All Is Not As It Seems
ByAnyron Copeman, Senior Staff Writer| 18 May 2021
With so much of our lives online these days, many people are understandably concerned about protecting their privacy while using the internet. Cybercrime has increased significantly in recent years, and theres technically nothing stopping the government or your internet service provider from snooping on the sites you visit.
The solution for most people? A reliable VPN. This encrypts the connection between your device and a server on the internet, making it undetectable to someone on the outside. It does mean trusting your data with one of the VPN companies, but most have strict no-logs policies. This means they dont collect any information shared while a connection is active, and dont have access to any data that can be used to identify individual users.
Many people also use a VPN to access content thats usually restricted to specific countries, like local versions of Netflix or BBC iPlayer from outside the UK.
The Easy Way: Use A VPN Client
Note that some VPN providers offer their own desktop clients, which means you wont need the setup process described in this guide. All of our favorite VPNsStrongVPN for advanced users, and ExpressVPN and TunnelBear for basic usersoffer their own desktop application for connecting to their VPNs and selecting VPN server locations.
Windows 10 supports PPTP, L2TP/IPsec, SSTP, and IKEv2 connections without any third-party software.
To connect to a VPN on Windows 10, head to Settings > Network & Internet > VPN. Click the Add a VPN connection button to set up a new VPN connection.
Provide the connection details for your VPN. You can enter any name you like under Connection Name. This name is just used on your computer to help you identify the VPN connection.
Your VPN provider should be able to provide you with these details. If the VPN is provided by your employer, your employers IT department should provide you with the details youll need to connect.
Once youve set up a VPN, youll see it in the network popup menu next to any nearby Wi-Fi networks.
The Windows 10 VPN Client Isn’t Overly User Friendly
We’ll be blunt – the Windows 10 built-in VPN client isn’t great for everyone. It needs a bit of technical knowledge as it asks you about protocol choices and other features that most VPN service clients don’t bother asking anymore. They’re far more intuitive and user-friendly than the Windows option. There’s also the matter of needing to set up yet another client when you’ve already just signed up for a VPN service. It feels like an unnecessary step because it is.
As you need to subscribe to a VPN anyhow to even use the Windows 10 option, most people may find it easier to just use that company’s software. It’s far simpler and more effective to use your chosen VPN app instead as it’s typically designed better and far quicker to use. Switching between servers will be quicker, and it’s an all-around far smoother experience than using the Windows method.
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Connect To The VPN Server
Now that youve successfully configured a VPN profile, the next step is to connect to the VPN server. Heres how you can do this:
To check if youre connected to a VPN server, you can hover your mouse pointer over the Network icon located on the right side of your taskbar. It should show the VPN connections name if youre successfully connected.
A quicker way to connect to a VPN is by using the quick settings menu. This can be accessed by pressing the Windows Key + A or clicking on the network, battery or volume icons in the taskbar. In the quick settings menu, you should see a VPN button/tile. Clicking on it will bring up a list of the different VPN profiles youve added. Tap on the Connect button next to the VPN connection youd like to use.
Note: The VPN tile isnt listed for everyone in the quick settings menu. You can add the VPN tile as a quick setting by bringing up the menu and clicking on the small pencil icon in the bottom left.
Benefits Of Using A VPN With Windows 11
Having gone through this article, you may be wondering why you should use a VPN with Windows 11 in the first place. As we alluded to earlier, using a VPN keeps your information private and secure. However, there are several other benefits that come with using a VPN. These are:
- A VPN encrypts your internet activity which helps prevent snooping and surveillance by your ISP, government surveillance associations, or other malicious actors.
- You can use public WiFi freely if youre protected by a VPN.
- VPNs allow users to and other files safely and anonymously.
- You can change your IP addressusing a VPN. As a result, you can access blocked or censored content.
- VPNs also offer greater security, especially when accessing sensitive information, such as your bank accounts.
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Setting Up A VPN On Windows With VPN Software: A Step
Installing a VPN on Windows 10 using official VPN software is very easy and goes as follows:
How To Set Up A VPN Connection On Windows 10
Once you finish setting up the VPN server on Windows 10, you will need to configure the devices that can remotely access the local network. You can set up any device and phone . Here are the instructions to set up a VPN connection on Windows 10.
After adding a VPN connection on your computer, you have to adjust the settings with these steps:
Open Control Panel.
Select the VPN connection option and click the Connect button.
Windows 10 remote connection using VPN
While there are many solutions to allow users to connect remotely to a private network using a VPN connection, you can set up your own server with the tools built within Windows 10 without the need for extra software.
Also, one of the best benefits of setting up a VPN server on your Windows 10 PC is that its not only secure and reliable, but its a great alternative for users who are still skeptical about cloud services to store their data. Even more, through a virtual private network, you can even access your device using the remote desktop feature on Windows 10.
This guide was originally published in May 2016 and revised in March 2021 for the latest version of Windows 10.
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Expressvpn The Best VPN Connection For Windows 10
- Feature-rich Windows app for Windows 7, 8, and 10
- 3000+ fast speed servers in 94 countries
- 95.3 Mbps on a 100 Mbps base connection
- 5 simultaneous connections
- Unblocks Netflix, Hulu, HBO, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, DAZN, Disney+ and more
- Also works with macOS, iOS, Android, Windows, Linux, routers, browsers, and more
ExpressVPN is the best VPN connection for Windows 10. It is reliable and offers an easy-to-use app for Windows 10. It only took us under 3 minutes to download and set up the ExpressVPN app on our Windows 10 PC.
ExpressVPN offers access to over 3000+ servers in 94 countries, and it continuously refreshes its IP address so you dont have to worry about geo-blocks.
ExpressVPN works with Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, and all major geo-restricted streaming services. No matter which server you connect to, you will never face a proxy error with ExpressVPN.
Apart from Windows, ExpressVPN also offers apps for macOS, iOS, Android, Linux, and FireStick. You can connect 5 services at the same time on a single subscription.
It also offers a Smart DNS feature called MediaStreamer that allows you to stream on devices that dont offer support for VPNs, like Smart TVs, gaming consoles, and more.
There is 24/7 live chat support available in case you need immediate help. It also has a wide knowledge base on its official website.
Other security features include a 256-bit AES encryption, automatic kill switch, DNS leak protection, and split tunneling.
How To Install A VPN Using Windows 10 Settings
The first step to configuring a VPN for PC is subscribing to a VPN service. There are plenty of good options out there. After signing up, the VPN service should provide a list of servers they own. You will need them to complete the manual installation.
Follow these steps:
1. Open the Network and Internet window by right-clicking on the network icon in the system tray on the taskbar and selecting it. Alternatively, click on the Start icon and go to Settings in the right-hand menu. From there, navigate to the Network and Internet tab.
2. Click on the VPN option and select Add a VPN Connection. A new window will appear.
3. In the drop-down menu under VPN Provider, select the Windows option.
4. In the next field under Connection name type in a name for the connection. The given name doesnt matter. It allows the PC user to identify it later on when they want to connect to the VPN.
5. Remember those server addresses mentioned earlier? Now, choose one of those and type it into the Server Name or Address field.
6. Then select a connection protocol in the VPN type drop-down menu. Those who prefer OpenVPN might have to download a configuration file to make this work. Otherwise, choose one of the other protocol options. But try to avoid PPTP as its the least secure option. The experts dont recommend it for security purposes.
8. Click Save. Then select the VPN it will now appear under the VPN list in the Network and Internet settings window.
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Connecting To Nordvpn On Windows
The IKEv2/IPSec connection is one of the alternative methods to connect to NordVPN servers on your Windows PC. This is the preferred connection method among privacy enthusiasts, as the IKEv2/IPSec security protocol is currently one of the most advanced on the market. That said, this manual setup lacks the additional features of the native NordVPN app and is a bit more complicated to set up.Note: the Windows system configuration downgrades the cipher to the weaker 3DES-CBC encryption.Disclaimer: This connection method will require you to add the certificate to Trusted Root Authorities, which will apply to all certificates. This might potentially put your system at the risk of a MITM attack if someone gets the private key of that certificate. While our private keys are completely secure and the chances of anything bad happening are very small, we recommend this connection method only if you cannot connect using our native app or any other alternative way.To use this connection method, the only file you need to download and install is the NordVPN digital certificate. The connection application itself is already in-built on Windows.
How To Disconnect And Remove A VPN On Windows 10
If you don’t want to use a VPN anymore, or if you just want to remove a server from the list, you can disconnect or altogether remove it. There is a VPN button for quick on and off located in the Windows 10 action center , but we’ll go through the entire process, which includes completely removing a VPN from your system.
Click Remove again to confirm.
That’s it! The VPN you configured should now be removed. You can always add a server again using the first set of instructions.
Note that even if you manually configure a VPN on Windows 10 you will still be able to use a separate client without issue. You can always remove the manual connection, but it’s not entirely necessary.
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Why Manual Installation Is Sometimes Necessary
Some Windows 10 users run the operating system in S mode. It means they cant install any apps outside of the official Microsoft store. Also, the system wont allow the installation of any VPN clients either.
Another hurdle is when VPN services dont offer clients of their own. That leaves manual installation as the only available option.
Besides technical issues, many people prefer not to use the client that comes from their VPN of choice. Why? The reasons vary. Some interfaces are clumsy others send annoying notifications or lack quality features.
But keep in mind that many clients do offer great extra features. They may not be available through a manual install.
What Is A VPN For Windows
A VPN for Windows is a VPN connection established from a PC to a VPN server.
Additionally, Windows supports third-party applications that run as VPN clients using the OpenVPN, SoftEther, or WireGuard protocols.
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How To Set Up A VPN In Windows 10
When it comes to picking up a computer, Windows 10 is the default for millions of people. Unlike MacOS, Windows exists on hundreds of quality laptops available for under $600, while also being great for gaming, self-built desktop PCs, and so much more. Its easier to use than Linux, and can do way more than Chrome OS. Its been the most popular desktop operating system around the world for decades, and with how good Windows 10 is, its easy to see why.
However, as big as Windows is, that doesnt mean everyone knows how to use it to its full potential. If youre looking to boost your security, using a VPN on Windows is an absolute must. No matter who or where you are, its a great idea to use a VPN to help protect your outgoing traffic. Microsoft has done a lot to boost the security of their operating system since Windows 10 launched in 2015, but you still need to keep your actual browsing data secure. Using a VPN makes your internet connection anonymous, and can even give you the benefit of making Windows 10 faster than before.
If you dont already have a VPN selected for use with your Windows PC, take a look at our selection of the best VPNs on the market today, then return here to set up your VPN with Windows.
The Windows 10 VPN Client Requires You To Set Up Connection Profiles
Once you’ve hooked up your full VPN service with the Windows 10 VPN client, you might think it’s plain sailing from now on. Unfortunately, there are some further restrictions. You have to set up a connection profile to use it, and each profile only has room for one server address and one connection protocol. If you like to switch between different servers regularly through your VPN, this immediately restricts your options unless you keep creating new profiles.
In a way, it’s simpler as often, you probably only connect to the same couple of servers each time, but it makes it harder for you to switch easily between the fastest servers out there. It simply takes longer to do this via the Windows 10 client than a regular VPN software tool.
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Get The Correct Login Details
When adding a VPN connection on Windows 11, youll be asked to fill in the relevant login details. These usually consist of a username, password, and server address or name. Now, youre probably wondering where you can find these details. Well, that depends on the kind of VPN connection youre setting up.
If its a VPN connection for work, then your boss, company intranet site, or administrative section probably has the required log-in details. However, if its a VPN for private use, then the details are the same as those you used when creating an account or purchasing a subscription. Once youve got the necessary log-in details, proceed to the next step.
Of course, if you dont have a VPN account yet, then youd have to sign up with a reliable service provider and get a subscription. Wed recommend getting a subscription with Surfshark, as its fast, secure, and pretty affordable!