Getting an idea of how to use VPN apps, and just how simple of an internet security tool they all are, can help many users make the decision to use them. Years ago, before I had ever learned how to use a VPN, I too was intimidated. I thought they’d be complicated, but they’re actually quite simple!
If you want to go from VPN n00b, to a well secured VPN user, read this article now! Keeping in mind that this is a general purpose article, your specific VPN provider may differ slightly!
How to use a VPN app
1: Sign up for an account
As with all things online, you’ll never get anywhere until you get an account! You can’t learn to use Twitter until you sign up, and with VPNs it’s no different.
We have a number of quality VPN providers that you can sign up with over in our top 10 VPN reviews section. You can figure out which one is best for you by looking through and reading our reviews.
Each one will have a Sign Up section on their website where you can choose your package, and pay for it securely. You will be sent a confirmation email that will have your account data in it – passwords, login names, etc. I would advise that you keep this information in an encrypted storage space.
2: Download the software
Every VPN provider we’ve reviewed has free VPN software specific to their service. Read about the best VPN software apps in this article of ours.
How you’ll download it will depend on your OS. For Mac users, you’ve seen it before; Click the download button on the website, open it in Finder when it’s done. Most will now follow the ‘drag the icon to the folder’ route. Click yes if an authorization screen pops up.
For Windows users, you too will go to their website and click the Download button. You’ll open the download file and click ‘Run.’ Click ‘Yes’ if you get a user account control window. Click on ‘Install,’ and you’ll know you have the software install done correctly as most will have a ‘Successful Install’ screen.
3: Connect to the VPN
Now that you have the VPN software installed, it’s time to find out how to use VPN apps that you have an account for. Open the software. This is where things start to vary by a bit. A provider like IPVanish will prompt you right away to enter your sign in details:
While a provider like Cyberghost, who have a free service, don’t prompt you to do this. For them, and a few others, you’ll have to go into your Preferences/Settings tab, then to your account, then add your details. Make sure you do this with CyberGhost so you’re not paying for a premium account, but getting lower service through their free account!
Now that your account is linked up you can actually connect to your VPN server. Most will give you a big list of countries that you can connect to. Which one you connect to will depend on what your goals are. Consider:
- Do you want a fast connection? Connect to a server that is close to you physically.
- Do you want to unblock geo-restricted content? Connect to a server in a country that doesn’t block that content.
- Are you trying to download P2P? Make sure you’re connecting to a server that allows it as some VPNs only allow it on certain servers, while some don’t allow it at all. See our best torrent VPN reviews for more on that.
Make your choice of server based on those choices, and hit connect! Once you see a successful connection established …guess what? You now know how to use a VPN at its most basic level! Now that you’ve read this article, do you see how easy it is to use a VPN? Try giving our Top 5 Best VPN provider list a look again, and choose the VPN that is going to do what you need it to!
Feature image via Ollyy / Shutterstock