How to set up a VPN: How-to guide – News Couple
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How to set up a VPN: How-to guide


The term Virtual Private Network (VPN) may seem intimidating to some. In fact, it is no more complicated to use than any other app based services. This VPN setup guide aims to give you an idea of ​​how to get started once you sign up for the service.

Although most VPNs will have their own unique characteristics, in essence they offer similar services. The concept is to connect to the VPN server from your device and log in with the credentials given to you.

Just like many other web-based services, VPNs are designed to be usable on many platforms. For brevity, we will show you how to install and setup a specific service (ExpressVPN) on a few of the available platforms.

Here are some ways to set up a VPN:

important note: For manual installations, many VPN service providers have different credentials that you need to use. Service login name/e-mail and password may not be the correct credentials to use. Check with your VPN provider for the required credentials.

Here is a list of the best VPN services with price comparison and plans review.

Setting up a VPN on Windows 10

There are several ways you can set up VPNs on Windows devices, but the easiest one is simply to use the Windows installer file that these networks provide. Other methods work as well but need more work.

Using Windows Installer

Example – ExpressVPN Windows app. To connect to a VPN server, you actually just have to hit the big power button on the app and it will connect you to the best server for your location. If you want to choose a specific server, click on the three dots on the right side of the Smart Location box. This will open a list of servers that you can choose from.
  1. Download the installation file for your VPN – it can usually be obtained from their website.
  2. At the same time, write down your activation code on the page from which you downloaded the file. Note that this step depends on the VPN you’re using, and some may only ask for the username and password you signed up for.
  3. Double-click the installer file to start setup.
  4. Once the installation is done, launch the application and paste your activation code to start it the first time.

It is possible to use other ways to use a VPN on Windows devices, but we don’t really recommend them because you won’t get the full features of the app. For example, using the OpenVPN GUI client will enable you to connect to certain servers, but not provide you with various other protocols, Kill Switch, or application traffic management.

If for some reason you decide that you don’t want to use the Windows VPN app, you can choose the native VPN processing feature in Windows 10:

Manual configuration on Windows

Install VPN on Windows manually

Aside from missing out on the extra features of the VPN you signed up for, if you decide to use a manual setup, you are also limited to PPTP with Windows’ native VPN processing. This protocol is a bit outdated and is generally known to be less secure than IKEv2 or OpenVPN.

  1. On the desktop, open Network and Internet settings and then select the “VPN” option and then click on “Add VPN Connection”.
  2. For a VPN provider, select “Windows (included), then add a connection name that allows you to identify the connection (eg ExpressVPN Singapore).
  3. The server address must be obtained from your VPN service. If you can’t find it, try asking customer service. (It should look like a URL, for example nyc1-abcd-l2tp.expressprovider.com).
  4. For VPN type, select PPTP.
  5. Then enter your username and password.

You’ll need to repeat this process for each individual server location you want, so you can see how easy it is to use the VPN providers’ Windows app. This is just one way to manually set up a VPN on Windows.

Unfortunately, all manual methods will require more effort than using the Windows application.

Set up a VPN on Android devices

Install VPN on Android devices
Example – ExpressVPN in Play Store, just click “Install” to setup.

If you’ve ever owned an Android phone and installed an app – getting a VPN on your device would be almost the same. All you have to do is launch the Play Store, search for your VPN provider, and click “Install”.

How to set up a VPN on Mac/iOS devices

Install VPN on Mac

Setting up a VPN on Mac is similar to the process you follow on Windows.

  1. Download the installer from your VPN service provider.
  2. Run the installer and let it do its thing.
  3. Launch the app, then sign in with the credentials on the Mac setup page.
  4. Hit Connect and you are good to go.

Using a VPN with iOS

Fortunately, using most VPNs with any type of mobile device is really easy and for iOS users it is as simple as it is with Android. All you have to do is download the mobile app from the App Store and enter your username and password on the login screen.

Install browser-based VPN extensions

Install VPN Browser Extension
ExpressVPN specifically supports browser add-ons for both Chrome and Firefox. Unfortunately, at this time, the Safari extension isn’t ready yet, so macOS users will have to rely on the app instead.

Almost all VPNs will have some form of browser extension that you can use. To see if you have one, simply look for it on your browser extension page.

  1. Launch your browser and select the add-ons or add-ons in the list.
  2. Find a VPN and choose to add it to your browser.
  3. Click the VPN icon in your browser toolbar and then sign in to your account.
  4. Choose the server you want and you are good to go.

Setting up VPN on routers

VPN router setup

Most VPNs can be installed on routers as well, but not all routers support them. To find out if your router supports VPN, log into your admin panel and see if there is a tab called “VPN”. If so, you are good to go.

Most VPN providers limit the number of devices connected at the same time. Setting up a VPN for your home network allows you to connect as many devices as you want to the VPN through your router.

As a general guideline, here is what you need to do to set up OpenVPN manually:

  1. Download OpenVPN configuration files from your VPN service provider.
  2. You will need one file for each location (and type) of OpenVPN connection. There are two types of OpenVPN connection – TCP and UDP.
  3. Log into your router’s admin panel and select the VPN tab.
  4. Click on “VPN Client” and then “Add Profile”
  5. Select the OpenVPN tab and enter the description (what you want to name your connection to), then your username and password.
  6. Import one of the configuration files you downloaded earlier.
  7. Press OK, then click Activate next to the connection you just created.

You will have to repeat this process for each communication site you want us to.

Also note that there are a limited number of connections you can create, so choose wisely. The connection locations must also be changed on this router administrator panel.

To flash router firmware

If you decide to go for ExpressVPN, they have another way to do it which is by flashing the firmware of compatible router models. The firmware guide for each router will likely be completely different, so be sure to visit the ExpressVPN website for step-by-step instructions for flashing the firmware.

Do note that this can potentially be dangerous if you are not an expert in this process.

Set up VPN on other devices

VPNs are versatile and the protocols they use are often platform independent. This means that they often work on almost any connected device. Some of the other platforms you can connect a VPN service include Linux, Android TVs, FireTV, Apple TV, tablets, and more.

For specific setup instructions for these platforms, you should check with your VPN provider which your device supports.


Advanced VPN Settings

So far, this guide has covered the basics of installing and running a VPN on different devices. However, you can customize your VPN connection as well. Here are some of the things you can do with your ExpressVPN app:

Change VPN server

VPN servers allow you to spoof your location. This can have several benefits, including the ability to bypass regional content blocks like Netflix. Any VPN server you connect to will have websites that detect your connection as coming from the location where your VPN server is located.

Block Malware

Many VPNs include a feature that helps block malware sites. However, this is called different things depending on the service provider.

Add traffic or apps to the whitelist

Some VPNs allow you to control the apps and data that flow through the service based on your needs. You don’t have to run everything through a VPN. For example, you can keep your VPN running for web browsing while whitelisting P2P apps, or vice versa.

change protocols

As I mentioned earlier, different protocols have different characteristics. Most VPNs will have a few for you to choose from, and some of them may be different from certain VPNs.

If you find that your VPN connection is not working to your satisfaction, one way you can adjust performance is to change the protocol used.

Adjust encryption levels

Another thing that affects VPN performance is encryption. As a general rule, the higher the encryption level, the slower the VPN speed is likely to be. Even though encryption is there for a reason – it keeps your data safe. For this reason, not all VPNs will allow you to adjust the encryption rate.

Multi Shop

To further improve security, many top-tier VPN services offer Multihop or dual VPN services. This means that your connection is routed through two different VPN servers. For example, you could connect to a server in Australia, and then route the connection through a server in the US. This may affect performance slightly, but it increases your level of protection significantly.


Conclusion: Where should you install a VPN?

With so many devices connected to the web these days, you really should set up a VPN connection on each of your devices. Most VPNs allow a large number of simultaneous connections per account. ExpressVPN, for example, offers users to connect to five devices at the same time.

For mobile users, it is even more important because these are the devices you will be carrying with you abroad. Public Wi-Fi is notoriously insecure, so these are the best situations where a VPN can come in handy.

Some VPNs also work with Smart TVs, allowing you to connect to restricted regional content services like Netflix. The versatility of VPNs gives them a huge number of use cases, so in all honesty, there is no excuse to use them to their fullest potential.



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