Setting up your computer as a VPN server or to connect to a server has several benefits. Most businesses use a firewall to protect data somewhere on the network so remotely accessing this data by unauthorized people requires a (usually) sophisticated attack to bypass. Fortunately, the Windows 10 VPN is both easy to setup and free to use with an Internet connection.
Below, we’re going to provide a brief explanation of what a VPN does and reference an external guide on how to setup VPN on Windows 10 (so you can connect remotely) as well as how to create a VPN from another Windows 10 computer so you can access your device.
What is a VPN?
Without delving into the incredibly technical details of a VPN, it essentially allows you to access resources securely. The VPN server utilizes an application that authenticates the client(s) accessing the device from a remote location. Once the credentials are validated, a secure connection is established between the two endpoints.
While there are several different protocols for VPNs, each accomplish the same feat of allowing devices to connect over the Internet via a “tunnel” that encrypts information sent between the two endpoints. This ensures data is invisible at the various nodes on the route between both points.
Compared to enterprise solutions, the Windows 10 VPN is best for the home and small office. It does provide a highly secure connection between two devices; however, it doesn’t serve a large number of users.
Setting up a Windows 10 computer as a VPN server and configuring remote VPN connections
If you’re looking to setup a VPN on your computer and haven’t done so in the past, worry not. It might seem like a daunting process, but it goes by quite quickly. Rather than reproduce something that’s already floating around the Internet several times over, you should check out this blog from Pureinfotech that provides a step-by-step, detailed guide (with pictures!) showcasing exactly how to take advantage of the Windows 10 built in VPN.
While this is a great guide, there are a couple things to address that aren’t directly stated in the blog referenced above:
- In some cases, you can skip the whole DDNS part if you have a static public IP address. The reason for DDNS is because your public address changes every so often which will change (well, break) the connection. If you’re using a business-class Internet service, you may have a static IP address that can be plugged in during step 6 in the second set of instructions.
- Early in the configuration process, you’ll be asked to select which users on the device can connect. Avoid selecting anything system generated, such as “Guest” or anything that begins with “Default…” to reduce security concerns. Essentially, you should only allow your account to connect and other, trusted users who may use the device.
- Aside from Windows Firewall, you may have firewall protection from another service, such as a service that runs alongside your AV protection. While many systems push and pull data from Windows Firewall, you may have to manually plug in port forwarding information into whatever service you’re running. Same goes for your router – while there is a link to some generic instructions on how to accomplish this feat, you’re better off Googling your equipment along with “setup port forwarding” as not all devices use the same layout as the Cisco gear they used as a reference.
While Windows 10 VPN isn’t exactly an enterprise setup, it does allow you to securely to your home or office devices over a resilient connection. Give us a call at 1 (770) 936-8020 or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we help you with your Windows 10 VPN or explore other solutions for broader remote connection needs.