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How to set up a VPN, or Virtual Private Network, to use the Internet with more privacy and security

How to set up a VPN, or Virtual Private Network, to use the Internet with more privacy and security


  • You can set up a VPN on a variety of devices including Apple iPhone and Mac devices, Windows PCs and tablets, Android systems, Chrome OS, and more.

  • Virtual private networks, or VPNs, provide more security and privacy over the Internet.

  • While free VPNs are available, choosing fee-based services is the best for optimum service and performance.

  • Visit Business Insider’s Technical Reference Library for more stories.

Internet security is vital these days, and it is important to know that your personal information is protected whenever you jump online. Although it is not completely foolproof, one of the easiest ways to ensure this is to use a VPN or Virtual Private Network.

Whether you are using a laptop, desktop or even a mobile device, setting up a VPN can help provide a more secure and private browsing experience and only takes a few minutes to complete. However, it should be noted that while there are free VPN companies out there, your best bet is to choose a paid product that has a reliable track record of providing good service.

Once you’ve chosen your VPN client, here’s how to set one up on Windows, Mac, Android, and iPhone.

How to set up a VPN on Windows

1. Click the Windows button to open your settings menu.

2. Go to the “Network and Internet” section, then click on “VPN”.

Go to the “VPN” section of “Network & Internet” in your settings. Jennifer Steele / Business Insider

3. Click on Add VPN Connection.

4. Fill in the fields on the page with your VPN information. Make sure Windows (Embedded) is selected for your provider and name your connection as you like in the relevant section. Then enter the server name and address, the type of VPN you’re using, as well as login information like username and password.

Fill in all necessary information. Jennifer Steele / Business Insider

5. Click Save.

How to set up a VPN on a Mac

1. On the Mac desktop, open System Preferences, then click “Network.”

2. Click the “+” icon on the lower left side of your screen to open a drop-down menu. From there, choose “VPN”.

3. Enter the details of your chosen VPN in the ‘VPN type and service name’ fields provided.

Select your VPN type and enter the name of your service. Jennifer Steele / Business Insider

4. Click Create.

5. Next, enter the server address, local ID, remote ID and other relevant information, and when done click on Authentication Settings.

Type your information and then click Authentication Settings. Jennifer Steele / Business Insider

6. Add the username and password for your VPN.

7. Click OK to save your information and connect to the VPN.

How to set up a VPN on iOS

The following instructions explain how to set up a VPN connection manually. You can also choose to download the relevant app for your chosen VPN client, which should automatically detect the necessary settings.

1. In your iPhone’s Settings menu, tap General.

2. Scroll down until you find the VPN section and click on Configure VPN. Your VPN provider will tell you which security protocol to add in the “Type” field.

Find your VPN type, and fill in all other required information. Jennifer Steele / Business Insider

3. Return to the Add Configuration screen to fill in a description of your account and server, as well as remote and local IDs.

4. Enter the username and password provided by your VPN company.

5. Click Done.

How to set up a VPN on Android

Just like on iOS, VPN apps will generally do all the setup work for you, only asking you to add your username and password. However, if you wish to set up the connection manually, you can do so by following these steps.

1. In the settings menu on the main screen of your device, find the “Network and Internet” section. Click on “Advanced” and then on “VPN”. Note that not all Android versions have a “Network & Internet” section and you may need to do a manual search for “VPN”.

2. Click “Add,” then enter the VPN name and type the server address before hitting “Save.”

3. On the VPN screen, add your username and password as provided by your VPN provider. You will have the option to save this information so you don’t have to re-enter it every time you want to use your VPN. You can also choose to use your VPN at all times.

4. Click Connect after saving your information to use the VPN.

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