How To Setup A VPN On A Mac

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Mac devices are a favorite with many due to their advanced security features. However, hackers are now smart and can access your documents. You need to be careful when using a Mac device. Apart from the viruses, securing your internet connection should be a priority.

Unsecured connections like those found in public spaces or on your home network can be risky. You need a VPN to protect yourself when using a Mac.

In this article, we’ll look at the reason why you need a VPN and provide you steps on how to setup a VPN on Mac.

Why You Need to Invest in a VPN

Having a VPN can be beneficial for various reasons like:

Protecting Your Privacy

Your internet service provider can view everything you’re doing on your PC. The ISPs collect this information for their targeted ads program, or they can use it to throttle data. Also, when using another person’s Wi-Fi, their ISP can gather your data.

Connecting to public Wi-Fi networks without a VPN gets you the worst privacy. Getting a VPN means all your data sent to and from your computer has some encryption. You can be sure that nobody is accessing your online browsing activity and history.

Protecting Your Data

Hackers target critical data especially when you connect your computer to a public Wi-Fi network. The data they can collect include credit card details, passwords, or other personal details.

A VPN connection encrypts all data, which ensures that no hacker can read your data. Also, a Virtual Private Network connection allows you to browse the web securely on public Wi-Fi.

Google tracking is something that you don’t have to deal with when using a VPN connection. The company uses the data to better target ads. A VPN stops Google from interfering with your privacy.

Surpass Location-Based Restrictions

You may notice that you can’t access certain services depending on your location. For example, it’s difficult to obtain the US version of Netflix if you’re in the UK. Although you can use a browser-based proxy tool, this service may lead to slow data streaming.

Using a VPN allows you to specify a local server which you can connect and route data securely. The servers are everywhere, something that allows you to connect to the desired server and catch up on your favorite shows with ease.

Secure VOIP Phone Calls

Voice-over-IP is an excellent way to make internet phone calls. However, hackers can access VOIP services if they hack your internet infrastructure. Using a VPN helps to secure your VOIP phone calls, although the speed may be slower.

Bypass Location-Based Price Targeting

Businesses set their prices depending on your location. You may notice that a supermarket chain may change the cost of a specific item at various locations to beat local competition. You can change your position based on where the online shopping site is to enjoy the best price. What’s more, you can do your comparison shopping online when you’re private online.

Play Games

You can trick your computer into thinking you’re on a similar network and play LAN games over the internet. Some systems have older game consoles that do not support online services, but you can access through LAN.

Access Social Media Sites

Some countries censor social media sites like Instagram and Facebook. Using a VPN allows you to unblock these sites when you’re away from home.

Steps on How to Setup a VPN on Mac

Setting up a VPN connection is easy. Some of the steps you should follow on how to setup a VPN on mac are.

Find a VPN Software Provider

The first step is to determine the best VPN software provider. Different providers offer a VPN connection. Moreover, the provider tailors the software to meet your needs. What this means is that you don’t have to deal with inputting IP address, configuring connections, or checking the protocols to use.

Many VPN software providers have the software for both Windows and Mac Users. The software has a list of available connections which allow you to move from one server to the next.

Once you’ve settled on a VPN provider, they will provide you with details like protocol settings, server address, password, and username to connect.

Go to System Preferences to add a VPN Connection

You can use spotlight or scroll on the system preferences to find the network icon. You need to click on the + sign and add a VPN connection. The next window will prompt you to input details like the service name, VPN type, and the Interface.

Choose the appropriate VPN type that your provider specifies. Your ISP may block some protocols, check to ensure that you’re VPN supports other options. Select VPN for the interface from the drop-down menu. The service name is the local name on your Mac.

After entering these details, click on create the button to make a connection. You’ll now see the VPN listed on the left. The red icon shows that you may need to configure it for it to work.

Configure the VPN

The VPN should be on the list of interfaces at the bottom of the list. Select the VPN to enter the details. You can leave the default settings on the configuration drop-down menu.

Enter the server address you got from the VPN Company in the server address field. Choose a suitable server depending on the content you want to access. You’ll notice that there’s a vast selection of servers for you to choose.

Put in the username in the account name field. Don’t forget to tick the show VPN status in the menu bar to access the VPN. You should view it from the menu bar.

Access the Authentication Settings

You need to click on authentication settings by entering the password you got from the VPN provider. The process may vary depending on your VPN. After entering the security details, click okay to remove the popup, this should get you to the previous screen.

Check the Advanced Settings

While you may not need to change other settings, at times you need to direct your internet traffic over the VPN. You’ll need to click on the advanced button and check the button with send all traffic over VPN.

Click okay to save these changes, which leads you to the main setup screen. Select the apply button to ensure that these changes are active on your VPN.

Initiate the VPN

You need to activate the VPN to use it. On the menu bar, select the VPN icon and click on connect. It should take some seconds to connect, but after this, your internet traffic now passes through the VPN.

You’ll receive a notification that the process is successful. The icon also shows you how long you’ve connected the VPN.

At this point, you should be able to access the internet. Check to see if you can access services in other countries that you couldn’t access before.

Setting up VPN on Mac without a Third Party App

You can use the MacOS inbuilt networking framework to connect to a VPN service provider. MacOS uses the support to create a VPN connection as part of their tools.

Some of the steps to follow are:

Click on the System Preferences

Select the Apple icon on the upper left corner. Click on the system preferences to access the network. Tap on the + sign and find the desired VPN from the drop-down list on the interface.

Choose the VPN Type

You then need to pick the VPN type given by your provider from the list. For example, you may notice IPsec or L2TP. Select one depending on your provider. The next step is to put in a service name. Tap on create to save these changes.

Add the Server Address

Input the server address given by the VPN; this should be in the form of a hostname or an IP address. Put in the account name.

Access Authentication Settings

Your VPN provider will have unique encryption. The type of encryption determines the authentication settings you need to enter. Choose the user authentication method you got from the VPN provider. Enter these details, which could be a password or username.

Choose the machine authentication and enter the required details, click okay to complete the process.

Alternatively, you can tick show VPN status in the menu bar to enable and disable your VPN connection. Select advanced and check the box with send all traffic over VPN connection to encrypt your intent access.

Select okay and apply. You can now connect to your VPN to access the internet.

Choosing a VPN Solution

MacOS has support for L2TP which includes IPsec and the IKEv2 when setting up a VPN connection. L2TP is secure although it doesn’t protect because it uses the IPsec network protocol.

IKEv2 is the best as you can reestablish a VPN connection when the network fails. It also uses IPsec for encryption, though it’s a favorite for its speed.

It’s easier to connect and manage your VPN connection when using your VPN provider’s client. If you intend to use your client, you need to ensure that the connection matches with the chosen VPN protocol.

Make sure that you update your VPN client to avoid potential security issues. Also, you can install a VPN connection on the router, something that enables you to manage a connection for the network. The option is suitable if you need to connect to a local VPN for security reasons.

What Should You Do When The Connection Drops?

Your Mac won’t by default reconnect to the VPN if your connection drops. Although you can reconnect to your VPN on the menu bar, using a VPN auto-connect app will come in handy. The application is available on the Mac app store.

The app replaces the inbuilt VPN menu bar on OS X. You’ll be automatically reconnected when the VPN connection dies. It’s essential to note that the application only works with connections configured in the settings panel.

When using a third-party VPN, the app won’t help you. However, most third-party providers have this feature to save you the hassle of reconnecting.

Checking Mac VPN for IP Leaks

After connecting to the VPN, it’s a good idea to check for any IP leaks. For example, you may connect to a VPN server in the UK, but the website you’re accessing can see your real US IPV6 address.

Final Thoughts

Investing in a VPN is an excellent way to browse the internet securely, freely, and privately. It’s now easy to learn how to setup a VPN on Mac. What’s more, more VPN providers are now providing VPN apps for Mac OS users.

You can now relax knowing that you have a selection of fast, secure, and user-friendly services at the click of a button.


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