Last updated on January 13th, 2022 by Joel Farrugia. Filed under

« Back to Glossary Index

What is a VPN?

VPN is an acronym that stands for Virtual Private Network.VPNs create a tunnel between a LAN (Local Area Network) and another LAN or computer. Once the VPN connection is established, both ends of the connection will effectively be on the same local network.

How do VPNs work?

VPNs come in different flavors, including remote-access VPN where a VPN client on a single machine connects to a VPN server and site-to-site VPN where two networks connect to each other via VPN.

Regardless of the VPN flavor being used, a protocol must be defined. The protocol effectively tells the two end-points which language they will use to communicate, ensuring that data can pass through the VPN and be understood by both sides of the connection.

There are different protocols available – with some protocols being proprietary while others being open standards. Proprietary protocols are only available when using equipment and software from specific vendors, while open standards protocols are more readily available and compatible with different devices.

One important factor of VPN protocols is encryption. Encryption is a vital aspect of VPNs, as it allows communication between the two endpoints to be encrypted and thus unreadable to anyone not part of the connection. Since any information passed through the VPN has to traverse the internet, strong encryption is very important.

Another important factor of VPNs is the OSI layer at which they operate. In a nutshell, this essentially determines what is routed and by whom. Options include Layer 2 – which means that routing is done at the data link layer and Layer 3 – which means that routing is done at the network layer. While this aspect of VPN is completely transparent to the user, it is still worth knowing.

The benefits of VPN

VPN has been around for a very long time and will more than likely continue to be around for some time to come – thanks to the many benefits they offer (for example, it is good to use VPN to avoid man-in-the-middle attacks on WordPress). Of course, different use cases will benefit from different things, including:


VPN allows remote users to access resources as if they were located locally, without the need to share those resources publicly. As such, you can work from different locations without sacrificing access to the resources you need.


Security is another big benefit that VPN offers. Since VPN connections can be configured to encrypt data as it passed through the connection, any information you send is secured, preventing snooping and attacks such as man-in-the-middle.

This makes VPN ideal when logging in to your WordPress website over unsecured or public Wi-Fis, ensuring that nobody else on the network can read your data.

« Back to Glossary Index

Our other plugins