Bitcatcha's content is reader-supported. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

The 4 Main Types Of VPNs (And How To Choose The Right One)

Sure – you can increase your online privacy, security, and freedom by using a VPN, but have you ever wondered how many different kinds there are?

It soon gets confusing knowing which VPN is the best for your needs, let alone how to tell the types apart.

Luckily, we’re here to help.

The 4 Different Types Of VPNs

Your personal information can be shielded from internet service providers (ISPs), government surveillance, hackers, and other outside parties thanks to VPNs – but they come in different forms.

Below are the 4 different types.

1. Remote Access VPN

The most popular type of VPN used today is the remote access VPN.

How it works is it basically links users to a distant server that’s located in a different country. This is the foundation on which the majority of commercial VPN services are constructed – folks like ExpressVPN or NordVPN. They allow you to access the internet through their own network while encrypting the data you send and receive.

As a result, you can browse the Internet in total privacy, access websites, and other content that would otherwise be blocked in your area, and protect your data on both public and private networks from prying eyes.

If you’re looking for the best VPN for personal use, this is the type of VPN that you should be going for. You can start by taking a look at our favorite best VPNs in this category.

2. Client-Based VPN

While still preserving the security and resources of the network, a client-to-server VPN creates a secure connection between clients and a corporate network. Users can access a network with a new VPN tunnel while maintaining their security and privacy.

Client-based VPNs use an application or client to establish and maintain the VPN connection between users and a remote network. The software must be started and authenticated with a VPN username and password to access the secure connection. This is how the secure data exchange between the device and the remote network is built using an encrypted link.

When connecting to public wireless local area networks (WLANs) that lack security, a client-to-server VPN is extremely helpful. The connection is encrypted all the way to the provider, preventing data from being compromised by ISPs and other parties.

Additionally, employee access to corporate resources is one of the main benefits of client-server VPN. Clients, for example, can connect to the corporate network from a home office and work at home as if they were physically present.

3. Site-to-Site VPN

Different from traditional VPNs, site-to-site VPNs enable businesses with offices spread across several fixed locations to establish private online connections with one another. Here’s an example to help you understand how it works:

Say you are an employee of a large corporation working out of the New York branch, and want to collaborate with staff members from the Chicago branch. Sharing information and resources with one another becomes possible thanks to a site-to-site VPN.

This type of VPN is appropriate for massive business settings that demand secure communications between offices all over the world. But without specialized tools like Remote Work and Data Encryption, they can’t be put into practice.

Additionally, site-to-site VPNs can also be divided into two types:

  • Intranet VPN By setting up an intranet VPN, a business with numerous remote offices can quickly and securely communicate with one another. By doing so, each local area network (LAN) is linked to a single wide area network (WAN).
  • Extranet VPN A business that collaborates with other businesses can build an extranet VPN to link their LANs together. As a result, access to each party’s intranet is restricted while all parties can collaborate in a shared network environment.

4. P2P VPN

A service that works with peer-to-peer networks is known as a Peer-to-Peer (P2P) VPN. When a file is searched for on a P2P network, the service finds copies of the file and establishes connections with sources that either fully or partially contain the searched file.

P2P speeds up file sharing because you’re basically downloading files from multiple nodes instead of just one, each of which holds only a small portion of the same data. As you download a file, it’s also uploaded to other users who are requesting it.

But while this all sounds great, P2P networks, unfortunately, have a negative reputation. You see, a P2P VPN can protect your data, but it can’t protect you from malicious files.

Peer-to-peer networks always run the risk of having malicious actors because they rely on data being hosted by various nodes. For instance, if you download malware disguised as a legitimate file, a P2P VPN won’t be able to protect your device.

Which Type Of VPN Is For Me?

Numerous factors, including speed, security, price, bandwidth, and VPN protocols, must be taken into consideration when selecting the best VPN service.

  • A remote access VPN is the best option for individual users who want to access blocked content or browse the internet anonymously.
  • Users who want to share large files and torrent them without being concerned about restrictions should use a P2P VPN.
  • Those who want to connect to a remote network for work while traveling should use a client-based VPN.
  • A site-to-site VPN, however, makes the most sense for companies that want to secure communications between offices in various locations.

It’s important to take note however that some of these VPNs might pose some potential risks. For instance, site-to-site VPNs lack integrated security. What this means is its sole purpose is to establish an encrypted connection between two locations. The VPN gives the VPN user unrestricted access to the target network and doesn’t carry out any security inspection of content or access control.

Make sure to choose the right one for you.

Get The VPN Type You Need

Out of all the different types of VPNs out there, your expectations and needs will determine which VPN is best for you. However, finding a service that performs as well as it’s advertised can be difficult, even if you are certain of your needs.

Because of this, it’s important to always do your research before registering for any VPN service. (Pro-tip: you can even benefit from their free trials or money-back guarantees to learn more about how they operate.)

(Back to top)

VPN Guides and Best VPN Services

What is VPN and how does it protect you from online threats? Check out all curated resources below.