We live in a world where everything is connected, and privacy has become much sought after. Cybercriminals keep coming up with new hacking methods designed to steal your data. You can protect yourself while online using several tools, one of them being a VPN.
What is a VPN?
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a popular tool that improves your security and privacy while you access the internet. A VPN creates an encrypted and secure connection over unsecured networks such as public hotspots such as in airports or restaurants. The VPN encrypts any data you both send and receive, making it impossible for anyone to intercept that data in transit. The VPN routes the encrypted data via servers that make it impossible for anyone to track the destination or source of your data traffic.
You can use other tools to beef up the security offered by a VPN such as using passwords managers and using multi-factor authentication. Besides hiding your IP address and routing your data, a VPN also allows you to bypass geolocation restrictions. If you are trying to access sites that are restricted in your country, a VPN comes in handy. You can use any virtual location depending on how many servers the VPN provider has, and log into the restricted site. For instance, you can look for IP from New York while in an Asian country, which will help you to bypass any geo-restrictions and make yourself appear as if you are in New York.
How to set up a VPN
On your home router, you can set up the VPN, which takes more time to configure, but you do not have to configure the rest of your devices individually. Most VPN apps support the OpenVPN protocol, which makes the setup easier, and letting the app have access to the configuration process. Whether your device uses iOS, Android, Windows 10, Chrome macOS, or macOS, here are the simple instructions on how to set up a VPN. We shall cover the common OS systems.
Setting up on Windows 10
- The first thing is to create your VPN profile, which you fill out using details from your VPN service provider.
- Click on the Windows button, go to Settings>Network & Internet>VPN. Select Add a VPN connection
- In the page’s field, click on Windows for your specific VPN provider. Under Connection name, enter your preferred VPN name, then enter the VPN type, server address or name, and the nature of the sign-in information.
- Add a user name and password for added security, which is optional, but highly recommended. You can opt to have the PC remember the sign-in information so that you do not have to sign in every time.
- To connect to the service, go to Settings>Network & Internet>VPN and click on your VPN’s name
- You can now go to Advanced Options for editing the connection properties, set up a VPN proxy, or clear the sign-in data.
- Select Connect and enter your password
Setting up on Android
- Go to Settings>Network>Advanced>VPN (represented by a tiny key icon). Depending on the overlay of your Android, you might not see Network & Internet settings. Search in Settings for VPN and click on the Add button.
- If it is a new phone without a password or screen lock, Google will send you prompts for you to set up one. Go ahead and do so.
- Create a VPN profile, ass the VPN type, Server address, and name. Save.
- Saving takes you to the VPN screen where you should be able to see the VPN’s name displayed. Click on it, add your name and password and choose to save the log-in data or keep the VPN on at all times. Click Connect.
- Enter your VPN name, server address, type, username, and password.
- Save and that is all!
Setting up on macOS
- Go to System Preferences and click on Network
- On the bottom left, click on the + symbol, and on the Interface drop-down menu, select VPN. Fill in your VPN service name and type
- Click on Create and fill in the fields for remote ID, server address, and local ID. Select Authentication Settings
- Enter the VPN username and password, which is easy to set up via the VPN app
- Click Ok and connect
If you choose not to do the VPN setup manually, you can download an app from your respective store and let it configure everything out. Using a VPN is crucial for your online safety and anonymity, and is fairly easy to set up.
Do not use a free VPN as they have a reputation for selling your data to third parties to justify their free services. A VPN should never keep logs, and these free VPNs unfortunately do. Go over several VPN services and select one that has multiple servers and does not keep logs.