VPN Types: The 3 Versions You Need to Know (2023)

By Tibor Moes / Updated: June 2023

VPN Types: The 3 Versions You Need to Know (2023)<br />

VPN Types

Imagine you’re a celebrity, recognized everywhere you go. Sometimes, you just want to wander anonymously, unnoticed by adoring fans or pesky paparazzi. VPNs are your internet version of a disguise, providing that much-needed anonymity, while also ensuring a secure route to your destination, free from unwanted attention.


A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a digital tool that secures your internet connection and enhances privacy. It creates a private, encrypted tunnel between your device and the internet, masking your IP address, and protecting your data from snooping and tracking, much like a secret passage in a castle.

Type 1 – Remote Access VPN: This VPN type allows users to connect to a private network from any location, like a magic door that transports you right into your office. It’s perfect for remote work, as it provides secure access to the organization’s network, just as if you were sitting at your work desk.

Type 2 – Site-to-Site VPN: Imagine a secret, invisible bridge connecting two castles (networks) across a vast ocean (the internet). This is what a Site-to-Site VPN does, often used by businesses with multiple locations to securely connect their networks. It’s a digital bridge that ensures safe, private data travel.

Type 3 – Split Tunneling VPN: Sometimes, you may want to be in two places at once: exploring the bustling city (public internet) while also dipping into your secret tunnel (VPN). A Split Tunneling VPN allows this, letting you direct only specific traffic through the VPN, while the rest accesses the internet directly. It’s like having a foot in both worlds, balancing security and speed.

Don’t become a victim of cybercrime. Protect your devices with the best antivirus software and your privacy with the best VPN service.

VPN Types In-depth

Remote Access VPN – Your Digital Doorway to Work

Imagine, for a moment, that you’ve been given a magic key. This key doesn’t open an ordinary door, though. Instead, it transports you from your comfy home right into your office’s secure network. No matter where you are in the world, you’re suddenly sitting at your work desk, having access to all the resources you need. This key is much like a Remote Access VPN.

Remote Access VPN, or Virtual Private Network, is like your personal bridge to the office. It allows you to connect to your work network from anywhere, without compromising security. Picture it like a secure phone line, where you can chat about secret plans, without worrying that anyone else is listening in. It’s a vital tool, particularly for remote work or if you find yourself frequently on the move.

How does it work, you ask? Well, think of your internet connection as a series of highways, teeming with different vehicles, and potentially prying eyes. When you use a Remote Access VPN, it’s like you’re hopping into an armored, tinted vehicle that whisks you along a private road. Your vehicle is invisible to others on the highway, hiding your data and identity as it zooms towards its destination.

The armored vehicle, in this case, is your encrypted data, and the private road is the secure VPN tunnel. Encryption ensures that even if someone managed to intercept your vehicle (data), they wouldn’t be able to understand what’s inside. It’s like having your secret conversation in a language that only you and the person at the other end can understand.

While it’s super effective at ensuring your secure presence on your work network, remember, it’s not a cloak of invisibility against everything. It secures your connection to your work resources, but it can’t protect you from all threats – it’s like your magic key can’t make you invincible. Using good cybersecurity practices, like strong passwords and regular software updates, still remain crucial.

So there you have it, the Remote Access VPN, your magic key to secure, remote work. Just remember to keep it safe and use it wisely!

Site-to-Site VPN – Your Invisible Bridge Across the Internet

Let’s take a trip back in time for a moment. Picture a pair of castles in the middle ages, each with its secrets, perched on the tops of two distant hills. The lords of these castles need to send messages to each other securely, without prying eyes intercepting them. The solution? They construct an invisible, magical bridge across the valley below, connecting the two castles directly. The messengers carry the secret plans, traveling safely and unseen.

This imagery, dear reader, is not unlike what we call a Site-to-Site VPN or Virtual Private Network in the modern world of technology. If the castles were business offices or branches in different locations, the invisible bridge would be the VPN. It connects the two networks, allowing data to travel securely across the internet as if it were a single, unified network.

Think of the internet as a bustling town square, teeming with chatter and movement. A Site-to-Site VPN creates a quiet, private pathway across that square. It’s like a secret tunnel that lets you bypass the noise, ensuring your sensitive information isn’t overheard.

A Site-to-Site VPN isn’t just a one-way street, either. It allows for a two-way flow of data. Each castle (site) can send and receive secure messages (data) through the invisible bridge (VPN), making it perfect for businesses with multiple locations.

But how does it keep the data secure, you wonder? It uses a process called encryption. Encryption is like a secret language that only the two castles (sites) understand. Even if a rogue intercepts the message, all they’ll see is a confusing jumble of characters.

Just like the magic bridge of our story, Site-to-Site VPNs invisibly and securely connect networks over long distances. They provide the key to ensuring that your business’ communication remains secure and private, no matter where your castles may be.

Yet remember, while the invisible bridge secures the path between the castles, the castles themselves need strong walls and guards. Similarly, a Site-to-Site VPN secures your data in transit, but you still need robust security measures like firewalls, anti-malware, and strong passwords at each network endpoint.

In the end, a Site-to-Site VPN is a powerful tool in your cybersecurity arsenal, constructing secret, secure bridges between your business locations. But don’t forget to fortify your castles too!

Split Tunneling VPN – The Best of Both Worlds

Have you ever wished to be in two places at once? Perhaps at a friend’s party and a family gathering simultaneously? What if I told you there’s a way you could do that on the internet? Enter the magical realm of Split Tunneling VPNs.

Split Tunneling VPN is like having a foot in two worlds at the same time. It lets you use your regular internet connection (the party), and your secure VPN connection (the family gathering) simultaneously. It’s like having a magical portal that splits into two paths; you get to decide which data travels down the ordinary road and which takes the secure, hidden path.

Picture it this way: you’re in a bustling city, and you have to get two deliveries to different destinations. One is a secret recipe that you want to keep private; the other is a pizza delivery, nothing secretive about it. For the secret recipe, you’d choose a secure, hidden tunnel that keeps it safe from prying eyes. For the pizza? The regular roads are just fine.

A Split Tunneling VPN works similarly. It allows you to send sensitive data (like your secret recipe) through the VPN (the hidden tunnel), while other, less sensitive data (like the pizza delivery) uses the regular, public internet (the city roads). This way, you can perform tasks like accessing a geo-restricted work database securely while streaming your favorite music on a local server, all at the same time!

Now, you might ask, “Isn’t the whole point of a VPN to make all my data secure?” Yes, it is! However, not all data requires the same level of security, and encrypting all your data can sometimes slow down your connection. Split Tunneling VPN allows you to balance security with performance, by choosing what data goes through the VPN.

Remember though, while this selective tunneling is handy, it’s also crucial to make wise decisions about what to send over the public internet. It’s like deciding what to carry through the city streets; you wouldn’t want to carry valuables out in the open. Similarly, always use the VPN for sensitive, personal, or work-related data.

In essence, Split Tunneling VPN is like a traffic director, guiding data where it needs to go. It gives you control, flexibility, and the best of both worlds, but also requires you to be smart about directing your internet traffic. Happy tunneling!


So there you have it! Just as magic keys, invisible bridges, and magical portals exist in fantasy tales, their equivalents are here in the realm of internet security: VPNs. From Remote Access VPNs that offer a secure gateway to your work resources, Site-to-Site VPNs that build secret bridges between business networks, to Split Tunneling VPNs that let you balance security and speed, these tools are fundamental in ensuring a safe, private journey through the bustling city that is the internet. Remember, while they provide robust security measures, these tools are most effective when used in conjunction with strong cybersecurity practices. So, strap on your armor, grab your magic key, and step into the world of secure browsing!

How to stay safe online:

  • Practice Strong Password Hygiene: Use a unique and complex password for each account. A password manager can help generate and store them. In addition, enable two-factor authentication (2FA) whenever available.
  • Invest in Your Safety: Buying the best antivirus for Windows 11 is key for your online security. A high-quality antivirus like Norton, McAfee, or Bitdefender will safeguard your PC from various online threats, including malware, ransomware, and spyware.
  • Be Wary of Phishing Attempts: Be cautious when receiving suspicious communications that ask for personal information. Legitimate businesses will never ask for sensitive details via email or text. Before clicking on any links, ensure the sender's authenticity.
  • Stay Informed. We cover a wide range of cybersecurity topics on our blog. And there are several credible sources offering threat reports and recommendations, such as NIST, CISA, FBI, ENISA, Symantec, Verizon, Cisco, Crowdstrike, and many more.

Happy surfing!

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are the most frequently asked questions.

Are all types of VPNs equally secure?

All VPNs aim to secure your data, but the level of security can depend on several factors like the VPN protocol used, the strength of encryption, and the security measures at each network endpoint. Therefore, while VPNs do enhance your internet security, it’s also essential to maintain good cybersecurity habits for maximum protection.

Can I use a VPN for all my internet activities?

 Yes, you can use a VPN for all internet activities to ensure your connection is encrypted and your IP address hidden. However, using a VPN might slow down your connection due to the encryption process. A Split Tunneling VPN could be used in such cases to balance speed and security.

Does a VPN guarantee my online anonymity?

While VPNs do a good job of masking your IP address and encrypting your data, they don’t make you completely anonymous. Factors like cookies can still track your online activities. To enhance your anonymity, consider combining VPN use with privacy-oriented web browsers and search engines.

Author: Tibor Moes

Author: Tibor Moes

Founder & Chief Editor at SoftwareLab

Tibor is a Dutch engineer and entrepreneur. He has tested security software since 2014.

Over the years, he has tested most of the best antivirus software for Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS, as well as many VPN providers.

He uses Norton to protect his devices, CyberGhost for his privacy, and Dashlane for his passwords.

This website is hosted on a Digital Ocean server via Cloudways and is built with DIVI on WordPress.

You can find him on LinkedIn or contact him here.

Security Software

Best Antivirus for Windows 11
Best Antivirus for Mac
Best Antivirus for Android
Best Antivirus for iOS
Best VPN for Windows 11

Cybersecurity articles

Ad Blocker
AES Encryption
Antivirus – How Does it Work
Antivirus – What is it
Antivirus vs Firewall
Antivirus vs Internet Security
API Security
Application Security
Authentication Examples
Biometrics Examples
Certificate Authority (CA)
Cloud Security
Cryptography Examples
Cryptography Types
Cyber Hygiene
Cyber Insurance
Cyber Resilience
Cyber Safety
Cyber Security
Cyber Security Examples
Cyber Security Types
Cyber Threat Intelligence
Dark Web Monitoring
Data Encryption
Data Integrity Examples
Data Loss Prevention (DLP)
Data Privacy
Data Security
Disaster Recovery (DR)
Do Android Phones Need Antivirus
Do Chromebooks Need Antivirus
Do iPhones Need Antivirus
Do Macs Need Antivirus
Does Linux Need Antivirus
Does Windows 10 Need Antivirus
Does Windows 11 Need Antivirus
Email Encryption
Encryption Key
Endpoint Security
False Positives
File Encryption
Firewall – What Does it Do
Firewall Examples
Firewall Types
Heuristic Analysis
How to Clean and Speed up Your PC
HTTPS Examples
Incident Response
Information Security (InfoSec)
Information Security Types
Internet Security
Internet Security Software
Intrusion Detection System (IDS)
Intrusion Detection System Examples
Intrusion Detection System Types
Intrusion Prevention System (IPS)
Intrusion Prevention System Examples
Intrusion Prevention System Types
IoT security
Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)
Multi-Factor Authentication Examples
Network Security
Network Security Key
Network Security Types
Next-Generation Firewall (NGFW)
Obfuscated Server
Onion over VPN
Parental Controls
Password Examples
Password Manager
Patch Management
Penetration Testing (Pen Testing)
Penetration Testing Types
Proxy Server vs VPN
Public Key Infrastructure (PKI)
Quantum Cryptography
Red Team
Sandbox Environment
Secure Sockets Layer (SSL)
Security Audit
Security Operations Center (SOC)
Security Policy
Security Policy Examples
Software Patching
Software Security
SSL Certificate
SSL Certificate Types
SSL Handshake
Threat Hunting
Threat Intelligence
Threat Modeling
Threat Modeling Examples
Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)
Two-Factor Authentication Examples
Virtual Keyboard
Virtual Private Network (VPN)
VPN Examples
VPN Kill Switch
VPN Protocol
VPN Split Tunneling
VPN Tunnel
VPN Types
Vulnerability Scan
Web Application Firewall (WAF)
White Hat Hacker
Windows Defender
Wireguard vs OpenVPN
Zero Trust Architecture