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How to use a VPN?

This post is directed at the beginners of the Virtual Private Network world. Many users are intimidated and think a VPN is very technical and quit before they even get into it. Maybe it was like that years ago, but modern VPNs are made for everyone. Many of them only require a click of a button for a user to be protected.

We wrote this post to show how easy it is, and give you the detailed steps of what to do after you acquire the software. We assume that you already know the basic definition of a VPN. If you don’t know, check what a VPN is, and then come back to this post.

First Step – Download the software

Just like any other software, you have to download it. Normally, when you subscribe to a VPN provider’s plan, they send you a confirmation mail with some details, including a link to download the software. In that same mail, there will also be your username and password that will give you access to the software once the installation is complete.

Second Step – Configuration

Every VPN has settings, and they only have to be managed one time. And it’s incredibly easy, it only takes ticking a few boxes. We actually wrote an article about which VPN settings are important, you can have a look if you want to know why are they so important. But in a few words, you will want to make sure you activate some options that will decrease the risk of being exposed. The features we are referring to are mainly the Kill Switch and the DNS Leak Protection.

Another option is the protocol. We always recommend OpenVPN UDP, it’s the safest protocol at the moment. All of this is made in a few seconds. As an example, here’s a screenshot of the settings of IPVanish.

How to use the VPN software


Third Step – Server Selection

As you know, the VPN connects you to a server in a country you choose. After that, you will have an IP from that country. This means that you have to choose a server to connect to. You have to keep in mind that some servers are faster than others, and it’s important to select a good one. Fortunately, VPNs evolved a lot in the last few years and made this step extremely easy. Users can choose a server based in the country they want, they can select it from a map, from a list of countries, or even in a specific city.

The best part is that some VPN providers have now advanced algorithms that select servers automatically for each user. In other words, if the user chooses to connect automatically, the software will evaluate his connection and select the best server available at that moment. Most of the times, it will be a server from a country nearby.

Let’s have a look at an example. NordVPN took this kind of option one step further, and they allow selecting a server by purpose. As you can see in the image below, you can choose what you want to do. The software will choose the best particular server considering your connection and also that objective you selected. For example, if my intention is torrenting, I would select the option P2P, and the software would give me the best optimized server for torrent downloads.

The advanced server selection of modern VPNs


And that’s it!

As we said, it’s no big deal to be protected from prying eyes. A VPN is not only for the tech savvy ones anymore, everyone can click a button and have a secure and anonymous connection. If you consider that steps 1 and 2 are only done one time, right after installing the software, then connecting to a VPN takes literally the click of a single button. And because of the continuous development of their technology, some VPNs allow you to skip the hard work of testing servers individually to see which one is the best. Their software can actually do that work and choose the best one for you.

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