Demystifying Technology without Jargon

  1. API
  2. Binary Code
  3. Cache
  4. Compiling
  5. Cookie
  6. Database
  7. Defragmenting
  8. Exploit
  9. IP Address
  10. Open Source
  11. Phishing
  12. Router
  13. Server
  14. VPN
  15. Web Browser


A virtual private network (VPN) extends a private network across a public network, such as the Internet. It enables a computer or Wi-Fi-enabled device to send and receive data across shared or public networks as if it were directly connected to the private network, while benefiting from the functionality, security and management policies of the private network.


A VPN is 3-way Calling & Caller ID

When you call someone, you appear as you on their Caller ID. Unfortunately, sometimes when you're calling collect or from some other country, you appear as 'Unavailable' or 'Unknown', and the person you're calling doesn't know it's you. If your friend is suspicious of any unknown number, you might never reach them.

But if you were to call someone else first, and they 3-way dialed to the suspicious friend you intended to call, the name on the Caller ID would be the friendly person... but would also have you on the line.

This is what a VPN is like... when you connect using a VPN to your company's network, (or a private VPN, for that matter), you assume a 'friendly' IP address; you're 'virtually' connected to the network in the country. Servers and users don't know you're somewhere else, because all of your traffic (your 'call') is being routed through your 'friendly' network. This gives you access to 'suspicious' (private) 'friends' (services) on that network.


Hear a term that you wish had a metaphor? Tweet us, post it to Facebook, or, if you're feeling geeky, open a new task on Github!

Created by Clint Andrew Hall, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.