Understanding a Virtual Private Network (VPN) and its protocols

VPN, as most of the people know, is the abbreviation for Virtual Private Network. In layman’s terms, VPN helps people to establish a secure virtual network on an existing public network. Also, VPN can be used to connect to an internet service provider’s private network without compromising the privacy. Across the globe, many private and government bodies make the maximum use of this technology to let their users connect to networks without exposing sensitive information to third parties.

With VPN technology, you will be able to build a link between multiple websites together no matter what the distance is. In fact, most of the private institutes and large corporations use this technology to connect with their overseas networks without exposing themselves to third parties.

In general, a virtual private network can be accessed by providing a username and a password (or even a PIN). The sole purpose of using a VPN is to allow users to secure their privacy from unauthorized third parties. Such network performs as a highly secured tunnel, through which the data is transferred in encrypted modes. Different security procedures and protocols are utilized to assure the safety of these VPNs. Here are the common VPN protocols used.

  • PPTP

This is the first ever protocol introduced. It was introduced about 20 years ago. This particular protocol uses a 128 bit encryption method. Therefore it is considered to more vulnerable to threats than the others. Still, this particular protocol is considered to be a popular method among the internet users who browse for personal purposes only.

  • L2TP/IPSec

Compared to PPTP, L2TP (Layer 2 tunneling Protocol) is a securer option. Both 3DES encryption and 168 bit keys combine to make this protocol a better one in terms of security.

  • SSTP

SSTP is stronger than the previously mentioned methods (both L2TP/IPSec and PPTP). It utilizes a stronger and complex 2048 bit encryption keys apart from the authentication certificates to transfer data in a very safe manner. This technology allows to establish a VPN even on the networks that don’t allow VPN protocols.

  • OpenVPN

Although you need to download a special software to configure an OpenVPN network, this is the most suitable VPN protocol for many users. It is based on Open Source encryption and SSL v3/TLS v1 protocols.

Deciding the best protocol for your VPN can be difficult to predict. It might vary depending on the purpose. This is where you should consult an expert and explain your requirement in order to get the best solution for you. Most of the VPN service providers today have knowledgeable technical support teams that are willing to assist you in many cases. Once you explain your requirement, they will suggest you the best solution with an adequate encryption method to protect you from intruders. Different VPNs allow different bandwidth limits; if you are a heavy internet user or an organization, you should probably select a VPN with unlimited bandwidth and powerful server.

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