The phrase VPN is actually short for Virtual Private Network and describes a virtual link between two or more computers over which all communications are encrypted and decrypted at either end to ensure privacy.
VPNs can be used in many different situations by a vast spectrum of users from the super geeks down to your average Internet user.
Some people use VPNs for securing communications between two sites – for example as a business user working remotely you would need to use a VPN link so that any work carried out on your office network, via your house or other external location, would remain completely secure and thus the data on your corporate network would not be viewable by anyone other than the intended recipients.
These types of VPN links are often created and managed internally – in other words the companies IT department will create the VPN links using in house hardware and software technologies and therefor have complete control over their speed, encryption methods and so on.
In other scenarios VPNs will be used to protect identity and also to obscure the real location of the user. These types of VPNs are often provided by a third party as a service and thus the actual user of the VPN has very little control over how the VPNs work, the types of encryption used and most importantly their speed.
An example use case for this type of VPN would be a situation where a user wants to stay anonymous whilst searching the Internet. As such, not only do they require that all of their browsing is done over a secure link – so that the data generated from browsing cannot be intercepted or read by any outside party – but they also require their real location and the original of all data packets sent out, to also be obscured.
Using a VPN in this scenario would ensure that as far as the recipient of the communications was concerned, the connection was made from the location where the VPN was terminated – which would actually be the servers of the VPN provider themselves. This means that the original location of the user is protected and further more, any communications between the user and the VPN providers servers are encrypted and therefor unreadable by anyone who was able to intercept them.
These types of VPNs need to be extremely fast because by the nature of this type of communication and the fact that all packets are being encrypted, forwarded on to a location, decrypted and then sent on to their intended destination communications will ordinarily be slowed down.
Because of all the extra work and hardware that the data needs to pass through, much speed will be lost from the link. As such, the VPN link itself, and really the speed of the Internet at the VPN providers end, needs to be very fast to counteract this additional workload for the data packets.
When looking for a VPN provider in this scenario, it is therefor very important to look for the fastest VPN link possible. Companies such as VPN Detective provide information, reviews and comparisons of the various VPN services available and therefor are a great source for finding the fastest VPN possible.