Download And Install VPN Clients
The simplest way to get your VPN up and running is to install clients from your VPN provider. However, they may not offer software for every platform you need, such as Windows, iOS, and Android. Even if they don’t, it’s better to install what they offer first and then confirm that your VPN account is operating correctly.
Look for the “downloads” page on your VPN provider’s website. You should also download apps for the mobile devices that your workers use since youll want to protect connections from as many devices as possible.
If the initial client you install works right off the bat, then you can contact the VPN provider about clients for other platforms. And if you cant log in at all, then you can pass along that information to the VPN provider’s support team.
Are There Downsides To Using VPNs
A VPN’s success depends on other parts of your network infrastructure. Here are factors that could cause performance issues for your VPN:
Configuration security risks
Design and implementation of a VPN can be complicated. If youre not sure how to keep it up and running safely, consider bringing in an experienced network security professional to make sure VPN security hasnt been compromised.
Since VPN connections run off the Internet, you need to choose an Internet service provider that consistently delivers excellent service with minimal to no downtime.
If you need to add new infrastructure or create new configurations, you may run into technical problems due to incompatibilityespecially if you’re adding new products from different vendors.
Slow connection speeds
If you’re using a VPN client that provides free VPN service, your connection speed may be slow, as these providers do not usually offer high-speed connections. Consider whether the speed is sufficient for business needs.
When To Set Up A Home VPN Server
There are numerous good reasons why setting up a VPN server is an excellent idea. However, you should know that this solution wont meet the needs of every possible type of user. So, lets see why and when setting up a home VPN server is a good idea.
- You want to take full control over your data: There are many reliable VPN services out there. However, even though some of those are ‘no-logs VPN services, all of them must collect at least some data, including your payment information. The only way to truly be anonymous online and to make sure that no one sees your online whereabouts is by running a private VPN server.
- You want to access your Web connection from elsewhere: Two types of users could greatly benefit from private VPN servers, and those are small business owners and frequent travelers. You can allow your employees to log in to your private VPN network when outside the office. Travelers can log in to their private VPNs to continue using websites that might not be accessible everywhere.
- Youre curious about how VPNs work: There are different ways to set up a VPN server at your home. You can use a capable router, your computer, or even a Raspberry Pi device. And there are also numerous cloud hosting providers, allowing you to fine-tune your user experience and your expenses.
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Set Up A VPN Server On Your VPN Router
You can easily host a server on your VPN-enabled router. But the only catch is that your router must have VPN functionality. Simply search for your routers manual and check if your router has VPN capabilities.
Or just go to the configuration page of your router and head to the VPN section. Follow the system-specific instructions and set up a VPN server on your router.
Also keep in mind that the steps to configure your VPN server on router might differ as it solely depends on the firmware of your router, so keep an eye on it and search for the firmware your router is compatible with.
You Can Take Control Of Your Data
Using any VPN service means that you are entrusting a company with the security of your data. While many people might be OK with this, if you are a little more concerned with online security than most, this may not be the best option. Setting up your own VPN network will mean that you, and only you, are in control of your data and your privacy.
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What Do You Need To Create Your VPN Server At Home
There are three different options for setting up a VPN server on your own. Keep in mind that, regardless of which hardware platform you use, the basic process of setting up the server is broadly the same.
Weve listed the required steps below, giving you a sense of what to expect. We wont go into various details right now, but well make sure to provide you with plenty of resources throughout this article. So, heres what creating your own VPN server entails:
We wont lay down the detailed instructions for every platform possible since OpenVPN has created great instructional documents along with troubleshooting guides too. The best one to start with for most people is their easy Windows Guide for OpenVPN.
Doing this on Linux is a bit more complicated, and youre better off Googling for instructions relevant to the specific distro of Linux you have in mind. Ubuntu is the most popular for home users, and you can find the official Ubuntu OpenVPN documents at the preceding link.
Option #: Utilizing An Old Computer
Finally, weve come to the most affordable method of creating a private VPN server. In case you have an old computer somewhere collecting dust, why not turn it into a VPN server?
Yes, thats right – you can use your old computer to process your VPN traffic by essentially turning it into a dedicated server. However, as you can imagine, this doesnt come without its downsides as well.
You can turn your computer into a server by using OpenVPN, but note that the server will need to be powered on all the time. This is done by using OpenVPN to configure it to act as a server on your computer.
Then, you need to install OpenVPN on other devices since youll need to log in each time you want to access your VPN network. With that said, we have to warn you that turning your computer into a VPN server isnt the easiest process out there. You dont have to be an IT expert – but be prepared for a lengthy process with plenty of research.
Finally, to get more information about this method, we recommend you read OpenVPNs helpful tutorials on how to do this on Windows PCs.
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Should I Set Up A Home VPN Server
There are a few reasons you might want to set up a VPN server at home.
Firstly, if you need to access your local network while out and about, setting up your own VPN server at home is a good idea.
Hosting a VPN server in your home means that you can access files from your local network and stream Netflix or access other geo-restricted services while abroad.
If set up correctly, connecting to your own VPN while using public WiFi will help protect you from hackers looking to steal your personal information. The VPN encrypts internet traffic between the client and the server.
You also know who owns the servers youre using. This should make it more transparent as to what data and information being logged and stored.
But setting up your own VPN server at home isnt always recommended.
When To Use A VPN
Ideally, you should use a VPN whenever youre online. However, an always on VPN isnt realistic for everyone due to the slowdowns. Instead, we think its more practical to consider a handful of everyday use scenarios for VPNs, such as these:
- Using public networks
- Hiding activity from an internet service provider or the company running a browser
- Avoiding cache/cookies
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Set Up A VPN Server By Flashing Your Routers Firmware
If your router does not have VPN functionalities then thats not a problem. You just have to check your routers compatibility to support any third-party firmware like DD-WRT or OpenWrt.
The next thing you have to do is simply flash your routers firmware. Take it this way that youre simply installing an advanced operating system on your router which will unlock the feature of VPN hosting.
But you have to be cautious and follow the steps carefully as flashing your router can be risky.
Setting Up A VPN Server On A Cloud Service
Setting up a VPN Server on a cloud serviceeliminates the need for your own hardware. You dont need to hack your router or dedicate a computer to playing the role of VPN Server. This can be a convenient way to go.
But there are drawbacks to this approach as well. When you set up a VPN Server on a cloud service, you do so by installing software on a virtual machine running on the cloud services servers. This means that your VPN Server will be slow since it will be running on distant, simulated hardware.
It also means that you need to trust the cloud service completely. Everything you do will happen on their hardware, using their virtual machines. This leaves you with the same problem as using a commercial VPN Service: you need to trust a third-party.
The difference here is that commercial VPN Services sell themselves on their commitment to protecting your privacy. Services like ExpressVPN and NordVPN base themselves in jurisdictions where your privacy rights are protected. They cannot easily be forced to log your activities and share that information with the NSA, MI6, or whoever else is out there trying to spy on you.
Cloud services have a very different business model and are often based in places like the USA, where your privacy is not well protected. In our opinion, the chances that a cloud service would log your activities on their own, or be pressured into it by their local government, are much higher than with a top-notch commercial VPN Service.
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Section So How Does A Virtual Private Network Work
Simply put, a VPN is created by creating a secure tunnel between two networks and routing IP via it. Here are some diagrams to help visualize this notion :
The Client Router is a Linux system that serves as the remote networks firewall or gateway. The local IP address 192.168.12.0 is used by the remote network. Local routing information on the routers was excluded for the sake of a simplified diagram . The main concept is to use the tunnel to transport traffic for all private networks .
This is one way of doing things. To put it another way, while the distant network can see the private network, the private network cannot always see the remote network. You must declare that the routes are bidirectional in order for this to happen.
When Not To Set Up A Home VPN Server
As noted earlier, private VPN servers are not useful in every possible case. Some types of users could benefit more from getting a commercial VPN subscription instead. So, lets check out some of the limitations of running a private VPN server.
- You wont get to unblock websites available elsewhere: As explained earlier, travelers can use private VPN servers to unblock websites available in their home country. However, you wont be able to unblock websites available elsewhere. For example, to unblock services such as BBC iPlayer, Sky Go, or NOW TV, you need to connect to a server in the UK. Commercial VPN services offer servers spread across the entire world, which is one of their most important benefits.
- Youll be facing various technical roadblocks: Commercial VPNs come with polished applications for multiple platforms, including Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, and Android . If you decide to set up a VPN server at your home, youll need to configure each device manually. This takes plenty of time, and its not the most elegant solution.
- You wont get the benefits of shared IP addresses: One of the benefits of using commercial VPNs is that they offer shared IP addresses. In other words, each VPN comes with a sizeable pool of IPs that get rotated from time to time. Even though you can change the IP address of your VPN server, this can be a tedious process in the long-run.
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How To Turn Your Macos Or Raspberry Pi Computer Into A VPN Server
Since macOS doesnt natively support OpenVPN, youll need to use third-party software such as Tunnelblick or Homebrew in order to set up a VPN server on your device.
If youre looking for a less cumbersome device to use as a VPN server, you can set one up on a Raspberry Pi.
Read PiMyLifeUps step-by-step guide to setting up a VPN server on a Raspberry Pi using an install script called PiVPN.
How To Choose The Right VPN Server
Sometimes you might not want to be connected to the server the VPN app recommends. Perhaps you want to spoof your location, use BitTorrent via VPN, or take advantage of custom servers. Or maybe the server the app recommends just doesn’t work or is very slow. Whatever the reason, the best VPNs will let you quickly and easily jump to a different VPN server.
Sometimes, VPN apps present their servers in lengthy menus or pull-down lists. The best VPN services will include search bars and highlight servers for specific activitiessuch as streaming and BitTorrenting. Many VPN companies include an interactive map as part of their app. TunnelBear and NordVPN, for example, let you click on countries to connect to servers there.
Choosing a server depends entirely on what you want to accomplish. For better speeds, you should choose a nearby server. To access region-locked content, you’ll want a server that’s local to content you want to watch. If you’re trying to watch the BBC, you’ll want to tunnel to the UK. To bypass government censorship, choose a server in a country different from your own .
Some VPN companies have specialized servers for streaming video. These specialized servers are useful because streaming services such as Netflix block VPNs. At issue are the licensing deals Netflix secures with studios, which provide different content for different regions.
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How Do I Setup A VPN Server
How To Set Up Your Own VPN
Of course, while it can certainly be a pain to setup your own server, it can be incredibly rewarding and fun, so donât let that put you off.
Just donât rely on having a VPN server if you 100% need on right now, since it will take some time to run everything smoothly.
Building Your Own VPN Server
First things first, you need an actual device to host your VPN server on. For the most part, the specs of the device donât really matter . . . like at all. The only thing this server is really doing is routing traffic through it, so as long as it has some relatively basic modern specs , youâll be fine.
In fact, you can even get away with using a Raspberry Pi, and those things can be as cheap as $30 or $40.
The most important thing, even more important than specs, is that the device remains online, all the time. The nice thing about using a Raspberry Pi is that it doesnât use much power and can be set up pretty much anywhere since it weighs close to nothing.
If you have some form of basic power backup, use that, or at the very least plug it in somewhere you know it wonât be unplugged or touched. Thereâs no point building a VPN server thatâs going to be constantly going down and being inaccessible.
Installing a VPN
So, installing a VPN can be quite a long endeavor with a lot of problems and issues that can pop-up on the way.
Itâs a pretty interesting project, and negates some of the issues of not going with a VPN provider .
Home VPN Security
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Make Your Own VPN Server Today
Making your own VPN server at home is a great option if you dont mind the technical challenge. It can be a cheaper alternative to a commercial VPN service, has some privacy benefits, and gives you remote access to your local network. But because its quite time-consuming and requires extensive technical knowledge, its not for everyone.
If youre short on time or not very tech-savvy, I recommend using a reputable VPN service like ExpressVPN. Its easy and quick to set up so its great for beginners. It also protects your privacy, has super-fast speeds, and offers access to geo-restricted content. It even comes with a money-back guarantee, so you can test it out completely risk-free. If youre not impressed you have 30 days to claim a full refund.