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Home / Tips and Tricks / Want to use a VPN in Windows 10? This is the best way to set it up

Want to use a VPN in Windows 10? This is the best way to set it up



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Setting up a VPN on Windows 10 is easy.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Whether you plan to take advantage of Prime Day laptop deals and get a new Windows 10 ($170 at Best Buy) machine, or you’ve been using one for years and just looking forward to the upcoming one from Microsoft major Windows redesign, you might consider adding one virtual private network to protect your online privacy.

The easiest way to get your favorite VPN working on your Windows 10 device is to download your VPN’s app from the Microsoft Store and install it, just like you did on your previous device or version of Windows. Using a VPN’s app is also the best way to use that VPN’s bonus features – from blocking ads to automatically selecting the fastest connections.

But for the techies, another option is to test Windows 10’s built-in VPN client. It may sound tricky, but the process takes about 15 to 20 minutes and can be broken down into two main components: creating a VPN profile and then connecting to the VPN. Here’s the step-by-step guide to setting up your VPN on Windows 10. (Check out this one too tips to keep your Windows 10 device safe.)

Read more: How to download Windows 10 for free

2 things you need before setting up your VPN in Windows 10

VPN service

Even though you use Windows 10 to manage your connection to a VPN, you still have to choose which VPN service to connect to. The service you choose determines who will run the servers you will connect to.

View our list of the best VPNs we tested to get a quick idea of ​​which provider might be best for you. You will find plenty of options, including the fastest VPNs, the best cheap VPNs, the best iPhone VPNs and the best android vpns. But whichever service you choose, pay attention to any red flags that may indicate a less-than-private service.

Protocol choice

During installation, you will be prompted to choose a protocol from a list. In the simplest terms, the protocol you choose determines the strength of your encryption. There are different types of protocols used by VPNs, and whichever VPN you choose, one will be used. The four most common are: PPTP, L2TP/IPSec, SSTP, and OpenVPN. During installation, you tell Windows what type of protocol your VPN uses by selecting it from a list. Your VPN provider will tell you which one it uses.

Read more: All VPN Terms You Need to Know

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You can use a third-party VPN service on your Windows 10 device or try Microsoft’s built-in option.

Josh Goldman/CNET

Create a profile in the Windows 10 VPN client

To set up and connect to a VPN through the Windows 10 VPN client, follow these steps:

1. On your Windows 10 desktop, right-click the Start button and select Settings from the menu that appears.

2. In the new window that appears, click Network & Internet then select VPN from the list of connection options on the right side of the screen.

3. Click Add a VPN connection.

4. This will take you to a control panel. below VPN provider, click the drop-down menu and select the option that says: Windows (built-in).

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Brett Pearce/CNET

5. In the Connection name type the name you want to give to this particular connection. Try to make one that you easily recognize as a VPN connection. For example, if you are using ExpressVPN and you want this connection to be the one you use to connect to a server in New York, name the connection something like “ExpressVPN, New York server”.

6. In the Server name or address type the actual address of the server you are connecting to. Your VPN service can provide this information. It generally looks like a website URL, with a five- or six-character alphanumeric string followed by the name of the VPN service you’re using.

7. In the VPN type drop-down list, you will be prompted to choose a protocol like I mentioned above. Select which one your VPN service uses.

8. In the Login Type aanmelding drop-down menu, choose the way you will sign in to your new VPN connection. Different VPN providers have different preferred methods, so you can check with your VPN provider just to be safe, but most commercially available private VPNs will choose Username and password.

This means that when you choose this new VPN connection on your Windows 10 machine, you will need to log into it using the same username and password you normally use to log into your VPN service on another device.

Read more: Identifying a good VPN: 3 features to watch out for

9. Click on the Save button. You have now created your VPN profile and all you need to do is connect to it.

10. Return to your Network & Internet settings page and select VPN from the options on the right side of the screen as you did before. Your newly created VPN connection will appear in the list (in our example you will see “ExpressVPN, New York server”). Select it and click Connect.

And there you have it. Sure, you might miss out on some of the extra features you’d otherwise get using your VPN provider’s downloadable application, but on the other hand, you now have more control over your connection and don’t need a potentially bloated piece of software that constantly running in the background. Good trip!

For more, view all Windows 10 tips and tricks you should know, and three great Windows 10 features that arrived in the past year.

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