By: William Sikkens
Host, User Friendly 2.0 Saturday’s at 5:00 p.m.


This is a topic we have discussed before.  In the past few weeks we have received a number of questions related to VPNs - so it’s a good time to revisit this.

A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, is a technology that creates a secure and encrypted connection between your device and the internet. It allows you to browse the internet privately and securely by routing your internet traffic through an encrypted tunnel.

When you connect to a VPN server, your device creates a secure connection to that server. All the data you send and receive while connected to the VPN is encrypted, which means it is protected from unauthorized access or interception by third parties, such as hackers, government agencies, or internet service providers.

Here's a step-by-step overview of how a VPN works:

Encryption: When you activate a VPN, it encrypts your internet traffic, converting it into unreadable code. This encryption ensures that even if someone intercepts your data, they won't be able to decipher it without the encryption key.

Secure Connection: Your encrypted data is then sent through a secure tunnel to the VPN server. This connection is established using various protocols such as OpenVPN, IPSec, or others, depending on the VPN provider.

IP Address Masking: Once your data reaches the VPN server, your original IP address (which can be used to identify your location and online activities) is replaced with the IP address of the VPN server. This process, known as IP address masking, helps protect your privacy and makes it difficult for websites or online services to track your real identity or location.

Access and Anonymity: By connecting to a VPN server located in a different geographic location, you can appear as if you are browsing the internet from that location. This allows you to bypass geo-restrictions, access regionally restricted content, or hide your online activities from prying eyes.

Security and Privacy: VPNs provide an additional layer of security, especially when using public Wi-Fi networks.  By encrypting your data VPNs prevent others on the same network from intercepting your sensitive information or monitoring your online activities.

It's important to note that while VPNs enhance your online privacy and security, they are not foolproof. The VPN provider may have access to your unencrypted data, so it's crucial to choose a reputable VPN service that has a strict no-logs policy and takes privacy seriously.

Overall, VPNs are commonly used by individuals, businesses, and organizations to protect their online privacy, secure sensitive data, bypass censorship or restrictions, and maintain anonymity while browsing the internet.

Yes, these are another monthly subscription cost.  The average VPN runs about $10/month.  You can generally find other prices, some more and some less.  It’s important to check the ratings of the VPN provider and make sure they are doing what you expect.

William (Bill) Sikkens has been an on-air technology expert since 2013. With an expertise in I.T., cyber security and software design he has had more than 20 years’ experience with advanced technology. Sikkens conceptualizes and designs custom applications for many professional industries from health care to banking and has the ability to explain the details in a way all can understand.  ChatGPT contributed to this article. Article edited by Gretchen Winkler, who is the co-host of User Friendly 2.0 here on The Answer Saturdays at 5:00 p.m.

Links and brand/store information provided are for information only and are not endorsed by Salem Media Group, KPAM or the show's hosts.  

Got a technology question or comment for Bill? Follow him on Twitter @sikkensw


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