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Before installing a VPN, it's essential to be familiar with the different ways to implement them.

Standalone VPN client

Standalone VPN clients require a piece of software to be installed. This software will be configured to match the requirements of the endpoint. When establishing the VPN, the endpoint runs the VPN connection and connects to the other endpoint, establishing the encryption tunnel.

This is the implementation type most commonly found in homes and small businesses.

Browser extensions

VPN extensions can be added to most web browsers, such as Google Chrome and Firefox. Some browsers, including Opera, even come with their own built-in VPN extensions.

Extensions make it easy for users to quickly toggle and configure their VPN while they browse the internet. However, the VPN connection will only apply to information shared on that browser. The use of other browsers and other non-browser internet use (for instance, online gaming) may not be encrypted by the VPN.

While not quite as comprehensive as standalone clients, browser extensions may be a suitable option for casual internet users wanting an extra layer of internet security. However, they have proven more susceptible to breaches. Users are also advised to choose a reputable extension as there is the potential for data harvesters to try to use fake VPN extensions.

VPN Router

If you have several devices connected to the same internet connection, you may find it easier to implement the VPN directly to the router rather than to install a separate VPN on each device.

A VPN router is especially useful for protecting internet-connected devices that are not easy to configure, such as Smart TVs. They can even help you to access geo-restricted content from your home entertainment systems. They are easy to install, offer consistent security, and prevent compromises that may occur when unsecured devices log on to your network.

However, they can be harder to manage if your router does not have its own user interface, which could lead to them blocking incoming connections.

Corporate VPN

A custom solution that requires personalized creation and support, a corporate VPN, is typically only found within enterprise-level corporate environments and is usually bespoke. The key advantage of a corporate VPN is total secure connections to the company intranet and servers, including from employees working off-premises from their own internet connection.

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