The best VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) offer a safe and secure private network that allows you to access blocked websites, protect your personal data, and improve your security with encryption, which is great if you’re looking for a secure and private place to access the internet.
If you’ve decided that you want to try a VPN, here’s the step-by-step guide to get you started:
Sign Up For A Free Trial
Most providers will give you a free trial so you can check out their service before committing. Some even give you a money-back guarantee if you meet the right conditions. Many businesses prefer to be paid in advance or by check, so make sure you have enough money on hand to make the necessary payment before you begin the trial period.
The best online service for a VPN, PureVPN, offers a 30-day money-back guarantee — if you meet the right conditions. You can read the terms and conditions for the offer here. Otherwise, you’re good to go.
Once you’ve begun your trial, you’ll have the option to continue using the service or cancel the subscription at any time. Many providers also allow you to add a payment method that’s easy to use — and not associated with a bank or credit card company.
Install And Configure The VPN Client
The next step is to download and install the VPN client software (app) for your mobile device or computer. Once you’ve installed the software, launch it and follow the on-screen instructions to connect to a VPN server.
Each client needs to have an individual login, so make sure you use a unique username and password combination. Some VPN services limit the number of connection attempts, so you may have to try a few times before you successfully connect. Once you do, you’ll see a green status bar at the top of the application window to show you’re connected to a VPN.
If your internet connection is slow or unreliable due to poor service or a bad connection, you may have to change some settings on your computer or mobile device to get the best experience. For example, on a Windows computer, you can download and install the TCP/IPv4 Control Panel app to change the default settings for internet connections. Alternatively, you can use the built-in Netgear Genie app to change your Wi-Fi connection settings.
You can also use your mobile device to find and connect to a VPN server. If you have an Apple Watch or iPhone, you can use the Watch OS or the iOS app to quickly and easily connect to a VPN and access the apps you need. Alternatively, you can use the Google Assistant to connect to a VPN and access the internet.
Check For Available VPN Servers
Once you’ve successfully connected to a VPN server, you’ll see a list of available networks in a drop-down menu. To connect to a different VPN server, simply select the network from the list and hit the connect button.
Some apps give you the option to connect to a VPN server that’s closest to your location, while others will ask you to input the country you’re in for the best results. If you’re looking for a VPN that keeps your personal information secure and private, choose a server that’s in a country that has the strongest privacy laws. The best VPN services are based in countries like:
- The Netherlands
- New Zealand
Once you’ve connected to the VPN server, you’ll see a green lock at the top of the application window to show you’re protected by the service. This is to inform you that your personal data is securely encrypted as it journeys from your device to the VPN server and back again. You, therefore, have no reason to worry about your data being intercepted by hackers or any other person or entity.
Change Your DNS Settings To Point To The VPN
If you use your mobile device to access the internet, you’ll need to change your DNS settings so your device points to the VPN server instead of your usual ISP (Internet Service Provider).
To do this, open the Settings app of your mobile device and navigate to System > Network (wireless network settings). Scroll down to the DNS tab and ensure the DNS servers are set to direct your device’s requests to the VPN. Your iPhone, iPad, and Mac will all have similar settings, so look for the Network settings icon in the top right corner of each one to change your DNS settings.
Now, whenever you use these devices to access the internet, your requests will first reach the VPN server instead of your device’s usual DNS servers. This ensures your personal data and all the websites you visit are indeed encrypted as they travel from your device to the server.
Once you’ve changed your DNS settings to point to the VPN, you can disconnect from the server and reconnect whenever you want without having to change the DNS settings every time you connect. Your mobile device will remember your last connected VPN server so you won’t have to re-enter your login credentials every time you connect.
Protect All The Apps You Need To Use On The Go
If you have multiple apps that you need to use on the go, like:
- HBO Go
- YouTube Gaming
- Amazon Prime Video
- Pandora Radio
You can use a VPN to protect all of these apps by changing the configuration of your mobile device or notebook computer (laptop).
Firstly, open the Settings app on your mobile device and navigate to Network (wireless network settings). Then, find and select the VPN you want to use and change the Profile to Open. For best results, you should use a VPN that allows you to connect to multiple servers so you can change your device’s DNS settings and access the content you need without having to worry about location restrictions or content availability. Once you’ve changed the VPN settings, you can launch the Netflix app, for example, and enjoy watching content on the go.
Avoid Being Throttled By Your ISP
If you use apps that are subject to data caps or throttling by your internet service provider (ISP), you can use a VPN to avoid these issues altogether.
Data caps and throttling are common issues that plague most internet users today. The best VPN services encrypt all your personal data and ensure it can’t be accessed by ISPs or third parties. This ensures you can browse the internet without fear of your data being intercepted or slowed down by your ISP.
Throttling by your ISP is a form of data discrimination that limits what you can do or access on the internet because certain apps (like Netflix) or websites (like Google) use too much data. To avoid this issue altogether, use the VPN you intend to connect to and configure it to your liking (country, IP address, etc.).
Take Advantage Of Multi-Device Usage
If you use your laptop and mobile device at the same time, you can take advantage of the fact that they’re synchronized. Rather than using one to access the web and the other to listen to music or work on documents, you can use both devices to access the internet whenever you want through WiFi. This is often the best option when you’re traveling because you can use your laptop’s WiFi connection to access the internet when you’re on the go and you can also use your mobile device to gain access to WiFi hotspots wherever you go.
The only downside to this approach is that if you stop using your laptop, it will still be connected to the internet — unless you disconnect it from the network. As soon as you disconnect your laptop, your mobile device will no longer be able to access the internet through WiFi because it will no longer be online. This could be a problem if you need to use your mobile device or laptop at the same time to gain internet access because you won’t be able to do so unless you first disconnect one of the devices.