If you aren’t particularly tech-saving, setting up a VPN might seem like an insurmountable obstacle and discourage you from ever doing so.
In addition to protecting your data, a VPN can help you access to content that’s been blocked in your country, browse the web anonymously, and even avoid being tracked by Google and other websites’ advertisers.
In this article, we will explain how to set up a VPN on any device, including a smartphone, computer, streaming box, or router, and remove any mystery associated with the process.
What You’ll Need To Set Up A VPN
VPN clients are the connecting software on your end device, and all you need to get started is to log in with a VPN service.
As an alternative, this could be a browser add-on or a mobile app.
- A VPN Account is something you sign up for at a VPN provider’s website to use that provider’s VPN servers.
- VPN Client is a lightweight application that gets installed on your computer. You can connect to a VPN after customizing your settings.
- Web Browser Extension Among these options is the VPN browser extension, a plug-in that can be installed in your browser with minimal effort. It generally applies to a VPN client because it allows you to choose a VPN server, though it typically does not provide as many customization options.
- You’ll need a VPN app to connect your mobile device to a VPN service.
Before we dive into specifics about setting up a VPN on various devices, let’s look at the steps common to all VPN installations.
How to Set Up A VPN in 2024
Once you have a VPN set up on your device, you can improve its performance by tweaking its settings to your liking.
All VPNs have their preferences for doing essentially the same things.
1. Choose The Right VPN
First of all, remember that each VPN is different, even though hiding your IP address and encrypting your traffic are two of the primary functions of a VPN.
Speed is the most important factor to think about. Some virtual private networks (VPNs) may be functionally useless if you have a poor connection speed.
Choose a VPN service that works with the WireGuard tunneling protocol in this situation so that the speed reduction is minimal.
Next, consider the motivations behind your VPN purchase.
Do you need to bypass Netflix region locks or just surf the web incognito?
Study the VPN provider’s feature set thoroughly before signing up.
Finally, before signing up for a VPN, ensure it will work with your gadget.
You shouldn’t have any trouble locating a VPN that works with your device because most VPN services now provide apps for multiple platforms.
NordVPN is the industry leader and possesses all the necessary qualities and features.
2. Pay And Sign Up
Get prepared to pay out cash for your VPN subscription.
Credit cards (VISA, Mastercard, and American Express) are among the most frequently accepted payment methods, though others may also be accepted.
You may also be able to use alternative payment methods like PayPal, Google Pay, Amazon Pay, UnionPay, WebMoney, GiroPay, etc., with certain VPN services.
In addition, you can increase your level of privacy by using a VPN that accepts cryptocurrency payments like Bitcoin or Dogecoin.
Regardless of the selected entry method, you’ll be asked for an email address during signup. In addition to the credit card number, your full name must be entered.
Remember, paid VPN services are a thousand times better and more secure than free ones.
So it is always recommended to use an authentic and paid VPN for better privacy and security.
3. Install The VPN Service, Browser Extension, Or App
A VPN Network device, browser extension, or app may have to be installed based on the VPN service and the device you’re using.
Essentially, they all accomplish the same: instruct the device to use the VPN link instead of the regular internet connection.
When you sign up for a VPN service, most will also give you a VPN client to download.
Typically, this will take the form of some lightweight computer software or a mobile application.
The VPN client allows you to link to the VPN service and control fundamental aspects of it, like choosing a server location.
VPNs can be set up in various ways, but the VPN’s client software or mobile app is typically the most convenient.
These are typically pre configured for use with your service, making installation simpler and reducing the likelihood of errors.
4. Selecting A Server
The best VPN services allow you to switch between servers at your convenience.
If your VPN allows it, you can use the app’s search bar or built-in map to connect to a specific location.
The main benefits of using a personal server are increased speed and access to otherwise inaccessible content due to your location.
Choosing a server that is geographically close to you will result in faster transfer times.
VPNs typically have a quick-connect button that instantly establishes a connection to the most secured server.
Connecting to a server in that country (the United States, for example, if you want to watch US Netflix) is required to view content restricted by location.
Some VPNs also boast streaming-optimized or security-focused dedicated servers.
Some, for instance, are tailored for the Tor network and feature obfuscation servers that allow users to bypass restrictions like firewalls.
Most VPNs, however, lack specialized configuration options.
This feature is not accessible if a VPN is manually set up on the device.
VPN Server Tips
- If you go with a free VPN service, you may be limited to a small selection of servers that aren’t located in your desired location.
- A server functioning properly for a particular website today may not be functioning properly for that website tomorrow, so you might be required to try another server.
- Your connection speed could be impacted by servers that are physically distant from you. If you’re experiencing slow download speeds while using a VPN, try connecting to a physically closer server.
5. Choose VPN Protocols
The VPN protocol controls the path taken by your data as it travels from your device to the server.
It’s important to note that while some protocols can help increase speed, others can increase the privacy and security of data.
The protocol’s source code is publicly available because it is an open standard.
Similarly, OpenVPN is quickly becoming the norm in the business world.
Another common protocol is the Layer 2 Tunnel Protocol.
Security is not an issue because it comes standard with the IPSec protocol, which authorizes and ciphers data packets sent over a virtual private network.
Windows supports the Secure Socket Tunneling Protocol in its entirety.
It is recommended when using a VPN on a Windows device.
One of the first virtual private network protocols, Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP), has stood the test of time.
However, it is losing popularity as newer, more efficient, and secure protocols emerge.
6. Advanced VPN Settings
Features such as a kill switch, split tunneling, and auto-connect are available in the Bitdefender VPN app.
After selecting your desired server, your VPN configuration should function normally.
However, you can tweak advanced VPN settings for increased security or improved download speeds.
You can configure your VPN so that it automatically connects whenever you access a public or unprotected Wi-Fi network but deactivates itself whenever you are in your own home’s network.
If the VPN connection drops, the kill switch will immediately cut off all Internet access.
It’s a workaround when a VPN connection isn’t available to protect your privacy while browsing the web.
Your VPN service can be configured to handle various types of traffic, including that from apps and websites you specify.
The VPN can be activated for online shopping but disabled for online gaming sessions.
Switching between VPN protocols and network configurations is a breeze when you save your preferences as a preset.
For instance, some of NordVPN‘s default profiles include the “Speed,” “Browsing,” and “Downloads” profiles.
How to Set Up A VPN On Android
In theory, Android devices don’t make it hard to install a VPN.
If you prefer not to let an app handle the configuration for you automatically, follow these steps.
(Remember that some vendors modify Android versions, so your procedure may differ slightly.)
- Navigate to Network & Internet > Advanced > VPN in Settings (you should see a little key tab). If the Network & Internet option is missing from your Menu bar (this can happen with some Android overlays), then search Settings for VPN.
- Select the plus sign and press Enter.
- If you’re setting this up on a brand-new mobile or haven’t already done so, Google will ask you to create a PIN or password for your device. Do so.
- You should now make a VPN profile. Type in the VPN’s name, and enter the server’s address.
- Select “Save” from the menu.
- You’ll be redirected to the VPN dashboard, where your service’s label should now proudly display.
- Select it and enter your login details.
- You can save your login details and keep the VPN connection at all times.
- To link up, please press the Connect button.
- Name, VPN type, server identity, account name, and login details must all be entered.
- Next, save. That’s it; you’re finished.
Once you’ve set up your VPN, you may find web browsing slower than usual.
This is especially true if you’ve set up your traffic to transit through a different country.
More users on a single VPN server or stronger encryption can reduce throughput.
The rate you can download files could decrease to a crawl, and the lag in your League of Legends game could increase to high levels.
However, that is all easy to put up with when you think about the additional safety you get by using the VPN.
How to Set Up A VPN On Windows 10
Do you require a VPN connection on your Windows computer?
Sometimes, VPN configuration is done manually on Windows 10 devices rather than with the aid of dedicated software.
Thankfully, this is not hard at all to accomplish. Follow these simple instructions:
- Be certain that your VPN account’s login details are correct. Consider NordVPN if you haven’t already found a VPN service:
- Select “Settings” by clicking the Windows icon.
- Select “VPN” under “Network & Internet.”
- Select “Add a VPN connection” to set up the virtual private network.
- To save your changes, please ensure that you have entered your login information correctly.
- Connect to the VPN by selecting it from the VPN Settings screen.
How to Set Up A VPN On iPhone Using an App
The majority of VPN services have streamlined their iOS apps for user convenience.
If you’re familiar with the App Store, installing this app shouldn’t be much different than installing any other app.
Below are detailed instructions for signing up for a VPN service and setting up the associated iPhone app.
- Register a login profile at the service’s website.
- Get the VPN app from your VPN of choice by visiting their website or the App Store and searching for their VPN app.
- Make sure you’re logged in to your newly made account.
- You have successfully downloaded and activated the VPN app. The app’s main menu has loaded. This section may provide additional choices and customization controls based on the VPN service you subscribe to.
- Set the server to the desired location and activate the VPN connection if necessary. In most cases, you can accomplish this by just pushing a button.
- A symbol will now appear on your iPhone’s home screen to show that the VPN is functioning.
How to Set Up A VPN On iPhone Without An App
If you prefer to use a VPN on your iPhone without using an app, you can do so by modifying the network settings.
Here’s how to do so:
- Access the iPhone’s configuration menu by selecting “Settings.”
- Use the “General” menu option.
- Find the section labeled “VPN.”
- Click on “Add VPN setup.”
- Provide the information for your VPN service here. These are typically available on the VPN service’s website.
- Select “Done” to save your settings.
- Connect to the VPN by toggling the on/off switch next to your generated VPN account.
- The VPN is now active (shown by the ‘VPN’ icon in the upper right of your iPhone display).
How to Set Up a VPN on macOS
“Network preferences” is where you’ll enter the information needed to access the network.
The VPN server URL, user id, and authentication parameters (password, certificate, etc.) are all part of this configuration.
To find out what VPN settings you require to provide to connect to your company’s network, you should speak with a network administrator or your VPN service provider.
Once you have acquired the settings, follow these directions.
- To access the Network preferences on a Mac, select Apple main menu > System Preferences > Network.
- Select the Add option in the left-hand list, then tap the Interface notification option.
- For each network you wish to connect to, tap the VPN category drop-down menu and select the appropriate option. To start using the VPN, enter a service name and choose to Create.
- Internet access providers utilize a protocol called Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol, and L2TP is an extension of that protocol that allows VPNs to be set up across public networks.
- The term IPSec stands for “Internet Protocol Security,” and it refers to a group of measures taken to ensure the safety of Internet communications.
- IKEv2 is an IPSec security association-establishing protocol.
- Type in the VPN server’s address and your username or email address for the account.
- To enter the credentials provided by the network operator, go to Authentication Settings and click the button.
- If your network requires you to provide extra information like connection parameters, TCP/IP configurations, DNS servers, and tunnels, then select the Advanced tab.
- Depending on the VPN connection you’re establishing, you may be able to enter additional data.
- Select Apply and then confirm with OK.
There are only a few VPN service providers that offer great compatibility with macOS. NordVPN is a top option to go with in this case.
How to Set Up A VPN On Android TV
It’s possible to find VPN apps for your Android TV using some services.
Find the Android app for your VPN service by searching for its name.
If your VPN service does not have a dedicated app, you will need to set everything up manually using an OpenVPN GUI.
- Install Google Chrome and OpenVPN Connect on your Android TV from the Google Play Store.
- Your VPN service should have OpenVPN configuration files available for download from their website. You must provide permission for Google Chrome to create files on your device if you have just installed it.
- Launch OpenVPN Connect and select the icon in the upper right-hand corner pointing downwards to import.
- The first step is to locate the configuration settings you saved from your VPN provider’s website.
- Return to your profile page, choose the freshly uploaded file, and input the VPN service passwords (these are not your standard credentials). You can receive them from your service provider. Just go ahead and hit the OK button.
The OpenVPN graphical user interface is best navigated with a touch screen or mouse and may be cumbersome to use with a gamepad or other such device.
Moreover, you’ll have to relaunch the OpenVPN app if you want to turn off the VPN or switch VPN servers.
How to Set Up A VPN On A Router
If you need to secure many computers, you may wish to set up a VPN on a router.
You should then consider investing in VPN-specific routers.
However, if you don’t, many well-known brands can be configured to fit your needs.
- Open the settings menu in your router’s configuration utility.
- Automatic IP should be chosen, DHCP query frequency should be set to “aggressive,” and automatic access to DNS servers should be turned off.
- Select “VPN Client” from the router’s primary interface VPN menu.
- Create a new profile, then from the protocol drop-down, choose OpenVPN.
- Follow it up by inserting the URL of your VPN along with your username and password.
- Your VPN service should supply you with an OpenVPN file, which you can import into the profile.
- Then, after you’re ready, select OK and activate your VPN.
Your VPN will be promptly connected, and you can confirm it by accessing a restricted or blocked website or game.
How to Set Up A VPN On Chromebook
A VPN can be easily set up on a Chrome OS device.
You can find an Android app for any commercial VPN service you’d like to use in the Google Play Store.
To set up the VPN follow these steps:
- First, you’ll need to find the Play Store icon, which may be on the home screen or in the app drawer, and then you can click it to launch the app.
- Search for the VPN service you want to use, and click on its result.
- To begin installation, select the “Install” menu item.
- Launch the VPN application from your computer’s desktop. You may now be taken to a page where you may register a service account or sign up for a VPN subscription.
- Open the VPN app again by returning to its window.
- Look for a “Connect” button or toggle to connect the VPN.
You are now ready to use the VPN on your ChromeOS device.
We’ve shown you how to set up a VPN on various devices in this post.
Additionally, to assist you in getting started with the software, we have provided an in-depth guide to its installation and explained its fundamental concepts.
No matter your level of technical expertise, you can easily configure a VPN to meet your needs.
Don’t hesitate to contact your VPN service for assistance if you have any problems.
You will be able to reach a customer service staff member via email, live chat, or phone, depending on the VPN provider you go with.