Virtual private network
A virtual private network or VPN for short, is a way of connecting a computer to a remote network. Most people using computers connect to the World Wide Web using a normal network - they use dial-up or broadband. A VPN is a little bit different. It's used by some workers to connect to work using a laptop - they can check their work email and see work websites which cannot be seen on the normal internet.
VPNs use strong encryption to prevent unauthorized users from reading the data being sent over the VPN.
VPN often offers anonymity by hiding the user and making it very hard for anyone to track them.
VPN is often used to access websites that are blocked in some countries, like China. Many people also use a VPN to protect their internet activity while using public WiFi. While VPN usage varies by country, you can see a full list of reasons why, where, and how often people use a VPN at GlobalWebIndex.
Common uses[change | change source]
- Remote workers connecting to a company network (telecommuting)
- Connecting multiple company offices together over the Internet (site-to-site VPN)
- Connecting to one's own home network from a remote location
- Bypassing censorship or firewalls
- Downloading files or browsing the Web anonymously
- Securing communications on public WiFi
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