How to set up a VPN on Android, Windows, and other platforms
As we continue to do more online, especially now that almost everyone is stuck at home, it is increasingly important to keep your business secure and private. A good VPN (Virtual Private Network) can go a long way in resolving some of these concerns. Want to set up a VPN on your smartphone, laptop or tablet? Here’s how!
Configure a VPN on Android smartphones
VPN support is built into Android, so you can easily set it up through the phone’s Settings menu without having to download an app.
How to manually set up a VPN on Android
- Open the Phone Settings menu. Keep in mind that the instructions below may vary depending on the device you have.
- Press on Wi-Fi and Internet or Wireless networks. Basically you need to go to the network settings page.
- Press on VPN. On some devices, you may need to expand the options by first pressing After.
- Tap the plus sign in the upper right corner. If you don’t see one, you’ll need to open the advanced options menu (usually by tapping on the three vertical dots icon).
- Enter the necessary information such as server address, username and password. This information will be provided to you by the network administrator.
How to manually connect to OpenVPN networks on Android
The built-in VPN function on an Android phone supports PPTP, L2TP and IPSec. None are the most secure, and PPTP, in particular, is quite outdated. Use this method if you absolutely must or if the OpenVPN protocol is not available for the private network you want to connect to.
To connect to OpenVPN, you will need to rely on a third-party app like OpenVPN Connect rather. The official OpenVPN app works on any device running Android 4.1 and above.
- Download the app from Google play store.
- Your network administrator should provide the necessary information. The app allows you to import a profile using a URL or select an .ovpn file on your phone.
- You can also manually add a proxy connection.
- The settings section allows you to choose the protocol, enable a kill switch (called a Seamless Tunnel), and configure a battery saving mode.
Set up a VPN on Apple devices
VPNs are also directly configurable on all iPhones, iPads and Macs. You have to go through a few more steps on macOS, but it is easily done on iOS.
How to manually set up a VPN on iOS
- Unlock your iPhone or iPad and open Settings.
- Press on General and select VPN.
- Then press Add a VPN configuration.
- Your network administrator will provide the necessary information. This includes VPN protocol, VPN settings (remote ID, server), and authentication connection information.
- When finished, press Made to save the profile.
- You can now enable or disable the VPN connection using the slider on the VPN page.
Manually set up a VPN on macOS
- Click on the Apple menu (Apple icon) and go to System Preferences> Network.
- Click on the “+” icon in the list on the left.
- Choose VPN from the Interface menu that appears.
You will need to go through the different sections and add the required information.
- First, select VPN type, choose the VPN protocol, add a name and click on Create.
- You can then enter the server address, authentication and connection information, and any additional settings that the network administrator may have.
- Click on Apply then select Okay.
- To connect to the VPN, go to System Preferences> Network, click on the name of the VPN service and click on Connect.
- You can also select Show VPN status in menu bar and use the status icon to quickly connect to the VPN network.
How to set up a VPN on Windows 10
You will need to set up a VPN profile before you can quickly and easily connect to a VPN in Windows 10.
Manually configure a VPN on Windows 10
- Go to Settings> Network and Internet and select VPN.
- You can also click on the Windows 10 search bar and type VPN, then select VPN settings.
- Click on Add a VPN connection.
- Change the VPN Provider in Windows (built-in) and fill the rest of the form with the information of the network administrator.
- The VPN is now available in the Wi-Fi section. Click on the Wi-Fi icon in the system tray and select the VPN connection created.
Set up a VPN on Chrome OS
Google has made it super easy to set up a VPN on Chrome OS. The only other way to get a VPN service that offers a Chrome browser extension is that there aren’t a lot of options available.
How to set up a VPN on Chrome OS
- Click on your account photo in the lower right corner of the screen.
- Open Settings and select Add connection in the Network section.
- Click on Add OpenVPN / L2TP.
- Enter the required information in the form that appears and select Connect.
You may also need to install server and user certificates before you can manually configure a VPN. All required information should be available from the network administrator or VPN provider.
Get VPN service!
Everything mentioned above is for anyone looking to connect to an office VPN network while working remotely. If you are looking for a VPN service for personal use, your easiest option is to sign up for a third-party VPN.
These providers support multiple devices and platforms. The apps are easy to install and intuitive, so using them is a snap. After signing up, all you need to know is download the right app and you are good to go.
Our VPN recommendations
I highly recommend ExpressVPN. It is one of the simplest VPNs on the market, supports multiple platforms and devices, and offers excellent connection speeds. It’s on the more expensive side, however, and not everyone may like it.
NordVPN is as impressive as ExpressVPN. In fact, several factors work in its favor. Nord has an impressive number of servers and has many more security features. Its long term plans also make it very affordable. This ends a close second for me, as I found the connection speeds to be faster with ExpressVPN. Your experience will certainly vary, but you can’t go wrong with either of these options.
Cyberghost is another favorite and a great option for those who want to avoid the guesswork. It makes things really simple by sorting everything into modes and categories. A large number of servers, great security features like malware blocking, and an affordable price are all good points. Connection speeds were an issue, but it’s also a time improvement.
I also looked at more services like BullGuard, SaferVPN, StrongVPN, PureVPN, Unlimited VPN, and IPVanish. There are also many more in the works, including one that I’ve only heard of good things about – SurfShark.