The technical details surrounding the use of VPN services can sound scary to beginners. However, the truth is that it doesn’t take a lot of effort or knowledge to get a VPN up and running on your computer. All you need to do is find a good provider, sign up for their service, download the corresponding application, and start enjoying your rerouted connection!
Find a Good Provider
The most critical step in the whole process – and perhaps the most challenging one – is to find a good and trustworthy VPN provider. There are many companies on this market today, and it’s become quite the saturated field. This can make it a bit difficult to know that you’re working with someone reliable. The good news is, plenty of reviews and comparisons out there can make it very easy to figure out if the VPN service you’re considering is worth its price. Do as much research as you can before settling on anything – this is something you’ll be using for a long time, after all!
Download a VPN Client
There are some popular VPN clients out there, like Cisco’s AnyConnect, but it’s also possible that the company you’re purchasing your subscription from has their own specific client. In that case, you’ll have to follow their instructions for installation and setup. But don’t worry – in most cases, the process is simply down to just entering your credentials and clicking on a big “connect” button!
Choose Your Location
Your VPN might choose a location for you by default, but you’ll probably want to change that based on your intended use case. If you want to stream content only available in a specific country, for example, you should set your exit node to that. Likewise, if you’re trying to circumvent content restrictions imposed on specific regions, you should pay attention to the list of countries included in the ban.
Test Your Connection
Don’t forget to test things before using your VPN for anything more serious! Some sites can allow you to test the quality of your current connection and verify that you have good latency and down/up rates before you commit to doing anything with your newly purchased VPN. If you encounter any issues with the service, especially your VPN download speed, now is the time to bring that up with the provider, rather than waiting for a few days or weeks, at which point you might not be eligible for a full discount.
Manual Setup: Windows 10
If you want to set up a connection manually in Windows 10, that’s done through the Settings app. Go to the search bar, type “VPN,” and move to “Change Virtual Private Networks (VPN).” Then, click on “Add a VPN Connection” and fill out all the details of your account and service provider. The company should provide all the necessary details after you’ve signed up for an account. Contact them if anything is missing from the list.
Once the connection has been created, you can use it from the Wi-Fi icon in the system tray, next to the current time. Make sure to close the connection when you don’t need it to prevent any confusion about your IP address!
Manual Setup: macOS
Apple’s macOS also allows you to manually set up a VPN connection if you prefer to use it this way rather than through a custom app. Sometimes, you’ll be provided with a “VPN settings file,” which allows you to apply all relevant settings with one click. Use that whenever possible, as it will save you a lot of headaches.
Alternatively, you can go to your system preferences screen, and click on “Network”, and then “Add” on the left. Choose VPN for the type of connection and choose the specific type of VPN you’re using. You’ll most likely need to choose L2TP here but consult your VPN provider if there’s any doubt. Enter your username and password and click OK. Afterward, your connection should be immediately available and ready for use.
That’s pretty much all there is to it – the rest comes down to knowing exactly why you need a VPN in the first place and figuring out which company on the market can give you the best deal for your required specifications. Do a little research, and you should quickly come across several deals that will work nicely for you.