Jan 20

How to Setup a VPN on Mac

Need to setup a VPN on Mac? Setting up a VPN on MacOS is very easy, as this tutorial will walk you through the steps to accomplish a manual VPN configuration on the Mac.

VPN stands for Virtual Private Network, and VPN services are often used by businesses, enterprises, agencies, and individuals for a wide variety of purposes. Often consumers will use a VPN as a means of improving privacy, security, or being a bit more anonymous online, or to protect data that is being transferred from the Mac to the internet. Basically how a VPN works is that, when enabled, it routes data going to and from the computer to the internet through the VPN, wrapping it an encrypted layer. This is sometimes necessary for accessing internal networks for jobs and schools, and some users rely on VPN for privacy purposes.

We’re assuming you have a VPN to setup and connect to, with VPN information from the provider or enterprise offering the VPN service. If you don’t have a VPN provider, you can either find one, or skip this article as it may not be relevant to you.

How to Setup a VPN on Mac

Here is how you can setup and connect to a VPN on MacOS:

  1. Pull down the ? Apple menu in the top left corner of the screen, then choose “System Preferences”
  2. Select “Network”
  3. Click the plus “+” button in the bottom left corner of Network preferences
  4. From the ‘Interface’ dropdown options, choose “VPN”, then set the “VPN Type” to what the VPN provider has designated and give the VPN a name, then click “Create”
  5. Fill in the Server Address, Remote ID, and Local ID, then click “Authentication Settings”
  6. Choose the Authentication Settings type (certificate, username) and fill in the details as appropriate and click “OK”
  7. Choose “Connect” to connect to the VPN
  8. Optionally but recommended, set “Show VPN status in menu bar” to make it easier to see when connected to the VPN and to connect and disconnect from VPN on the Mac
  9. Click “Apply” and close out of System Preferences

Assuming you have everything configured properly, you should now be connected to and using the VPN on the Mac. You can always confirm this by checking your external IP address through Google or a third party service.

Now that the VPN is configured, and assuming you enabled the VPN status in menu bar, you can easily connect and disconnect from the VPN by clicking the VPN menu bar item and choosing “Connect” or “Disconnect”.

You can also toggle settings in the VPN menu bar to show the time connected to the VPN, just in case your VPN has a time limit or allotment, or if you’re just curious how long you’ve been connected to the VPN.

If you use a VPN often on the Mac, you may find it useful auto-connect to VPN on Mac boot or login as detailed here.

Using a VPN can theoretically make internet usage better protected, or even possibly more anonymous, though a VPN should be not be thought of as a TOR alternative or anything to that effect (and remember TOR is for the web only, whereas a VPN wraps all internet traffic).

Speaking of web only traffic, the Opera web browser has a free VPN available specific to web traffic as well, which can be helpful for many users to access regional content or to perform other actions.

There are many VPN services out there, many are provided by a corporation or government for using specific software or to access some specific services, and there are many third party VPN providers too that are both paid for and free (if it’s free don’t be surprised if the VPN is gathering your internet data for some purpose).

Do you use a VPN on the Mac? Were you able to setup and configure a VPN on macOS? Let us know your thoughts, experiences, and comments below.


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