Setting up a VPN on your device can seem like a daunting task, especially if you’re not technically savvy. This is especially true if you need to manually set up your VPN instead of installing an app.

After testing over 20+ VPNs, I’ve shortlisted the ones that are the easiest to set up on any device or platform. Along with native apps, these VPNs are simple to activate manually. The one I’d recommend is ExpressVPN because of its fast speeds, geoblocking abilities, and high-level security features. ExpressVPN is backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can buy in confidence.

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Quick Guide: How to Set Up a VPN App on a Computer or Mobile Phone in 3 Easy Steps

  1. Download a VPN. I recommend ExpressVPN because of its ease of use and excellent security features.
  2. Connect to the server you want. Just note that short-distance servers are usually more reliable and faster.
  3. Start using the internet! Browse websites, stream videos, or do whatever you want. Enjoy the added security and privacy!

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The 3 Easiest VPNs With Apps to Set up in April 2021

1. ExpressVPN — Ultra-Fast Speeds That Provide a Smooth Online Experience

  • Superfast speeds to watch shows without any interruptions
  • 3,000 servers worldwide that reliably get around geoblocks
  • MediaStreamer enables to set up on any WiFi device
  • 5 simultaneous device connections
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Works with: Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Vudu, and more
  • Compatible with: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, routers, Apple TV, and more
ExpressVPN’s latest deal April 2021: Get 3 months completely free on your annual subscription with this current offer! It’s not for certain when this deal will end so it’s best to check the deals page to see if it’s still available.

ExpressVPN’s lightning-fast speeds make for a smooth internet experience without any slowdowns. During my tests, my download speeds averaged 43.7 Mbps across 5 of its US servers. Since the US is more than 8,000 kilometers away from my country, I was rather impressed. You’ll never be frustrated by annoying loading screens.

Graphic showing After Life streaming on Netflix using ExpressVPN's US servers

This VPN is a solid choice for fast speeds

Getting adequate privacy protection is a guarantee with ExpressVPN. In addition to its strict no-logs policy, it conceals your IP address from prying eyes and prevents leaks from accidentally occurring. When I tested its US and UK servers on ipleaks.net, none were detected. In short, there’s no way for anyone to uncover your digital footprint when using this VPN.

By using its MediaStreamer feature, you can set it up on any device with WiFi capabilities. This includes devices that don’t support native apps, such as gaming consoles, media players, and smart TVs. I installed it on my PlayStation in under 3 minutes by following some easy instructions on its website. Regardless of your technical expertise, you can easily use ExpressVPN on your favorite device.

Just beware that it is on the expensive end of the spectrum. But by taking advantage of its current sale, you can save 49% off your subscription.

You can test ExpressVPN out for yourself and if you’re not satisfied, you have up to 30 days to claim a refund. I decided to test this policy out by canceling my subscription. When I asked a representative to cancel it, they asked me a couple of questions and agreed to my request. I got my money back after 4 business days, which meant everything was upheld.

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2. IPVanish — A Vast Number of Servers to Access Content From Anywhere

  • Excellent speeds for bufferless streaming
  • 1,600+ servers to bypass geoblocks anywhere in the world
  • Unlimited simultaneous device connections
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Can unblock: Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Vudu, and more
  • Compatible with: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, routers, Apple TV, and more
IPVanish Deal April 2021: It’s hard to find active IPVanish offers so I was really surprised to find this one! Click here to get 25% off your IPVanish subscription today! Discount automatically applied (no code required).

IPVanish has 1,600 servers across the globe. I connected to a server in my home country in under 10 seconds, and my download speeds averaged 45.6 Mbps. During 1 hour of streaming, my connection never disconnected or slowed down. You won’t need to manually configure this VPN to get a fast and reliable connection.

Unblocking your favorite websites is easy. I tested its geoblocking abilities by connecting to its US servers in New York, Los Angeles, Houston, and Seattle, and I unblocked US Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, and ESPN+. With servers across 75 countries, you can access geographically restricted content from anywhere.

Graphic showing Thunder Force streaming on Netflix US using IPVanish's US servers

IPVanish gives you a reliable, fast stream with zero buffering

Its security and privacy features are also world-class. For example, its AES 256-bit encryption makes it impossible for hackers and other third parties to penetrate your internet traffic, while its strict no-logs policy prevents your online behavior from being tracked or recorded. With this protection level, your online data is in safe hands.

A minor inconvenience I had was that it didn’t accept PayPal in my country. However, it has plenty of other payment methods available, such as credit card and cryptocurrencies. It also regularly runs promos, and you can save up by getting 25% off the current subscription price.

You can also try IPVanish with its 30-day money-back guarantee. I wanted to test this policy’s legitimacy, so I contacted the live chat team on day 27 to cancel. They asked me a straightforward question and proceeded with my request. I was fully refunded in 3 business days.

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3. CyberGhost — Built-In Ad Blocker to Protect Devices from Malware

  • Impressive speeds for uninterrupted streaming
  • 6,800 servers in 90 to unblock content from anywhere
  • Unlimited simultaneous device connections
  • 45-day money-back guarantee
  • Can unblock: Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, HBO Go, Showtime, Amazon Prime Video and more
  • Compatible with Mac, Windows, Linux, Android, iOS, Roku, gaming consoles, and more
April 2021 Deal: CyberGhost is currently offering 83% off its most popular plan! Take advantage of this offer now and save more on your CyberGhost subscription.

CyberGhost’s ad block feature automatically stops ads, malware, and phishing attempts to ensure online security. It can block threats by identifying them on its database, consisting of over a million sites deemed to be scams. This list gets updated, too, so you can rest assured you always have protection from the latest attacks.

Graphic showing The Daily Mail with ads on the page and same page with CyberGhost blocking its ads

CyberGhost lets you browse without annoying distractions

Its optimized server technology can bypass powerful geoblocks. During my tests, I unblocked Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+ by connecting to 5 US servers. I also unblocked Netflix libraries in the UK, Australia, and Brazil by connecting to servers in those countries. With CyberGhost, you can unblock your favorite shows without any manual configuration.

Keeping anonymous online is possible, too, thanks to CyberGhost’s no-logs policy and DNS leak protection. A no-logs policy prevents your browsing activity from being recorded, while the DNS leak protection stops your internet traffic or location from being accidentally sent to your ISP. In short, there’s no way for any third party to collect your data or see what you do online.

One minor con was that CyberGhost’s subscription prices were a little high for my budget, but if you choose a longer-term subscription you can make massive savings. I managed to get 83% off the price which made it really affordable.

Conveniently, it also has a 45-day money-back guarantee, which lets you try it out before you commit. I canceled mine on day 28 through customer support, who issued me a full refund. The money arrived in my bank account after 4 business days.

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How to Easily Set up a VPN by Device or Platform

Top-tier VPNs, like the ones in this article, have native apps for popular operating systems and devices. To set them up, you just need to download the app and install it. It’s very straightforward.

However, certain situations require you to manually set up a VPN on your device or platform. This can occur when you’re using a device that isn’t compatible with native apps, or when working remotely within your office network. Luckily, the manual set-up isn’t overly complicated.

The instructions below cover the manual set-up for all major devices and platforms. Remember that you’ll need some specific information from your VPN provider or network administrator, such as passwords and usernames.

Windows

  1. Open VPN Settings. Go to your “Settings,” click on “Network & Internet,” and select VPN. Alternatively, you can search “VPN” in your search bar, which will take you there.
  2. Set up your VPN. Click on “Add a VPN Connection”, change the VPN provider to Windows (built-in), and fill out all the required details.
  3. Connect to your VPN. Go to your WiFi icon and select the VPN you’ve just set up. Enter the password to connect.

Android

  1. Open VPN settings. Go to your “Wireless & Network Settings” and select “VPN.” If you can’t see “VPN,” then tap where it says “More.”
  2. Configure your VPN. Press the “+” sign on the top right corner and enter all the required details. If you don’t have a “+” sign, then open the “Advanced Options” menu.
  3. Connect to your VPN. Once you’ve entered all the details, tap “Save.” Finished!

This works for all Android devices, including Android TV.

macOS

  1. Open Network Settings. Go to “System Preferences,” select “Network,” and click the “+” icon. When the interface appears, click “VPN.”
  2. Set up your VPN. Enter all the relevant details, such as VPN type and protocol, and then click “Create.” Then, enter any additional settings details, click “Apply” and “OK.”
  3. Connect to your VPN. Go to “System Preferences,” select “Network,” and click on the VPN. Enter your username and password.

iOS (iPhone)

  1. Open network settings. Go to “Settings,” select “General,” and tap “VPN.” Then, choose “Add VPN Configuration.”
  2. Add your VPN. Enter all the required information, such as the VPN protocol and remote ID server. Then, tap on “Done” to save.
  3. Connect to your VPN. Go back to the VPN page, and you can simply enable or disable the VPN with the toggle switch.

Linux

  1. Open settings. Open the activities overview, and type “Network.” click on “Network,” then tap the “+” icon, which is on the bottom left-hand side.
  2. Configure your VPN. Choose the VPN connection you want and fill out all the required details. Then, press “Add” to complete.
  3. Connect to your VPN. Open the “Systems Menu,” select your VPN, and click “Connect.”

Chrome OS (Chromebook)

  1. Add your VPN. Open “Settings,” click on “Add Connection,” and then select “Add OpenVPN/L2TP.”
  2. Connect to your VPN. Enter all the details needed in the pop-up form before selecting connect. If you need to enter other details, such as user certificates, get them from your provider.

Routers

When you install a VPN on your home router, all connected devices will have VPN protection. This method is easily the most versatile. Make sure that your home router is a VPN-compatible router like DD-WRT, Tomato, or pfSense.

You’ll also need to set up a VPN on a router to use it on Roku and gaming consoles like PS4, PS5, and Xbox One.

  1. Log into your router. This can be done on your device by using your router’s IP address.
  2. Set up your VPN. See if your router needs to be manually configured or if it has integrated VPN functionality.*
  3. Connect to your router. Test your connection and change settings if necessary.

* Every router has its own way of setting up VPNs, so please refer to the router’s manufacturing manual or website for this step. Alternatively, you can contact your VPN provider or network administrator.

Media Players

These instructions are for media players that don’t support native apps, such as Apple TV, Google Chromecast, and smart TVs that aren’t Android. For app-supported media players like Amazon Firestick (Fire TV), you can simply download and install the VPN app from its store.

  1. Configure your DNS settings. Open settings, go to “Network,” select “WiFi,” and then choose your WiFi connection. Next, select “Configure DNS” and change it from “Manual” to “Automatic.”
  2. Enter the DNS server IP. Your VPN provides this. Once entered, select “Done.”
  3. Apply changes. Restart your media player to apply your new VPN settings. Simply connect to your WiFi connection to use.

Google WiFi

Unfortunately, you can’t set up a VPN on Google WiFi. This includes both VPN apps and manual configurations.

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How to Set up Your VPN Settings

Once you’ve set up a VPN on your device, you can enhance it by customizing your preferences. Every VPN has its own settings that have similar functions. Listed below are the most common functions that you can customize.

Selecting a server

With a top-tier VPN, you can easily select the server you want to use, and change whenever. Depending on your VPN, you can select a specific location on a search bar or an interactive map, both on the app’s interface. The main reasons to choose your own server are to improve your speeds and access geographically restricted content.

To increase speeds, it’s best to select a server that’s closest to you. Quite often, VPNs will have a button to connect you to the fastest option available. To access geographically restricted content, you must connect to a server in that country, such as the US for US Netflix.

A few VPNs have specialized servers, too, which are either optimized for streaming sites or have advanced security functions. For example, some are specialized for the Tor network, and have obfuscation servers to get around firewalls and censorship. However, most VPNs don’t have specialized options.

If you’ve configured your VPN manually to your device, this function won’t be available.

Kill switch

A kill switch stops your internet connection from being exposed if your VPN unexpectedly drops. In other words, it’s your last line of defence against online security and privacy threats. You can usually find your kill switch under your VPN’s security settings, where you can simply turn it on or off whenever.

Protocols

A VPN protocol determines the set of configuration rules between you and your VPN server. These rules include things like encryption standards and transmission protocols, which usually increase your speeds or security.

Most VPNs have their protocol set to automatic, which selects the most appropriate one for you. However, choosing an alternative option is straightforward and can be done in settings. You just need to select the one you want from a drop-down box. Here’s a brief explanation of each type commonly found on VPNs.

OpenVPN — OpenVPN is a reliable protocol that’s open-sourced. Being open-sourced means that it’s transparent with its code. It’s very good for security because of its AES-256 bit encryption, and its speeds are fast too. For this reason, it’s very popular.

WireGuard — A new protocol that’s designed to increase speeds. Like OpenVPN, it’s open-sourced and uses cryptography to secure data. However, it’s still being experimented with because it’s relatively new, which means there could be some security concerns.

IKEv2/Spec — A common protocol that increases security and privacy by using a secure key exchange. This also makes it reliable too, so it’s good for mobile devices and switching networks regularly. However, it’s closed-source, which means that it’s not transparent with its coding.

FAQs on Setting up a VPN on Any Device

Do I need a VPN for each device?

No, you don’t need a VPN for every device. Usually, a VPN will have a set number of simultaneous connections, which means you can have up to that number running at the same time. You can use them in any location too, and all that’s needed to log in is a username and password. Just make sure your device is VPN compatible first before proceeding.

Are VPNs device-specific?

No, VPNs aren’t device-specific. When choosing a provider, they will mention the operating systems that they are compatible with. The way to set up a VPN on your operating system is by either installing an app, or through manual configuration, so be sure to check the set up instructions for your device because they’re all different.

How many devices can I have on a VPN?

This depends on your VPN provider, as each one is different. Generally speaking, the usual number of simultaneous device connections on a VPN is 5. Some might offer more, while a few have an unlimited number. The devices can all be different and in different locations, too, as long you’re not connected through your home router.

What does “check VPN device” mean?

“Check VPN device” is an alert that warns you that something isn’t right with your VPN connection. This is usually because the VPN has been uninstalled from your iOS device, which results in a broken connection. To solve this issue, remove the VPN from your iPhone and set it up again.

Easily Set up a VPN on Any Device or Platform Now!

Setting up a VPN on any device or platform is a straightforward task that doesn’t require sufficient technical knowledge. You can do this by either installing a VPN app on your device or by manually configuring your network settings. Each platform has its own set-up instructions for VPNs, so it’s best to check them if unsure.

When choosing a VPN for your device, I recommend ExpressVPN. Along with its easy instructions, it has robust privacy and security features and excellent geoblocking abilities. Test ExpressVPN risk-free and if you don’t feel it’s right for you, you can get a full refund within the 30-day money-back guarantee period.

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To summarize, the easiest VPNs to set up are…

9.8/10
9.8/10
9.6/10

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Original source: https://www.vpnmentor.com/blog/how-to-set-up-a-vpn-on-any-device/