How VPN Works – A Detailed Explanation for Beginners


Keeping your data private helps prevent hackers and cybercriminals from accessing your information. VPNs use tunneling and encryption to scramble your knowledge into an unreadable jumble that only the intended recipient can decrypt.

It also hides your details from your ISP, the government, and marketers who snoop on your local network. In addition, it can help you avoid price discrimination by masking your location.

It Changes Your IP Address

An Internet protocol (IP) address is like a digital label that classifies every network-connected device on the web. It’s typically linked to your location, ISP, and search history. That’s why it’s essential to know what VPN is and how does VPN work. Without a VPN, your IP address can be traced by websites, online advertisers, and others seeking to track and monitor your browsing habits.

A VPN connects to a secure server via an encrypted tunnel and then redirects your data to that server. This means your ISP can’t see what you’re up to online, and neither can hackers or governments spying on public Wi-Fi networks.

The best VPN services offer a no-logs policy, meaning they don’t keep records of customer activity, including your actual IP address. In addition, they encrypt your data so that no one can read it, even if they intercept it.

To make this happen, the VPN scrambles your data into an unreadable jumble that only your device and the server can decipher. It also replaces your public IP with the server’s, so sites you visit assume you’re in a different region. This is why many people use VPNs to get around geo-restrictions and access content that would otherwise be unavailable. To do so, open your VPN app and choose a server in the region you want to appear in. Then, you can enjoy the content you’re after.

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It Encrypts Your Data

The first step in a VPN’s privacy-focused process is encryption. Your data is sent through a virtual tunnel, and your computer and VPN server exchange a secret key that only they can decipher. This ensures that even if someone intercepts your encrypted data, they will only see a string of letters and numbers.

Once this key is shared, the VPN server encrypts any data it sends to your device using a unique algorithm called SHA. This creates a new string of characters that looks different from the original data, and no one can use it to figure out who you are or where you are located.

From there, your web traffic travels to the server hosting the website or service you’re trying to access. It shows up as a connection from the VPN server, not your own. If a website tracks your browsing history, the data will only link to that server or VPN.

Moreover, a reliable VPN has strict no-log policies that ensure your data isn’t stored anywhere by anyone. This helps prevent price discrimination, which occurs when a website recognizes your browsing patterns and tries to sell you products at higher prices. It works much like a retail store selling a particular product brand because it knows you’re a loyal customer.

It Blocks ISPs

When you use the internet without a VPN, websites can see your activity from your IP address linked to your online browsing history. But when you connect to a VPN server, your data goes through the encrypted tunnel between your device and the VPN service’s servers, so your ISP can’t read it.

A VPN can also keep your search information private, preventing ISPs and web browsers from serving targeted ads. That can be especially important when researching medical conditions or treatments, travel plans, or gift ideas.

ISPs can still see the data packets containing your connection to a VPN, but they can’t get any helpful information because they’re scrambled. Your ISP may even try to block VPN services, but the best VPN providers have ways to get around these blocks with advanced obfuscation technology.

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VPNs can also help you avoid location-based pricing by giving your computer a fake IP address from another country. This is known as geo-spoofing and can be used to gain access to region-blocked content or to save money while shopping online. This feature can be handy when traveling abroad on business or vacation. It can also protect you from price discrimination on big-ticket items like flight tickets. However, be sure to choose a VPN with an Internet kill switch so that your internet connection stops if the VPN drops.

It Changes Your Digital Location

For instance, if you’re traveling abroad, your VPN can make it seem like you’re logging on from a different country or region. This process is known as geo-spoofing.

This is accomplished by rerouting your data from your device to a remote VPN server. When it’s ready to be sent to the web, it appears it’s coming from that server. That way, websites and services can’t see your actual location and use it to restrict or block content.

When you connect to a VPN, your data travels through that server and is encrypted so nobody can read it. This protects your privacy and enhances your cybersecurity. It also helps free you from targeted advertising, repression, and discrimination.

As a bonus, some VPNs offer speed-boosting features that save you money on your internet bill. By encrypting your data and rerouting it to remote servers, you’ll get higher online video streaming, downloading, and more speeds.

To change your digital location with a VPN, open the app and select a server in the country or region you want to appear in. It may take a few seconds for that to happen, but once it does, your online activity is logged as coming from that country, not your own. That means you can bypass geographic restrictions and access content unavailable in your home country.