VPNs are an integral part of cybersecurity. Yet there are a lot of moving parts that can be difficult to understand.
For example, what is a VPN server?
Let’s find out.
What Is a VPN Server and How Does It Work?
A VPN server is an intermediary between the VPN user (or device) and the internet;
Traffic between the VPN user and the VPN server is encrypted, meaning that no 3rd party or even the VPN provider can see the user’s activities and data transfered;
As with different specialty servers, VPN protocols have different use cases and differ in terms of security, stability, speed and other;
When user’s traffic is routed through a VPN server, websites see server’s IP address, hiding user’s virtual location and making them anonymous in this sense;
A user can often choose a VPN server from various countries, this way allowing them to see content, which is blocked in their own location or available in only a few others;
In some cases VPN servers can increase internet speeds. For example, this includes speed throttling by the ISP during online gaming;
Most VPN providers offer thousands of servers throughout the world;
Users usually do not need to install any additional software to connect to a VPN server.
Instead, a user can choose a preferred country and server after Installing a VPN client and logging in.
Categories of Servers
There are different categories of VPN servers that are good for different use cases;
- Standard servers encrypt user traffic and replace their IP address — the most commonly used category;
- Double VPN servers encrypt and send user traffic through two servers, adding an extra layer of security. Recommended for political activists, journalists working in hot spots etc.;
- Onion Over VPN works as a standard server, however, traffic is also then routed through the Onion network as well, again, adding an extra layer of security;
- Obfuscated servers “hide” the fact that a person is using a VPN, which can otherwise be identified. These servers work even in countries where VPNs are heavily restricted and allow to bypass such restrictions as firewalls;
- P2P (Peer-to-Peer) servers are optimized for fast and secure file sharing;
- Dedicated IPs are not servers per se, but rather individual IPs that do what regular servers do: encrypt traffic and hide user’s real identity. Dedicated IPs are usually not available to all clients of a VPN provider, but rather one person or a small group of people that buy them.
How to Choose a VPN Server
Choosing a server location or category depends entirely on user’s needs;
As for most users standard servers suffice, some cases require specialty servers described in the “Categories of servers” section;
Most VPN providers automatically select the fastest server in a selected country (this depends on how many users are connected to the same server at a given time);
If a user wants to simply encrypt their traffic and hide their IP, it is almost always the best choice to select a server from the same or neighboring country, as geographical proximity is important.
Recommended VPN with 5200+ Servers
NordVPN has over 5200 servers in 60 countries;
NordVPN also offers specialty servers, which are Onion over VPN, P2P, Obfuscated and Double VPN servers;
Users can also get Dedicated IPs that only they would use from such locations as France, the Netherlands, Germany, the UK and the US;
- NordVPN is the industry leader (by a long way)
- 30-day risk-free trial
- Superfast speeds
- 5,442+ servers in 60+ countries
- Strict no-logs policy
- Next-generation military-grade encryption
- DoubleVPN, double privacy
- 6 simultaneous device connections
- Great for: Safety, security, anonymity & peace of mind
- Compatible with: Windows, Mac, Android, iPhone, iPad & iOS, Linux, routers, Apple TV, FireFox, Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, and more
NordVPN website has a knowledge base that contains in-depth explanations about available specialty servers, encryption protocols, server use cases and other FAQs;
The NordVPN app automatically chooses the fastest server in a selected country.
Mac users can also use the Presets function, which allows them to choose from or create their own presets, which contain pre-selected protocol, specialty server/country, optional extra protection with CyberSec and up to 6 websites that will be instantly launched from the app;
If there’s any issues with NordVPN servers or anything else, there’s a 24/7 customer support team that will help you out;
NordVPN is a twice audited no-logs service to ensure our users their online activities remain confidential, so your activity will be private on all devices;
It’s a continuously updated service, rolling out updates every few months with crucial security updates for reliable user online safety.
Now you know what a VPN server is, what it does and why they are such an important part of a VPN service.
Make sure you choose a VPN with a wide variety of server locations for maximum reliability.