Beginners Guide: A VPN Dictionary

VPN, IP, SSID, PPTP, SSL … can we buy a vowel? The terms and acronyms in the VPN lexicon can be confusing. Sabai set out to create a guide to these confusing terms, but figured out quickly that this was a bigger job than originally intended. To compromise, below are listed some of the most common terms while a more complete list can be found at our VPN dictionary. Read below for plain-English explanations of what these terms mean and how they affect your service and use:

VPN Virtual Private Network, VPN’s create a secure, private network over a larger network like the internet. Most use a client service to connect to VPN. Common uses of VPN include unblocking government blocked websites, security, anonymity, virtual firewall, American IP, safe public WiFi, static IP, and lower skype rates.

WAN Wide Area Network, generally a connection to the wider, outside world. The internet is the best and possibly the largest example.

PPTP Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol, possibly the simplest form of VPN, PPTP is fast but not the most secure option and is easy to block. Learn more about PPTP.

OpenVPN Not just a VPN protocol, OpenVPN is an open source program that facilitates VPN. OpenVPN is a more secure option and will work anywhere in the world.

MAC Address Media Access Control Address, MAC addresses are distinct addresses on the device level and is comprised of a manufacturer number and serial number.

LAN Local Area Network, the very common network that a router operates on. See also WAN.

IP Internet Protocol, usually seen in reference to an IP address, this is how internet service providers know a computers location in order to deliver the packets of information you request. If two computers shared an IP address, the net doesn’t know which computer requested to see Google and which requested to see Netflix.

Firewall A program that checks traffic coming in and out and sorts through it accordingly.  It’s usually used for blocking unauthorized or suspicious connections. A common setup in routers is to allow all outgoing traffic (assuming devices on the network are not malicious) and any incoming traffic that is part of an established connection.

Read more VPN definitions on our dictionary page. Can you think of any terms we forgot? Let us know in comments!

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