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Common terms used in the VPN world

If you're new to the VPN world, you may find many specific terms used here. Some of them might not be familiar at first, so in this article, we will try to cover the VPN terminology.


Protocol
. It's a set of rules that determines how your information will be divided into pieces and sent from/to your device.

As an example, the OpenVPN (UDP) protocol will divide your information into tiny packs of bytes and send it to the server in random order. While OpenVPN (TCP) will also divide all the data into pieces but will assign a number to each pack of information and send it in a very strict order. Changing the protocol on the Surfshark app might improve the connection.

Client/server. This terminology is used to describe how network communication works. To make it simple - the client is always requesting information and the server provides the requested information. If you connect to the US Dallas server using the Surfsark VPN app on your PC, our app is the client (asking for information) and our server located in Dallas is a server (delivering you the requested information).

Encryption. Encryption is a process of encoding information. In the Surfshark VPN it is used to encode (encrypt) all information that is sent or received by your device. If the information is encrypted, it becomes unreadable for everyone else except you.

Ping (latency). Ping method can be used to check if the server is available and how long does it take to respond. To put it simply - by pinging the server (website name or IP address) you send a short request to that server and wait for an answer. If you receive an answer, that means that the server is available. Usually the lower the ping is, the smoother internet connection you will have.

DNS. You may find this term used pretty often. You may not have noticed, but you are using various DNS servers every day. Basically, the DNS server is used to translate the domain name of a website (facebook.com) to an IP address (69.63.176.13). It's basically a phone book where all names (website names) and numbers (IP addresses) are stored.

Leaks. When you connect to the VPN server, you can check if your connection was successful - here is our tutorial on how to do that. When you check the status of the connection, you must only see the IP and DNS addresses of the server you have connected to. If you still see your regular IP or DNS addresses, that's called a leak. 


If you have any further questions, feel free to contact our Customer Success Sharks anytime and they will help you out!

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