A virtual private network, or VPN, is a network that creates an encrypted connection over the Internet from a device to another as if it was a local private network.
That encrypted connection is called a VPN Tunnel. It is a secure tunnel that all traffic and communication pass through. This helps ensure that sensitive data is safely transmitted between servers.
VPNs can be used to access region-restricted websites, shield your browsing activity on public Wi-Fi, and more. VPNs were originally created to connect business networks together securely over the internet or allow users to access a business network from home.
Why Set up a VPN
There are many reasons why someone would need to set up a VPN. Here are some of them:-
- Security: Protecting the user from potentially harmful networks.
- Anonymity: Hiding the user’s true location and granting them freedom-of-use
- Bypass: Giving the user access to geographically blocked websites.
- Business Use: Connecting the user to their company’s private network.
Types of VPN
There are two types of Virtual Private Networks:-
- Remote Access VPN:-
Like the name suggest, Remote Access VPN allows users to connect to and access a private network remotely. This secure and private network connects the endpoint user to the encrypted network over the internet.
- Site-to-Site VPN:-
Also known as Router-to-Router, Site-to-Site VPN works by connecting two or more separate geographical locations together through a virtual network bridge. This makes it possible for those separate locations to connect to their very own private network.
The way this works is, the main router serves as the VPN Client while the other connecting router serves as a VPN server that connects directly to the VPN Client’s network. That connection is only possible between those two networks after passing through secure authentication which makes Site-to-Site a very secure method of network communication.
To explain further, let’s use an example. Let’s say there are two sites, Site A and Site B. Site A hosts the main network for the company and therefore acts as the VPN Client. Site B directly connects to Office A’s VPN and therefore acts as a VPN server. Between both A and B there is a virtual bridge that connects both of them.
In business, if the connection is made between two offices of the same corporation, it is called Intranet, and if the connection is made between the offices of two separate corporations, it is called Extranet.
Those are the two main VPN Types. There are also different types of VPN Protocols that we will walk through soon. Stay tuned, for more information about VPN in ServerHub’s Knowledgebase.