The Differences Between a Remote Desktop and a VPN

The way we use the Internet today means that we need tools that a few years ago were not so necessary. Working remotely, constantly using public networks, needing to access the cloud … All this makes us opt for different services that are available on the network. Some, however, may be similar or confuse users about their actual use. In this article we are going to talk about VPN and remote desktop services . We are going to see their main differences and uses.

Everything remote has increased on the Internet

It is a reality that everything remote is now much more present on the network. We can access equipment that are located thousands of kilometers away without having to be physically there, we can work from anywhere, use the cloud for our day to day … In short, the network offers the possibility of carrying out many actions remotely as if we were in person there.

Differences Between a Remote Desktop and a VPN

This opens up a range of possibilities, with a large number of tools and programs that we can use in our day to day life. However security must be present as well. This fact can be an incentive for cybercriminals and carry out a series of attacks that were less frequent before.

In order to connect remotely, to make that connection more reliable and secure, there are different services and platforms. But as we have mentioned, they sometimes get confused or users don’t really know when and why to use one or the other option. We are talking about VPNs and remote desktop.

What is a remote desktop

First of all we are going to explain what a remote desktop is . Basically, as its name suggests, it is being able to connect to a computer system without the need to be physically present. For this we will have to use specific software.

As we can imagine, by using the remote desktop we will be able to take full control of that computer. It is as if we are there, but virtually. This could also mean that someone in person could not be using that computer equipment, since control passes to the person who is remotely.

Everything we do, like moving the mouse, pressing keys, opening applications … It is done remotely. From where we are we can see the screen.

What is a VPN

If we talk about VPN we can say that it is very different. In this case, our equipment connects to a VPN server . That server cannot be controlled by us, but acts as a bridge to filter the connection instead of going directly.

Basically we can say that it acts as a tunnel for communications. It hides the IP address and also prevents the information from leaking and being available to others.

We will always use our device, even if we connect to a remote server. In this case, what we do does not change. The virtual location changes, with the advantages that this entails in security and privacy.

Información y registros en las VPN

Main differences between VPN and remote desktop

We have briefly seen what each service is. Now we are going to show the main differences according to some cases.


Undoubtedly the use that allows us to use a VPN or a remote desktop are different. There we see one of the keys. A VPN allows us to use it to access a network and its resources from anywhere. But it also improves security and privacy.

For its part, the remote desktop allows us to take complete control of a computer that is located elsewhere. This means that according to the needs we have, the uses we want to give it, we must choose one or another possibility.

We can say that a VPN allows us to access a network remotely and a remote desktop allows us to access a computer.

Differences in resources

There are also differences in the resources required . Remote desktop will require a desktop or laptop computer. It also needs a powerful Internet speed to function properly.

For its part, a VPN can be used on many more devices. In addition, it does not need the Internet speed to be very powerful, although logically the ideal is that it be the best possible.


A VPN serves to protect our connection when we are going to connect to an external resource. Especially when using public networks it can be the solution to problems that affect us.

However, remote desktops , the applications we use for this, use encrypted channels to provide a secure remote environment. Of course, you have to make sure you are using a tool that uses the appropriate protocol and is compatible.

As an additional solution, many security experts recommend using a VPN when we are also going to use the remote desktop. One more way to increase security.