If you haven’t tried a VPN yet, you are missing out on some important online security and privacy features. In a nutshell, a VPN acts as a middleperson during your online activities. Instead of you directly accessing a website, a VPN will access that site on your behalf. You can do many other things with […]
If you haven’t tried a VPN yet, you are missing out on some important online security and privacy features. In a nutshell, a VPN acts as a middleperson during your online activities. Instead of you directly accessing a website, a VPN will access that site on your behalf. You can do many other things with a VPN, like access blocked websites, download movies safely, and protect your information from hackers and spying eyes.
If you’re new to VPNs, they can be intimidating. Perhaps the most intimidating thing is actually going from not having a VPN working on your computer at all, to actually installing one and getting it going. This post is going to show you, step by step, a typical VPN installation so that you can see it’s not that difficult to do!
Before you install just any VPN, figure out your needs and find the VPN which best matches them. Ask yourself these questions:
Not every VPN will be capable of everything—one can be strong in one area, but could be weak in another. Asking the questions above will help you narrow down your choices. Check the links above, or read our reviews of the top 10 VPNs to get the process of choosing the perfect VPN started.
Once you have made your choice, it’s now time to get the VPN software. All of our reviews have direct links to the website’s providers. If you’ve been using our reviews to narrow down your choices, click the “Visit Provider” button.
For illustrational purposes, we’re going to do this using VyprVPN from Golden Frog. While these steps will be specific to Vypr, nearly every VPN follows the same basic steps so it is transferable. We’ve downloaded and installed dozens of VPN apps over the years, and they all basically start on a page just like this:
For mobile devices, look for the app in Google Play or App Store. Here is VyprVPN’s app in Google Play:
Different VPN providers have different pricing plans. Usually, there’s a basic package for personal use, but some providers may have higher plans geared for multiple users. Here are the steps in choosing a subscription plan:
Once you have finalized your subscription plan with these steps, you’re ready to download the VPN software.
Download the software version for your OS. Some VPNs will automatically detect your OS; if not, click the correct download link. For this instance, download the Windows desktop version of VyprVPN.
Your device will download an installation file. You’ll see this file parked in the download tray. Follow these steps to launch this file and then proceed to installation.
This may look like a guide on how to install VyprVPN, but it is nearly 100% identical to every other VPN we’ve tested. Installation is one thing, but knowing what to do next can be challenging as well!
The moment you opened the VPN app, you’ll be asked to enter your login credentials. The login window will look like this:
By default, the fastest server nearest you is usually selected by most providers. If you want to change this server, you can do so within the app itself. Click the location icon, and choose “Show All Server Locations,” or something similar depending on the provider.
A list of server locations will be displayed. Choose the one you prefer. This particular provider, and most others, display a Ping rate for the provider. Think of Ping rate as distance measure in time as closer servers have lower Ping times.
As seen below, the default “fastest server” has been changed to a server in the US.
This server switch will help get around geo-blocks. For instance, by choosing a US server, you should be able to access sites or content that are available only in the US (like shows from the Netflix US library). If you want to access another country’s content, select a VPN server that’s located in that country.
This time, let’s check if your VPN is successfully hiding your local IP address. With a VPN on, use BrowserLeaks to check for IP leaks. See the IP address and IP address location below? It reflects the VPN’s details, which is a good sign.
The result has been verified with IPLeak.
Next, turn the VPN off. Run another test with BrowserLeaks. This time, the VPN’s IP address is not shown:
IPLeak also shows the same result:
VPN providers will vary slightly in the specific steps of how to install a VPN. While we used VyprVPN as an example here, the above steps will give you a sufficient overview of how to install a VPN as they are all very similar.
Again, before you attempt to install a VPN, know first why you need it so you can choose the right one that will meet your needs. For your convenience, check our reviews of the best VPNs so you can make an informed decision.
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