Do you spend a lot of time online? You might be doing many online activities for work and personal stuff, such as banking and shopping. Even when you work most of the time in the office, you might need to go out sometimes and connect to a public WiFi.
So, we understand why you’re worried about your privacy and information because of hacking incidents. The Federal Trade Commission stated that there were more than 5 million fraud and identity theft reports in 2021.
Fortunately, there’s a way to protect your information. VPNs or Virtual Private Networks can add a layer of security and privacy to your internet activities. If you don’t know how to set one up, you’ve come to the right place.
VPNs have been evolving since the first one was created in 1996, so we’ve gathered the latest information on setting it up for different devices. We’ve also found some tips on choosing the right VPN and using it to improve your online privacy.
Don’t skip reading! There’s one crucial tip that we found when installing and using a VPN on your device to avoid the most common error that causes your VPN not to function properly.
Don’t miss out on that important tip because when you make a mistake in using a VPN, you’ll end up compromising your data rather than protecting it.
How to set up a VPN?
Setting up a VPN may seem intimidating, but it’s actually a straightforward process. But first, you must get VPN information from your preferred VPN service. It includes VPN type, sign-in info, and more.
You can follow the steps below to start using a VPN on Windows 10:
- Go to Settings, click Network & Internet, then choose VPN.
- Tap “Add a VPN connection.”
- The system will show you a configuration screen where you need to provide the following:
- VPN provider
- Connection name
- Server name or address
- VPN type
- Type of sign-in info
- Choose “Windows (built-in)” for the VPN provider.
- Type an easily-recognizable name for your VPN connection. For example, you can name it “My Personal VPN.”
- You need to have a VPN service to provide the information you’ll enter in the Server name or address field. It usually looks like a URL, which includes five to six characters of an alphanumeric string. The string is also followed by the name of your VPN service.
- You also need to select the type that your VPN service uses.
- The type of sign-in info depends on your VPN service, but the most common method is to provide your username and password.
- Tap the Save button.
You can now use your VPN profile.
- Go to Network & Internet, then choose VPN.
- Select your newly created VPN profile.
- Tap “Connect.”
Take note that you need to type your username and password every time you choose a certain VPN connection.
Before setting up a VPN, you might want to know that Chromebook has built-in support for the following:
- PPTP VPN
If you have a device that runs on Chrome OS, here’s how to connect to VPN:
- Go to Settings, then choose “Network.”
- Click “Add connection,” then select “Add built-in VPN.”
- Enter the required information, such as:
- Server name
- Provider type
- Server hostname
- Authentication type
- Type your username and password, but it depends on your VPN service.
- Tap “Connect.”
Take note that there are four authentication types, depending on your VPN.
|Username and password||Pre-shared key||Server CA certificate||User certificate|
|It’s for Extensible Authentication Protocol (EAP) connection.||This is for the PSK connection, where you must enter a passphrase or key.||This is for user certificates and EAP connections.||This is for user certificate connections only.|
|Each user has a unique username and passcode.||It’s used by everyone who connects to the same server.||You need to install a certificate for this authorization.||You need to install a certificate for this authorization.|
Here’s how you can install a VPN on macOS:
- Go to Network, under System Preferences.
- Tap the plus (+) sign to create a new connection.
- Select VPN on the Interface menu, then choose a VPN type based on your VPN service.
- Type your preferred Service Name, then click Create.
To start using your newly created connection:
- Add the server address and username.
- Tap Authentication Settings.
- Type your password, click “Shared Secret,” then tap “OK.”
- Click “Apply” and “Connect.”
You can set up a VPN and download it on iOS using the steps below:
- Open the App Store, then search for VPN.
- Double click the side button to authenticate the installation.
- Open the app to create a new account.
- Allow the addition of VPN configurations on your device to start using the app.
But what is a VPN configuration? It means enabling the app to secure your online activities, no matter how you connect to the internet.
For example, the app will automatically protect your information as you browse on Facebook or other social media sites.
You can also add configuration manually by following these steps:
- Click Settings, then scroll down to General.
- Select VPN & Device Management.
- Tap VPN, then click “Add VPN Configuration.”
- Choose from the different types of VPN:
- You need to provide the Description, Server, and Remote ID your VPN service will provide.
- Under Authentication, you need to enter your username and password.
You can now select your newly created configuration and start using it.
You can connect to a VPN on your Android gadgets by following these steps:
- Open Settings, then select VPN under Network & internet.
- Click “Add” or the plus sign (+).
- Enter information, such as server name and type.
Then, go to your phone’s Settings app, select VPN, and choose your preferred VPN.
We also recommend VPN services even on your smart devices, including your TV. There are various ways to do this.
Connect your smart TV to a Windows computer with a VPN
- After installing a VPN on your computer, you need to go to your mobile hotspot settings, then turn it on.
- Connect your smart TV to your computer by typing your PC’s network name and password.
- Start using your smart TV without worrying about information theft.
Install a VPN on a virtual router on your computer or Mac
- Download a VPN application on your computer or laptop.
- Turn on the WiFi hotspot on your PC or Mac. It’s usually on the Settings.
- Connect your smart device to the hotspot of your computer or Mac.
This way, you can connect to a VPN indirectly using your laptop or computer.
Routers with built-in VPNs
There’s an easier way to connect all your gadgets to a VPN.
You can buy a VPN router that automatically protects your devices as long as they’re connected. However, it can be more costly than setting up a VPN on your device.
Each router has specific installation instructions included in the packaging. You can check out some routers on the list below:
- Linksys WRT 3200 ACM router
- Asus RT-AX58U
- Asus RT-AC86U router
You must keep your VPN on at all times to keep you protected. However, you shouldn’t rely on VPNs alone when it comes to your digital security. They’re not a silver bullet and 100% foolproof. You still need to practice other safety measures, such as creating strong passwords and being vigilant against scam websites.
Can you create your own VPN?
Yes, you can create your own VPN when you don’t want to spend on paid VPNs. And while there are free VPNs, most are only available for a limited time.
When you set up your own VPN, your data is more secure because you’re using your own server. It’s cheaper than subscriptions or buying a VPN router.
You can also create several servers to dispose of the others and strengthen your online security.
However, it can be more complicated to set up and maintain. We also found that cloud services partner with third-party advertisers, which can compromise your security.
It also requires a bigger bandwidth. If you have slow upload speeds and you deal with a huge amount of data, it may not be ideal for you.
If you’re keen on creating your VPN home network, you can follow these steps:
- Choose a cloud computing service provider, such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), DigitalOcean, and Google Cloud, to have Virtual Private Servers (VPS).
- Look for an app or software that provides organized scripts for server configuration. It simplifies the process of creating your VPN. Instead of taking hours or days, you can complete your VPN in minutes.
- Run the installation wizard and start running the VPN you created.
Assess your needs and your capacity to set up your own VPN servers to see what’s more practical and beneficial to you.
How does VPN protect you?
A VPN encrypts your IP address to conceal your online identity. That’s why when you connect to a VPN, you can see that your device detects you from another country. As a result, third-party companies and hackers have difficulty accessing your information.
You might be asking, “How do I find my VPN IP address?”
- Go to your device’s Settings app.
- Choose “WiFi” under “Network & internet.”
- Select the network you’re connected to, then tap “Properties.”
What makes it more effective is that the encryption happens in real-time, so every time you shop or transact online, the VPN protects your bank account details and other confidential information.
To do this, a VPN protocol determines how your data is sent between your computer and the server.
So what are the common VPN protocols?
It’s an open-source VPN protocol, so users can examine its source code for possible vulnerabilities.
OpenVPN is also available in almost every operating system. It’s accessible on Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS users. However, some users complained that this protocol offers low speeds.
Layer 2 Tunnel Protocol or L2TP doesn’t provide any encryption, so it needs to be combined with security protocol IPsec. It’s one of the most secure connections, but the transmission speed is affected.
Microsoft and Cisco developed Internet Key Exchange version 2 or IKEv2. IKEv2 is a tunneling protocol, so it only provides a secure key exchange session.
Usually, IPSec and IKEv2 need to be paired for authentication and encryption. Most mobile VPN services use this because they can reconnect quickly. However, it only uses UDP port 500, so a network admin could block this protocol.
It’s the newest tunneling protocol because it uses advanced cryptography, which isn’t used by the protocols we mentioned.
Although it’s the fastest, WireGuard’s features are still incomplete. You can still use WireGuard for streaming or online gaming, but we don’t recommend it for confidential transactions.
Understanding these protocols will help you pick the right VPN service, which we will further discuss in the next sections.
Do you need a VPN?
It’s disturbing that almost all people can learn to hack. You can even find guides on the internet if you want to access other people’s information for malicious purposes.
Fortunately, a VPN can help safeguard against identity (ID) theft. ID theft happens when someone steals your information and uses it to apply for credit or get medical services. It can also be used by criminals to make you liable for their acts.
So what are the reasons you should use a VPN?
- It can conceal your data and redirect it through a secure server.
- Your internet service provider won’t be able to know your online transactions.
- Hackers will have difficulty tracking your location since your online data is redirected to different servers. For example, you might be in the US, but your location will show that you’re in another country.
- You’ll be protected even when connecting to public WiFi or other hotspots.
- It will be challenging for public and private agencies to track your online transactions.
- You can access geo-restricted websites and apps.
Are there downsides to using a VPN?
- At best, a VPN can only help preserve your online anonymity, but it doesn’t guarantee full protection against hackers.
- The level of privacy depends on your VPN service. We’ll give tips on what to look for in a VPN, so read until the end.
- You can’t always use a VPN because it’s restricted in some countries, including Russia, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates.
- Using a VPN can be costly. You need to pay up to $12 monthly subscriptions, while you need $100 to $300 for most VPN routers.
- You can experience slow internet since a VPN increases data consumption.
- It won’t protect you from phishing attacks because they are sent through links or messages that VPN doesn’t conceal.
Despite its downsides, a VPN offers preventive measures against identity theft, so we recommend using it on your devices.
How to choose a VPN that’s right for you?
There are different VPNs for various purposes, and here’s what you need to look for in a VPN to ensure that you install the right one:
- Your VPN must be compatible with most, if not all, of your devices.
- Opt for a paid VPN instead of a free one because a free VPN may sell your information to third-party advertisers.
- Your VPN must have two-factor authentication.
- Find VPNs from trusted companies and choose one with a user-friendly platform.
- Your VPN provider must have reliable customer service, so you can contact them should you experience technical issues.
- Select a VPN for your everyday online transactions.
You can check out the list below for the best VPNs.
Best VPN for privacy
Most independent reviews claim that NordVPN offers the best protection, especially when your online transactions include confidential information.
According to its website, NordVPN can block trackers and malware. This way, you can avoid visiting malicious links.
Best VPN for light browsing
You can opt for browser-based VPNs when you only use the internet for light browsing, such as posting on social media and reading blogs.
Surfshark is known to provide reliable protection with a browser extension. It also allows you to connect several devices for an economical VPN.
Best VPN for choosing locations
Although ExpressVPN directly connects you to the fastest server, you can still choose locations using this platform. We recommend this when you need to access geo-restricted websites and apps.
Is it worth it to use VPN?
A VPN can help in protecting your identity. It guards against hackers who intend to use your data for malicious purposes, such as identity theft, that can ruin your life and financial future.
Fortunately, it’s available on almost all devices, including Windows PC, Mac, iOS, and Android. You can also use a VPN on your smart devices. But if you don’t want the hassle, you can buy a VPN router for a higher price.
Still, paying subscription and router costs is better than compromising your data.