The global market size for Virtual Private Network (VPN) was estimated at $35.4 billion in 2020. That figure is expected to skyrocket to a stunning $107.6 billion by 2027.
It’s easy to see why the demand for VPN services is growing so rapidly. The fact is, cybercrime is a bigger threat than it has ever been before, with the world expected to lose an astronomical $10.5 trillion a year to cyber-attacks by 2025.
One way people and businesses are using to guarantee their online safety and privacy is through different types of VPN.
But exactly what is a VPN? What types of VPN exist today, and how can you choose the best VPN service for you?
These are just some of the questions we answer in this guide. Keep reading to learn more.
What Is a VPN Service?
A VPN refers to a tool or service that’s designed to give you online privacy and anonymity by creating a private network through a public internet connection. A VPN can mask your internet protocol (IP) address, ensuring that what you do online is virtually untraceable. By establishing a secure and encrypted connection, VPN offers much greater privacy than even secured Wi-Fi hotspots.
Every time you surf the internet or transact on the web on unsecured networks, you’re exposing your browsing habits and private information to other users, some of whom may have malicious intent. It’s the reason you need a VPN to offer you encryption and anonymity, so eavesdroppers never get to you.
Here Are the Different Types of VPN You Need to Know
VPN services can be divided into two major categories:
- Remote Access VPN
- Site-to-Site VPN
Let’s take a closer look at each.
Remote Access VPN
Remote access VPN is the most popular type of VPN service today. It’s the type of service you need if you’re looking for a VPN for personal use.
Remote access VPN typically connects users to a secure remote server, allowing them to access a private network. As a result of the encryption provided by this type of VPN, your security is assured.
Commercial VPN service providers base their business model on remote access VPN. They let you use their network as you surf the web, concealing the data you send and receive from local networks. Thus, you can use the internet in privacy and without worrying about snoopers and hackers.
Remote access VPN has many advantages, including simple setups. Using the VPN is also easy, whether you’re a newcomer or a veteran.
Perhaps the main drawback when it comes to using remote access VPN is the fact that it may be unsuitable for large-scale enterprise needs.
Site-to-site VPNs are designed to provide multiple users in different fixed locations with the ability to access one another’s resources. This type of VPN is further subdivided into two:
- Intranet-based site-to-site VPN
- Extranet-based site-to-site VPN
An example of an intranet-based site-to-site VPN is where your company has branches in two different cities, and workers from both locations want to collaborate. The local networks of both locations connect to the same wide-area network, allowing your employees to securely share information and other resources with each other.
In extranet-based site-to-site VPN, there can be a connection between two separate intranets. However, the two intranets cannot access each other directly. In most cases, this type of VPN is used where there are two separate brands working with each other.
Site-to-site VPNs are very common in business environments, requiring secure communication between departments, branches, or companies. As you can probably imagine, the implementation required is more specialized, and serious resources are involved.
Moreover, site-to-site VPN technology is designed with a certain purpose. The flexibility you get with this type of VPN is a lot less than what commercial VPN services provide.
Further VPN Subdivisions
Now that we’ve looked at the main VPN categories available today, it’s time to see what other types of VPN exist. In particular, we’ll investigate commercial VPN subtypes based on four criteria:
Let’s get started.
VPN Services Meant for Business or Personal Use
We’ve already pointed out that users typically purchase VPNs for either business or personal use. A business-oriented VPN comes with specific features meant for facilitating how you’ll set up the VPN connections, as well as deploy and manage them for your company.
A good example of a VPN designed for business use is Perimeter 81. This VPN allows you to scale up and down according to your business needs, in addition to many other features.
There are numerous VPN services that work perfectly for personal use. These include ExpressVPN, NordVPN, and Surf Shark.
Multi-Protocol Vs. Single-Protocol VPNs
Many of the best VPN services are highly versatile and provide you multiple protocols. Of course, the main benefit of choosing such a VPN is the many options you get.
Popular providers like ExpressVPN and CyberGhost support the major VPN protocols, besides offering SSL/TLS encryption. Sometimes these VPNs also support proprietary protocols such as Chameleon protocol and Catapult Hydra.
When a VPN offers a variety of protocols, it makes it easier to bypass censorship, stream videos smoothly, and eliminate VPN blocks.
Some types of VPN only support different variations of a single protocol. This usually happens as a result of limited resources or design philosophy. These VPNs include AirVPN and ProtonVPN.
Note that single-protocol VPNs can be as reliable and robust as multi-protocol VPNs. However, there’s no real benefit of using a single-protocol VPN, so it’s best to opt for a multi-protocol VPN if you can find a good choice.
No-Logging VPNs Vs. Others
When it comes to privacy, you can find VPN services that keep entirely no logs and the rest.
If your VPN service provider has a no-logging policy, it means that they guarantee zero collection, storing, and sharing of any of your sensitive data. Such a VPN service must first be operating in jurisdictions that do not bar no-logs claims as a result of data retention laws.
Generally, VPNs that have no-logging policies are registered in overseas locations that have a tradition of respecting people’s privacy. A good example is ExpressVPN which is registered in the British Virgin Islands. There’s also CyberGhost, registered in Romania.
Of course, you can also find many reputable VPNs registered in other locations that keep their promise of offering unquestionable privacy and security. These include TorGuard and Private Internet Access, both based in the US.
Popular VPN services that store some logs from users include TunnelBear and VyprVPN. However, these VPNs go out of their way to ensure transparency about it.
Note that just because a VPN keeps a certain amount of logs doesn’t make them unreliable. But it does mean they won’t be your ideal choice if total privacy is your biggest priority.
Premium, Budget, or Free VPN
Price categories also differentiate VPNs. Under this classification, we have premium, budget, and free VPN services.
Premium VPN services are generally where most leading VPN providers are found. As you might expect, VPNs in this category are popular for their equipment level, besides their overall security, privacy, and performance capability.
One of the most acclaimed premium VPN services is ExpressVPN. Besides its reputation for fast speeds, the VPN comes with such desirable extras as anti-DDoS servers and split tunneling. Customer support for premium VPNs tends to be highly responsive.
Of course, clients can expect to pay a higher price when it comes to premium VPN service. This is especially the case for one-month plans. But all the great features that come with these plans are well worth the investment.
Budget VPN services have the price as their primary strength. However, VPNs can still easily reach premium status in certain aspects.
Arguably the cheapest VPN service we’ve mentioned so far is Private Internet Access. Despite its affordability, customers still get SOCKS5 proxy support, tens of thousands of servers, a kill switch, and other amazing features. However, its overall speed, customer support, and some other aspects are much lower than premium VPN services.
Free VPN services are an alternative for casual VPN users. However, they come with serious restrictions and considerable security risks. If free VPN is something you’d like to try, you can check out WindScribe and TunnelBear.
Use the Right VPN for You
As you can see, there are lots of different types of VPN, so you can always be sure you’ll find a solution that works for you. Generally, you can opt for a free VPN for casual use to a budget solution that offers basic functionality. But if you’re interested in a feature-rich VPN service, there’s no shortage of premium VPN solutions to meet your every need.
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