There are several reasons to use a VPN on Windows, including enhancing security, hiding an IP address, downloading torrents securely, unblocking geo-restricted websites and saving money on flights.
Installing a VPN does not require advanced technical knowledge and it can be done in a matter of minutes. Keep reading to learn why you need a VPN for Windows, how to set up a VPN, and what are the best Windows VPN apps.
Why do you need a VPN on your Windows OS?
VPNs were originally used by big corporations to access the company’s branches in a secure way.
Things have changed since then and today, there are many different reasons why people use a VPN on Windows:
- Enhancing security. A VPN enhances security by encrypting internet traffic. This is crucial, especially when public WiFi networks are used, or when onion websites are accessed.
- Hiding an IP address. An IP address is hidden so that a user can surf anonymously. Although there are other technologies that can do this, VPNs are popular because they have other benefits, including being more secure.
- Downloading torrents securely. A VPN helps you to download torrents securely and legally, from any country around the world.
- Unblocking geo-restricted websites. In some parts of the world, access to popular websites like Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube is blocked. To bypass these restrictions, a VPN will trick websites into seeing their location differently. People that travel often also use a VPN to keep up with their favorite shows and get access to streaming websites like BBC iPlayer and Netflix.
- Saving money on flights. Although this might sound strange, it’s true. Flight and hotel prices can vary based on your location. With a VPN, users appear to be in a different location and can often get better prices.
How to set up a VPN on Windows 10
There are two options to set up a VPN on your PC: install a VPN application that automatically sets the VPN connection or to manually set the connection using the Windows built-in VPN client.
You may find the best VPNs for Windows in a paragraph below.
To configure your Windows VPN manually, simply follow these steps:
- Click on the Search bar in the taskbar and type ‘vpn’.
- Select the option Change virtual private networks (VPN).
- Click Add a VPN connection at the top of the VPN screen.
- Enter the details for your VPN connection in the screen that appears. Under VPN provider, select Windows (built-in) from the drop-down menu. This will set the Type of sign-in info to User name and password and VPN type to Automatic.
- Enter the Connection’s name and Server’s name or address. These will depend on the VPN provider you use.
- At the bottom of this screen, you can enter the username and password for the VPN provided by the VPN service.
- Click Save, and close the Settings app.
- On the taskbar, select Wi-Fi in the system tray, and select the VPN connection. This should connect automatically.
How to use a VPN on Windows with a router
To use a VPN on Windows with a router is not difficult and you don’t need any special equipment. Special VPN routers are also available and these are already configured.
The advantage of using a router for your VPN is that you don’t have to set up every device you use with a VPN, as all the traffic goes through the router.
For many VPNs, new firmware needs to be installed. Tomato and DD-WRT are two of the best-known aftermarket firmware that will enable you to install a VPN on a router.
As not all routers are compatible with Tomato or DD-WRT, you have to check compatibility.
Most reputable VPNs will have tutorials for installing their VPN on routers. You’ll need at least the IP address, server URL and your user credentials.
If you can download a VPN configuration file with the settings, it will make the set up easier.
Here are several tutorials on how to install a VPN on a router:
- How to set up PPTP on a DD-WRT router
- How to set up OpenVPN on a DD-WRT router
- How to set up OpenVPN on a Tomato router
The Best Windows VPN services
There are a number of VPNs that run well on a PC with Windows 10. However, you need to choose your VPN carefully taking into account what you need.
Here are two VPN services that we recommend for your PC:
NordVPN offers an excellent Windows VPN application with an easy-to-use interface. It is very stable and connects to the VPN rapidly. Highly recommended!
The VPN application exposed by ExpressVPN is also great as well. Simple, but effective. Additionally, we like the fact that it offers access to several VPN protocols: OpenVPN (UDP or TCP), L2TP, or PPTP.
Windows 10 has a built-in VPN client that is easy to configure. Windows 10 users often opt to install a VPN on their router rather than on all devices.
Additionally, you install a VPN client application and connect to the Windows VPN with one click.