How to Set Up a VPN Connection on Windows 10 on a Home Wi-Fi Router

A VPN is a virtual private network that allows you to connect to other devices and sites securely, privately, and conveniently via a dedicated connection rather than a public network. A VPN connection is an addition to your existing home network that makes using public Wi-Fi less secure, as your connection to the web and other devices is maintained consistently across all devices/IPs connected to your home network. Installing and configuring a VPN is easy and requires very little technical knowledge, letting even novice users get up and running quickly.

VPNs are typically enabled by default on most devices now, with the majority of providers including NordVPN, PureVPN, and TrenchcoatVPN offering native client software and a dedicated application for Windows 10. Whether you’re a beginner or expert, setting up a VPN is relatively straightforward.

Step one: Install and configure the VPN’s software

We’ll begin with the relatively easy step of installing the VPN’s software. Open up your web browser and head to the VPN’s official site, making sure to click the download button to bring up the installer. After clicking the button, you should see a small window pop up requesting you to enter your email address. Enter an email address that you can check regularly, as the software will need to be updated occasionally via an email that will contain a link to download the latest version. Once you’ve entered your email address, you’ll see a small message confirming your email address.

Next, you’ll need to visit the VPN’s software website’s ‘download’ page and download the appropriate file for your operating system (32-bit or 64-bit). For a beginner, a simple Windows installer would be best, and you can ignore any specialized software like VPN clients for Linux or MacOS.

After you’ve downloaded the file, use the supplied extension to install it directly onto your computer. You can use a program like Ninite to easily initiate the installation, or you can double-click the installer once downloaded to begin the installation process. You’ll need to follow the prompts to install the software successfully.

Step two: Generate a VPN connection profile

Now that you have the VPN’s software installed and configured, it’s time to generate your VPN connection profile. To do this, open up the VPN’s Settings application, located at the bottom right corner of your Windows desktop. Once opened, you’ll see a ‘+’ sign in the top left-hand corner, allowing you to add a new connection.

To continue, click the ‘Add’ button and a new window will pop up. Enter a unique name for your VPN connection in the ‘Type a name for your VPN connection’ field, selecting ‘Public’ from the dropdown menu. Ensure that the ‘Use the same password for all connections’ option is selected, as this will allow you to connect to your VPN without entering your VPN credentials each time. Now, you can either click ‘Skip’ to continue to the next step, or you can click ‘Next’ to generate the VPN profile. The former will lead you straight to the ‘Summary’ screen while the latter will present you with a lengthy (but detailed) list of information about your VPN connection.

Step three: Connect to the VPN

Once you’ve generated your VPN profile, it’s time to connect to it. Navigate back to the VPN’s settings screen and click the ‘Connect’ button to bring up a list of your available options. For a VPN connection to be active, you must connect to a VPN server (hence the name). To do this, select ‘ExpressVPN’ from the dropdown menu, as this is one of the most popular and trusted VPN services available today. Once connected, you’ll see a green tick mark in the top left-hand corner.

You can find the IP address of the server you’ve connected to by entering your laptop’s IP address (found in the ‘Network’ section of its settings) into the ‘IP address’ field, and entering port number 443 (the standard port for HTTPS websites) into the ‘Port’ field. Click the ‘Save’ button to save your settings and return to the main screen.

Now, when you browse the web on your laptop using the HTTPS protocol, your connection will be secured via the VPN you’ve set up. As a bonus, all your internet traffic is categorized as ‘Private’ so that your personal information remains private as well. This is particularly useful if you’re using public Wi-Fi in an area where your personal information could be gathered or compromised by a third party.

Step four: Test your new VPN connection

After successfully connecting to the VPN, it’s time to test it to ensure that it’s functioning correctly. To do this, open up a new tab in your web browser and enter the VPN’s address ( into the address bar. You can check the ‘Connection’ section of your VPN’s dashboard to see a brief summary of your connection’s status.

If all appears well, you can click the ‘Summary’ link to continue to the next step, or you can click the ‘Launch web browser with private navigation’ link. Doing this will pop up a new tab in your default web browser, allowing you to browse the web privately (HTTPS only) via the VPN you’ve set up. Because the VPN you’ve set up is configured to use the same IP address as your laptop’s, all of your traffic while on this tab will appear to come from your laptop (hence why entering your laptop’s IP address and port number into the URL bar is necessary).

Bonus point: Configure the VPN to automatically connect to the internet

If you found this article and are looking for ways to make your life simpler, you might want to consider configuring your VPN to automatically connect to the internet once it’s established. To do this, return to the main screen of your VPN’s settings, scroll down to the bottom and locate the section titled ‘Connect Automatically’. Ensure that this option is switched on and, if not already done so, switch your VPN to the ‘Automatic’ mode. This will ensure that your VPN is always ready to connect to the internet whenever you need it.

Step five: Manage and monitor your VPN connection

Now that you have a VPN connection established, it’s time to take care of it. To do this, return to the VPN’s settings screen and click the ‘Manage’ button located at the bottom of the screen. This will bring up a list of all connected devices (laptops, desktops, and mobile phones). From here, you can click on the connected device you want to control (for example, your laptop) and relevant settings will appear on the right-hand side of the screen.

You can double-click on any entry in the list to bring up more detailed information about that specific device. For example, if you click on ‘Browse the web privately (HTTPS)’ for your connected laptop, you’ll be presented with additional options including opening a specific website up in a new tab, changing the browser’s default homepage, and disabling built-in ad-blocking. This is particularly useful if you’re using a laptop on the move as it gives you more control over the device and the network connection (and less need to worry about whether or not your ISP will allow you to run services like VPNs).

Once you’ve managed your VPN connection as desired, click the ‘Summary’ button (upper left-hand corner) to return to the main settings screen.

Step six: Use the VPN you’ve set up

You now have a VPN connection configured and working successfully, so its time to use it. To do this, click the ‘Continue to the website’ button on the VPN’s settings page, or the ‘Go to website’ button located at the top-right corner of your browser. You’ll then be presented with a list of all the websites you can access via your VPN connection.

From here, you can click on a specific site you’d like to access and you’ll be given the option to connect to that site via your VPN connection, or continue to the next one (which will connect you to another site). If you’ve set up more than one VPN connection, you’ll see a dropdown menu allowing you to choose which one to use for that specific link.

As you can see in the above steps, setting up and using a VPN is a very straightforward process, and much simpler than most people think. Even novice users should have no problems getting up and running with basic configuration tools and a little help from a tech support agent if needed. Setting up and using a VPN for personal use is completely free, and it may be a worthwhile investment for gamers and business users that need to remain anonymous when browsing the internet.

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