How to Set Up a Windows VPN

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Updated August 29, 2022

Even if you have a premium VPN, you might need to learn how to set up a Windows VPN. A VPN connection protects your online privacy on public networks by changing your IP address and encrypting your internet traffic. Additionally, you can set up a VPN server connection through Windows Internet Settings. So, stick around to learn how to set up a VPN on Windows and keep your internet connection safe.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • You can open the VPN settings through the Windows Cortana search bar or the Network & Internet menu.
  • Click the plus icon to add a VPN connection and change the VPN provider to Windows (built-in).
  • Enter your VPN service login information, and activate the connection through the Network & Internet icon on the Windows taskbar.

How Do You Set Up a VPN on Windows?

Learning how to set up a VPN at home is an excellent first step in protecting your private network. While the best free VPNs are great for basic coverage, your server locations and additional features might be limited. And some free services are known for selling your personal data or injecting malware into your PC, so we recommend a paid service if it’s within your budget.

Insider Tip

Most premium VPN services offer smartphone apps to keep your mobile device secure while online.

If you need a secure connection for a corporate network, you should consider how to set up site-to-site VPN access. Additionally, your VPN provider can protect your home network, computers, and mobile devices by learning how to set up a VPN on a router.

STEP 1 Choose and Install a VPN

Before you can set up a VPN on your Windows PC, you’ll need to have a VPN provider. Choose a reputable provider that meets your needs, then download and install the VPN client.

STEP 2 Go To VPN Settings

Type “VPN” into the Windows search bar to find VPN Settings. Alternatively, you can access the VPN menu through Network & Internet in the settings menu.

STEP 3 Click Add a VPN

Near the top of the VPN settings page, click the plus icon next to Add a VPN connection.

STEP 4 Enter VPN Connection Details

Set the VPN provider dropdown menu to Windows (built-in). This option will change the VPN Type to “automatic” and set the Type of Sign-In Info to “user name and password.”

STEP 5 Name the Connection and Server

Under “Connection name,” type in a name that will stand out to you amongst other options. Next, add the “Server name.” The server name varies by VPN provider, and you can get that information from their website.

STEP 6 Enter Your Username and Password

Scroll down and enter the username and password for your VPN service. Next, click the Save button and close the Settings menu.

STEP 7 Test the New Connection

Click the internet button on your Windows taskbar. If you’re connected wirelessly, you’ll see a Wi-Fi icon or an Ethernet icon if you use a wired internet connection. You should see the newly-created VPN connection at the top of the network options and click it to connect to the VPN service.

Warning

Hackers can see your personal information and online activity if you’re on a public Wi-Fi hotspot without a VPN.

STAT: A 2021 Pew Research Center poll showed that 6% of Americans use the internet almost daily. (source)

How to Setup a Windows VPN FAQs

How do I find my public IP address?

Go to Google or Bing search engine and type, "What is my IP address." The search result should show your public IP address, which will change as you switch between VPN servers.

What makes a strong password?

A strong password should be a long string of upper and lower-case letters with interspersed numbers and symbols. The password shouldn't spell a dictionary word or relate to your personal information. Experts recommend using a password manager to ensure low-effort and efficient security for all of your registered online accounts.

Do VPNs slow internet connection speeds?

A VPN connection will slow your internet speed as it routes traffic through their servers. That said, you shouldn’t notice a meaningful difference in speed with a VPN service. Experts recommend using an ethernet connection to mitigate any speed loss from cloud services like VPNs or remote connections.
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