Even if you’re not using a Virtual Private Network, or VPN, chances are you might have heard of it. Most probably, you associate the technology with corporate firewalls and ways of controlling the work habits of employees and limiting their Internet access. In reality, VPN is a great way to protect your online privacy, regardless of your profile. Whether you are a company who wants to protect its data or a regular computer user who simply wants to connect and browse securely on any network, VPN can be a very helpful tool. But what is a VPN exactly?
What is a VPN?
A Virtual Private Network, or VPN, is a group of computers linked together across a public network. As the name states it, it allows computers to securely share data across a public network as if it was a private one. In other words, VNP allows your computer to create a secure connection to another network and to encrypt its traffic and data. Moreover, since all of the computers are linked together on the same network, they communicate as if they were connected to the same router.
Why do you need VPN?
Besides the benefit of sharing files on a secure network, away from prying eyes, there are many other reasons why you should install a VPN. For starters, connecting to a public network, like your favorite coffee house’s Wi-FI, can be dangerous, especially if you are planning to make some online payments. Without a VPN to encrypt your Internet traffic, hackers have more chances to prowl on your browsing and capture your passwords. Second, you can be sure your private resources are and will be accessed for an uncompromising network.
How to set up a simple VPN with Windows without installing any software
Both Windows 7 and Windows 8 can function as VPN servers. The trick is that the option is hidden. Here is how you can set up a simple VPN without installing any software.
1. Press the Window key and write ncpa.cpl in the search box to open the Network Connections window;
2. Press the Alt key then click on the File Menu. From there, select New Incoming Connection;
3. Now you should see the computer’s usernames appearing. Select the ones you want to give VPN access to. For a more safe connection, you can create a new user account. Click Add someone and choose the users you will allow access to the new user account;
4. Make sure to check the Through the Internet option to allow VPN connections over the Internet. Then click Next;
5. Confirm that you will use the Internet Protocol [select the Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4)] to make this connection and click the Allow access button;
6. Windows will set up a VPN server.
Router Set up
You will also need to set up your router for the VPN. You will need the IP address of your VPN Server computer to configure it. To find it, right click on the network icon from the menu bar then click on Open Network and Sharing Center. Click on the network icon. A window will pop up and now you should click on Details to find the server’s IP address. Write it down.
Now that you have the LAN IP address, long onto router’s configuration page and look for Port Forwarding screen. Forward port 1723 to the IP address.
To connect to the VPN server, click on the Connect to the network option then on the VPN name you’ve created. Then click Connect.