If you’re thinking about using a virtual private network (VPN), you’ll need to choose the right type. All VPNs will encrypt your traffic so that you are better protected against man-in-the-middle (MITM) attacks. There are different types of VPNs, however, some of which include remote access and site-to-site. What’s the difference between remote access and site-to-site VPNs exactly?

What Is a Remote Access VPN?

A remote access VPN is a type of VPN to which users can remotely connect (hence the name). Whether you are working in the office or lounging at home with your laptop, you can use a remote access VPN. You just need to launch the remote access VPN client on your computer, at which point you can connect to the VPN.

What Is a Site-to-Site VPN?

A site-to-site VPN is a type of VPN that connects multiple networks. They typically don’t require the use of an app or client. Rather, you can use a site-to-site VPN for your entire network. All of the devices on your network will be protected with the site-to-site VPN. It’s known as a “site-to-site VPN” because it creates an encrypted connection between multiple networks or “sites.”

Differences Between Remote Access and Site-to-Site VPNs

Remote access and site-to-site are two different types of VPNs. They both use similar encryption algorithms, and they both offer protection against MITM and similar eavesdropping-related threats. But don’t let that fool you into thinking they are the same. Remote access and site-to-site VPNs are different in several ways.

Remote access VPNs affect individual devices. If you only need for a VPN for your computer or tablet, you may want to use a remote access VPN. As long as you have the necessary client installed, you can use the remote access VPN on your computer or tablet.

Remote access VPNs are also more common than site-to-site VPNs. Most consumer-grade VPNs use remote access technology. Commercial-grade VPNs, on the other hand, may use site-to-site technology.

Remote access VPNs typically don’t allow connections from multiple users. If you are signed in to a remote access VPN, for instance, you won’t be able to connect to the same remote access VPN with a different device — at least not without signing up for another subscription. Site-to-site VPNs, in comparison, do support connections from multiple users. You can use a site-to-site VPN for your entire network and all of the users on your network.