How to Set Up a VPN At Home [2021 Noob guide]

VPNs have slipped their way into the Got-to-Have list of tools to protect online privacy and security. It encrypts all the outgoing traffic of your device and provides you with a safe channel to carry out all your internet activities, eliminating the chance of your personal data getting leaked. While there are a lot of third-party VPN providers which offer their services for a certain price range but did you know you can have your own VPN? Keep reading to know how to set up a VPN at home using the limited resources you have in hand!


Short on Time? Here’s a Short Summary of How to Set Up a VPN At Home

  • You can set up a VPN at home with a VPN that already has built-in VPN functionality in it.
  • If your VPN doesn’t have VPN capabilities, flash your router’s firmware, but first check if it is compatible.
  • You can also set up a VPN server on your Windows 10 computer.


How to Set Up a VPN At Home

How to Set Up a VPN At Home?

You can set up a VPN at home in multiple ways, if you have a router that has VPN functionality already in it, you can set up a VPN server and connect to it, you can flash your router’s firmware to make it VPN-enabled if it doesn’t have built-in VPN capabilities, but it is a little risky as any detail missed can cause harm to your device. Other than that, you can turn your computer with Windows 10 into a VPN server but you need to keep that machine on 24/7.

All these methods are possible but the easiest and most convenient way of setting up a VPN at home is to simply get a subscription plan of a reputed third-party VPN service like ExpressVPN or NordVPN. It would cost you a little money but your online privacy will be guaranteed as long as you are using a trusted VPN service. On top of that, you’ll be getting all the cool features like Smart DNS and Kill-Switch along with the standard package.


How to Set Up a VPN At Home Using a Router with VPN Capabilities

How to Set Up a VPN At Home Using a Router with VPN Capabilities?

You can easily set up a VPN at home using your own router but you need to check first if your router is having VPN functionalities in it. If you don’t have a router that has VPN options then this method will probably not work.

  • Check if your router has VPN functionalities by searching for your router’s manual.
  • If you can’t find your router manual then go to the Configuration Page of your router (by typing 192.168.0.1 or 192.168.1.1 in your browser) and find the VPN section in your router settings.
  • Upon finding the VPN section, set up a VPN server following the instructions.
  • Select a VPN protocol and set up a username and password for your VPN server. Restart your router for the settings to apply.
  • To use the VPN on any device, install the configuration files from the control panel of your router and extract the files in your device.
  • You can now easily connect to your own VPN.

How to Set Up a VPN At Home by Flashing Your Router

How to Set Up a VPN At Home by Flashing Your Router?

One more way to set up a VPN at home is by flashing the firmware of your router. It is a risky method so you need to do a lot of research before flashing your firmware. Basically, you are going to transform the operating system of your firmware with one that has greater features, hence, allowing you to have VPN enabled on your router. The widely used and popular firmware names are DDWRT and OpenWrt which have VPN functionalities available.

Check your router if it has compatibility with DD-WRT or OpenWrt firmware. If it does, here’s how you can flash your router.

Flashing Router Firmware

  • Download the right firmware file for your router on your computer.
  • Plug your computer with the router through an ethernet cable plugged one end of the ethernet cable in the LAN port of your computer and the other end to the LAN port of your router.
  • Open the browser on your computer and access the configuration page of your router.
  • Go to the ‘upgrade firmware’ section of your router through settings.
  • Flash your router’s firmware by uploading the firmware file downloaded before.
  • Follow the instruction according to your device and flash your router with newer firmware.
  • Carefully follow every step as any step gone wrong can be a risk for your router.

Creating VPN Server

  • After flashing your router firmware successfully, you need to create a VPN server from your router’s configuration page.
  • Go to the configuration page of your router. Under the Wireless tab, find VPN.
  • Enable your VPN protocol (We recommend OpenVPN as it has a balanced structure for the security and speed it offers).
  • Now it’s time to run some commands to set up your VPN server and decide the users who are going to use your created VPN server.
  • Run the commands for DD-WRT or OpenWrt, whichever firmware type you have chosen while flashing your router.

Setting up VPN Server and VPN Clients

  • Firstly, change your router’s firewall settings so that an inbound VPN connection is allowed.
  • For the communication of the VPN server with a secure channel to the VPN client, generate a certificate.
  • Generate Private Keys and Certificates so that VPN Client Profiling can be done.
  • Install OpenVPN.
  • Complete the profiling process by issuing the Certificates and Private Keys to VPN Clients.
  • Set up the VPN Client Profiles to the devices which will have access to your VPN Server.
  • You can now connect to the VPN server from any device which has VPN Client access.

How to Set Up a VPN At Home On Your Windows 10 Operating System

You can set up a VPN on your home PC allowing clients to connect to it. The only loophole here is that your machine has to work all the time for you to access the VPN server. The minute your machine goes off, the VPN server shuts down. Here’s how you can set up a VPN server at home using your PC with Windows 10 in it.

  • Set the Port Forwarding to 1723 which is the Point-to-Point-Tunneling Protocol (PPTP) allowing you to connect to your Home Network through a Public Network.
  • Go to Control Panel, click on Network and Sharing Centre, click Change Adapter Settings.

Change Adapter Setting

 

  • In the Network Connection window, click on File and click New Incoming Connections.

New Incoming Connections

  • You will see a list of users (if any), check the users which you want to allow to access your VPN server. Other than that, you can add a user by clicking on Add Someone. Click Next.

Who may connect

  • Check Through the Internet for the section How Will People Connect.

Through the Internet

  • Under Networking Software, check Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4).
  • Go to Properties and check Allow Caller To Access My Local Area Network. Select Specify IP Addresses and type in the range of IP Addresses. Click OK and close the window.

Internet Protocol Version 4

 

Incoming IP Properties

  • Click Allow Access and close the window.

Setting Up Firewall Configuration for VPN Server

Configuring the firewall properly is necessary to allow the VPN server for receiving remote connections.

Routing and Remote Access Properties

  • Go to the Control Panel and head to System and Security. Go to Windows Defender Firewall and click on Allow an app or feature through Windows Defender Firewall on the left.
  • Check Private and Public in Routing and Remote Access.
  • Click OK.

Your VPN server is now able to receive remote connections without any hassles.

Setting Up a VPN Connection for VPN Server

You need to set up a VPN connection to be able to configure the devices which will remotely access your VPN server. Follow the steps below.

  • Go to Control Panel, then to Network and Internet, and head to Network and Sharing Centre. Click on Change Adapter Settings and go to the Properties of VPN Connection.

VPN Connection Properties

  • In the VPN Connection properties, under the General tab, confirm your Public IP Address.

VPN Connection Properties General Tab

  • Click on the drop-down menu of Type Of VPN under the Security tab and choose PPTP Protocol.
  • Open the drop-down menu of Data Encryption and choose Max Strength Encryption. Click OK.

Type of VPN / Data Encryption

  • Under the Networking tab, check Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) and uncheck Internet Protocol Version 6 (TCP/IPv6).

IPv4 IPv6

  • Select Internet Protocol Version 4 and click Properties. Click on Advanced under the General tab.

IPv4 Properties/General tab

  • Uncheck Use default gateway on a remote network under IP Settings tab and click OK.

Advanced TCP/IP Settings

  • Go to Settings>Network and Internet>VPN and connect to your created VPN connection.

Connect to VPN


Get a Third-Party VPN Service to Set Up a VPN At Home

Get a Subscription Plan of a VPN Service to Set Up a VPN At Home.

The option to get a reliable VPN service is always available. There is a wide range of VPN services available like ExpressVPN, which has a collection of more than 3000 VPN servers all across the world. NordVPN, which also comes with a feature to block malicious websites and popup ads, Surfshark VPN which has a value-for-money user-friendly interface and comes with a built-in Kill-Switch feature.

If you don’t have a router that has VPN functionality and you don’t want to risk flashing your router firmware then this is the best option to go with because let’s face it, you are not going to buy a VPN enabled router because it would cost you exactly what a three-year VPN subscription plan would cost you.

A reliable VPN service can guarantee a hassle-free way of performing all your online activities with complete anonymity and that too, with an addition of other cool features like Smart DNS and Kill-Switch. Using a third-party VPN service is the easiest of all the ways to use a VPN as it offers Quick-Connect, a button that can connect you to a VPN server in just a matter of seconds.

Other than that, there is a manual approach from which you can create a VPN connection on almost any operating system by following some steps!


What Is a VPN

What Is a VPN?

 

A VPN (Virtual Private Network) creates a secure channel from which a user can easily perform all internet activities with complete anonymity. The channel has an encryption method applied on it from which it is impossible for any outer influence to get involved. No eavesdropper or hacker can get their hands on you, even your ISP will be unable to track your online activity.

VPNs are important for several reasons, firstly, it masks our IP Address and secondly, it encrypts all the traffic which leaves our system making it impossible to get tracked. Other than these, VPN can work like a charm if you have a hobby of movie-watching. With a VPN, you can have access to international libraries of streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, or HBO Max! All you need to do is change your Netflix region or Hulu region with a VPN to enjoy movie night!


Why Do You Need to Set Up a VPN At Home

A VPN can make sure everything you do goes untracked and here is why you need to set up a VPN at home.

  • You can access your local network from anywhere.
  • A VPN server can protect you from all kinds of threats while you are connected to public WiFi.
  • By accessing your local area network, you can access the files, stream Netflix, and access different geo-restricted services.

What Are The Disadvantages to Set Up a VPN At Home

Setting up a VPN at home is a long and twisted process for which you need good knowledge of the domain. Chances are you’ll end up with a poorly configured VPN server and it might leak your online activity. So it is recommended to go with a trusted and reliable VPN service like ExpressVPN or NordVPN to protect your online privacy. Here are some other disadvantages because of which you should avoid setting up a VPN at home.

  • Setting up your own VPN is not practical if you have an internet connection that offers a slow upload bandwidth. A third-party VPN service will give you better speed.
  • You will need to upgrade your VPN settings with the latest patch every time. But if you are subscribed to a trusted VPN service, they will automatically keep everything up to date for you.
  • You’ll be limited to an IP Address which your home VPN server will assign to you. While a commercial VPN provider has thousands of VPN servers spread all across the world from which you can select any server according to your needs.

How to Choose the Right VPN

When subscribing to a VPN plan, you should consider some factors and only get that VPN service if it provides you these.

AES 256 Encryption

AES 256 Encryption

It is important to get the most advanced features in your VPN. AES 256 Encryption method is secure and unbreakable. You should only go for a VPN service that offers at least this encryption method or higher. The most popular VPN provider offering this encryption method is ExpressVPN and NordVPN.

No Log Policy

No Log Activity tracking

Sometimes you might wonder why you need to pay for a VPN if there are tons of free VPNs available. Other than restrictions for different features on a free VPN service, they also log user activity and keep track of user’s traffic, eventually selling them to concerned parties. It is important to assure about the no-log policy of a VPN provider before purchasing a subscription plan.

Reasonable Pricing

Reasonable Price

Most VPN services offer discounts if you get their longerterm subscription plans, but you have to pay the money upfront. Although, for limited use, a VPN would nearly cost $10 – $12 per month. ExpressVPN costs $12.95 for a monthly plan, $9.99 for a 6-month plan, and $8.32 for a 12-month plan.

Kill-Switch

VPN Kill Switch

A kill-switch feature is a must to consider while purchasing a VPN subscription. It makes sure that your online privacy is maintained even if your VPN crashes because of some reason. It eliminates all the incoming or outgoing traffic and resumes only when the VPN is back again. Some VPN services terminate the internet connection and resume it when the VPN is functional again.


Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs

If you are using a VPN of a non-reputed provider then it is possible that they are keeping track of your online activity. VPNs can drop connection while you are browsing the internet and reveal your actual IP Address if there is no kill-switch available in VPN. That is why it is recommended to have a reputed VPN.

No, it is not. VPNs are legal in the US. But it depends upon different countries. Every country has its own rule about VPNs. But anything illegal carried out with a VPN is still illegal.

Yes, it is. But only if your VPN is not configured properly. Other than that, if your VPN has IP Leaks, DNS Leak, or WebRTC Leaks, it is possible to track even if your VPN is enabled.

You can use a free VPN but it is to be kept in mind that free VPNs usually earn their profit by selling user data to third-party companies. Moreover, free VPNs do not offer unlimited use of their services. They have restrictions on many things, which are only unlocked when paid for the service.

A trusted VPN service like ExpressVPN or NordVPN can cost you around $12 to $13 per month. But if you apply for a longer-term plan, you can get a discount.

Yes, you can still set up a VPN server by flashing your router firmware. Other than that, you can use your computer and make it a dedicated VPN server or use a third-party VPN provider to set up a VPN on your device.


Wrapping it up!

It is recommended that you go with a thirdparty VPN provider to eliminate the risk of all the possible miscalculations from which you can end up leaking your personal data on the web. But if you are a tech enthusiast then you should know how to set up a VPN at home with the limited hardware and services you have your hands on. Having your own VPN has its own advantages but you have to make sure that you keep everything updated to reduce any chance of your data being vulnerable to attacks!