Setting up a VPN connection on Windows can initially seem intimidating, but it’s straightforward. With some practice, you’ll be connected to your preferred location quickly.
First, select a connection name. You’ll also need to enter a server name or address (provided by your VPN provider). Click Next.
1. Download and Install the App
If you’re a Windows user, you’ll be happy to hear that the OS has built-in support for a VPN connection. You can access your local network remotely if you have the proper credentials (username and password) for that connection.
Open the Windows menu and type vpn into the search box (or click Cortana on your taskbar if enabled). Once in the VPN settings screen, select Add a VPN connection.
On the next page, enter your VPN provider’s server address or ID in the Server name or address field, and then choose a connection protocol from the drop-down menu below the VPN type. If you don’t already have a username and password, enter them in the Log in to your VPN dialog box before continuing.
When finished, click Connect to launch your VPN client and establish a connection. After a brief wait, the app should show you it is connected to a VPN server.
Depending on your provider’s setup, you may be prompted to install additional components. These include TAP drivers and antivirus software. Once you’re done, you should be able to use your VPN on your computer as though you were inside the office! If you need help with how to set up a VPN on Windows, contact your VPN provider for further assistance.
2. Select a Server
A VPN encrypts your information, funneling it through an intermediary server. That means anyone who tries to spy on your browsing and messages will only see a mess of encrypted gibberish. A VPN is essential for protecting privacy, especially on public networks.
A good VPN will allow you to connect to servers in different locations, which is helpful if you want to watch shows from your home country or get around content blocks while traveling abroad. Most providers use 256-bit AES encryption, which is considered to be the gold standard in security. Some also offer customizable encryption modes, such as CBC or GCM.
After signing up, choose a subscription plan that works for you. Some VPN services offer monthly or yearly subscriptions, while others let you pay in installments for up to two years at once. Typically, the more extended plans come with more significant discounts, so it’s worth checking out the available options before deciding.
Some VPNs can impact internet speed, as your data must travel through an extra server before reaching its destination online. However, the best VPNs will minimize this impact while providing top-tier performance and protection. You may notice that your device is slower when using a VPN, but that’s generally only noticeable for tasks like downloading large files or streaming high-quality video.
3. Choose a Location
When you connect to a VPN server, it masks your device’s current IP address and assigns a new one. It also spoofs your location, making it impossible for online services to identify your true location.
Once you have signed up with a reputable VPN provider, you must select which location to connect to. Most providers offer a wide selection of server locations, and each site has unique benefits. For example, connecting to a server near you will likely provide the fastest and most reliable connection since data packets will have fewer hurdles before reaching the website you’re visiting.
You can also connect to a server based on its country; some providers even let you narrow things down to specific cities. When you connect to a server, your IP address will be replaced with one from the selected city, completely spoofing your location and hiding your identity.
If you’re looking for a way to improve your privacy, then a VPN is the perfect solution. It will protect your online activities from prying eyes and encrypt your Voice over Internet Protocol calls, making them nearly impossible to intercept. In addition, a VPN will help you bypass restrictions at work or school and unblock otherwise unavailable websites.
4. Finalize the Connection
After you’ve chosen the location and the server address for your VPN connection, click the button at the top that says Add a VPN connection. This will bring up a new window.
Type a name for your VPN connection in the box labeled Connect to. This can be anything you want, but remember it because you’ll need to type it again when you connect to your VPN. Next, in the box labeled Server name or address, type the server address provided by your VPN service. You’ll also need to enter a password or login credentials in the box labeled Type of sign-in info if you have one.
When you’re connected to a VPN, all your internet traffic will go through an encrypted tunnel between your device and the VPN server. This protects your privacy and prevents anyone from monitoring your internet activities. If you don’t use a VPN, your ISP can see everything you do online. They can sell this information to advertising networks or other data brokers.
Finally, select the protocol that matches your VPN service’s offerings in the drop-down menu labeled VPN type. You can choose PPTP (Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol), L2TP, or SSTP. SSTP is more secure than PPTP, but VPN providers have yet to adopt it as PPTP. If unsure, leave the field blank and let Windows automatically select the best protocol for your connection.