VPN history: who invented VPN?

Anton P. | July 28, 2023

The VPN history reflects how experts developed the online privacy and security-improving application. VPN services we know, and love have progressed from an initial idea for a more secure tunneling protocol. 

The first signs of VPN-like tech appeared in the 1970s. However, the 1990s are the time for the VPN to come closer to becoming a global sensation. 

Let’s jump through different stages of VPN history, who invented it and its future. 

Learn about VPN history.

How was VPN (Virtual Private Network) invented? 

Usually, VPN history and its beginning are associated with Microsoft in 1996. Gurdeep Singh-Pall, a Microsoft employee, is generally mentioned as the developer of the Peer-to-Peer Tunneling Protocol (PPTP). You may also know this protocol as the peer-to-peer tunneling protocol (PPTN). 

It was a way to securely transfer commercial data over internet connections and enable devices to connect. And while PPTP is no longer in modern VPN infrastructure, its arrival was the beginning of VPN tech. 

Later, many new protocols were introduced, like OpenVPN and WireGuard®. So, while VPN started as a business network solution, it became a tool available for everyone. 

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  • Earlier VPN history began with its first steps in the 1970s. At that time, VPNs were privately used network devices connected through dial-up or dedicated leased lines. 
  • In the late 1970s, X.25 opened the opportunity for virtual connection for data networks. 
  • Later, VPN was the virtual connection formed on the ATM (Asynchronous Transfer Mode). 
  • Finally, in the mid-199os, the world learned about IP-based VPNs. Generally, you can view them as connections allowing remote access to the intranet. 

VPN technology explained

A VPN is an application for creating more secure and private internet connections. It has several tasks: 

  • A VPN encrypts internet traffic using robust protocols to guarantee the integrity and privacy of data. 
  • It reroutes internet traffic through a selected VPN server. The server makes online requests on your behalf. 
  • A VPN changes your IP address to pinpoint the location of the VPN server. Thus, you hide your actual location. 

VPN history has also showcased the changes to VPN infrastructure. For instance, the protection for TCP/IP (Transfer Control Protocol/Internet Protocol) has improved. Also, more flexibility 

Modern VPN revolution 

Nowadays, people have some control over how a VPN works. For instance, it is possible to pick the VPN protocol you want. Atlas VPN offers WireGuard® and IKEv2/IPSec. Both are robust, but one might provide better speed for your secure internet connections. 

But why are new VPN protocols necessary? For one, internet services and tech cannot stand still. It is crucial to adapt. 

So, VPN protocols must evolve to offer maximum levels of protection. Additionally, they tend to become more lightweight, allowing faster internet speed. 

How VPN services became popular 

The history of VPNs suggests that companies and internet users have become more aware of online dangers. So, they look for ways to offer more reliable connections. We can make assumptions about why VPNs have become so popular: 

  • VPN apps have become relatively easy to use. 
  • The prices of VPN plans have become more affordable. 
  • A VPN lets users connect to public networks and protect their activities. 
  • Internet users value digital freedom, privacy, and security much more than before.
  • VPNs assist users in most activities, whether browsing, working, or entertainment. 
  • Remote access VPNs enable employees to work remotely and access corporate data securely. 
  • VPNs begin offering additional perks and features, making it a more attractive deal.

Where is the VPN market going? 

VPN history shows that this technology is relatively new. Even the recent years have proved how quickly the market evolves. From what we see, here are some predictions regarding the VPN market. 

  • VPNs might become an integral part of browsing. For instance, public Wi-Fi networks have become a necessity in various locations. Thus, protecting that connection is important, knowing the risks of public Wi-Fi
  • VPN services will incorporate more security mechanisms. These tools will add additional features for protecting users online. For example, Atlas VPN already offers tools like Data Breach Monitor and Shield
  • New VPN protocols will emerge, likely even more focused on providing fast connections.
  • It is essential to understand the common misconceptions about VPNs. For instance, VPN cannot protect against all online tracking. As a result, VPNs might include additional protections for defending against more monitoring techniques. 
  • VPN providers will also need to provide stronger encryption standards. 

Pick a trusted VPN 

Internet users and VPN providers contribute to the way VPN services evolve. For instance, people make recommendations for features or other additions. In turn, VPN companies do their best to manage users’ experiences and guarantee security. 

Atlas VPN is a modern product, growing with each passing day. Our passionate teams look for ways to boost our servers and security. Give our applications a try!

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Anton P.

Anton P.

Former chef and the head of Atlas VPN blog team. He's an experienced cybersecurity expert with a background of technical content writing.

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