Virtual Private Networks (VPN's) allow you to surf the web anonymously, so that nobody can intercept your data while you are online.
All data is sent and received on the web using set procedures known as protocols. Network protocols govern how a computer accesses a network; payload protocols govern how packets of data (such as IP addresses) are sent and received by computers on the network.
Normally, packets of data on networks are sent openly, which means any user on the network can access any other user’s data, provided they have the software needed to do so. This poses a risk because if you’re sending a piece of data that should be secure or private (such as a password).
VPN's work by encrypting (disguising) any data you send over a computer network, making it pointless for anyone to intercept your data.
VPN's are able to do this using two special procedures for disguising your data:
Tunneling protocols: special communications procedures whereby the network protocol receives a different payload protocol, making it impossible for computers on the network to intercept the data other computers are sending.
Encryption: a special technique that takes any data sent over a computer network, and scrambles it into an unreadable code using a special algorithm known as a cipher. Only those who possess the decryption algorithm can decode encrypted data.
By using tunneling protocols and encryption algorithms, VPN's provide a secure route for the transmission of data across secure and insecure networks. This means that when you access a website through a VPN, only you and the host can ever find the data you’re sending to and requesting from a site, thereby guaranteeing a totally secure and anonymous browsing experience.