When you're using a virtual private network, or VPN, you may not be assured that you are or are not being intercepted by your 'do-wells' re on the same network as you. While they provide a breeze, that's not the only approach you can take. In fact, you can probably configure Windows 10 to use a VPN, as we'll explain-although you'll still need a subscription to a VPN service.
What is a VPN?
In the beginning, the web what created. And it's pretty good, albeit paint in critical privacy and security controls. Unfortunately, fiat web were spoken. Even though the more secure HTTPS is successfully becoming the standard for web browsing, it does not protect everything and does not guard against threats lurking on public Wi-Fi or your own network. That's why you need a virtual private network, or VPN.
When you switch it on, a VPN creates an encrypted tunnel between your device and a server controlled by the VPN service. Your web traffic travels through this tunnel, and it exits to the wide-open web from the VPN server to which you are connected. If there's anybody lurking on your network or worse, the owner of the access point has it to steal information, they will not see a thing. Even your ISP wants to be effectively blinded when it comes to monitoring your traffic.
When you use a VPN, advertisers and three-letter agencies want to have a harder time tracking you across the web. Because of this, the VPN server does not have a VPN.
The VPN server therefore hides your true location, because of any observer monitoring your activities see the VPN server's IP address and not your own. Your IP address is tied to your geographic location, so it hides itself effectively from where you are. You can even pretend to be somewhere else and spoof your location by connecting to a VPN in a different country. Netflix from outside the US-assuming that Netflix has not yet blocked your particular VPN.
VPNs are great, VPNs to avoid censorship in this way. but they are not all the security and privacy threats that ail the internet. While some VPNs boast of blocking malware, you should still use standalone antivirus. A VPN, therefore, does not want to protect your passwords, although TunnelBear does offer the RememBear password manager in addition to its VPN product. So, unless you're browsing the VPN server.
Do You Need to Set Up a VPN?
While you do need to set up any computer you are using on your Windows 10 computer, it is entirely optional. All the VPN services we have tested so far offer Windows applications that want to handle the configuration for you. The apps also act as gateways to all VPN's features, such as switching between VPN servers, choosing different VPN protocols, and so on.
the old-fashioned way and have Windows handle it for you. Or maybe you just like to tinker with your system. Or you might just prefer another app on your computer. What You Need to Get Started
What You Need to Get Started VPN service. No, you are not going to use its apps, but you still need to access its servers. Ideally, you already have a VPN service that you are signed up for and use on all your other devices, be they PCs, phones, or tablets. But the truth is, PCMag's research shows that many of you are not using a VPN. That's bad, but there's no judgment here, because you're reading this, because you're about to start, right? If you do need to choose a VPN service, click the link in the first paragraph of this piece, read a few reviews, and pick the one that sounds right for you.
The second thing you have to do is decide which VPN protocol you want to use. This is the setup that creates the encrypted tunnel. There are four main protocols supported by VPN companies: IKEv2 / IPsec, L2TP / IPSec, OpenVPN, and PPTP.
Our preferred protocol is OpenVPN, which is a reputation for reliability and speed. IKEv2 / IPsec is a solid second option and uses new, secure technology. Many VPN companies warn against L2TP / IPSec, which is not as secure as newer protocols. Generally, it's supported only for older, legacy systems. The same is true for PPTP, which should not be used at all.
We highly recommend that you take a look at the VPN service of choice. The company does not have extensive instructions, as well as direct links to the necessary information. For example, OpenVPN requires you to download a special client as well as configuration files. Configuring for IKEv2 / IPSec may require you to install certificates. Depending on the company, you may also want to use L2TP / IPsec, as well as a "shared secret" or "pre-shared key."
You also need a list of servers available from the VPN company, and in some cases the URLs for those servers, too. Some companies like CyberGhost and NordVPN have handy tools that help you select the best server and spit out all the necessary credentials. Again, it's going to depend on which service you use!
When configuring your computer to use OpenVPN, the first thing you need to do is download the OpenVPN client. You can find it on the OpenVPN website. They have finished their work.
Next, you will need to download the configuration files from the VPN company for the servers that you want to use. NorthVPN, Private Internet Access, and TunnelBear each provide a single ZIP file, for example. Other companies may offer them one at a time. Regardless of how you get them, you will most likely want to consult the VPN service's servers that include the location and server name, just in case you do not immediately recognize which server the configuration file (or files) represent .
You may have the choice between TCP and UDP configuration files. NordVPN, for instance, has both sets of files in separate folders. We suggest using TCP, but your situation may differ.
Once you have the OpenVPN config file you want to load them into the OpenVPN client. The easiest way to open the OpenVPN app, right click on its icon in the system tray, and select the import option. Just navigate to the configuration files you want and select one. Note that the first time you open the app, you'll see an error message that has no configuration files. Do not worry, you'll fix that shortly.
Unfortunately, the import tool lets you select one configuration file at a time. Alternatively, you can navigate to the config folder within the OpenVPN application. We had some trouble finding the right directory to drop the files in testing.
First, open the OpenVPN app, and ignore any warnings that might pop up. Right click on its icon in the system tray, and select it settings. In the window that appears, click the Advanced tab. In the Configuration Files section, copy the file path to the Folder field. Then, open File Explorer, paste the path into the address bar, and hit enter. You should now be in the Config folder.
Once you're there, drag-and-drop (or copy-and-paste) the OpenVPN configuration files you want to use into the Config folder. You may be prompted to provide administrator permissions to complete this action. Just press Continue. Although the OpenVPN client is open, the OpenVPN app is normally open.
Although the OpenVPN client is a GUI, it has barely has an interface. Right click on its icon in the system tray and you'll see a list of available servers that you've already added.
Select the server with which you wish to connect, and click. You'll be prompted for your VPN username and password. You'll have the option to save your password, and that's probably a good idea. And that's it! Within a few seconds, you'll be secure and online. VPN for Windows 10 ” border=”0″ class=”center” src=”https://assets.pcmag.com/media/images/590586-windows-10-vpn-openvpn-login.png?thumb=y&width=980&height=456″/>
NorthVPN and Private Internet Access both.
Configuring IKEv2 / IPSec
To set up IKEv2 / IPSec connection, you'll need a few things. First, you'll need the username and password of the VPN service you use. We recommend keeping it handy on your screen, so you can copy and paste it when the time comes.
Second, you'll need the name of a server with which you can connect. You can usually find a list of servers provided by your VPN service. NordVPN and CyberGhost both offer handy tools that will recommend servers to you, and even let you choose one based on specific criteria. The name of the server wants to be something like us2407.nordvpn.com .
Last, you probably need to download and install a VPN service and then create a connection in Windows. NorthVPN, which, although very complete, are quite lengthy. VPN VPN for Windows 10 ” border=”0″ class=”center” src=”https://assets.pcmag.com/media/images/590589-windows-10-vpn-ipsec-config.png?thumb=y&width=980&height=456″/>
A major advantage of configuring a VPN connection in this way it appears in the Network tab of the menu that is accessed from the bottom right corner of your screen. You do not have to install and configure an app, as you must with OpenVPN, either. Windows 10's myriad of settings menus.
Configuring L2TP / IPsec or PPTP
OpenVPN and IKEv2 / IPsec are newer technologies that create secure VPN connections. L2TP / IPSec and PPTP are older and much less secure. In fact, many VPN companies include notes on their tutorials for those who would not like to use them.
Is it Worth the Hassle?
The fact of the matter is, you can not give them a try, but they are not going to detail their workings here The VPN settings in Windows 10. When we started reviewing these services some years ago, all of the VPN companies supported OpenVPN in their apps. In that scenario, it makes sense to configure the OpenVPN app to connect. Now, however, just about every VPN maker supports VPN from its own app.
So unless you really enjoy the system-level tweaking described so far in the piece, forget all the steps above and just install the app from your VPN service. It takes only a few seconds, and it makes switching protocols and servers far, far easier than manual configuration. Moreover, VPN apps let you access additional services provided by your VPN company.
Start Using Your VPN
Whether you install a VPN or configure Windows 10 for VPN directly , use it as often as you can. Use it on the road, to keep the threats posed by free or public Wi-Fi at bay. Use it at home to ensure that your ISP can not monetize your data.
Just use your dang VPN.