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Updated Nov 20, 2023

How to Install a VPN Connection

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Joshua Stowers, Business Ownership Insider and Senior Writer

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Online privacy and security have become essential with the rise of internet dependency. Business owners now understand that their private information is exposed to many trackers and third parties. To help ensure their information is secure, many businesses are installing a virtual private network (VPN).

A VPN allows you to create a secure, encrypted private network from a public internet connection. Whether you’re working on a public Wi-Fi network and want to keep your activity anonymous or are concerned about data breaches within your business, installing a VPN client offers numerous safety features, including two-factor authentication and access to password managers. Setting up a VPN can protect your business for years to come.

What is a VPN?

A VPN provides an additional layer of privacy that allows safe internet access by routing your connection through an encrypted server. This type of connection allows you to use a public network like a Wi-Fi hotspot securely, according to Jon Lucas, co-director of Hyve Managed Hosting.

“The VPN connects to the internet on your behalf so that your private information is not exposed to potential risks or other people watching the network,” Lucas explained. “The destination site sees the VPN as the traffic origin and not the individual user. This means that no one can identify you or your computer as the source of data, which websites you are visiting, or what kinds of information you are sharing.”

For many businesses, VPN connections are crucial for personal data privacy and protection on public networks because they can eliminate bandwidth throttling and provide access to sensitive information without restriction.

Without a VPN, your internet traffic is routed through your internet service provider’s server. This means that if a cybercriminal hacks your account, your information and online activity can be tracked, sold to advertisers or even stolen and used elsewhere.

Did You Know?Did you know

For businesses, VPNs help protect personal data privacy and offer protection on public networks when you’re managing a remote workforce.

How do you set up a VPN server?

Installing a secure VPN server begins with identifying the operating system your business uses and then carefully following key steps to ensure the connection is live and stable.

Here are step-by-step instructions for setting up a VPN server for the most common operating systems.

Setting up a VPN server on a Windows 11 PC

  1. Search for VPN from the Start menu.
  2. Select VPN setting, then click the blue Add VPN button.
  3. Select the dropdown menu in the first field. Choose Windows built-in. That automatically sets your VPN Type to Automatic, but you can select the desired protocol (PPTP, L2TP/IPsec, SSTP or IKEv2).
  4. Populate the rest of the fields with information from your VPN provider. (Note that the VPN provider could be a third party, such as ExpressVPN or your employer.)
  5. Save the details. Next, click on your Wi-Fi connection. Select the VPN connection you’ve just created. It tends to be the first option. Once connected, you’re done.

Setting up a VPN server on a Mac

  1. Click Network on the System Preferences setting.
  2. Select the downward arrow symbol on the right and hover over Add VPN Configuration.
  3. Select your desired protocol.
  4. Fill in the required details in the popup interface. These details, including VPN type, server address and authentication settings, will come from your VPN provider.
  5. In some situations, you might have to add additional information, such as proxies, TCP/IP settings or DNS servers. However, the VPN provider or network admin will inform you beforehand.
  6. Finally, click Create, and you will be ready to connect.

Setting up a VPN server on Android

  1. Open Settings on your Android device.
  2. Find Wireless and Networks and click Advanced.
  3. Select VPN and tap the plus sign (+).
  4. Choose the preferred protocol under VPN Type (PPTP, L2TP/IPsec, SSTP, IKEv2), and fill in the details provided by your VPN provider or network admin.
  5. Click Save, and you will be ready to connect to your VPN.

Setting up a VPN server on iOS

  1. Open Settings and navigate to General > VPN & Device Management.
  2. Tap VPN > Add VPN Configuration >Type.
  3. Choose the preferred VPN Type.
  4. Enter the details from your VPN provider, such as server, remote ID, description and authentication login details.
  5. If you’re using a proxy server, select Manual or Auto.
  6. Tap Done, and your VPN will connect.

Setting up a VPN server on your router

  1. Use your router’s IP address to open your router’s firmware in a browser.
  2. Enter your router’s username and password to sign in.
  3. Open the Settings menu.
  4. Select the VPN client option.
  5. Enter your VPN settings along with any additional information your router requires.
  6. Enable the VPN.

Why should you use a VPN?

Cybersecurity for remote workers is a top priority today, which makes it more critical than ever to invest in VPNs to ensure data security.

Working remotely requires employees to access sensitive data through potentially unsecured network connections. Using a VPN service for your workforce can help protect your business from these exposed risks and vulnerabilities. 

Using a VPN should be a top concern — and practice — for both businesses and individual internet users, especially when using public internet connections such as Wi-Fi at a coffee shop or airport, according to Caleb Chen, founder of The Highest Critic and a marketing consultant for internet privacy services.

“Even if you’re not on a public Wi-Fi network and just using the internet via a LAN cable at your home or office, your internet activity is still being snooped on and sold to third parties,” Chen warned. “This is because internet service providers in the United States successfully lobbied the government to pass a law getting rid of internet privacy protections for internet users in 2017.”

Browsing the web or accessing private company information on an unsecured network means you could inadvertently place yourself and your data at risk by revealing browsing habits and crucial data. Nidhi Joshi, lead project manager at Kernshell, says that using a VPN can do the following:

  • Protect your online activities, such as sending marketing emails, shopping online or paying bills.
  • Keep your web browsing anonymous.
  • Allow you to avoid geographic regulations on websites or streaming audio and video.
  • Guard you against anyone snooping on Wi-Fi hotspots.
  • Provide anonymity online by hiding your true location.
  • Secure yourself from being tracked while torrenting (peer-to-peer file sharing).

Cybercriminals are using AI to attack password security. To combat this, some top password managers, such as Dashlane, use a VPN as part of their cybersecurity protections for enhanced security.

What are the potential drawbacks of using a VPN?

While VPNs are essential to internet security, there are four downsides that merit discussion.

Connection speeds

With some VPNs, you may notice that your connection speeds are negatively impacted. If the server is far away or has issues, internet performance may be significantly slowed.

Dropped tunnels

Ironically, VPNs can create a false sense of security. For example, if a VPN tunnel is dropped without warning, users can be exposed to security risks without realizing it. This risk can be mitigated with automated connection termination that prevents users from being online if the VPN connection is unavailable.


VPN servers sometimes need maintenance, and the associated downtime can prevent any internet-related work until the VPN service is restored.

Blocked services

Some internet services require IP information to work. A VPN masks this and, as a result, can disrupt the reliability of these services. Location services are the easiest example. If you route your VPN through another city, state or country, any internet-rooted location-based services will be affected and provide incorrect information or adjustments.

How do you choose the right VPN?

When determining which VPN is right for you, consider the needs of your business. There are generally two types of VPNs: client-to-site and site-to-site. Client-to-site refers to single-user connections, while site-to-site refers to remote access connections between entire networks. 

  • Client-to-site VPNs: A client-to-site VPN is a service provider you can connect to from your PC or laptop to access files and data or browse the internet. This type of VPN is best for anyone who needs to securely connect to their business network remotely or from a public environment. Some examples of client-to-site VPN software are NordVPN, OneLogin and OpenVPN.
  • Site-to-site VPN: A site-to-site VPN provides an encrypted server between your office network and its stored data and information. This serves as a connection between your PC and the VPN server, which creates a private tunnel that protects the data being funneled through it. Some examples of site-to-site VPN software solutions include Palo Alto Networks, Barracuda and OpenVPN.

When evaluating a VPN, consider the following three questions:

  1. Is it a paid or free VPN? Free VPNs are slow. Their policy on data handling tends to be shifty, and they are under no obligation to protect your online traffic 100 percent. Sticking with a paid VPN is safe.
  2. Does the VPN keep a log of your digital traffic? When using a VPN, your traffic goes through the VPN’s servers. Unscrupulous VPN providers can hold onto logs of your activities. This practice is unsafe because a determined person can access those logs, or the government can compel the VPN provider to release them. Read the fine print to ensure the VPN provider gets rid of the logs.
  3. Does the VPN use the highest level of encryption? Some levels of encryption are breakable, and some aren’t. For instance, AES-256 is more reliable and less prone to vulnerabilities than AES-128.
Did You Know?Did you know

Poor access management is the root of many cyberattacks. Bolster your business’s security by creating an access management policy that allows only verified and authorized users to access data, resources and networks.

How to understand VPN protocols

Traditionally, there are five VPN protocols. Here’s more about each protocol:

  1. OpenVPN: OpenVPN is an open-source protocol. This makes it easier to adapt to a wide range of configurations and purposes. It’s not the fastest connection, but it is one of the most versatile, especially when incorporating third-party resources.
  2. L2TP/IPSec: L2TP/IPSec is the most common VPN protocol. It is an older protocol but is still secure, and it’s ideal for creating specific secure tunnels. It is relatively fast, universally applicable and has no documented vulnerabilities.
  3. PPTP: PPTP is another widely used protocol. It was designed for dial-up networks. Unfortunately, there are several known security flaws with PPTP.
  4. SSTP: SSTP is also known as secure socket tunneling. It was designed for Windows and is not widely used because of its restricted design. Despite that, it ranks competitively in terms of security and speed.
  5. IKEv2: IKEv2 is designed for mobile devices. Technically speaking, it is not a VPN, but it serves a similar role in mobile spaces for mobile cybersecurity.


While many routers support VPNs, not all of them do. Check the information packet that came with your router to determine its compatibility. A quick online search of your router’s model name or serial number can also help you determine its built-in VPN features or lack thereof.

As they’ve grown in popularity, VPNs have become easy enough to install without professional help. In a matter of minutes, you can set up your VPN and secure your online activity.

Almost every running process or application drains your device’s battery, and a VPN is no exception. However, VPNs shouldn’t severely impact your device’s battery life since they run as background applications.

No, you can leave your VPN on when it’s not in use. This can help protect your online traffic and network from data leaks at all times.

Here are a few tips to troubleshoot your VPN if you’re having issues with it:

  1. Check your internet connection. A VPN only works if it’s connected to the internet. If your internet is down, your VPN won’t work. Try restarting your internet.
  2. Disable your firewall. Firewalls can disrupt the connection between the server and your VPN. To determine if your firewall is causing the issue, try temporarily disabling it.
  3. Restart your device. Whether you’re using a router, Mac or Windows device, try restarting your device in case an update is required for your VPN to work.
  4. Update your VPN software. VPN service providers often release software updates that can interfere with the functionality of your VPN. Check to make sure your VPN has the latest update.
  5. Reinstall your VPN software. In some cases, if the problem persists, you might need to uninstall your VPN software and reinstall it on your device.

Securing your data one web search at a time

Using a VPN for your business is a matter of enhancing your security and privacy. You can safeguard sensitive data, establish secure connections and digitally protect a remote workforce. No matter which VPN setup you choose, this powerful tool can help your business protect its information from unwanted third parties and attacks.

Shayna Waltower contributed to this article. Source interviews were conducted for a previous version of this article. 

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Joshua Stowers, Business Ownership Insider and Senior Writer
Joshua Stowers is a and Business News Daily writer who knows firsthand the ups and downs of running a small business. An entrepreneur himself, Joshua founded the fashion and art publication Elusive Magazine. He writes about the strategic operations entrepreneurs need to launch and grow their small businesses. Joshua writes about choosing the choosing and building business legal structures, implementing human-resources services, and recruiting and managing talent.
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