Difference Between VPN and Remote Desktop

Both VPN and Remote Desktop are boons of modern technology, but their functions are completely different. They are not the same thing.

Their security, purpose and procedures of working are different. The right option for you can be decided after knowing the differences between the two.

VPN vs Remote Desktop

The main difference between VPN and Remote Desktop is that VPN is a private network inside a public network, whereas Remote Desktop is a pack of applications that will let the user access his/her computer from a distant place.

VPN gives a limited set of permissions to the user, but Remote Desktop does not have any limitations.

VPN vs Remote Desktop

VPN is a private, secure network that will work in a large network but will keep you secure as well as hold your identity. The IP address of your desktop changes here, so your location remains unknown

For individual use, this works effectively.

RDP or Remote Desktop is a set of applications that helps you to connect with a computer that is remote in location.

Through this connection, the remote computer and its files become accessible.

There are no limitations, the access is very flexible, and the whole computer becomes subject to your control.

Comparison Table Between VPN and Remote Desktop

Parameters of ComparisonVPNRemote Desktop
Definition VPN is a smaller private network in a larger public network. A Remote Desktop is a group of applications that help users in accessing their computers from a remote place.
Full formVPN stands for Virtual Private Network. RDP stands for Remote Desktop.
FlexibilityComparatively, it is less flexible. It is much more flexible than a VPN.
SecurityVPN is considered to be more secure.It is considered less secure when compared to VPN.
Access grantVPN gives access to only a network. Remote Desktop gives control of the computer as a whole.

What is VPN?

The Internet is a public network that is large and somewhat vulnerable. But VPN or Virtual Private Network is a comparatively smaller and private network in the larger public network like the internet.

The VPN has the capability of controlling the settings and can regulate the shared access of different devices that get connected to it.

VPN is a private network that will allow you to access a certain network.

If your workplace has a local network and that includes a printer, then you are eligible to use that printer by logging in to your office’s local network with the help of a VPN.

However, VPN can only give access to the already shared resources on the network. The flexibility is restricted. Resources like servers, printers, and folders need to be set up.

Otherwise, it is not possible to change or to access remotely. If the resources are not shared on the VPN, then they can not be subjected to remote access.

VPN is like a veil that hides your real identity while you browse on the internet. It makes you look like you belong to some other server in some other place.

Your device remains the same, but the IP address changes. And as a result, it offers security while you are accessing the Internet.

What is Remote Desktop?

A Remote Desktop is just as it sounds. It establishes a virtual connection between you and a remote computer.

With the use of a Remote Desktop, you can attain that computer’s screen from miles apart and be able to control it. All the files, as well as programs, can get accessed by the client computer.


It is also known as RDP. Presently with the rise of Work From Home, Remote Desktop is becoming more popular with each passing day.

If employees of an organization mostly work out of the office, then the company can opt for RDP for completing the work in a hassle-free manner.

Not only one can access a remote desktop, but one can also change the settings, launch applications and do other tasks using it. The computer device will get completely controlled by you.

There are no limitations, but at the same time, it might appear vulnerable. For individual use, RDP is not a good option, but it is ideal for organizational usage as it offers full control over the system.

Main Differences Between VPN and Remote Desktop

  1. The full form of VPN is Virtual Private Network, whereas Remote Desktop is also known as RDP.
  2. VPN is a smaller private network inside a larger public network. For instance, private networks inside the internet. On the other hand, a Remote Desktop is a group of applications that can give users access to their computers from a distant place.
  3. VPN gives access to only a network, but Remote Desktop gives control of the whole computer.
  4. The access given by VPN has limitations, but Remote Desktop does not have any limitations when it comes to giving access to the users.
  5. Comparatively, VPN is less flexible than Remote Desktop.
  6. VPN is considered to be much more secure, but comparatively, Remote Desktop appears to be more vulnerable.
Difference Between VPN and Remote Desktop


VPN and Remote Desktop work differently, but their function has similarities but how to choose the better option for yourself? Well, the answer will depend on your needs.

If you want it for your business and the work needs the employees to access the whole server containing important files, then go for VPN.

But if the employees need to use the central system of the server from a remote place, then Remote Desktop will get the job done. For IT technicians, this will be advantageous.

If you want to secure your browsing only for private use, then you can opt for a personal desktop VPN such as NordVPN. This will keep you private and secure while you access the internet.

You can also hide from online surveillance and censorship by using a personal VPN.


  1. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/9532871/
  2. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/1358052/

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