More and more people turn to VPNs for safety and privacy online. But how hard is it to figure out?
In this article, we show you EXACTLY how easy it is to install and use a VPN.
Are VPNs Easy to Use and Set Up?
VPNs are really easy to use and set up. Download the program to your computer and press install. Then you open the program and choose a country server on the list. All the big VPN providers also have mobile apps that set up everything for you with a few clicks.
Let’s dive into how you do it step-by-step!
How Easy Is It to Use a VPN on a Daily Basis?
Consumer VPN services are really easy to use. They typically only have two buttons on the interface. One button to turn the VPN on and off and another button to let you choose which country to connect through.
When you buy a VPN subscription for your home and for private use it’s really that simple.
Here’s a screenshot of the interface I see when I click on the VPN icon at the top menu of my computer. I’ve included the interface of 3 popular VPNs: ExpressVPN, Cyberghost, and Windscribe.
As you can see you simply click the “Connect” button to connect and the other available option is just which country you wish to connect to.
ExpressVPN does let you save a few bookmarks because many people only turn on their VPN when they want to watch Netflix or use other specific websites. For Windscribe you also have the option to turn on a Firewall but this is completely optional and not something you need for the VPN to work. It’s just a separate layer of protection.
How Easy Is It to Set up a VPN on a LAPTOP?
Before we start here let me just clarify one thing:
You don’t need to mess around with ANY technical settings on your laptop or smartphone to get a VPN to work. Everything should work instantly when you’ve downloaded the program. You don’t even need to know how a VPN works to use it.
(Most people have no idea!)
We’re currently testing 8 big VPN providers to know which ones to recommend to you guys. I’ve been using Windscribe for a year or so and right now I’m using CyberGhost and XpressVPN. There are small differences, but they are really minor.
Basically, they all work the same way and the interfaces differ a little bit but they are also very similar.
Let’s take a look at the steps you need to take to get started with a VPN.
- Choose the best VPN for your needs.
- Buy a monthly or yearly plan ($5-10)
- Click on the link to download the program
(you either get the link by email or on the purchase page.)
- Click the program to install it on your computer
- Open the program and choose a country server.
If you just need the VPN for security reasons you should connect to a server in your own country for the best speed. The LOOONG list of countries is only relevant if you need to access content that is restricted to a certain geographical area such as local Netflix content.
Or maybe you are traveling and want to stream a TV program from your home country that’s not accessible outside your country. Then you simply choose a server in your home country to connect to.
Any website you visit now will see you as coming from a computer inside that country.
Voila. You now have access to everything!
How Easy Is It to Set up a VPN on a PHONE?
All the big VPN providers have apps for iPhones and Android devices. You simply download them and open them to start using the VPN. You don’t need to go into any menus or settings on your phone.
As you can see, things get really easy.
You don’t need to install the VPN program on a laptop or desktop computer first. But if you installed your VPN on your laptop or desktop computer you don’t even have to open the menu at all because it will typically inherit most of the settings you chose on your computer.
You just go to the app store on your iPhone or Android device and look up the app form the VPN provider you use. Then you download the app and let it install itself.
It will probably not ask you anything.
(Unless you already have another VPN installed, in that case, it will ask which one should be your preferred VPN to use.)
Here’s how it looks on XpressVPN when you’ve installed the iPhone app:
I just connected to a Danish server to watch some local movies from Denmark. It’s as easy as clicking on the little flag below the “Connect” button to change the location.
Once you’ve chosen the location you want you just click the “Connect” button and you’re online within a few seconds.
There’s really not more to it than that. That’s why even my mom can figure this out (almost).
How Easy Is It to Set up a VPN on a ROUTER?
It’s really smart to connect the VPN directly to the router as it will let all your devices connect through the VPN all the time.
1) Make sure you have a router that can work with a VPN
First, you need to make sure your router can actually work with a VPN.
Many people are using a router that has a built-in modem.
These router-modem combo devices typically won’t work with a VPN service. In that case, you should purchase another router that will work with VPN services and connect that to your existing router.
Not all routers can run VPN software so you need to check that before you proceed. You can probably google your model to find out or you can read the manual.
We need a router that supports the “OpenVPN protocol” that most VPN providers use. It’s the standard protocol that we need to make sure will work on the router.
2) Follow the instructions on the websites of your VPN provider
That was the really short answer to this step, right?
But really, that’s the way to do it.
The steps might differ a little bit from one provider to the next and they ALL have excellent guides to help you get set up in no time. If you cannot get it to work out of the box you should just contact the 24/7 chat support you get from all the VPN providers we recommend.
3) Things to remember
If you’re installing a new VPN-compatible router unto your existing router you need to make sure that the old router is set to let VPN traffic through.
When you use this setup you will need to install the new VPN-router between your old modem/router device and your devices like this:
It doesn’t matter whether you use Wi-Fi (wireless connection) or if you use an ethernet cable to connect your devices unto the VPN router.
What about smart TVs?
You can also set this up to work with your smartTV.
You simply connect your smart TV to the VPN router like you would connect any other device. Any device that’s connected to the VPN router will have the traffic and data encrypted and the IP will be hidden for everybody. Including your ISP (internet service provider) and the VPN provider.
That’s exactly the beauty of placing the VPN client on the router and not directly on each device.
Are VPNs Foolproof?
Consumer VPNs are very simple to use and simple to set up. It’s almost impossible to mess up the settings. You just download the program, install it, and choose which country server you wish to connect to.
You can get into technical settings on your devices to mess around with protocols and ports but that’s not needed at all. You should only do this if you know what you’re doing and most of the time there’s no need at all to do so.