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How to use VPN on Windows
Before seeing how to set up a VPN on Windows we will show you the types of VPNs that can be configured on Windows so that we can choose the one that best suits our needs. After seeing the types of VPNs we will show you how to set up a VPN using the built-in tools within Windows or one of the third-party clients dedicated to the most popular VPN services.
Types of VPNs
There are obviously various types of VPNs that can be installed on a PC with a Windows operating system, but we can group them into two large “groups” (the subdivision is useful to understand which VPN service to contact):
- PPTP, L2TP, or similar VPNs: these VPN services must be configured manually using dedicated programs or using the features integrated into the operating system. The best way to configure VPNs without using other types of programs is definitely Windows 10, which has a menu dedicated to VPN connections. For advanced connections a program may still be required, leaving this only to users who chew the network, systems and know exactly what they are doing (advanced users).
- VPN via dedicated client: these services are the simplest to exploit because they have a program that acts as a pre-configured client; all we have to do is start it, enter the credentials and activate the VPN. In order to function correctly, they install service and numerous processes, capable of diverting all traffic generated by the PC towards the VPN tunnel: as long as the program remains active, browsing will be safe and secure.
Obviously, the easiest to use are the VPNs with the dedicated client, but a lot also depends on the VPN service we intend to use: in the company, for example, it may be necessary to manually configure the VPN parameters for PPTP or other protocols, provided directly by the system administrator.
Best VPN via client
For novice users or users with basic computer knowledge, it is possible to use a VPN via the client, so as not to go crazy in the configuration and get a good compromise between speed and security. Below you will find the best VPN services with a pre-configured client, so you can surf safely in a few simple clicks.
One of the best free VPNs we can try is Avira Phantom VPN, available on the official website.
This service allows you to surf anonymously using up to 500 MB of monthly data traffic, renewable by subscription. Using this VPN is really very simple: all we have to do is install the program, log in with an Avira account (you can also create it on the spot), choose the country in which you want to appear to surf anonymously, and finally click on Connect; automatically all traffic will be diverted to the VPN, including Windows connections (watch out for updates, better set up metered browsing when using restricted VPNs). The program can be easily minimized and as long as it shows a padlock symbol on the network, we will surf anonymously without any problem. To exit the VPN we reopen the program, click on Disconnect to return to the clear without protection on the network.
Another good free VPN service we can try is ProtonVPN, available on the official website.
Currently, this is the only free VPN service with no time and time limits (we can use it unlimited), but it offers very few servers to choose from in the free version. Since the free servers are very tempting, the maximum speed will not be high, but it is more than enough to be able to surf the Internet anonymously, without leaving traces. If the connection speed is important, we suggest you subscribe to the service, so that you can also use the other fast servers provided by the service.
Another service that we can use to connect to a VPN through a convenient client is TunnelBear, available on the official website.
This service offers free accounts up to 1 GB per month (after sending a tweet to the service page), so that you can browse securely and anonymously on any blocked or geographically restricted site. To use it, all we have to do is install the client required by the program, choose the country in which we want to appear in the drop-down menu, and move the button on the left from OFF to ON. All traffic will be directed to the VPN, so you can browse safely.
To disable the VPN connection, simply reopen the client and return the switch from ON to OFF.
Another good VPN client you can get with Hotspot Shield, available on the official website.
This service allows you to access a free server from the United States with a bandwidth limit of 500 MB per day. To use the service we open the client then click on Connect to divert all traffic generated by the PC to the VPN, so as to browse in complete anonymity. To deactivate the connection, simply reopen the client and click Pause Protection or Stop Protection (from the drop-down menu). With the subscription, we can also unblock the other servers located around the globe, get the maximum speed, and surf without limits of time and data exchanged.
If we want to discover other free or paid VP services available through dedicated clients, we recommend that you read our guides Best free VPN services and programs for safe and free surfing are the Fastest, most reliable, and limitless premium VPNs.
Manually configure VPN on Windows 10
If we use the latest version of Microsoft’s operating system, we can manually configure the VPN connection, just keep your username, password, VPN server address at hand (we can find this information in the instructions of the chosen VPN service or via the network administrator) and the type of VPN used.
To enter the settings for the VPN connection, open the Start menu at the bottom left, open the app Settings, press on the menu Network and Internet, click on the menu VPN side to the left, and finally up Add a VPN connection. In the new window we select at the top Windows such as VPN provider to unlock all text fields, we give the connection a name then fill in all the required fields, paying particular attention to the type of VPN to use.
At the end of the configuration, press down on Save; now we have to do is press on the name of the connection just created and click on Connect. Alternatively, we can quickly start the VPN by opening the notification center at the bottom right and pressing the icon VPN.
It will thus be much easier to manage VPN services that do not have a client or that we want to manage in a more advanced way.
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Setting up a VPN on Windows 10 is a very simple operation and within everyone’s reach: in most cases, in fact, all we have to do is download the right client, enter the login credentials of the account in our possession and browse anonymously with an encrypted connection (ideal when we are under public hotspot). If we use a VPN in the office we can also retrieve the access parameters and configure Windows 10 to access it, without downloading any additional programs.
If we want to integrate the VPN directly into the Google Chrome browser, we suggest you read our guide to the Best VPN extensions for Chrome. If we look for other valid methods to hide our identity when we surf the Internet, we can learn more by reading our article Surf anonymously on the internet with proxy, VPN, and fake IP address.
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