A VPN is a virtual private network that allows a user to safely and privately connect to a private network. A VPN provides an encrypted connection, known as the VPN tunnel. And this secure tunnel passes through all internet traffic and communication. Hence, the VPN keeps user information safe and confidential. There are two types of VPN and six types of VPN protocols.
There are two basic types of VPN:
- Remote Access VPN: It authorizes a user to connect to a private network and remotely access its services and resources. The connection occurs over the Internet between the user and the private network, and the connection is secure and private. For business users and home users, Remote Access VPN is useful.
A corporate employee uses a VPN when traveling to connect to his or her organization’s private network. And access files and services on the private network remotely. Home users, or private VPN users, use VPN services to circumvent regional Internet restrictions and access blocked websites. Internet security-aware users also use VPN services to improve their security and privacy over the Internet.
- Site-to-Site VPN: A Site-to-Site VPN is also referred to as a Router-to-Router VPN and is often in use in the enterprise. Companies with offices in various locations use Site-to-site VPN to connect the network at one office location to another office location. It is known as an Intranet-based VPN when several organizations are linked using the Site-to-Site VPN sort. It is known as an Extranet-based VPN when businesses use the Site-to-Site VPN form to connect to another company’s office.
[Also read:The Best VPN for Encryption]
Site-to-site VPN forms a virtual bridge between the networks at geographically distant offices and links them across the Internet, and maintains a stable and private connection between the networks. Since Site-to-Site VPN focuses on router communication, one router acts as a VPN client in this VPN form, and another router acts as a VPN server in this VPN type. Communication between the two routers begins only after the authentication between the two routers is validated.
Types of VPN protocols
The above two types of VPNs are based on various VPN security protocols. Each of these VPN protocols offers various security features and levels:
- Internet Protocol Security or IPSec: It is used across an IP network to protect Internet communication. Via authenticating the session, IPSec secures Internet Protocol communication and encrypts every data packet during the link. To secure the data transmission between two separate networks, IPSec operates in two modes: transport mode and tunneling mode. The transport mode codes the message in the data packet, and the tunneling mode encrypts the whole data packet. IPSec can come in use with other safety protocols to strengthen security protocols.
- Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol (L2TP): A tunneling protocol typically combined with another VPN security protocol to establish a highly secure VPN link is the L2TP. A tunnel is created by L2TP between two L2TP connection points. And the IPSec protocol encrypts the data and handles safe communication between the tunnels.
- Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP): A tunnel is formed and the PPTP or point-to-point tunneling protocol encapsulates the data packet. To encrypt the data between the links, it uses a point-to-point protocol (PPP). PPTP is one of the most frequently used VPNs protocols and has been in use since Windows 95. In addition to Windows, Mac and Linux also support PPTP.
- Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and Transport Layer Security (TLS): SSL and TLS provide a VPN connection where the web browser functions as the client. And user access is limited to specific applications rather than the network as a whole. Online shopping portals and service providers more generally use SSL and TLS protocols. As web browsers come unified with SSL and TLS, web browsers move to SSL with ease and with almost no user action needed. At the beginning of the URL, SSL connections have HTTPS instead of HTTP.
- OpenVPN: OpenVPN is an open-source VPN that enables point-to-point and site-to-site links establishment. It uses a custom SSL and TLS protocol-based security protocol. It is one of the best types of VPN.
- Secure Shell (SSH): Secure Shell or SSH develops the VPN tunnel in which the data transfer occurs. It also guarantees that the tunnel is encrypted. An SSH client generates SSH connections. And data is transmitted via an encrypted tunnel from a local port to a remote server.