Creating a VPN Server on a Windows PC

Although the option is slightly hidden, Windows does have the built-in capability to operate as a VPN server using PPTP (point to point tunneling protocol). This article will help you configure a VPN server on Windows.

Configuring a VPN server may be handy to connect your home network to your devices while you’re traveling, securing web browsing when using a public Wi-Fi, or playing LAN games. These are some of the reasons you may want to configure a VPN. The steps described below will work on Windows 7, 8, and 10.

Users that have updated to Windows 10 Creators edition will experience problems when creating a VPN as the server will fail due to the Routing and Remote Access Service failing to start.

Although this issue is known, it has not yet been resolved via updates. If you are however comfortable to edit a few Registry keys, there is a patch that seemingly fixes the problem for most users.

Limits

Although this feature is pretty exciting, configuring a VPN server by using the features built into Windows may not be the ideal solution, as it has some limits:

  • This is more difficult to set and use than many off the shelf software solutions. Most users will probably find it better just to use these options.
  • A port for the VPN server and Windows need to be exposed to the internet directly. From a security viewpoint, this is not ideal, and you’ll have to use strong passwords and use a port other than the default one.
  • You must be able to forward the router’s ports.

How to Create a VPN Server

To start creating a VPN server in Windows, first, go to “Network Connections.” The easiest way to do this is to press the Windows key and then type “ncpa.cpl.” Click on the result or press Enter.

Creating a new Windows VPN server network connection

Once you’re in “Network Connections,” press the Alt key to display full menus and select the “File” menu, followed by the “New Incoming Connection” menu item.

From here, select all user accounts that can connect remotely. For increased security, you may consider creating a different, limited user account and not allow VPN logins from the regular user accounts.

This can be done by clicking on the “Add someone” button. Make sure that the user chosen has a robust password, as it is elementary to crack weak passwords with simple dictionary attacks.

Setting up Windows VPN server users

Once the user has been selected, click on the “Next” button.

Allowing Windows VPN server access from internet

Click on the “Through the Internet” option on the next page. This will allow the VPN connection to be made via the internet. Although this is probably the only option available to you, if dial-up hardware is available and configured, there will be an additional option available to allow incoming connections over the dial-up modem.

Allowing Windows VPN server protocol access

The next step is to select the networking protocols that must be enabled for incoming VPN connections.

If you, for example, don’t want VPN users to be able to access shared printers and files on the local network, the “File and Printer Sharing for Microsoft Networks” option should be disabled.

Once everything has been configured, click on the “Allow Access” button.

Windows will then configure access for user accounts that have been selected. This could take a few seconds.

Your VPN server is now running and will be able to process incoming connection requests. Should you want to disable your new VPN server at any stage, simply go back to the “Network Connections” screen and delete the “Incoming Connections” item.

Setting up Your Router

To connect to the new VPN server over the internet, port forwarding needs to be configured to tell the router where it should send traffic of this type to. This is done by logging into the router’s setup and forwarding port 1723 to the computer’s IP address where your VPN server has been configured.

For improved security, consider creating a port forwarding rule that will forward a random “external port” (for example 9279) to “internal port” 1723 on your computer. This will enable you to connect to your VPN server via port 9279 and will provide protection against malicious software that scans and attempts to connect to VPN servers running on the default port automatically.

Another security measure to consider is using a firewall or router that only allows incoming connections from specific IP addresses.

To make sure you’ll always be able to connect to your VPN server, it’s a good idea to install a dynamic DNS service such as DynDNS on the router.

Connect to the New VPN Server

Connecting to your Windows VPN will require you to use the computer’s public IP address, or if you’ve installed a dynamic DNS service, you’ll need the server’s dynamic DNS address.

In any version of Windows, simply select Start and type “VPN,” and choose the option that is shown. In Windows 10, this will be “Change Virtual Private Networks (VPN),” while Windows 7 and 8 calls it “Set up a virtual private network (VPN) connection.”

When prompted, capture a name for the connection (this can be anything) and its Internet address (use either the IP address or the domain name).

Best VPN for Windows PCs

A Virtual Private Network or VPN is one of the popular solutions to be able to establish secured and long-distance network connections. Initially, VPNs were deployed by organizations or businesses instead of individuals. These days, however, they’re a popular personal tool that can help anyone maintain privacy and security on the internet.

Without a doubt, the most popular operating system in use today is Windows 10. And that’s the platform this article will target. We’ll explain what the best VPNs are for Windows 10 and why you should consider using them.

Features a Windows VPN Should Have

Analyzing every aspect of the dozens of VPN services in the market is a daunting task, to say the least. But, when your online security and anonymity are at stake, we believe it’s time well invested.

When looking for a VPN for your Windows PC or tablet, here is a set of features which, in our minds, is a must. There are plenty of options, so if a provider you’re looking into is missing one of these, simply move on to the next one.

  • No Logging: For real internet privacy, you want to invest in a VPN which has a strict no logging policy. Every provider should clearly indicate their stance on keeping logs, and if they don’t, be suspicious.
  • Provider Jurisdiction: In addition to no logging, you also want to pick a provider operating out of privacy-friendly countries. Avoid places like the US and UK where online surveillance is commonplace. Instead, go for locations like Romania, Panama, or the British Virgin Islands.
  • Security Options: These days, anything less than 256-bit encryption with Perfect Forward Secrecy is a no-go. In terms of connection protocol, opt for a modern solution like the open-sourced and well regarded OpenVPN.
  • DNS Leak Protection: Windows 10 is notorious for leaking DNS information which means your ISP gets to find out about every website you visit, despite being connected to a VPN. A VPN with DNS leak protection built in should be non-negotiable.
  • Performance: Using a VPN will always slow down your connection to some degree, but you want to keep by how much to an absolute minimum. If a VPN bogs down your internet to the point of being unusable, what are the odds you will actually use it?
  • Server Locations: Depending on what you want to use a VPN for, you’ll want to pick a provider which has a server at the location you will be connecting to. If you’re only looking for privacy, a server as close to you as possible is optimal. If you want to watch US Netflix, multiple US based servers are a must.
  • Price: No one likes to overpay for anything, and the same should be true of your Windows VPN. There are plenty of excellent providers which, if you opt for a longer-term subscription, you can get for as little as a couple of dollars per month.

Best VPNs for Windows

Taking all the musts listed above into account, here is the list of the current best VPNs for Windows.


NordVPN is one of the best Windows VPNs

1. NordVPN

This is a Panama-based VPN provider with excellent features and great reputation. It offers top-notch performance and speed with more than 830 servers in over 57 countries across the globe. Because of this, users can easily switch servers, bypass region-based restrictions, and access restricted streaming websites.

Additionally, users can select servers to provide a particular type of content. Moreover, NordVPN does not cap your bandwidth or restrict any kinds of file. It is also straightforward to use and setup.

It sets up a clear double-encryption strategy, putting up an extra protection layer to your information. Aside from this, it has a zero-logging policy. Users can use the company’s DNS servers and provides a Kill Switch.

If the VPN connection disconnects, the Kill Switch will close all program or website that the user indicates. NordVPN allows six device connections for every user.

Pros

  • Thorough setup tutorials for any operating system
  • Instinctive client
  • Ultra-secure and ultra-fast servers
  • Features double encryption tactic
  • Enables P2P torrenting
  • Great customer support
  • Worldwide servers
  • No capping
  • Zero-lagging policy
  • Connects up to 6 devices per user

Cons

  • It does not have an ad blocker
  • It does not block trackers
  • Some users find it expensive

ExpressVPN is reputable VPN software for Windows

2. ExpressVPN

The company is based in the British Virgin Islands and maintains a strong standpoint on privacy. ExpressVPN provides AES-256 encryption and OpenVPN to hide and scramble the user’s traffic so the internet service provider could not log or read it. This VPN does not log IP Addresses, DNS requests, and traffic.

However, it keeps records of bandwidth and logs timestamps. ExpressVPN provides good speed, ease of use, and many servers in over 87 countries all over the world. It allows P2P torrenting and works well with tasks that are data intensive. It also offers seamless and smooth streaming.

Pros

  • Spontaneous interface
  • Solid encryption
  • Supports geo-spoofing
  • With numerous server locations
  • Backs OpenVPN protocol
  • Very responsive customer support

Cons

  • The company is outside the jurisdiction of the 14 Eye Countries
  • It is not that affordable
  • It does not block ads
  • It logs metadata that is not identifiable
  • Only connects three devices for every user

VyprVPN is an excellent Windows 10 VPN

3. VyprVPN

VyprVPN is a dependable VPN service based in Switzerland, a privacy-friendly country. It has more than 700 servers in over 70 locations. It also has more than 200,000 IP addresses that enable users to switch network endlessly.

VyprVPN has its own servers, which means no third party can intercept your privacy. The company also uses a distinct Chameleon technology in bypassing censorship blocks imposed by the state or country. Additionally, it does not restrict torrenting nor cap bandwidth. The windows client is easy to use and easy to set up. It comes with organized buttons that offer easy and fast access to users.

Pros

  • It is based in Switzerland, the country has stringent laws favoring privacy
  • Higher plans can connect up to five devices per user
  • Does not cap or restrict any type of file
  • Offers unlimited data
  • Uses Chameleon technology
  • Backs most security protocols and platforms
  • With a Kill Switch feature
  • Subscriptions offer advanced features
  • The payment structure is straightforward
  • Free product trial for three days as soon as you register

Cons

  • Not ideal for gaming
  • Does not accept Bitcoin
  • Does not black any ads
  • Speed test performance varies
  • Lower priced plan only allows three devices per user

CyberGhost VPN is the best VPN for Windows

4. CyberGhost VPN

CyberGhost VPN provides a massive network and easy to use apps. It has over 1,100 VPN servers in more than 40 countries all over the world. It utilizes 256-bit AES military-grade encryption on OpenVPN protocol.

This means that it has a very secure way of protecting the user’s data. CyberGhostVPN provides excellent speed, and subscribers using the Pro plan can link up to five devices per user. It can also unblock US Netflix. This VPN is available for Android, iOS, MacOS, and Windows devices.

Pros

  • The app for Windows 10 is user-friendly and very easy to install
  • With excellent security
  • It does not record user activity logs
  • Excellent download and streaming speeds

Cons

  • It does not unlock all the streaming sites it promises to unblock

IPVanish is the top VPN for your Windows PC

5. IPVanish

IPVanish is a company based in Phoenix and provides zero-log policy, 256-bit AES encryption, and unlimited bandwidth. It also comes with a long list of perks, including unrestricted and anonymous torrenting, flawless performance, and ultra-fast speed.

It has more servers across more than 60 countries worldwide. It offers smooth streaming services from Hulu and BB iPlayer. It allows region restriction bypass and enables users to maintain its anonymity, enjoy high and fast speed, and hide traffic from their Internet service providers.

Pros

  • It offers customer support for 24 hours a day seven days a week
  • Allows P2P
  • With zero-log policy
  • Uses 256-bit encryption
  • Restricts deep packet inspection
  • Excellent speed
  • Delivers unlimited bandwidth
  • It supports almost all platforms
  • Can connect up to five devices per user

Cons

  • Its money back guarantee is only good within seven days
  • It is based in the US, which means it has to observe privacy-intrusive laws and regulations

Windows VPNs to Avoid

For every good Windows 10 VPN, there are several which you should stay clear of. They are either based out of a surveillance-happy jurisdiction, don’t protect their user’s data or security, or are plainly just poorly implemented.

Specifically, you should avoid Betternet, Hola, and the free version of Hide.me. They all have a history of being unsafe and, in some situations, downright dangerous to use.

Pick a Windows VPN That Works for You

In the end, the best VPN for Windows is the one that will satisfy every one of your needs and one you actually end up using. If a VPN is too complicated to enable or so slow your internet becomes unusable, there’s no point in having one.

As you try to find that perfect Windows VPN, also keep in mind that all providers offer at least a two-week money-back guarantee, with some going as high as 45 days. So, you can quickly try a few services with zero risks to you.

Free Windows VPN

Free VPN for Windows

There is any number of free VPN options you can use for your Windows desktop computers, notebooks, and tables. Windows 10 is, of course, supported, but so are many previous versions of the operating system, including Windows 8 and 7.

PPTP VPN

Despite other VPN protocols making headway, PPTP is still very commonly used. Its biggest advantage is that it works on nearly every flavor of Windows, be it on your desktop or a tablet.

But, because PPTP makes use of the GRE, it does need an additional TCP port to work. Because so many people forget to allow another port through their firewall, it’s very common to get cryptic connection errors when opting for this VPN protocol.

L2TP VPN

A more secure option than PPTP, L2TP only uses TCP ports when establishing connections. By far, the biggest advantage of this protocol is that just about every computer system and modern device in the world supports it.

SSTP VPN

Starting with Windows 7, the Windows operating system fully supports SSTP clients.

Much like secure SSL connections, SSTP uses the standard HTTPS UDP 443 port. It also works with a proxy connection. Because just about every ISP has port 443 open (otherwise HTTPS websites wouldn’t work), SSTP has become a prevalent protocol choice.

OpenVPN VPN

Arguably the best option to use for a free Windows VPN, OpenVPN is the well-known open source protocol that is based on SSL.

There are many OpenVPN client options and every operating system, including Linux, supports it. If support isn’t available by default, all you need to do is install a 3rd party client or plugin.

The most commonly used OpenVPN client can be downloaded here.

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