Virtual private network (VPN) is a private, controlled network. It creates a virtual tunnel, where your data is encrypted so that no one can track or monitor your online activities.

How does a VPN work

When you connect to the internet, your request goes through your Internet service provider (ISP), which redirects you to the website you intend to visit.

When you use a VPN, network traffic between your device and a VPN server is directed through a secure virtual encrypted tunnel, where sent and received data is encrypted.

how VPN works

After you connect to a VPN, neither Internet service providers (ISPs) nor third-party snoopers can spy on what you on the internet. Hence, all of your online activities (e. g. browsing history) are private and secure.

What is VPN encryption

Encryption is a method to generate a key to encrypt digital data. Trusted VPN service providers now use AES-256 (Advanced Encryption Standard) which is declared as a federal standard. It means the software secures the data by creating a cryptographic key that uses a top version of 256-bit encryption to unlock that data.  

The U. S. government uses AES-256 to encrypt top secret information, while we use it to protect your personal space. To learn more about VPN encryption, click here.

Why VPNs use tunneling protocols

The level of encryption depends on tunneling protocols. They help secure data between your device and a selected remote server so that no one can eavesdrop on your browsing activities. Surfshark’s technologists implemented diamond-strong protocols IKEv2 & OpenVPN.

IKEv2 is an advanced protocol which is distinctly faster than most protocols and is praised for its ability to maintain a stable VPN connection. OpenVPN is used for Surfshark’s Windows app and manual router configurations. To learn more about VPN protocols, click here.

How is VPN different from proxy or Tor

VPN creates a secure end to end encryption. All of the data sent from the device and received in protected from cyber threats.

Proxy is an online service which masks and changes your IP address. Proxy secures your browser and helps to protect your digital identity.

Similar to a VPN connection, Tor enables secure communications. It creates an encrypted connection between a device and the Tor network, so it is complicated to monitor or track online activities.  To learn more about VPN vs. Proxy vs. Tor, click here.

What does a VPN do

As soon as you connect to a VPN, you can:

  • Keep your digital identity secure
  • Protect your privacy
  • Hide and replace your IP address
  • Connect unlimited devices
  • Enjoy unlimited entertainment
  • Browse the free and open internet

What a VPN doesn’t do

There’s no master tool to grant you complete online anonymity. While VPN is a robust service to secure and protect your online lifestyle, being completely anonymous is impossible. Every time you go on the internet, you leave bits of traces behind.

Is free VPN a good idea

Nothing is ever for free. There are tons of different VPN options available, but not all of them are created equal. Free service means the provider had to compromise on something. Whether it is speed, user experience or worst of all – your privacy.

To run a legitimate VPN service, the provider must hire top technologists. If a VPN service provider doesn’t charge you, how can it pay its specialists?

We strongly advise not to give your privacy and do careful research before you choose a VPN service. To learn more about free VPN services, click here.

How easy it is to use a VPN service

Super easy! Different providers offer different user experiences. Surfshark’s foundations are based on simplicity. We engineered a VPN that is diamond-strong on the inside, but you get everything with just one click. We work hard to make your experience as smooth and simple, as possible.

Moreover, if you have any questions, our Support team is ready to help 24/7.

How to set up a VPN

To enjoy online privacy and security, you need to follow 3 easy steps:

  1. Sign up for your Surfshark account and choose a pricing plan;
  2. Download and log in
  3. Rock on

Which devices support VPN

Usually, every device that connects to the internet supports VPN. Moreover, if you configure your router manually, you can connect devices that generally don’t support VPN.

Devices that support VPN

  • Computers
  • Mobile devices (smartphones & tablets)
  • Wireless routers

After setting up your router manually:

  • Apple TV
  • PlayStation
  • Xbox

Operating systems that support VPN

  • Windows
  • macOS
  • Android
  • Android TV
  • iOS
  • Linux
  • BlackBerry
  • Fire OS

What browsers support proxy extensions

  • Firefox
  • Chrome
  • Brave