What is a VPN Client?
A VPN client is a software based technology that establishes a secure connection between the user and a VPN server. Some VPN clients work in the background automatically, while others have front-end interfaces that allow users to interact with and configure them. VPN clients are often applications that are installed on a computer, though some organizations provide a purpose-built VPN client that is a hardware device pre-installed with VPN software.
What is a VPN?
A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, allows you to create a secure connection to another network over the Internet. VPNs forward all your personal traffic through their network, which is where the benefits all come from.
Most operating systems have integrated VPN support. Because a connected computer behaves as if it’s on the protected network, local network resources can be securely accessed even when you’re on the other side of the world. You’ll also be able to use the Internet as if you were present at the VPN’s location, which has some benefits if you want to access geo-blocked websites.
VPN technology was originally developed to allow remote business workers to securely connect to corporate networks in order to access resources when gone from the office. Although VPNs are still used in this way, the term now usually refers to commercial VPN services that allow users to access the internet privately through their servers.
VPNs create a data tunnel between your local network and an exit node in another location, which could be thousands of miles away, making it seem as if you’re in another place. This allows users to, for example:
- Give employees secure access to a corporate intranet while located outside the office. They are used to securely connect geographically separated offices of an organization.
- Circumvent geographical restrictions or protect privacy. Because VPN users appear to be located at the VPN exit, they can be used to circumvent geographical restrictions for certain services, or to connect to proxy servers for the purpose of protecting personal identity and location.