Not all sites on the Internet can be trusted. Sometimes it is required to secure access to the network. And after some countries began to block websites, the ability to enter the network in a hidden way became a necessity at all. For this purpose, a virtual private network is used.
VPN connection principle
The term VPN refers to the use of a secure network within an unsecured Internet. For example, HideMyAss is superimposed over your connection, hiding and protecting it. Connection via VPN takes place according to the following principle:
- A remote user goes through the authentication process in the VPN network. After that, the VPN network gives him or her the right to work in it.
- The user data is encrypted during transmission and sent to the server already in encrypted form.
- When a user establishes a connection, his or her data is decrypted and connected to the desired site.
In fact, the VPN server works as an intermediary between the user and the site being opened, providing secure access to it. Depending on the connection security method, the VPN connection uses the following ports:
- This standard VPN connection uses protocol 47 and TCP port 1723. It is actively promoted by Microsoft and is used with most VPN connections.
- It is another standard mode that supports tunneling to multiple addresses. It uses protocol 50 and UDP port 500.
- 443 TCP. It is recommended to open this port when organizing your individual VPN connection. It rarely opens automatically.
Since the VPN connection is not established by default in Windows, the necessary ports are likely to be closed. But the VPN connection program will open them on its first launch. Or you can open them manually through a firewall.
VPN versus proxy
What are the benefits of VPN? Is such a connection the best option or a proxy connection has more advantages? To answer this question, consider the positive aspects of a VPN connection:
- Information security. When transmitting information via VPN, it gets encrypted, and therefore cannot be intercepted or recorded in public networks. This is its main difference from a proxy: when connecting via a proxy, data encryption does not occur, and the data is protected to a lesser extent.
- Hiding identity. The network does not recognize your IP address, which can be useful. In addition, by protecting the IP address, you can bypass regional restrictions. However, we strongly advise not to use VPN connections to violate any laws of your country.
- The organization of a shared working network with VPN-encrypted connection is beneficial in large companies for communication between employees’ devices.
These benefits are closely related to the purposes for which VPN is commonly used. But there are also some disadvantages of virtual private network connection:
- The slowdown of speed. Due to encryption and the presence of a server that acts as an intermediary, the rate of access to sites is significantly reduced. As a result, even with a high-speed internet connection, you can have a rather slow internet connection. However, when connecting via a proxy, the speed can be significantly reduced depending on the location of the server.
- It is expensive. A stable and fast VPN server is costly, and free solutions are usually completely ineffective. However, there is about the same situation with proxy. Free solutions are suitable only for the most short-lived and straightforward tasks.
- Failures and disconnections. Depending on the load level and the quality of the server, VPN connections may fail or be interrupted. This is very annoying, and it can be difficult for online work.
- Setup difficulties. Sometimes you may have problems setting up a VPN connection. Configuring a proxy connection is easier.
Thus, VPN is safer than a proxy, although it is more challenging to configure. As for speed and stability, it all depends on the method of connection and the selected server.
VPN connection benefits
Why do people connect a virtual private network? The answer depends on where the VPN connection is used. The most commonly implemented options are:
- VPN connection at work. VPN network allows you to organize communication structure and work with data. Therefore, it is convenient for business. With this system, you can connect the head office of the company and all branches in one network to optimize business processes. In addition, VPN is used to protect data. And if you are the owner of a VPN server, you can monitor and control working traffic, for example, by blocking access to specific sites.
- A VPN connection on a home device. A free VPN allows you to access restricted sites in your country, taking all the costs yourself. However, information about the use of the service can be used by its owners, for example, for sale to advertisers. But this VPN is enough to perform simple online activities and search for information. If you want to play online games that are not available in your area, or you need a stable VPN connection for other reasons, it is better to use a paid server.
- A VPN connection on a mobile device. Free and paid VPN solutions are also available for these devices. They are mainly used for the same purposes as on the computer, but the connection speed usually decreases even more.
Difference between IPSec VPN, MPLS VPN, and SSL VPN
A VPN connection can be organized in different ways. Different types of compounds are designed for various tasks and have their own advantages. The following types of connections can be distinguished:
- IPSec VPN is optimal for remote work. A VPN connection is established at the network level. It is designed to work in conventional programs and secure communication between computers.
- MPLS VPN is scalable VPN connection. It is suitable for VPN clients that are in the same address space. It has no client requirements, unlike other types of VPN connections.
- SSL VPN is suitable for secure remote access at work or from a home computer. This is an application-specific VPN connection implementation. It is designed for web applications.