How to Setup a VPN on Windows 10 – UBC

Windows 10 has changed the game when it comes to VPNs. Gone are the days of needing a dedicated app or a third-party add-on. With the Windows 10 update in April 2018, there are now numerous native options to stream your favorite content without leaving the app you’re already using. While Microsoft’s new operating system might not replace your traditional VPN app-stored credentials entirely, it definitely makes them more convenient in a digital world that is always searching for ways to improve user experience.

Why Should You Setup a VPN On Windows 10?

If you’re reading this, I assume you already know why you would want to setup a VPN on your phone, tablet or computer. It’s now possible to do so directly from the Settings app, meaning you don’t have to hunt down a dedicated VPN app or download and install a separate one. As mentioned earlier, Windows 10 has improved the VPN experience significantly, so let’s take a quick look at some of the new features.

Native VPN Choices On Windows 10

Windows 10 includes several useful and practical VPN options that can be accessed directly from the Settings app. If you’re looking to setup a VPN connection on Windows 10, here are the details:

ExpressVPN

Let’s start with one of the most popular VPN apps, ExpressVPN. With over 1.7 million downloads on the Google Play Store and 1.5 million on the Apple App Store, it’s clear that this VPN service satisfies the needs of many users. In addition to providing solid encryption, one of the standout features of ExpressVPN is the convenience of connecting from within the Settings app. When you first launch the app, you will be presented with the option to create a free 30-day trial account. After you’ve tried the service for a while and decide that it’s right for you, you can continue enjoying all the features and privacy protection of ExpressVPN with a paid plan. The team at ExpressVPN also offers a no-question money-back guarantee if you meet certain conditions. In other words, you have nothing to lose by giving ExpressVPN a try.

NordVPN

NordVPN is one of the best-known VPN providers out there due to their long standing reputation for offering excellent customer support and keeping their promises. As the name would suggest, NordVPN is based out of the Scandinavian countries of Norway, Sweden and Finland, which helps explain their unparalleled customer support. You can use the free version of NordVPN for up to three devices at a time, which is more than sufficient for testing out the service. If you decide that this free version is acceptable, you can proceed to the paid tiers where you will find multiple device support and no time limits on the trial period. NordVPN also offers a generous 30-day money-back guarantee should you meet the right conditions. In short, NordVPN is yet another service you can try out with complete confidence.

L2TP/IPSec VPN

L2TP/IPSec VPN is another highly recommended VPN solution. As the name would suggest, these are VPN protocols that stand for Layer Two Tunneling Protocol and Internet Protocol Security, respectively. The former allows for point-to-point tunneling, while the latter provides for data encryption. These VPN protocols, along with others, are supported by OpenVPN, meaning you can use them with third-party apps and online services that require VPN connection details. If you’re looking for a VPN protocol that will remain available even when your ISP blocks specific services or apps, L2TP/IPSec VPN is the solution for you. It’s also worth pointing out that this protocol combination offers the benefits of both strong encryption and an unblocked internet connection.

StrongVPN

A third option that deserves a spot on this list is StrongVPN. This is another free VPN solution that provides solid privacy and security to its users. In some ways, StrongVPN is similar to NordVPN, in that it is also a leading provider of VPN services. However, one of the main differences is that StrongVPN offers unrivalled native support for the Apple Watch. This is a fairly unique feature, as most other VPNs (including NordVPN) don’t support third-party devices at all. If you have an Apple Watch and are looking for a free solution, take a look at StrongVPN. As with the other VPNs listed here, you will be presented with the option to sign up for a free trial when you first launch the app. There is also a useful feature where you can create rules to manage your VPN connection. Let’s say you want to stop accessing certain websites when you’re on the road. With StrongVPN, you can create a rule to automatically disconnect from sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Google when you’re using public Wi-Fi. The strong encryption of this VPN means that no one, not even your ISP, can read your personal details as you connect from any device to the internet. While StrongVPN is a fantastic choice for anyone seeking a reliable VPN, you may want to consider the free alternatives as well.

Improved App Experience On Windows 10

One of the main differences between Windows 7 and Windows 10 is how apps are designed and how they’re executed. Apps for Windows 7 were largely confined to the desktop, where they could be organized into folders that made finding and opening them easy. The default desktop environment of Windows 7 made this a fairly convenient process, as most apps could be accessed directly from the Start Menu. It also enabled users to pin shortcuts to the desktop for faster access. This was also the case for web browsers, as they could be launched from the Start Menu as well.

In Windows 10, all apps exist in the cloud, where they can be organized into folders and shortcut links that can be accessed from anywhere. There is no longer a single, accessible Start Menu, as apps are now front and center on the Windows 10 desktop. This makes opening apps and going through their main menus much easier and faster. As a result, the entire app experience has been improved.

In addition to making apps more accessible, Microsoft has also taken the time to ensure that they are optimized for the Windows 10 environment. When you download an app from the Windows Store, it will automatically be opened in the Microsoft Edge browser. This is similar to the way Chrome and Safari work on the macOS platform. Even Microsoft’s web browser, Edge, has benefitted from the application optimization, as it is now snappier and more responsive than ever before.

More Convenient And Rapid Application Deployment

With this update, it’s now possible to setup and connect to a VPN within minutes. All you need is a strong Wi-Fi connection and a desire to protect your personal data and security while on the go. Since VPN apps can be acquired from the Windows Store, deploying and using them is significantly easier than ever before. In the past, you would need to download and install VPN software from the internet, which could take a considerable amount of time.

More Efficient And Cost-Effective

VPNs are useful and cost-effective security appliances that can help protect your personal data and security when connected to public Wi-Fi hotspots. While it’s still possible to get by without a VPN these days, they do offer additional protection and could be a worthwhile investment for those who utilize public Wi-Fi frequently. Not only that, but you can now setup and use a VPN on your Windows 10 PC for free, which will make it easier for you to conduct your daily business without having to worry about overpaying for individual apps.

A More Open Platform

As I mentioned earlier, Windows 10 has made a dramatic change to how VPNs work and exist on PC platforms. Gone are the days of needing to download and install separate apps for different platforms. While there are still some dedicated apps that provide cross-platform functionality (e.g., Vyper), the Settings app on Windows 10 makes it easy to create VPN connections, which is cross-platform and means you can use the same connection from anywhere. This openness and efficiency is quite the opposite of what was required in the past, where you needed to download and install separate apps for different platforms.

Whether you’ve tried out one of these natively supported VPNs or not, the bottom line is that they make using a VPN much easier and more accessible. As I mentioned earlier, the entire app experience has been improved, making it simpler to get to the information you need quickly and easily. In addition, connecting and disconnecting VPN has also been made easy from the Settings app, meaning you don’t need to go outside of the app to perform these tasks. Since these natively supported VPNs are stored in the cloud, you can also rest assured that your personal data and security remain protected at all times, regardless of whether you are connected to a public or private Wi-Fi hotspot.

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