In the past few years, virtual private networks (VPNs) have become extremely popular, especially amongst businesses and military organizations. VPNs allow users to work remotely and securely from anywhere, even when out of the office, by allowing them to connect to a private network through a public one. This makes using a VPN a popular choice amongst those who need to do their work remotely. It also means that VPNs are often used to provide secure connections between companies’ remote offices which would otherwise be insecure due to the public nature of the Internet.
Whether you’re a business or an IT administrator looking to secure your company’s remote offices or a consumer looking to protect your personal usage, setting up a VPN is reasonably straightforward and relies on only a few core principles: security, flexibility and reliability.
Security is probably the most important aspect of any VPN. After all, if you’re not sure that what you’re doing is secure, why would you want to do it in the first place? There are numerous ways that your VPN can be breached, from simple password-guessing through to man-in-the-middle attacks and session hijacking. Simply put, if you’re not sure how secure your connection is, you’re likely to find it isn’t as secure as you think it is. Ideally, you should look for a VPN that is not only highly secure, but also easy to use and configure.
Flexibility is also quite important, especially for businesses and organizations that need to operate remotely. This means that your VPN needs to support working remotely, even when out of the office, as well as allowing for the fact that some employees may want to use the service while others don’t. Some VPS providers offer ‘flexible’ plans that allow you to pay only for what you use, which may be of interest to businesses that want to limit their monthly expenditures. You also need to check that your chosen VPN provides the necessary features to support your particular usage scenario. For example, if you’re connecting to a VPN to provide remote access to your company’s servers, you will need to ensure that your chosen VPN provides the relevant features to allow you to do this. If it doesn’t, you may find an alternative VPN that does. Alternatively, you could look at setting up a custom VPN using an API that you find easier to use and more flexible.
Finally, your VPN needs to be reliable. After all, if you’re setting it up to provide a secure connection to your company’s remote offices, you don’t want it to go down for even a moment. This means that your VPN needs to be able to withstand even major outages without losing any data. It also needs to be quick and responsive when you’re trying to connect to it, even when your Internet connection is very slow. If any of these are important to you, ensure that your chosen VPN can provide these things and that it is highly recommended by others. If it doesn’t meet these standards, you’re likely to find it doesn’t live up to your expectations and you might end up using a different VPN service anyway.
Choosing A VPN Server
When choosing a VPN server, make sure that you factor in all the important aspects discussed above and that you don’t simply go for the cheapest price. You will most likely end up using the service for a much longer time than you would have if you had chosen a more expensive option, so it’s important to get value for money. Keep in mind that the price of a VPN server varies widely and can range from a few dollars to several hundred or more. Always look at the features that are important to you before making a decision.
A popular choice amongst businesses is the PPTP VPN server, which provides a combination of security, flexibility and reliability. It is a highly secure protocol that allows for up to seven simultaneous connections and has extensively tested by independent sources. It is also quite flexible, allowing for the creation of user groups so that specific people can maintain security while others can work remotely.
Another highly secure and reliable option is OpenVPN. OpenVPN offers military-grade encryption and since it operates on UDP (User Datagram Protocol), it is quite resistant to hacking and eavesdropping. It is also a quite flexible protocol, supporting the creation of multiple tunnels that can be used to connect remote sites or offices. In addition, OpenVPN is completely Open Source, meaning that it is freely available for download and setup on almost any OS. This makes it truly hack-proof and a great choice for businesses and organizations that need to protect their digital assets.
Installing And Configuring Your VPN Server
Once you’ve chosen a VPN server that you think will meet your needs, the next step is to install it on your computer or server. This process varies widely from one VPN server to the next, but it’s generally simple enough to follow a step-by-step guide. Start by downloading and installing the VPN server software from the manufacturer’s website. This will usually consist of either a.deb or an.rpm package and will depend on which OS you’re using. Once installed, you need to open it up and configure it so that it works with your chosen VPN. This process is very similar for all the different types of VPN servers and can be done using only your web browser. If you’re using Windows, you can use the OpenVPN GUI (Graphical User Interface) that is provided by the OpenVPN team. Alternatively, if you’re using Linux, you can use the OpenVPN CLI (Command-line User Interface) that comes with it. A guide to using the OpenVPN CLI can be found here.
Using Your VPN Server
Once you’ve set up your VPN server and installed the OpenVPN app on your phone or tablet, it’s time to test it out. First, ensure that your VPN server is working by trying to connect to it using the OpenVPN app on your phone or tablet. If you’re using Windows, you can use the Windows built-in VPN app to connect to your VPN server. If you’re using MacOS or iOS, you can use the VPN app provided by the OpenVPN team, which works with all the major VPN servers. Ensure that you’ve followed the instructions carefully and set up a user account with administrative privileges on your VPN server. This is quite important, especially if you’re connecting remotely and don’t want others to access your account without your permission. Once you’ve done this, it’s time to try out your VPN server by connecting to it using the OpenVPN app on one of your devices.
Let’s take a closer look at each part of this process. First, download the OpenVPN app from the Google Play Store (for Android devices) or the App Store (for iOS devices). Set up your phone or tablet with a VPN enabled data plan so that you can connect to the Internet whilst on the go. Next, you’ll need to set up your VPN server. Depending on your chosen VPN server, this process may vary, but it’s usually relatively straightforward. For the PPTP and OpenVPN servers, this process involves connecting to a PPTP or OpenVPN server respectively and entering a strong login name and password. For the L2TP/IPSec server, you’ll need to download and install the L2TP/IPSec software on your computer or server. This also involves entering a strong username and password. If you’re doing this on a server, you may want to consider using a strong encryption key as part of your login details. This key should be at least as strong as the encryption used by your VPN server and should be kept safe and secure. Finally, when you’re done, test out your VPN server by connecting to it using the OpenVPN app on one of your devices. Ensure that you’ve followed the setup instructions carefully and that your VPN is working as expected. If all is well, you can then connect to other networks or services like your regular Internet service provider or corporate network.
Now that you’re connected to your VPN server, it’s time to browse the Internet securely and remotely using a VPN app on one of your devices. To do this, you’ve first need to disable any VPN protections in your web browser. You can do this by accessing the browser’s settings and finding the section that deals with security. Next, you need to enter your chosen VPN’s domain name into the browser’s address bar, replacing the ‘www.’ with the ‘%’ symbol. For example, if you were using the NordVPN service and the domain was nordvp.com, you would enter nordvp.com% into the address bar to visit the website.
Once you’ve done this, you can visit any website that you normally visit and ensure that it displays the security warning that you expect. As a general rule, websites that are HTTPS enabled (Hypertext Transport Security) are more secure than those that aren’t. Make sure that you’re using a VPN that is appropriately configured to match the sites that you regularly visit.