You’ve installed your VPN, and you’re ready to go, but how exactly do you use it? A Virtual Private Network works by hiding your IP address and safeguarding your online activities by encrypting your data. Thus, your ID is protected, and you don’t experience price discrimination or get targeted ads. You can save mobile roaming data while traveling, get access to every piece of media that would be unavailable without a VPN, and overall have peace of mind when using public Wi-Fi networks.
In this article, I will explore software functionality and how to make the best out of your VPN service. I’ll use Surfshark VPN as an example.
Generally, using a VPN is easy. Mostly because VPN providers work hard, making sure that the service is as user-friendly as possible. So, let’s jump into it.
Using a VPN on different platforms
If you haven’t downloaded and installed a VPN yet, see this download page and select your preferred device. It’s so simple; you will set up the VPN in no time.
Use a VPN on Windows
Here’s how to use a VPN on Windows. Once you’ve installed the app and set up an account, just connect to a server location of your choice. The process is straightforward: you click Connect, and if it’s successful, you’ll see the Connected status with a timer and the location. See this Windows app tutorial for more thorough instructions.
Use a VPN on Android
Do you have a Samsung phone and want to enjoy internet privacy? Are you wondering how to use a VPN on Android OS? I recommend visiting this VPN setup tutorial on Android phones. It’s incredibly straightforward, though, so no need to worry.
Use a VPN on macOS
When you have the app set up on your Mac, you need to log in using the same credentials that you’ve used signing up for the VPN service. Click Connect. You’ll then get a pop up asking you to type in your keychain password. It’s the same as your MacOS password. Type it in, select Always Allow, and surf the web in privacy. If you need more information, visit this page on how to use a VPN on Mac.
Use a VPN on iOS
After you download a VPN app from the App Store and have your account set up, just choose a desired server from the Locations section and connect. You can always use a Quick connect feature that I’ve already talked about in this article, and configure your VPN app according to your needs in Settings. Want to know more about how to use a VPN on your iOS? Read this easy guide on our website.
Use a VPN on Amazon FireTV Stick
If you want to get a VPN on your Fire TV Stick device, first you’ll have to download it from the Amazon Appstore. You can do it straight from your TV. Once you have it, just treat it like a usual VPN app: connect to a server of your liking and enjoy the experience. You can configure the settings on your Amazon Fire TV and turn on such features as CleanWeb and Auto-connect.
It’s okay if you have more questions. Check out this step-by-step guide on how to use a VPN on Firestick.
Use a VPN on browser extensions
Whether you’re using Google Chrome or Firefox, there’s nothing complicated about using a VPN on a browser. Get a VPN extension on the Chrome Web Store or the
Firefox Add-ons page and start using it! You’ll be asked to type in your account credentials to log in, and after you’ve done that, choose your preferred location and connect.
It’s essential to mention that a browser extension only protects the traffic that goes through the browser. To protect the computer’s traffic, you need to download a VPN app.
If you want to take full control in your own hands, you can always set up a VPN manually.
Although platforms that run VPN software differ, a VPN itself works in the same principle everywhere. I will discuss the features in detail in the following section.
Using the essential VPN features
The essential part about a VPN is that it works by connecting you to a different server location. That’s precisely where I should start when talking about VPN functionality.
Choose server location according to your needs
What country should you pick to be your temporary virtual location? It depends on your goal. If your aim is excellent speed, go for the closest location in the country you live or a neighboring one. If you want to access a different country’s Netflix library, pick a server in your targeted country. If you’re bypassing the government’s censorship, choose a country that allows you to access blocked apps or websites.
Use the quick connect feature for convenience
The functionality of a VPN should be as straightforward as possible. That’s why Quick connect exists. (It might have a different name depending on a VPN provider or an app). Using smart VPN algorithms, it connects you to the nearest server, ensuring excellent internet speed without compromising privacy and data encryption. The button appears as soon as you open the app. One tap, and you’re secure.
Enable the Kill Switch feature & never doubt your privacy
To put it simply, a Kill Switch “kills” your internet connection when a VPN suddenly disconnects in the midst of browsing the web or streaming. When you turn on this feature, there are no risks that some of your online traffic will go through unencrypted.
The best part is that you don’t have to worry about turning on the Kill Switch every time you connect to a VPN because it’s a one-time thing. Connect once, and you’re good to go.
Choose a VPN protocol or let us choose it for you
I know it sounds intimidating, but you don’t have to choose a protocol yourself. Your VPN provider selects it for you and allows you to change it any time. OpenVPN and IKEv2 are considered to be the most secure and up-to-date VPN protocols, so I highly recommend choosing one or another.
OpenVPN offers top-notch security, can bypass firewalls, and can be configured to meet every need (that’s why there’s the word open in the name); meanwhile, IKEv2 is faster and offers excellent connection stability.
Want to dig deeper into this? You can always read this comprehensive guide to VPN protocols.
How to configure your VPN protocol settings (I’m using iOS as an example):
- Open the VPN app and go to Settings.
- Find the Advanced section and click on Protocol.
- Select a protocol.
Connect to multiple devices via one account
A good VPN should be compatible with at least five devices. Since I’m using our VPN as an example, there are two significant points that I should touch on:
- You can use the VPN on the following browsers, operating systems, and devices: Chrome, Firefox, iOS, macOS, Android, Windows, Linux, FireTV, AppleTV, Xbox, Playstation.
- One account is enough for multiple simultaneous connections. It means that you can share your account with all family members. You can all browse privately at the same time, even when you’re in separate locations.
Use split tunneling to exclude apps from a VPN
Split tunneling allows you to whitelist apps of your choice from a VPN. Since a VPN hides your location by switching to another IP address, you may want to exclude your banking app from a VPN tunnel.
This feature is called Whitelister, but as of right now, it’s only available on Windows and Android.
How to use Whitelister:
- Open the app and select Whitelister.
- Add any apps or websites.
Use the MultiHop feature if you crave extra security
This double VPN feature adds an extra layer of protection to your VPN experience. By connecting to two different servers at the same time, MultiHop ensures even stronger encryption. For example, connect to a server in the UK and then add France on top of it.
How to use MultiHop (once again, I’m using iOS as an example):
- Click Locations in the VPN app.
- Select MultiHop and choose the pairing from the list.
Using a VPN with different streaming services
Let’s get into the most popular VPN use cases.
Get the best out of Netflix
A VPN unblocks the desired Netflix libraries most efficiently and reliably. If you want to watch movies and TV shows that are only available on the US library, choose a server located in that country, and enjoy endless streaming.
Netflix libraries differ from country to country, and even though it might seem that the US library has everything, there are some beloved movies and TV shows that are not available to Americans. For example, Studio Ghibli movies are available worldwide, except for the US, Canada, and Japan.
Explore the world of Kodi
Kodi add-ons, such as Tubi TV, BBC iPlayer, and PopcornFlix, offer tens of thousands of movies and TV shows, but a lot of them are geo-restricted. Using a VPN is a secure and efficient way to unblock it all.
Never miss the best sports moments
A VPN allows you to stream any live sports events securely by hiding your IP address and encrypting data. Get around those geo-restrictions and watch anything, from football (or soccer if you like) to darts.
- Watch sports without suffering from ISP throttling.
- Enjoy high-intensity matches the way everyone likes – with zero ads.
What else can you do with a VPN
Make your traveling experience better
Whenever you’re out of your homeland, bring a VPN with you. It won’t take up any space in your luggage, so that’s a huge bonus.
- When you’re traveling, public Wi-Fi can be a lifesaver. However, unsecured internet hotspots are a playfield for hackers. That’s why you’ll see a VPN app on most travelers’ smartphones. Just turn on your VPN and safely go through different networks without re-connecting each time.
- We’ve all encountered a pop-up exclaiming that the content is not available in your location. A VPN opens the doors for you so you can bring your homeland entertainment with you. Bypass geographically imposed restrictions with ease.
- After you decide where you want to fly off, use a VPN to get the best deals on plane tickets, car rentals, accommodation, and other travel necessities. How does it work? Prices are often adjusted by region because people’s shopping habits differ from country to country.
- Precious mobile roaming data can be gone in a second if you’re not careful. Use a VPN and save money (getting a VPN is much cheaper than paying phone bills, anyway). If you also use such ad-blocking features like CleanWeb (it’s free and comes with a VPN), not only is your mobile data not wasted on ads and trackers, but you also improve internet speed.
Not enough details? Check out this article on how a VPN benefits you while you’re exploring the world. Safe travels to you!
Be anonymous & protect your identity while gaming
You can make your gaming experience better by making yourself anonymous.
- Access games that are not available in your location by virtually traveling to a different country.
- A VPN allows you to play the games in privacy by hiding your IP address. It’s incredibly useful in Discord and other chats, as it helps you avoid doxxing.
- Protect yourself from DDoS attacks.
- Access your preferred servers when you’re away from home. You don’t have to put a pause in your favorite games. Do it anywhere.
If you need more convincing, this article on using VPN for gaming should do it.
Get private & secure access to Torrents
We believe in the open and easily accessible internet, including websites, computer programs, streaming platforms, and more. That’s why we offer solutions to Torrent-blocking. Bypass restrictions and use uTorrent with a VPN. All you need to do is connect to a different server, so your real IP address becomes impossible to find.
You’ll find more information on using a VPN for torrenting here, give it a look!
To sum it all up
Regardless of the operating system and a device that you want to improve with a VPN, using this internet security tool is straightforward. And it’s becoming more user-friendly each year because of a massive demand among internet users.
The main principle of a VPN is its ability to move you to any location virtually. To do that, you select a server location, click that impossible-to-miss Connect button, and revel in total internet privacy.
The more you explore your VPN app, the less foreign it becomes, just like when you move to a new city. So, keep exploring.