We have seen an increase in virtual private network (VPN) use over the past few years, and this trend does not seem to be slowing down. More and more people want to bypass regional blocks, securely connect to their office network remotely from the comfort of their homes, and play online games with servers located in different countries. It’s too easy with a VPN.
Problems arise when you’re looking for the right VPN. What is most effective? The safest? Am I choosing a free install or a subscription? Sorting out these kinds of things can take valuable time that you simply don’t have. So why not create your own VPN and connect to it?
Windows comes with the built-in ability to function as a VPN server for free. This is achieved through the use of Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP), which can be difficult to configure if you are not too tech-savvy.
But to help you avoid the hurdles of finding the “perfect VPN,” we’ll go ahead and walk you through how to set up and use Windows 10’s built-in VPN.
How to set up and use the built-in VPN service for Windows 10
The built-in VPN service in Windows 10 is a pretty interesting feature with a few limitations. These restrictions can make the process less than ideal for what you need a VPN for. As stated earlier, little technical knowledge is practically required to move forward.
For this to work, you need to configure the network and port on your side. You will need port forwarding capability from your router. You also run the risk of exposing Windows and the port of your choice for the server to attackers.
To avoid this, you should consider using a port other than the default PPTP port. A strong password is also required, which must contain a combination of numbers, letters, and special characters.
Building a Windows 10 VPN Server will take you to areas that you may not be familiar with.
- Start by typing ncpa.cpl into the search bar on the taskbar and opening network connections. It can appear as a control panel item.
- With the Network Connections window open, press the Alt key on your keyboard to open the menu tabs.
- Click the File tab to open a window. menu and select “New incoming connection”.
- Select the user accounts you want to grant access to the VPN connection.
- From a security perspective, it may be advisable to create a completely new user account with restrictions. This way, you can protect your primary user account from potential exposure. To do this, click “Add someone” and fill in the fields for the username and password.
- With the user (s) selected, click Next.
- Select Online. This is most likely the only option, but if you are still not lucky enough to have remote access equipment, this option will also be available.
- In the next window you will be asked to select the network protocols that you want to use to be allowed for incoming connections.
- Check only those for which you want to allow access and click Allow Access.
- Access will be configured for the selected user (s), and then the necessary information will be displayed. This may take a few seconds.
- Since we’re targeting Windows 10, type VPN into the search bar on the taskbar and select the pop-up option. up.
- “Best match” is likely to appear as VPN options. Next, if possible, you can go directly to Add VPN Connection.
- In the Add VPN Connection window, you will need to fill in a few fields.
- There should be only one parameter in the “VPN provider” field; Windows (built-in).
- The “Connection Name” can be anything you want. This will be what you will see when you go to establishing a connection.
- In the Server Name or Address field, enter a public IP address or dynamic DNS address.
- You can leave the VPN Type set to Automatic if you have correctly configured port forwarding in your router. Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP) is also an acceptable option.
- Leave “Login Information Type” as username and password.
- When finished, click Save.
Your Windows 10 VPN server is now ready to go.
Configuring the Router
In order for the router to know what type of traffic to send to the correct computer, you need to set up port forwarding. This will require you to understand how to properly forward ports on your router.
Forward port 1723 to the IP address of your computer (the one on which the Windows 10 VPN server was installed). All of this can be done by entering the router’s setup page. To increase security, consider adding a port forwarding rule to your router. One that redirects a random external port to an internal port on your computer.
A firewall is also a valid option, allowing access only to the specified IP addresses.
Create VPN Profile
Before you can create a VPN profile, you will need either your computer’s public IP address or its dynamic DNS address. The first is the IP address of your network on the Internet. The latter will only be available if you choose to configure it using dynamic DNS service.
Now that you have your server set up, router and VPN profile set up, you can finally connect to your VPN.
- From the taskbar at the far right, select the network icon.
- You may have to click the arrow (or cursor) icon to find the network icon.
- Select your newly created VPN profile and click the Connect button.
- You will be prompted for your username and password. Use the ones you created for the user in the VPN Server section.
- If you are connected, you should see Connected just below the VPN connection name.