Unlike a proxy, VPN provides security and privacy on the complete operating system with the help of a VPN client software. Usually, a VPN service provider will provide you with a VPN client. But if they do not then you can either go for generic VPN clients software such as Cisco AnyConnect or OpenVPN or setup VPN on Windows or Mac operating system with their inbuilt VPN client software. If you are wondering how to setup a VPN on Windows then read on further to know the steps. In fact, setting up VPN for Windows operating system is super easy since most of the machines running on Windows OS have a built-in native VPN client.
Virtual Private Network or VPN protects your internet traffic from hackers and eavesdroppers. VPN server sits in between your client machine, such as laptop or smartphone, and target web server or website.
It creates an encrypted tunnel between your computer and the VPN server. The tunnel is impenetrable and the data being transmitted through it completely secured, hiding your location and IP address from the outside world.
Before we see how to setup a VPN on Windows 10 or 7, it is vital to understand what is a VPN client and why do you need one?
What is a VPN client and why do we need one?
A VPN client is the standard software that installs on the user machine, such as laptop or smartphone, and further you have to configure it with necessary settings related to VPN services.
It is the building block of a VPN infrastructure. A VPN client first gets connected with the VPN server before it can even make use of the VPN services. It checks the user credentials and authentication and establishes a connection with the VPN.
A VPN client software helps you in establishing machine wide security. After a successful VPN connection, you will be free to run any web application, email, web surfing, etc. without even thinking of configuring anything application wise.
- Suggested read: Proxy vs VPN – What is the Main Difference?
Most of the VPN providers will provide you with a VPN client. But if they do not or if you want to configure a specific VPN protocol which is not supported by a VPN client then you can setup VPN client on Windows itself.
How to setup a VPN on Windows 10 with its native VPN client software?
After subscribing to a VPN service, you need to know several things before setting up a VPN connection. The VPN service would provide a list of the VPN server’s location, their IP addresses and the load on the server.
All these things have to be kept in mind before using the built-in Windows VPN Client. Let’s see the steps –
- Click on Windows icon of the left most corner and click on the settings icon.
- Click on Network and Internet.
- Here you will see different options. Select VPN.
- Click on Add a VPN Connection.
- In the VPN Provider box, select ‘Windows (built in)’ option from the drop-down menu.
- Fill up the Connection Name box with a name for the VPN Connection. You can use the name of the VPN Service Provider also.
- Type the VPN Server address provided to you by your VPN Service provider.
- In the VPN type box, choose a VPN Protocol. In most cases, it will be ‘PPTP (Point to Point Tunneling Protocol)’.
- Then select the type of sign in info according to your preference. You can opt for a username and password as a sign-in method which is widely used.
- Click on Save.
- Then, Click on the Wi-Fi icon on your taskbar, where you will find the newly created VPN connection.
- Select your VPN connection and feed in your username and password.
- Click Connect and if all goes to plan your VPN Connection will be established.
The above process will mostly work for the L2TP and PPTP VPN protocols. However for new VPN protocols such as the IKEv2, one may need to download the root certificate first. Your VPN service provider will provide this root certificate.
How to setup a VPN on Windows 7 with its native VPN client software?
Let’s see how to setup a VPN on Windows 7. Also, these steps have a lot of similarity with the one for windows 10.
- Go to Control Panel from the Start menu.
- Select the Network & Internet option.
- Go to the Network and Sharing Center.
- Select Set up a new connection or network out of different available options.
- Click on Connect to a workplace.
- After that, select the first option which states use my Internet connection.
- In the Internet address box, either type the URL of the VPN service which you have subscribed or enter its IP address.
- You need to enter a name for your VPN connection in the destination name box.
- There are three check boxes present at the bottom of the window. All these checks give you different options depending on the type of connection you want.
- Click Next.
- Now you have to enter the username and password for creating the VPN connection.
- Then Click on Connect.
- Windows will take a few seconds to verify the username and password and if all goes well, a connection will be established with the VPN server.
- Now to use the connection, you have to go the network icon present at the bottom right of your window.
- In the list of available networks and connections, there will be the name of your VPN Connection.
- Click on it and then Click on Connect.
- After entering the required Username and Password, the connection will be authenticated.
How to set up consumer VPN app on Windows 10 & 7?
As I told you before that most of the VPN service providers have their native VPN app for different operating systems such as Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, etc. The overall setup process is a breeze.
I am assuming that you have already chosen the best VPN service provider. In the current example, I will go with NordVPN as it is one our favorite. But there are other options as well such as ExpressVPN, GooseVPN, etc.
- Head to your choice VPN service provider website and choose a suitable plan. Here, you will be able to create your user account. Do remember your username and password for future reference.
- Now download VPN app on your Windows machine.
- Click the setup file.
- You will get a dialogue box where have to select the drive on which the software will install. The default is C drive.
- It will take a few seconds to finish the installation.
- Open the installed VPN app from the list of programs.
- You will be prompted with user and password. Enter the one which you provided while creating your user ID on NordVPN.
- Now VPN app will ask your permission to add VPN configurations in your machine’s network and security settings. Allow it. You may be prompted to enter your device password.
- That’s all and you are ready to use VPN app on your machine.
- Now to start using your VPN, you must choose a server. NordVPN or any other VPN service provider has several servers located across the globe. You can choose a local server in which you are located if at all you are only looking to protect your privacy. However, if you are looking to get access to any blocked content based on geo-location then you need to choose the relevant server location.
Final words on how to setup a VPN on Windows
A VPN client software does need some space on your Windows system. On the other hand, Windows has a built-in VPN client software which only needs configuration. Above steps would help you configuring VPN client on Windows 10 and 7.