It is easy to think that Virtual Private Network (VPN), Virtual Private Server (VPS) and Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) are the same thing. While they share some similarities and can be used at the same time, the truth is that they are very different. It is possible to host a VPN on a VPS or VPC, but in spite of some common characteristics, each technology has its own identity. They all are virtual, which is what the V on all the acronyms stands for.
All these options rely on virtual equipment that is separated from the physical hardware resources. Then we have the “P” which stands for private. These solutions are only accessible to specific users. In general, the permitted users are identified by a cryptographic certificate. They need to use a password or/and a username to get access. So we know that all these resources are virtual and private, but after that things get different for each of them and here we will see how.
With a VPN, the private network of a company or organization can be accessed using public infrastructure. Users can easily exchange data across shared or public networks as if they were connected to the private network. VPN services commercially available, encrypt online traffic to secure it and direct it through a server in a remote location. When you use a VPN, your real IP address, location and activity are hidden from others. Due to the encryption applied by the VPN, your data remains private and secure. This gives you the possibility of streaming content, accessing websites or downloading media without exposing your identity.
Since privacy and security have become a major concern for internet users around the world, it is possible to find many VPN providers available in the market. There are free services that provide basic functionality and while they may be practical for general browsing, they are not reliable or secure options. In order to fully enjoy the benefits of a VPN, it is advisable to opt for a paid service as they offer better speed and performance, as well as a greater selection of features to protect your data and bypass restrictions. You can find options that are suitable for different requirements and budgets.
How does a VPN work
A VPN is set up by creating a virtual peer-to-peer connection that combines dedicated connections and encryption protocols. All the online traffic is routed through the VPN tunnel. Since the data is encrypted and it goes through a tunnel between sender and receiver, eavesdroppers can’t get access to it. A VPN connects to a virtual network privately and it ensures that your traffic can’t be intercepted. Most VPN services offer their own clients, which makes the installation process very simple. Once the VPN is running on your device, you can connect to a VPN server and secure your traffic. There are many VPN providers available, including reliable and popular options like ExpressVPN, PureVPN, NordVPN, Private Internet Access and VyprVPN.
VPNs are the ideal option for users who want to enhance the security of their online data. They are a practical way to keep your information protected when you use public WiFi hotspots, which are known for being exploited by malicious hackers who want to steal your personal information. In addition, a VPN will allow you to change your IP address and connect to servers in other locations, so you can defeat censorship and geographical restrictions. A VPN lets you browse internet securely and it also gives you freedom to access the content that you want.
A VPS is related to computing resources of a main host in a data center being shared. A single host is divided into multiple virtual compartments. Each unit can work on its own, the units are known as virtual private servers. When you log into a VPS, it will show as your home Windows computer, although there are some design differences. VPS is a practical solution for hosting websites and remote applications. GoDaddy, InMotion and Hostgator are some of the most popular providers. A VPS is created when a massive physical server is divided in such a way that the separate servers are capable of running independently.
Virtual layers are then created to make sure that every virtual compartment can be used as a private standalone server that can run its own copy of an OS. This copy can work as a virtual instance. Users also have superuser-level access to that operating system instance so they can run applications and install programs if needed. Each virtual machine can work well on its own, without relying on the other ones because independent server resources such as CPU, RAM and disk storage are assigned to every virtual compartment. A VPS is a practical solution to take full advantage of costly dedicated servers without making a huge investment. These virtual solutions combine shared hosting, superuser-level access, dedicated computing resources and an independent environment. A VPS is suitable in cases when a shared hosting plan is not enough, but a dedicated server is not an option that can be considered due to the costs associated.
A Virtual Private Cloud is not very different from a VPS, although it uses a fixed portion of a server with fixed resources. It can manage a large amount for virtual machines and it doesn’t depend on a single server. There is no underlying hardware, which offers greater flexibility. With VPCs, it is possible to manage your own service and you can enable and disable servers on and off as you prefer. Thanks to this, it is possible to set up an hourly pricing model and not a monthly one. The most popular VPC providers include Google Cloud, Rackspace, Digital Ocean and Amazon Web Service Elastic Cloud 2 (EC2).
There are some cases in which Virtual Private Clouds are better than Virtual Private Servers. For instance, if there is no relatively fixed amount of incoming and outgoing traffic. If you are hosting a website and there is a spike in traffic, a VPC can automatically increase the amount of virtual resources to cope with this. This feature is known as elasticity. The other scenario in which a VPC would be a better option than a VPS is when the server is only needed for a few hours or just a couple of days. This is due to the fact that VPCs are usually charged per hour, which makes them a better option than a VPS, which is charged monthly.
VPN, VPS and VPC technologies are convenient solution for companies, but they handle different aspects. With a VPN, users can secure their online activities and improve their privacy on the internet. It is possible to use a VPS to host your website or apps and you can take advantage of the superuser-level access to the server and share computing resources. A VPC is an elastic cloud service that offers the chance of hosting websites and applications. You can enable or disable it and it is scalable, which gives you flexibility to handle resource requirements.