How To Set Up a Manual VPN Connection

A few years ago, setting up a VPN or connecting to a VPN protocol would have required a decent degree of technical knowledge, a fair amount of time, and some patience.

Nowadays, it’s incredibly easy for even the least tech-savvy user to set up a VPN on any manner of device, be it a desktop computer, smartphone, or even a smart device like an Amazon Firestick.

That’s because every major VPN provider has tailor-made apps for most operating systems and devices, which guide you through the installation process and automatically configure your VPN connection.

Nevertheless, there may be times when you want to manually configure your VPN connection on your device, for example to connect to a different VPN protocol that’s not offered by your VPN providers, or change certain parameters for your connection.

Here, we’re going to look at how you would go about configuring a VPN protocol on Windows, MacOS, Android, and iOS.

Setting up a VPN on Windows

The Windows OS has a built-in client for setting up a VPN connection, which creates a secure tunnel between your computer and your network. Let’s discover how you can establish a VPN connection on Windows 10.

1. Navigate to your search bar, and search for ‘VPN’.

2. You will see an option to ‘Add a VPN connection’. Click this and the settings window will open, with a few options for VPN configuration. Select ‘Add a VPN connection’ at the top of the window, next to the ‘plus’ box.

3. You’ll now be prompted to add some information about your VPN connection. You should note that you’ll still need a VPN provider to connect, as they will provide you with a server name and address, and also a connection name. Fill in the information from your VPN provider in the fields shown below. Click save.

4. Now, you’ll need to select your new VPN network as your preferred connection in the connection options. Open up your system tray, and select your WiFi options. You should see your created VPN on the list of available networks. Select your connection and enter the password your VPN provider gave you if prompted.

5. You should now be connected successfully to your VPN, but you can check its status on IPLeak.net, which should let you know your current IP. If it’s showing your true location, you’ve likely got an IP leak and you’ll need to reconfigure your connection.

Most earlier versions of Windows will have a similar set up experience, so if you’ve got your VPN provider’s information to hand it shouldn’t take long to set up a manual VPN connection.

Setting up a VPN on MacOS

It’s just as easy to set up a VPN on an Apple Mac. The procedure for MacOS is similar for all recent builds, so this guide should cover your device.

  1. Navigate to the Apple menu using the Apple logo at the top of the screen. From here, select ‘System Preferences’, and choose ‘Network’.
  2. Similar to Windows, you’ll see an ‘add’ icon. Click this and then select ‘VPN’. You’ll now be prompted to choose which type of VPN you want, for example IKEv2 or IPSec. Select your preferred protocol and click ‘Create’.
  3. Enter the details your VPN provider supplied, and add any advanced information that’s been supplied to you such as DNS servers or proxy information. You can then click ‘Apply’ and ‘Ok’ to complete the setup.
  4. Like Windows, you now simply have to connect to the newly created VPN connection through your network options, which is as easy as connecting to a new WiFi source.

If you need additional guidance, read Apple’s official guide here.

Setting up a VPN on Android

Just like desktops, you can establish a manual VPN connection on your mobile device, although the options for doing so are often a little harder to find. Here’s a step by step guide to help you through.

  1. Navigate to your settings menu, select ‘Network and Internet’ and then ‘Advanced’. Expand the ‘Advanced’ menu to reveal the option to add a VPN.
  2. Click on the VPN option, and you’ll see a list of all the current VPN apps you have installed. To add a manual connection, click the plus sign in the top right corner.
  3. Like on desktop, you’ll be prompted to add information provided by your VPN service. Fill in all fields, and your new VPN connection will appear alongside your VPN apps. Simply click to connect and you’re ready to go!

Read Google’s official VPN setup advice here.

Setting up a VPN on iOS

The following steps can be used to set up a VPN connection on both an iPhone and iPad in no time at all. Here’s how easy it is:

  1. Go to general Settings, and then navigate to ‘VPN’. You’ll see an option to ‘Add VPN Configuration’.
  2. Click this, and then similar to MacOS select which type of VPN protocol you want.
  3. You’ll now be prompted to enter the details provided by your VPN provider, such as server address and VPN name.
  4. Tap ‘Done’, and then head back to the ‘VPN’ settings options. Select your manual VPN, and toggle to ‘connected’ – you’re all set!

If you need more help, read Apple’s official guide here.

Ready to set up your VPN?

It’s fairly easy to set up a manual VPN, but if you still don’t feel up to the task, we recommend purchasing a dedicated VPN service like Nordvpn or Expressvpn.

Read more about these services here!

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