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How to Setup a VPN at Home

Graham Cook  — May 14, 2019

Access to the Internet from the comfort of your home seems so commonplace these days. Thanks to high-speed modems and fiber-optic lines, you can explore the world from any room and any seat. It gives you free rein to watch, learn, and shop.

It also allows someone on the other end to see plenty. For example, they may take a look at the sites you visit and send you a phishing email. Or they can sell your personal information to the highest bidder on the Dark Web. Or send a virus to your computer or cellphone.

Protecting Yourself with a VPN

Though the percentage is small, you don’t want this to happen. Because, once someone can access your network, they can potentially enter any device connected to it.

You can minimize this a number of ways. You can update your security software. You can avoid suspicious websites and delete emails that don’t seem right. And you can set up a VPN at home.

In the simplest terms, a VPN (Virtual Private Network) allows you to access a private network across public channels. By setting up a home VPN, you protect your personal information, prevent intrusions from malicious sources, and set up content filters.

How to Set Up a VPN at Home

How do you set up a VPN at home? It requires some investment, a bit of learning, and various security setups. While it may not seem like it’s something you can do, it is relatively easy. Following are the needed items to design a VPN for your home.

ISP Access

First, talk to your Internet Service Provider (ISP) and make sure their network and equipment allow for VPN access. Although they provide the necessary tools, the equipment you have may not. Thus, an upgrade to your modem could be required.

Setting up the equipment is not a difficult task. Once plugged in, it should establish a new connection to the ISP. If not, you might need to contact the provider in order for them to remotely activate and sync the modem.

VPN Client

Another piece of how to set up a VPN at home is to choose the client. There are many types out there. You want to look for a reputable brand with positive reviews and long-standing protections. Also consider additional options they offer, like intrusion detection and content filtering.

As to free versus pay VPN clients, extensive research is required on your end. Some clients say they offer free services. However, their protection may be far less than the pay version. Or, it may only be a free trial. Remember, you’re protecting not only your data but others in your home as well.

Accommodating Router

You have a choice at this step. You can go for a router or create a dedicated VPN server on one of your devices. Let’s talk about the router first.

This is a piece of network equipment that forwards data packets between the VPN and the Internet. For those who aren’t IT savvy, it’s recommended you purchase a wireless router with built-in VPN server support.

And though it may seem obvious to say, you want a one that allows you to activate and configure it and the VPN via a web interface.

Some routers have built-in firewalls and include antivirus software. While this can up the price it also provides an extra layer of protection to your VPN. Not only will it catch viruses ahead of time, but the firewall halts malicious requests for access, thus minimizing intrusion.

Dedicated VPN Server

If you don’t want to invest in a router, then you can use one of your computers to make a dedicated VPN server. Newer versions of Windows allow you to set this up.

However, once configured, the computer can’t be shut down as this will disable the VPN. So, carefully consider this option, because you’ll be unable to access the network via VPN if the system needs updates or repairs.

VPN Testing

This is the most important part of how to set up a VPN at home. All the components need to be tested once the installation is complete. Don’t leave anything out because you’re going through Internet withdrawal.

Ensure all the software and device firmware is updated to the latest versions. Check all devices to see if they connect to the VPN. Review the server or router settings to verify the built-in firewall is active and updated.

Then, test the connection. Do the necessary tweaks if you are unable to access certain websites or external network locations. If you continue to have problems, reach out to your ISP for assistance.

In the end, taking the time to properly set up and test your home VPN will provide a sense of peace you didn’t have in the past.