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How to Set Up and Use a VPN at Home

Michael Gargiulo - CEO, VPN.com

By: Michael Gargiulo, CEO at VPN.com

Updated: 9:17 PM ET Mon, February 24th 2020

Introduction

The average U.S. home has 9.1 devices that connect online. Each time you log onto WiFi, you put your information at risk. Your personal online address, formally known as an Internet Protocol (IP), allows you to send and receive data on the web. But when your IP address is exposed, your network becomes vulnerable to cyberattacks.

Some Internet Service Providers (ISPs) also collect your data and the places you visit online. They then sell this information to advertisers. Set up a VPN at home to protect yourself every time that you log onto the Internet.

The Internet was designed to easily share information, not to protect user privacy. Certain protocols are in place to encrypt your data (such as HTTPS), but you are still vulnerable to network server attacks and people that want to spy on your ISP. To secure your information against potential threats, it’s important to learn how to set up a home VPN.

Why You Should Use a VPN

Reroute Your IP Address

 

An IP address is location-based, but you can hide it to mask your physical location. Once you know how to set up a home VPN and it is activated on your devices, you can send your original IP address through a virtual tunnel to change the location. Your IP address then becomes hidden and neither your ISP nor a potential hacker can track your movement online.

How to Decide on a Home VPN

Sign Up for a Free Trial

 

There are home VPNs available that are completely free. However, if you want to make sure your information is properly protected and also reduce connection issues, then you should learn how to set up a quality paid VPN at home. To stay competitive, many VPNs offer a free trial or money-back guarantee so that you can test out their services. 

Look for the ability to connect to VPN servers around the world, which helps prevent overcrowding. Set up a free trial to see which VPN is the right fit for your needs, and afterward sign up to add VPN protection to your network.

 

Choose Your Service

 

While there are hundreds of quality VPNs you can learn how to set up at home, there are some factors you want to look at when deciding on which one to choose. The ability to connect to multiple devices is something I recommend because you can secure all of your devices at one time. The VPN solutions that we’ve researched for home use often allow connections to at least five devices at a time.

 

Check The Terms of Use

 

ISP providers collect your information and sell it to advertisers. Some VPN companies will also do the same thing. To make sure that your data is protected, check for a no-logging policy. A no-log policy means that the VPN does not keep a record of your activities while using their server. Some companies claim not to keep any of your information. Their policies should clearly be stated in the terms of service and if they aren’t, you might want to use a different company.

How to Set Up a Home VPN

Download the VPN App

 

Once you’ve decided on a VPN and you’ve signed up for the service, you’ll need to download the company’s app, which should be hosted on their website. Make sure you also install the app on your mobile devices. After installation, enter your login information (the username and password that was created during sign up).

 

Choose a Server

 

Next, you’ll need to choose a server. Normally the VPN network will send your IP address to a location that’s nearest to you. This is usually done to make sure you maintain a fast connection. A VPN network will also have other servers in different countries. You may want to select one of these options to add additional security to your IP address.

Some companies have a multi-hopping feature that routes your IP address through a series of servers so that your location isn’t detectable. VPNs also allow you to block geo-restricted content. For instance, you may want to stream BBC iPlayer or a sports game that’s not available in your country. Connect to a server in a country where these programs can be streamed and you will unblock them.

 

Configure Advanced Settings

 

Though each VPN service has unique features, there are a few advanced settings that can help improve your usage. One feature to look for is a kill switch, which will block your computer from sending or receiving information if your VPN becomes disconnected.

There should also be the option to select a VPN protocol, but this can be confusing, and not something that you have to do. Some older protocols are easy to compromise, but new protocols such as OpenVPN and IKEv2 are pioneers in security technology. Many VPNs will select OpenVPN as the default protocol because of how safe it is, but this protocol is sometimes not available on macOS or iPhone devices. However, unless you’re incredibly curious, there is no reason to change the default protocol settings.

Wrapping Up

VPNs are an easy way to provide your home with online security and prevent your ISP from tracking and collecting your data. When you learn how to set up a quality VPN, you take steps to prevent cyberattacks in your home.

Find the right in-home solution for you today here at VPN.com, where we’ve compiled information on more than 900 VPN providers.

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