Business or pleasure? Streaming entertainment or accessing work files?
No matter the reason you’re online, it’s always a smart idea to take that extra step to ensure you’re browsing securely. In most cases, that extra step looks like setting up a virtual private network, otherwise known as a VPN.
A VPN works by creating a secure connection to another network over the internet which allows you to safely send and receive data over shared or public networks, no matter your device. This provides users with enhanced privacy and anonymity as they browse the web.
When you use a VPN, all your internet traffic, like which website you’re using and how you navigate throughout the website, is redirected through a configured remote server. Then, your VPN will hide your IP address and encrypt your data, keeping it safe from hackers or prying eyes. If someone were to try and intercept your data, it would be unreadable.
If a VPN is something you want to start using, instead of something like a proxy server, then you should know how to set up a VPN correctly.
There’s no denying that a VPN is an essential tool to use when you’re looking to keep your personal information secure. But the act of actually setting one up is going to depend on if you use quick connect or you set up a VPN at home manually. And, of course, which device you're using.
Most VPN providers offer a quick connect button when setting up. You’ll want to choose this option if you don’t mind which server it’s connected to. Once that’s selected, give the VPN a minute or two to load, and then you’ll be connected to the fastest server available at that time.
Choosing a server is going to depend on what you’re looking to accomplish. For fast speeds when browsing, you’ll want to choose the server that’s nearby. However, if you’re looking to bypass government censorship, choose a server in a different country.
If the main reason why you’re using a VPN is to appear as if you’re in a different country, then you’ll need to choose a specific server.
To do this, go back to the website of the VPN provider you chose to use and have a look at their list of countries that they have servers in. Then, select the best one for your needs.
You will then be prompted to click the Connect button. Once you do, you’ll see a notification appear that says your VPN has been successfully connected.
If quick connect isn’t how you’d like to go about things, you can manually set up your VPN at home. This option allows you to have more control over specific settings, like which server the VPN connects to. The actual steps in doing so are going to depend on which device you’re using.
Note: The exact steps for finding your VPN server addresses and other information may differ depending on the VPN provider you choose. These basic instructions will be similar for most VPN services and devices.
Let’s start with how to set up a VPN on your Mac.
Once this is complete, you can select “show VPN status in menu bar”. This allows you to use the VPN status icon to connect to the network and switch between VPN services.
Whether you’re setting up a VPN on an iPhone or iPad, below are the steps when using Apple products.
Tip: The description is the name of the VPN service you’ve chosen. The server will either be an IP address or a domain name. The remote ID will be a hostname.
If you’re a Windows user, this is for you.
Once you have the VPN profile setup, you can connect and start browsing safely.
When the connection is complete, the VPN connection name will display Connected under Network in the taskbar.
If you’re not using Windows 10 yet, here’s how to set up a VPN.
For those who are privy to Android smartphones, here’s how to make sure they’re secure.
When setting up a VPN on your Chromebook, you’ll need to head into the Chrome Web Store to find the extension of your VPN of choice, or go to the Google Play Store and get the app from there.
You can also download one from the VPN provider’s website. You’ll then be prompted to install the VPN.
No matter which VPN you decide to use or which device you set it up on, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that you were proactive in protecting your data. You can now browse the web without the fear of big brother watching.
If you're primarily working from home for the first time and need more remote work software solutions, check out our guide to help you crush your goals.
Mara is a Senior Content Marketing Specialist at G2. In her spare time, she's typically at the gym polishing off a run, reading a book from her overcrowded bookshelf, or right in the middle of a Netflix binge. Obsessions include the Chicago Cubs, Harry Potter, and all of the Italian food imaginable. (she/her/hers)
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