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What is a VPN?

A Virtual Private Network is a service that allows you to connect to the Internet via an encrypted tunnel to ensure your online privacy and protect your sensitive data. A VPN is commonly used to secure connection to public Wi-FI hotspot, hide IP address and make your browsing private.

What does a VPN do?

Hides your IP address

Masking your IP address is essential to becoming private online. A VPN makes sure that your city, country, and torrent download history aren’t linked to your identity.

Protects you on public Wi-Fi

A VPN encrypts your online data and helps to secure your personal information when you use free Wi-Fi in airports or anywhere else.

Unlocks blocked websites

You can unblock sites by connecting to a VPN server in a different country. Access to various websites is restricted in many countries due to growing internet censorship or geo-blocking.

Enables access to more Netflix

Access more Netflix libraries from all over the world with a VPN. Surfshark unlocks more than 15 in the US, Japan, France, and other countries!

Who can benefit from a VPN?

This technology is quickly becoming essential for most of the people who go online

Privacy geeks

We agree - you should be able to control your privacy. A VPN protects all your data & makes sure you’re not exposed when you go online.

Security devotees

It’s always a good idea to take extra steps to secure yourself online. Our industry-leading AES-256-GCM encryption does just that!

Human rights activists

In some countries, freedom of speech can come with dire consequences. Hide your identity, bypass censorship, and speak to the world using a VPN.

Sports zealots

Don’t miss out on a match just because you’re in a different country. Stream your favorite games from anywhere in the world using a VPN.


When you travel, public Wi-Fi is a necessity. Make sure you don’t compromise your security and use a VPN on public networks.

Avid gamers

Enjoy games before they are available where you are, get better prices, and play with your expat friends on the same servers with a VPN.

Movie & TV show fans

Connect to a VPN server in a different country to enjoy libraries streaming services like Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Disney Plus, and many others.

Torrenting enthusiasts

To prevent threatening letters from your ISP when you torrent, simply connect to a VPN and enjoy P2P sharing privately.

Mobile users

Save mobile internet data and make your connection faster with CleanWeb that blocks ads before they can load and slow you down.

How does a VPN work?

It takes a lot of moving parts, but it’s simple on your end. Here’s how it works:

DNS request

The first step is making a DNS request. That’s how you get the IP address of a VPN server.

Secret keys

At this point, secret keys are built. Your VPN will need them in the next steps.

Secure channel

A secure channel is created, all with the help of those special secret keys!

Data encryption

VPN protocols help encrypt your data that will use the secure channel. Voilà!

VPN protocols

An important part of VPN protection are tunneling protocols - crucial mechanisms that make your connection to the VPN server possible. Here’s what protocols you may come across:


Is an open-source VPN protocol.
It’s fast, secure, and works best for long-distance connections.


Is another fast and secure VPN protocol. It works best in shorter distance connections.

PP2P and LT2P

Are outdated tunneling protocols, and we highly recommend not to use them. They can offer neither the security nor reliability of OpenVPN or IKEv2.


Is a security protocol that enables encryption, which is why it’s used in combination with outdated tunneling protocols such as LT2P.

Transport Layer Security

SSL/TLS is used very commonly.
For example, in your browser! It can secure your connection to some degree.

Secure Shell (SSH) VPN

Is a tunneling protocol used to connect from one VPN server to another. However, there are better (more secure and reliable) alternatives.


Is a new communication protocol.
It hasn’t been around long enough to make any definite statements about its security and reliability.

How to set up a VPN?

Setting up a VPN is relatively easy. We recommend downloading native apps, but if you're a tech savvy you can always opt-in for a manual config.

Download a VPN application

The easiest way to set up a VPN is to download a VPN application. All you need to do is pick a reputable VPN service provider and download its application for your device. If you can install an app, you can install a VPN.

Set up a VPN manually

You can set up a VPN manually, too. Here’s how you can do it: set up a VPN on your router or configure a personal VPN server. Note, not all routers can support secure VPN protocols, so it’s important to choose one that does.

Now that you know how to set up a VPN, you can also take a look at how to use it.

Are there any VPN alternatives?

Tor (The Onion Router)

Tor offers the Tor Network, which has many server nodes across the world. It is based on distributed trust: you don’t know who’s behind the server nodes. It might be a party you cannot trust.


An HTTP proxy is somewhat similar to a VPN, but the main difference is that you can only send HTTP traffic through it - and not DNS, FTP, or SMTP requests.

What is a VPN web browser? Can I use it?

A VPN browser is a web browser with in-built VPN. Not everything that is advertised as a VPN browser actually is one. Some are just privacy browsers. Here are the VPN browsers you’re most likely to have heard of:



One of the top-dog contenders in the browser market, Opera does indeed come with a VPN plugin. Of course, like every browser-based VPN out there, it only protects your browser traffic.



Epic is a privacy-focused browser that stores very little and deletes everything once you quit. It now comes with a VPN feature.

Tor Browser

Tor Browser

Tor Browser is necessary to access the Tor Network. It doesn’t have a VPN feature - instead, it relies on the Tor Network for privacy.



Brave is a Chromium-based browser with a VPN that comes as a premium feature (and only for iOS users). So its appeal is hardly universal.

UR Browser

UR Browser

UR Browser is a Chromium-based privacy browser made by AdaptiveBee. It claims to offer VPN functionality, but some online security experts claim that UR Browser’s VPN was previously just an unencrypted proxy.



Orfox was a Tor-based browser for Android. Was. As the Tor Project released Tor Browser for Android, the project was discontinued.


Am I completely anonymous with a VPN?

Unfortunately, there is no such thing as being anonymous online. Nevertheless, a VPN does offer you privacy & security and makes it extremely hard for anyone to decipher your activities. However, the only way to be 100% anonymous digitally is not only to never use the internet but also to never use any services that may store information about you online. For most of us, that’s impossible. 

A good VPN provider will only have minimal data about you (such as your email address), will not keep any activity or connection logs, will not log your IP addresses, used bandwidth, network traffic, and similar data.

Can I be tracked if I use a VPN?

Yes, a VPN makes you private online, and it would be ridiculously difficult to crack any of the security systems to extract information about you. Whether you can be tracked online doesn’t just depend on your VPN provider, but also on your digital literacy, how well you assess risk, and how much you share online. However, hackers and spies usually follow the path of least resistance. Your social media posts may offer sufficient information to track you online. Spear-phishing campaigns where scammers target a specific person for information or money are surprisingly effective.

Can a VPN make my Internet connection faster?

Yes, in some cases, a VPN can actually make your Internet connection faster. While a lot of the time, you may experience a slight drop in speed (in the best-case scenario, it’s not noticeable by simply using your device as you normally do), it’s a different story if you experience throttling.

Throttling is a practice used by a lot of ISPs. Sometimes it is a necessary thing to do in order to manage the data load for all users so that everyone gets adequate speeds.However, some providers take it to extremes and cap bandwidth for specific services or apps – like Amazon, Netflix, Skype, or YouTube. That can significantly damage your call or video quality, but if you use a VPN, you can get around it! Your provider will not be able to throttle your speed, because they will not know what you’re up to.

Now you know what VPN meaning is..

There is only one thing left to do!

Explore VPN technology further