How to Set Up a Virtual Private Network (VPN) on Your Computer

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) allows you to create a safe and private place on the web that doesn’t leave your computer or mobile device. Your VPN connection will encrypt all of the data that you send and receive, ensuring that no one, not even the company you’re connected to, can see or monitor your activity. As a result, you can feel confident that your personal information will be kept private and no one will get access to it without your permission.

A VPN could be a crucial part of your internet security arsenal. It’s easy to set up and provides a number of valuable features. To help you get started, this article will discuss how to set up a VPN on your computer.

Install OpenVPN

If you already have a VPN client installed on your computer, you can skip to the next step. However, if you’re looking to set one up, you’ll need to visit the OpenVPN website and download the software.

The OpenVPN website will walk you through the installation process and answer any questions you might have. Once you’ve installed the software, you can test it by connecting to one of the many free VPN servers available. You should be able to see the servers list along with a small indicator next to each one letting you know if you’re connected to one.

If you’re looking to connect to a different server than the one you initially connected to, you can do so by clicking on the little down-pointing arrow next to the one you want to connect to.

Set Up a VPN Network

The OpenVPN website will walk you through the process of setting up your VPN network. During this process, you’ll need to decide what sub-network you want to use and then enter the appropriate credentials. You can select from several different sub-networks including the most common VPN networks like USA, UK, and Germany. Once you’ve set up your VPN network, you can connect to it by clicking on the Settings button in the top-right corner of the window. You can then select either the OpenVPN Server or the OpenVPN Client to connect to your VPN.

Secure Your Connection Using a Pre-Shared Password

If you’ve previously connected to the same VPN server using the same credentials, the OpenVPN Server will automatically connect you when you re-open it. However, if you’re opening the program for the first time, you’ll need to manually connect to the VPN server you want to use by selecting it from the drop-down menu next to the sign-in button. If you forget the password to your VPN, you can click on the Forgot Password link to have a new one automatically sent to you.

Monitor Your Connection Status

The main window of the OpenVPN Client will display a small status icon next to the server you’re connected to letting you know if your connection is secure or if there are any issues of any kind. If you click on the connection status icon, you’ll be presented with a small menu where you can choose to view detailed information about the connection or disconnect from it completely. Disconnecting from the VPN will prevent any data from being transmitted over the internet, protecting you from online threats. However, if you forget to disconnect from the network after you log off, your computer could become exposed to malware or hacked information. To prevent this from happening, you should always close the software once you’re done using it.

Use Strong Encryption

All VPNs will provide you with strong encryption, but it’s important to know how strong the encryption is before you use it. Some VPNs, such as IPVanish, use end-to-end encryption, meaning that no one, not even the company you’re connected to, can read your email or browse your browsing history without first decrypting it. Similarly, NordVPN provides you with military-grade encryption and strict laws enforcement capabilities. When choosing your VPN, be sure to check the encryption protocol they use and the sites or apps they protect before making a decision. If you have any doubts, it’s usually best to select a VPN that uses the OpenVPN protocol (this is the most popular and therefore safest protocol to use) and that has a strong presence in jurisdictions like the USA, UK, and Germany (3 of the 5 most common jurisdictions for which the OpenVPN protocol was designed. If you’re not sure where these sites are hosted, you can use a VPN that provides you with the option of selecting the country you want to connect to.

Access the Web Content You Want

Once you’ve set up your VPN network and connected to the OpenVPN server, you can access the content restrictions placed on the various websites you visit (if any) simply by clicking on the network icon in your browser’s toolbar. You’ll then see a small green lock icon next to each site you visit. When you mouse over the icon, you’ll see a tooltip with the site’s content restrictions, if there are any.

If you see a red warning symbol next to a site’s content restriction, you’re violating its terms of use and could be committing a crime. For example, the FBI warns users about visiting sites like Patreon because they often contain criminal content or are associated with illegal activities. Knowing what these are can help you decide whether or not to visit the sites.

When you click on a site’s content restriction icon, you’ll see a message at the bottom of the screen notifying you that you’re violating the site’s terms of use. If you’d like to continue to the site anyway, you can click on the Disable Cookie Consent button to allow cookies to be saved for the site you’re visiting. Doing this allows you to bypass any content restrictions the site may have imposed and access its content regardless of whether or not you agreed to the site’s terms of use.

Use the VPN to Browse the Web Without Restrictions

If you’ve already connected to the OpenVPN server using the same credentials as your device, you can use it to browse the web without any restrictions. Just be sure to disable javascript or pop-up windows as they can still pose a threat even when closed. For example, if you have an ad blocker like uBlock Origin, you can prevent ads from being displayed and therefore reduce the risk of infection from malware or hacked content. When selecting your VPN, make sure to avoid any that have content restrictions or are unsecure.

Monitor Your Connection At All Times

Even when your VPN is set up and working properly, it’s still important to monitor it at all times. This way, you can ensure that your personal information is always kept private and no one can access it without your permission. To do this, simply open the program and look for a connection status icon next to your selected server. If you see this icon, there’s no issue with your VPN connection. Clicking on the icon will give you the option of viewing detailed information about your connection or disconnecting from it completely. Disconnecting from the VPN will prevent any data from being transmitted over the internet, protecting you from online threats. However, if you forget to disconnect from the network after you log off, your computer could become exposed to malware or hacked information. To prevent this from happening, you should always close the software once you’re done using it.

Be Careful With Cloud Services

While it’s always a good idea to try and use cloud services whenever possible, it’s important to be careful when doing so. Most services like Dropbox and Google Drive have a significant amount of security built into their platforms. However, if you’re using one that doesn’t provide as much security, you open yourself up to danger. For example, if you have a Dropbox folder that’s publicly shared, anyone with access to it can view your files. While it’s not usually a problem, it could potentially expose you to legal troubles or even danger.

The best way to prevent this is simply by keeping all sensitive files on local storage drives or flash drives (such as a USB) whenever possible. Similarly, if you have a Google account, it’s a good idea to avoid using it for important documents. For legal reasons, the company can and sometimes does delete accounts that are associated with criminal activity. Keeping your account active but unused is the safest way to keep your personal information private.

Use The Software On Multiple Devices

It’s important to use the same software, and in particular the same VPN, on every device you use. If you have multiple devices, such as a mobile and a computer, you can configure them all to use the same VPN connection. To do this, you need to open the software on both devices and enter the credentials for the VPN server you want to use. If you forget to do this, whichever device you use last will be the one that you’ll have to connect manually when you use the program.

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