What is VPN? Technology and Usage Explained

John C. | December 30, 2019

What is a VPN and what does it do?

If you’re not sure what a VPN is, you’ve come to the right place. VPN (Virtual Private Network) is best described as a tool that hides your IP address and encrypts your online traffic. Yes, but… what’s in it for me?” - you may ask. Great question, internet user. You’re about to find out everything you need to know about VPN services: from technology specifics to everyday-use scenarios.

What is browsing without a VPN like?

To learn the meaning of a VPN, it’s important to understand how the internet works without using one. Let’s say, you want to check the scandalous tweet everyone’s been talking about. First things first, you connect to the web through your ISP - short for Internet Service Provider. Your online traffic is now routed through your ISP’s servers. That means, every click is tracked and stored in your ISP’s databases.

Also, each network has a unique IP address assigned by your ISP. Since you’re identified by your IP, it makes your actions easier for third parties to trace. Because of that, you may not be able to access some content from overseas. Besides, no-one likes the idea of someone watching them over, right?

How would you define what happens when you switch the VPN connection on?

Something important to know about VPN–once you turn it on, your online data doesn't go straight to the website. Instead, it travels through an encrypted tunnel until it reaches the website. To understand what encryption is, imagine something tightly tangled–like your earphones. You know, back in the day when wireless earphones weren't a thing. Now, what is it that happens when you connect to VPN? Something similar. Your data is no longer a plain text. It has become unreadable for anyone who tries intercepting it.

At the same time, your true IP address turns invisible since you replaced it with an IP of a VPN. What does that mean for you? As soon as you switch VPN on, no-one can see who the person behind a VPN shield is. All they’ll be able to track is that someone is using a VPN. Best of all, your ISP, government or other nosy 3rd-parties can no longer see the websites you visit or the files you download.

Moreover, various websites or streaming platforms apply geo-restrictions. Since your IP reveals your location, services can detect you’re not in the “right” country and deny access. To go around these restrictions, use a VPN and connect to server-based in a different country. VPN connection will change your IP, so it’ll look like you’re connecting from somewhere else.

But that’s not all. You already know what is VPN and you’ve learned the meaning–it encrypts the data you send and receive. As a result, it’s no longer vulnerable to various kinds of cyberattacks. One of the greater risks is getting your data stolen while browsing on a public network. With a protected connection, you can have peace of mind knowing no criminal can get into your device to steal your data.

Now that you already know what is VPN , do you really need one? Yes, and here’s why:

  • Anonymity. By using Atlas VPN you’ll be able to browse the internet knowing your ISP, government and other 3rd parties aren’t watching over.
  • Safety. Switch Atlas VPN on and leave worrying about hackers stealing your data on public WiFi behind.
  • Restricted content access. Connect to one of Atlas VPN servers to access sites and services blocked in your area.
  • Streaming. Pick your virtual destination from one of Atlas VPN servers to access content from overseas.
  • Firewall bypassing. With Atlas VPN, you’ll be able to access services blocked at your school or work.
John C.

John C.

Ex full-time gamer and content writer at Atlas VPN. He's eager to help his readers make their online lives safer and easier than ever before.