How to Install a VPN Connection

A virtual private network (VPN) is a critical cybersecurity solution that encrypts internet users’ network traffic to guarantee private and secure browsing online. A VPN swaps out a user’s IP address for a new one, thus rendering the user’s actual location and real-time web traffic unreadable to third parties on the internet. VPN implementation is not new and can be dated back to 1996 when Microsoft employees devised a point-to-point tunneling technology. P2P, commonly known as the peer-to-peer tunneling protocol, is a popular, easy-to-use VPN that only needs a login, password, username and server address.

P2P performs similarly to today’s VPNs since data transmission is safe, secure and anonymous over any network. However, developments in internet technology led to the invention of a more sophisticated security solution: VPN software, which allows everyday users and company employees alike to access content on the web without restrictions and from any location. Many VPNs are available today with varying features, but some crucial elements to look out for are security features, encryption protocols, customer service quality, pricing, a firm privacy policy, a refund policy, simultaneous connections and anti-tracking measures.

Installing VPN Connection

1. Search for a VPN

An image featuring a person choosing a VPN while the other one is suggesting a VPN concept

The first step is to conduct extensive research on the ideal VPN for business or personal use. Users should consider the operating system, use capacity, security level and other factors. After deciding on the right VPN and subscribing/creating an account, the user should download/install the app from the company’s website or via an app store.

Then, navigate to the device’s settings. U use the search box adjacent to the “Start” button on the Windows to locate Cortana. For Mac devices, select “Network” from the “System Preferences” settings menu.

2. Select VPN Settings

Users need to click through the VPN settings to configure the VPN for installation, depending on the device type. For Mac users, choose the “+” sign on the left and select “VPN.” Similarly, Android users can head to “Settings,” then “Wireless & Networks,” and press “More.” Click the plus symbol (+) after choosing the VPN settings.

3. Add a VPN Connection

Choose a server connection from the VPN app, which should present a list of the available servers worldwide. Pick any server, ideally the fastest option on the list.

4. Select the Dropdown Menu in the First Field

Choose the Windows built-in option from the drop-down box to add a VPN connection. This sets the VPN type to “Automatic” by default, although users can specify any preferred protocol (L2TP/IPsec, PPTP, SSTP or IKEv2).

Note:

For Mac devices, a pop-up interface will appear that allows for the entry of VPN type, server address and authentication parameters provided by the selected VPN service provider.

5. Populate the Rest of the Fields with Information from Your VPN Provider

VPNs usually provide reference guides and support materials via the service’s website. Look for the right documentation for the remaining fields. For example, users may need to enter proxy information, TCP/IP settings or DNS servers.

6. Save the Details

Once the details have been saved, select the WiFi connection. Once the connection is confirmed, the VPN has been installed successfully.

What is a VPN?

An image featuring VPN process infographic concept

A VPN is a cybersecurity service or product that helps internet users remain secure online via encryption. VPNs act on the user’s behalf by establishing a secure connection between the user’s computer and the internet.

The internet is not a secure environment, and users must adopt advanced security precautions. According to the general VPN definition, VPNs protect users from cybercriminals and any third party who is eavesdropping on users’ online activities. A VPN conceals users’ IP addresses, facilitating access to georestricted streaming content that’s unavailable in certain regions.

How do VPNs Work?

VPNs encrypt users’ traffic and information to render sensitive personal data unreadable to hackers and cybercriminals. A VPN works by routing a user’s internet connection through a VPN server instead of the user’s internet service provider (ISP). This route makes the internet connection secure and invisible to ISP monitoring.

How to Choose the Right VPN Server?

Choosing the right VPN server should be based on considerations like connection speed, security and access to geo-restricted content on streaming sites such as Netflix. After examining the VPN server’s function, users can follow the procedures below to select the most appropriate VPN server.

  • Some VPN services provide the Smart Location feature, which automatically selects the optimal VPN server location for the customer.
  • Choose the “Smart Location” option, and the VPN will choose the optimal location.
  • Alternately, select a favorite location from the VPN options. Choose a VPN server based on the location of the content for users who wish to access content from a different area.

How to Install a VPN Connection on Mac?

An image featuring a secure VPN connection with a logo on a laptop concept

The process of how to install a VPN on Mac is not complicated because Mac devices include built-in VPN functions. To set up a VPN connection on a Mac, select the “Network” option from the “System Preferences” menu. To add new changes, click the plus button.

A user interface will appear. Choose VPN from the drop-down bar, select the VPN type based on the server and click “Create.” Fill in the necessary information, such as the server address and account name or username. To select the authentication type required by the server, go to “Authentication Settings.” The authentication type could be a password, certificate, SecurID, crypto card or another method. Choose an option that the server requires, such as a password. After that, click “OK.” After saving the information, click “Connect.”

Is it Difficult to Install a VPN Connection?

No, setting up a VPN connection is not difficult. However, different operating systems have different steps and settings for installing VPN connections, so the user should pay attention to that.

Isa Oyekunle Isa is a seasoned writer and a cybersecurity expert with about 7 years of experience under his belt. He has worked with a number of prominent cybersecurity websites worldwide, where he has produced hundreds of authoritative articles regarding the broad subject of internet security. He’s always been enthusiastic about digital security, and now, he’s committed to enlightening people around the world about it.
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