In today’s connected world, you can do so much on the internet. It’s never been easier to stay entertained (Netflix, anyone?), informed, and productive. But it’s important to keep your online activities private and safe, whether you’re checking social media, using a streaming service, or banking online.
With the right solutions, you can have a worry-free online experience.
Thankfully, virtual private network (VPN) software keeps your data secure by hiding your IP address (the address your device uses to access the network). In this article, discover the benefits of a VPN, learn how to set one up, and review some things to consider when looking for the right VPN solution for you.
What is a VPN?
A virtual private network (VPN) is software that protects your internet connection by keeping your IP address secure and anonymous. Essentially, it opens a private tunnel just for you!
It does this by making a secure connection between your internet-connected device and a remote VPN server. It also encrypts the information you upload onto the internet, preventing others from intercepting it.
This means you can feel confident surfing the web without worrying about other people uncovering your location, identity, or online activity.
Benefits of a VPN
A perfect digital world wouldn’t have malware, website trackers, ISP data throttling, or prying eyes. Thankfully, investing in a good VPN can help you overcome a lot of these challenges.
Here’s a little more detail about the benefits of a VPN:
- Stay safe by blocking malware. Depending on the type of VPN you use, it may come with a feature that blocks malware. This functionality adds another protective layer to your network, like some sort of firewall, so you don’t lose sleep over malicious software.
- Beat the ISP throttling blues. VPNs provide a practical way to stop your internet service provider from throttling your bandwidth or data. Without throttling, you can enjoy maximum internet speeds even after you’ve reached your data or bandwidth limit.
- Outsmart website trackers. Mobile apps and websites work tirelessly to record information about your online activity. This practice can be bothersome if you’re a stickler for privacy. A VPN keeps the trackers guessing about the nature of your information thanks to advanced encryption.
- Protect yourself on public Wi-Fi. If you regularly connect to the internet via public Wi-Fi, it’s important to stay safe using a VPN. An unsecured public Wi-Fi network provides an easy way for criminals to steal sensitive information like your credit card number and passwords. There’s no need to worry about anyone seeing or stealing your data when you use a VPN.
How to set up a VPN server
Investing in the right tools is a surefire way to make yourself feel less vulnerable to online risks. Rather, you’ll feel empowered to enjoy a care-free online experience.
McAfee® Safe Connect VPN is one such tool that gives you the freedom to enjoy all the good things that the internet offers without worrying about online privacy or safety.
This tool works on multiple platforms, including Microsoft Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS. More importantly, McAfee Safe Connect VPN is easy to set up on different devices, allowing you to benefit from bank-grade AES 256-bit encryption. So, you can browse the internet using Chrome or another browser and connect via public Wi-Fi without losing sleep over vulnerability to risks.
Depending on your preferences, it’s possible to set up a VPN automatically or manually. We discuss the steps to set up a VPN manually in the sections below.
Set up a VPN connection on Windows
Easy setup and connection to a VPN server are key factors when choosing the right tool or software for your needs. On a Windows 10 system, just follow a few steps to establish a secure and stable connection.
- Search for the virtual private network on Cortana.
- Then, go to the VPN settings and select the plus sign (“+”).
- On the drop-down menu that appears, select “Windows built-in.” (The system automatically sets the VPN type to automatic. You can change it to VPN protocols like PPTP, TCP, SSTP, L2TP/IPsec, or IKEv2.)
- In the next fields, add VPN configuration details from your VPN provider (in this case, McAfee Safe Connect VPN).
- Once you’ve completed filling in the details, click “Save” and then “Next.”
- In the last step, select the McAfee VPN connection, and you’re done!
Set up a VPN connection on a Mac
The next time you need to set up a VPN on a Mac computer, you’ll be pleased to know that the setup steps are short and sweet.
Here’s what you need to do.
- Start by clicking “Network” under “System Preferences.”
- Next, click on the “+” sign and select “VPN.”
- In the pop-up interface that appears, add details like connection name, server address, VPN type, server name, and authentication settings for advanced options.
- In the final step, click “Apply” and “OK” to finish.
5 things to look for in a VPN
Picking the best VPN solution that takes care of your privacy needs involves ticking various boxes based on the features and functionality that matter most to you.
Here are some things to look for in a virtual private network:
- The number of servers: A good VPN should offer a selection of servers that can handle a lot of traffic without undermining connection speeds.
- Robust data encryption: Converting data into a code is what makes a good VPN tick. So, opt for a VPN with the latest encryption technology, such as AES 256-bit encryption offered by McAfee SafeConnect VPN.
- Server location: The VPN service should also offer servers located in various regions depending on your connection requirements. Nearby service can reduce lag, particularly when you want to engage in online gaming. And sometimes, you need a VPN server from another region or country to get around geo-blocking.
- Excellent tech support: The right VPN solution should come with good technical support to help you find answers to any questions you may have.
- Ease of use: A good VPN client should be easy to set up and use so you can focus on your online activities rather than tweaking the VPN settings.
Can you use a VPN on mobile devices?
If you have a mobile device like an Apple iPhone or Android device, you can also enjoy the benefits that come with using a VPN.
Setting up and using a VPN like McAfee’s Safe Connect VPN on an Android device or iOS platform is super easy. Just download the VPN from the app store or the McAfee website, and you’re good to go.
McAfee offers both a free VPN (with 250 MB of free data every month and protection for one device) and paid subscription plans that come with unlimited data and protection for up to five devices. You can also enjoy a 30-day free trial to see if it’s the right VPN for you.
It’s usually fine to just use the default settings, too, so you don’t have to do anything else other than login.
Keep your browsing private
Hiding your IP address and maximizing privacy has never been easier thanks to virtual private networks. These tools can also protect you from prying eyes by converting the information you upload to the internet into code using advanced encryption technology.
VPNs have several advantages, including getting around website trackers used by advertisers to monitor your online activities. Another thing to remember is that it’s relatively easy to set one up no matter your operating system.
If you’re looking for the right VPN solution for you, consider McAfee Secure VPN — included in McAfee Total Protection — which comes with the latest encryption technology. Whether you install the software on your mobile or desktop device, you can be confident that you and your family’s sensitive data is secure.