VPN Service Provider

What is a VPN Service Provider?

A VPN service provider is a type of service provider that offers virtual private network services to customers.

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VPN services allow data in use to be encrypted and transmitted over the public internet through a private network managed by the service provider.

What is a VPN Used For?

VPN services provide secure connections on public Wi-Fi networks. This type of service is often used to:

  • Access content libraries in different countries;
  • Circumvent internet censorship in countries where content access to certain websites is restricted;
  • Make it more difficult for advertisers to track user online activity;
  • Prevent streaming data transmissions from being throttled during peak hours;
  • Access the dark web anonymously;
  • Share files without the risk of interception;
  • Access different regional markets to find better deals for big-ticket items;
  • Enhance voice call security over the internet.

Do VPN Service Providers Monitor User Activity?

Most VPN managers keep track of user activity to some degree, but the extent to which user activity is monitored can vary significantly from one provider to another. That’s why it’s essential to carefully read the provider’s logging and privacy policies before purchasing and setting up a VPN or using a free VPN service. These policies will outline what data the provider collects and how long they will retain it.

Some VPN service providers have strict “no-logs” policies, which means they do not keep any records of client activity. Other VPN providers maintain multiple logs to assist with server load balancing and troubleshooting client connection issues.

Some VPN services will log all the IP addresses that a client visits. Generally, if a VPN service provider’s connection logs contain this much detail, it’s to ensure that clients remain in compliance with the provider’s terms of service.

It’s important to remember that when a VPN provider is subpoenaed by law enforcement, they may be forced to hand over their logs, and the IP address intelligence contained in their logs could be used to identify specific users and track their online activities.

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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.