Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between VPN and Remote Desktop

vpnVPN vs. Remote Desktop

Remote Desktop is a common name for a group of applications that allow a user to access and control a computer from a remote location. This is very advantageous for those who are constantly on the move, but need the resources that are on their desktop. People who commonly use Remote Desktop are those who work at home, or are in the field. A Virtual Private Network, or VPN, is the creation of a smaller private network on top of a larger public network, like the internet. Computers that are connected through a VPN, act as if they are physically connected to the same switch. VPN allows applications that only work on a local network, to work on the internet.

Both VPN and Remote Desktop are methods of accessing resources that are located in a remote location, but they differ in what you are allowed to access. Using VPN to connect to a network, you are only allowed to access resources that are shared on that network. This includes shared folders, printers, and even other servers on the network. Remote Desktop gives you access to a lot more, as it gives you full control of a specific computer on the network. This gives you access to shared network resources, along with the resources of the computer that is being controlled. The user can launch applications, and perform other operations, as if he is right on that desk.

Although they are very different, it is common for people to use them in tandem. The security provided by Remote Desktop applications are often not top-notch, and can be broken with a little persistence. To prevent this from happening, it is advised to use Remote Desktop applications that are tunneled through a VPN connection. There are a variety of ways to secure a VPN connection, and users can simply choose a combination of these, depending on how confidential is the data. The resulting nested structure is very secure and difficult to access.


1. A VPN is a smaller private network that runs on top of a larger public network, while Remote Desktop is a type of software that allows users to remotely control a computer.

2. Remote Desktop allows access and control to a specific computer, while VPN only allows access to shared network resources.

3. Most Remote Desktop applications are tunneled through secure VPNs, to add another layer of security.

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  1. does that means that if i am connected to the company VPN from home, but i did not login into remote desktop to connect to my office computer. My company will not be able to see what pages i have surf?

  2. Depends on your companies network configuration. What I mean by that is when u login are you receiving a new desktop every single time or were you able to created a profile and have the same profile every time you vpn to your companies network? If you see the same desktop every time you login (good way to tell is it you have outlook setup on your desktop thru vpn and able to see it every time) then there is a profile created for you that can be tracked. As far as them tracking your browsing history, you can always set your browser to automatically delete all selected items every time you end your browsing session. There is software that can be purchased to track the browser history however most companies won’t spend the money and effort doing so. Means paying more money when it’s much easier and free to set a group policy and just block you from accessing certain sites to begin with. Hope that helps

  3. VPN creates a private tunnel between you computer and organization which is secured and encrypted. Remote access does not create any private tunnel.. However, VPN is costly as compared to remote access tools like logmein, R-HUB remote support server, teamviewer etc.

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