection is also encrypted between your device and the server you are connected to.
  • Hiding your IP address allows you to access the internet privately and prevents your browsing from being tracked or traced. It’s like your traffic is coming from another computer. You can thus pretend that you are connecting from another city or another country, to circumvent the restrictions.

What is a VPN used for?

A VPN by definition is used to make your web browsing anonymous. In normal times, your access provider records all your activities on the Internet. The sites you visit also retain your digital identity: geographical origin, shopping baskets, means of payment, etc. Hence the interest in a VPN application: it will hide your identity on the Internet, and protect your browsing data.

Man holding phone showing VPN
Image from Adobe Stock

Why use a VPN?

VPN services can be used for private use, when you want to browse the web and access foreign sites, but also within companies. During this period of telework, they make it possible to make the company’s data and applications accessible to all employees.

After all, all VPNs offer more or less the same services. Some VPNs will be faster and better for streaming, while others will offer higher security or interesting options. Here are the main points to consider.

  • Take an interest in the technical performance of the VPN, including the speed of the connections, their reliability, and the number of countries and servers offered.
  • Generally speaking, the more servers and connections available the VPN has, the faster and more stable your web browsing will be.
  • If you want to access data or streaming services in a specific country, check that the VPN has established servers in that country. Otherwise, it will be of no use to you.

By following these tips, you will get the best VPN that meets your needs and expectations.

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