What Servers Do VPNs Use?

3 min

Everyone keeps mentioning VPN servers but no one says anything more than the basics. Yes, you know what servers do and why they are critical to virtual private networks.

You also know by now that it’s best to choose a VPN server closer to you to achieve better speed. We explained why recently if you have been following the TuxlerVPN blog.

But what exactly are VPN servers?

Have you ever tried to visualize them? Other than them being more than a room full of hardware trying to stay silent but at the same time buzzing, beeping, and swishing with LED lights blinking?

If yes, this article will give you a rundown of what VPN servers are, what types are used by VPN companies, and how they are set up. Let’s start with a refresher.

What is a VPN Server?

VPN server is physical hardware set up by a virtual private network company to facilitate routing. It is located in remote locations (far from city centers, for instance) usually in countries with lax rules around server hosting and web tunneling. However, this doesn’t mean VPN servers are limited to those countries. They are located worldwide as having a wide network globally is an important selling point for VPN providers.

A VPN server comes into the picture the moment you switch on your VPN software. When you do that, your (encrypted) connection is made to travel through such a VPN server by your VPN software. It is because of this routing that you appear as surfing from your server’s location as opposed to your own. This is perhaps the biggest USP of a VPN.

As you can guess, a VPN server also adds another layer of security to your connection. Encryption notwithstanding, getting your connection routed through another city or country has security benefits. This is why even free, good-quality VPNs are sometimes better than no VPN at all. (Though, when possible, you should stick to paid or premium VPNs.)

VPN providers set up servers in different parts of the world. Some countries and cities may have tens of hundreds of servers for a particular provider if the company feels that their customers tend to connect to those countries’ servers more.

For example, VPN providers may choose to have multiple servers in all 50 states of the United States as customers from other parts of the world try to assume a US web location for purposes such as site unblocking and avoiding censorship. This is more often than not the case with VPN users.

What Servers Do VPNs Use?

In most cases, a VPN server is just a standard server configured and customized with VPN server software. It is further influenced by VPN protocols that dictate the terms that need to be followed for a successful connection. 

For instance, in SSTP, the VPN client has to first gain access to the server through authentication. Only then can it pass user traffic through the server, thereby achieving successful tunneling. Different protocols have different configurations, and one server can be configured with more than one protocol.

Server manufacturers like Cisco, Dell EMC, Fujitsu, Huawei, and IBM supply hardware to VPN providers. These providers then configure them using their proprietary VPN server software. This is where the VPN company, its technology, and its expertise matter.

It is not clear or made public the specific type of network servers VPN providers use. Even TuxlerVPN is not in a position to disclose the exact type of endpoints that we use as it constitutes competitive business information.

Network vs Virtual Servers

Today, VPN providers host a combination of network and virtual servers to boast wider networks. While network servers are standard physical servers, their virtual counterparts exist on the cloud. The latter are sometimes called virtual private servers (VPSs) and are often confused as an alternative to VPNs.

Virtual servers are nothing but low-cost software-configured servers that can be shared between multiple users. Due to their affordability, a large number of new VPN companies depend on them to create a VPN server. 

While not entirely inferior, virtual servers have the disadvantage of having to share data center hardware resources. A network or RAM server, on the other hand, can be used for dedicated applications. This is one reason why VPN providers with RAM servers provide the best tunneling and security.

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