Although it is not something new, it has been in recent years when we have begun to hear about VPN connections. A term that has begun to sound louder after Netflix decided to block its use after detecting that some users used them to bypass the geographical limitations of their service.
However, the truth is that they have been used in business for years, a context that has now also been extended to give rise to other uses. But what exactly is it? What is a VPN? What can we use it for? Today we solve these questions and analyze their advantages and disadvantages.
WHAT IS A VPN
Before entering into greater vicissitudes, we must comment that VPN responds to the acronym Virtual Private Network, a name that already a priori allows us to get a little idea of what it is: a virtual private capable of connecting several devices as if they were physically in the same place, emulating local network connections. Virtual, because it connects two physical networks; and private, because only computers that are part of a local network on one side of the VPN can access.
HOW DOES IT WORK
When connecting to a VPN, we will use a kind of tunnel, a word that is used to indicate that the data is encrypted at all times, from when they enter until they leave the VPN, and that it is carried out through different protocols They protect them. Now, there is an exception with PPTP – it uses a combination of insecure algorithms such as MS-CHAP v1 / 2-.
What our system will do when trying to visit a page is to encapsulate the request and send it via the Internet to our VPN provider. This will uncapsulate them by following their usual course: they will exit through your network router and then the packet will be forwarded.
WHAT ADVANTAGES DOES IT HAVE
Using a VPN means that we can access virtually anywhere on the network without any geographical restriction, no matter where we are physically. The reason? That will allow us to access through several servers located in another place in the world other than the one we are.
Security and privacy are other points in your favor, especially if we need to send or receive sensitive information through the network. And while we can always opt for proxy services and tools that hide the IP of our device, by opting for a VPN we are choosing to establish a secure connection between the computer and the server.
Already in a more business context, it makes it possible for a company’s employees to remotely access their networks and servers without compromising security. Another of its virtues is that it is not too expensive services and that we even find worthwhile options for free.
Finally, they are easy to use, let us easily connect and disconnect at our whim (once configured) and works with multiple applications routing all Internet traffic.
WHAT CAN BE USED FOR
VNP networks are also routinely used to bypass geographic restrictions of certain services. For example, let’s say that the display of video content is only available to users in the United States. Well, this type of connection will allow us to tell the web that we are in this country.
When we talk about restrictions, we cannot stop referring to those that have to do with the censorship imposed by certain totalitarian governments on their citizens. A way to see the news and information of the outside world without vetoes that, however, is not perfect (as we will see later).
As a result of this and since they allow us to hide the navigation data, they are ideal for connecting through a public Wi-Fi, in a cafeteria or hotel (for example) and that our information is intercepted. Another common use is found in P2P downloads, although we must take into account that some providers block them.
In the corporate world it is the field in which his career is more extensive. In fact, they constitute a habitual resource for multinationals that have delegations in several countries, which allow their employees to telework and access a single private network in a secure way.
SEVEN VPN SERVICES
That said, we could not stop collecting some of the best VPN services that currently exist in the market, a range in which they can accommodate from free to paid. We are left with: AirVPN – with real-time statistics, TOR and VPN support via SSL and SSH – and VNP.ht – with integration with Popcorntime.io and AES 256 encryption.
VPNArea –with the same encryption and that accepts bitcoin as a payment method and up to five devices connected simultaneously-, Private Internet Access –practically identical-, Hello –free as long as we do not use it for commercial purposes-, Private Tunnel – limited to 100 MB of monthly traffic but also free and easy to use – and Tunnel Bear – with 500 MB – are not far behind.
In any case and to opt for one or the other, we must take into account the level of speed, reliability, security and support offered by the service. The use that we are going to give it is another parameter that we will have to assess. It should be noted, on the other hand, that those of payment usually have a professionalized customer service and that they have the necessary income to invest in a wide variety of servers that guarantee that our connection is always active.
Apart from the comments on Netflix, it is not the only one that blocks the use of VPNs. iPlayer, the BBC video service, began banning them at the end of October last year after eight years of operation. And so do some countries with policies to control their extreme citizens.
This is the case of China, which banned the use of these connections almost two years ago. A proposal in line with the censorship and vigilance of the Asian giant and a logical movement to maintain its cyber-sovereignty that, however and as expected, was tremendously controversial.
Likewise, we cannot lose sight of the fact that increasing our privacy and security is not infallible. In fact, using a VPN does not imply that our browsing is anonymous (ideally to achieve this would be to use it with Tor). When questioning your security, we are referring to those based on the PPTP protocol. False the location is not always possible, especially when we use it through our mobile. Speed, to finish, is another point that suffers.