VPN Software

Virtual private network (VPN) software connects users to secure, private networks. VPNs offer an extra layer of security by encrypting all data, for example IP addresses, that is transferred through the network. This ensures online anonymity for the user and prevents malicious cyber attacks from obtaining sensitive business data. Additionally, with servers located across the world, users can also access region-gated content without having to actually be in the specified region.  Read the full software guide...

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What is VPN Software?

VPN software is a tool that allows individuals and businesses to create an encrypted, private and secure network over the internet. Users can protect sensitive data from unauthorized individuals and businesses by restricting user access. Likewise, companies are allowed to choose who among their employees can use the network when working remotely.

A VPN or virtual private network aims to protect users against online threats such as credit card fraud and identity theft, which are very common cybercrimes. With a secure VPN, users are assured that their identities are hidden and safe. With their IP address hidden, nobody can track users and their network activity.

VPN services deploy the software by signing in to their website or via local installation. After paying the vendor for access, users are required to create an account and then download the software to their device. There is also an option that does not require any software installation.

Through a remote server, the VPN exchanges keys and all sensitive data traffic are encrypted and secured in the said server. Thus, no unauthorized individual, group or business can access, identify and track users and activity without securing permission.

Aside from private internet access, VPN software also helps users get into blocked websites, particularly those that carry region-restricted content.

Other features and functions of VPN software include simultaneous connections, which mean users are allowed to connect multiple devices at the same time; cross-platform functionality, so businesses can use any device to run the solution; DNS leak prevention tools; kill switch and multiple server locations that allow users to connect virtually no matter where they are in the world.

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Types of VPN Software

There are different types of VPN software that share the common goal of providing security and privacy to its users. A VPN product is classified in different ways.

Native or built-in VPN clients

For users who do not want to install software, the built-in VPN solution is the ideal option. This is a pre-installed tool offered and supported by certain operating systems. Some examples of OS that supports built-in VPN solutions include specific versions of iOS, Chrome OS, Windows, Android and macOS.

Open source VPN software

This type of VPN software provides source codes publicly. In other words, it is easy to access, enhance and modify. Therefore, it encourages sharing and collaboration. There are other factors that make open source software attractive to programmers and developers. These include: more control, learning and improvement opportunities (skills and software), better and more stable security and stability and active, supportive community.

Despite what some people may believe, open source software does not necessarily mean free VPN.

For encryption functions and information and data protection, open source virtual private network software utilizes the SSL/TLS (secure sockets layer/transport layer security) protocol.

Remote access VPN software

Remote access VPN solutions connect with private networks via a secure remote server. The users are linked to this server. Security is ensured through additional encryption.

This type of software is ideal for personal use and considered the basis for commercial VPN solutions. Users are allowed to access the network and browse online safely and privately, without compromising their activity and sensitive data. All the information and data users receive and sent are hidden. As such, users are able to access restricted content or networks.

Remote access VPN solutions are not ideal for large enterprises.

Site-to-site VPN software

This type of VPN software is also known as branch office VPN because it connects the main headquarters network with remote branch office networks. A good example that demonstrates the site-to-site VPN concept is this: a user working in their company’s corporate office in New York is collaborating with an employee from the branch office in Canada.

In the scenario described above, the VPN connects both LANs or local area networks to a single WAN or wide area network.

Another good example for site-to-site VPN is two different companies connecting to and collaborating with each other. This is known as extranet-based site-to-site VPN as opposed to the intranet-based example previously given.

Site-to-site VPNs are ideal for large-scale enterprises. They are not as flexible as remote access solutions and can be complicated as additional resources and special equipment are required.

Other types of VPN software include:

Single-protocol and multi-protocol VPN solutions

A VPN protocol refers to a set of instructions and processes that VPN providers use to guarantee secure and stable VPN client-server communications. Single-protocol VPN uses just one protocol but can be reliable, secure and robust depending on the chosen provider.

Multi-protocol VPN offers users multiple options and support. Likewise, it guarantees efficiency and reliability in removing VPN blocks and bypassing censorship. Multi-protocol VPN is also ideal for video streaming.

Zero-logs or no-logging VPN software

VPN solutions with a zero-log or no–logging policy do not share, collect or store users’ sensitive data.

Free, budget and premium VPNs

Free VPN solutions are the most practical for some users because they do not cost a thing. The only downside is that features and functions are often limited. The better option would be to look for paid VPN services that come with free trials.

Budget VPN software is the cost-effective option for businesses. This type of solution usually offers only the most important features and functions. It is not a full or complete VPN package.

Premium VPNs may be costly, but they have the best equipment and reliable and efficient security and privacy features. Some premium solutions even offer exclusive features, those that are not provided by other software.

How to Choose VPN Software

With VPN software providers scrambling to make a mark in the market one after the other, choosing the right VPN tool for your business can be quite challenging. Here are some pointers to take note before deciding on which one to purchase.

What your business needs

First things first; check out what your company needs. If you have an existing VPN, what are your reasons for getting a new one? Are you using it for purely business purposes, or do you intend to use the VPN for your personal need as well? Site-to-site VPN software is ideal for companies while remote access VPN is intended for personal use.

If security is your main concern, you might want to consider looking for a zero-log VPN software.

Know the features you need

Look for the features your business needs. The most important factors to consider are privacy and security features, simultaneous connections, the number of servers, cross-platform support, software features, reliable customer support, pricing and free trials. Additionally, choosing a vendor that offers money-back guarantees is recommended.

Ease of use

Find a VPN solution that’s easy to use. This is especially important if you’re working with a team in your office. With a user-friendly VPN tool, you won’t have to worry about additional expenses for training your employees in using the software.

Also, do not forget to choose a VPN solution that has an intuitive graphical user interface as this will help you with the settings and management of your VPN connection.

VPN protocol

Your chosen VPN provider should allow you to choose which VPN protocols to use. Of course, you can also choose to use a single-protocol VPN solution.

VPN Pricing

You have to consider your budget when choosing your VPN software. Keep in mind, however, that the pricing should not be your main basis for coming up with a decision. You should not choose free VPN services just because you do not want to spend. Remember, there are reasons why free solutions are given for free.

You need to keep a healthy balance between price and quality.

Benefits of VPN Software

If you decide to use VPN software, these are the following benefits you and your business will enjoy:

Offers privacy, security and protection for all online activities

Privacy, security and protection are the primary functions of a VPN solution. It acts like a hotspot shield. Once you are online, you’ll get protection so your activities won’t be detected.

Additionally, VPN software blocks questionable websites, so you are guaranteed safety and security while browsing through networks.

Also, VPN solutions protect you and your network from hackers, frauds and other online bandits.

Protects your identity

VPN software hides your IP address, so your identity and location are protected the entire time that you are online. VPNs constantly changes IP addresses.

Allows convenient remote working

VPN software allows you to connect to your office network even when you are working remotely. Therefore, you can access important information or data even if you are not in the office. Additionally, you do not have to worry about your data being compromised as it travels through your network and the VPN server as it is encrypted.

Allows you to access restricted website and bypass censorship

Region-restricted websites will be accessible once you have your own VPN software. This is mostly geared towards streaming services, which means it’s common among users of personal use VPN. Nevertheless, your business still stands to benefit from this there may be times when you’ll need to access locked or restricted sites.

Allows you to find cheaper alternatives

A VPN tool gives you access to more practical, cheaper alternatives to several services. You can look for affordable streaming plans, cheaper programs and apps and even better hotel rates. Since your VPN works across the world, more options are open to you.

Common Features of VPN

API Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) are programmatic intersections with external products or platforms that allow for custom integrations with your own solutions or other solutions you are using.
Dashboard Dashboards are digital interfaces commonly used to visualise data or give quick access to important features and functions of online platforms. They often serve as an overview gateway in software applications.
Data Export Exporting functionality can be used to streamline the migration of data sets and information across systems, platforms or applications.
Data Import Importing functionality allows you to use data sets from other systems or platforms to cut down on data entry requirements or to more easily migrate records from similar applications you have used in the past.
DDoS Protection Protection against direct denial of service (DDOS) attacks, ensuring website uptime.
External Integrations Integrations with other software products or platforms to improve efficiency and compatibility across systems.
File Sharing Share files with colleagues, customers or other stakeholders for easier access across platforms, collaboration and/or version control.
File Transfer Transfer large files to colleagues, customers or other stakeholders. This is often used for files too large to transfer via email and other conventional transmission methods.
Firewall Protect systems against viruses, breach attempts and other malicious behaviour exhibited by hackers or employees through the use of firewalls.
Malware Protection Protect your computer from malware, viruses and worms.
Multi-User Supports more than just one user account and generally allows for collaboration with colleagues.
Notifications Includes notification support and sends you alerts with information on important events and other time sensitive instances. For example through push notifications on mobile phones or email notifications.

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