1.How to set up your own VPN (virtual private network)

What is a VPN?

A VPN or a Virtual Private Network, from a technical point of view, is a point-to-point connection across a private or public network which makes use of a special TCP/IP-based protocol to make a virtual call to a virtual port on a VPN server. For a lot of non-technical people, the description of what VPN is sounds like mumbo-jumbo. However, on layman’s terms, a VPN is a network connection that allows its users to access a private network securely and then remotely and securely share the data through a public network, such as the internet, without fear of being accessed by unauthorized persons. This is made able in VPNs through the use of tunnelling protocols which allows the secure transmission of data online. The VPNs protect the data online as though it travels in a private network much like a firewall which protects the data on the computer.

How does a VPN work?

Typically, VPNs work this way; when a virtual point-to-point connection to a remote access server over the internet is initiated by a user, the server immediately answers the call and authenticates the caller. After authenticity is established, the server then transfers the data between the client and the private network. The data which is to be transmitted, in order to follow a point-to-point link, is then encapsulated and wrapped with a header. The header contains the routing information which makes sure that the data transmitted will reach its end-point. To imitate a private line, though the data traverses a public network, data is encrypted for confidentiality which means that even when in extreme cases when data is intercepted on shared or public networks, the data is indecipherable without the proper encryption keys.

How can I set-up my own VPN?

Setting up your own virtual network is relatively easy although a bit laborious. Although, no matter how lengthy the process may be, the benefits that it brings far outweigh the labor that you had. To setup your VPN, if you have a Windows server, takes a two-step process; the first step involves setting-up of the server computer while the second step focuses on the set-up process of the client computer.

 Step 1 : Setup process of the computer to share the files (server)

  •  You need to open your browser and login to www.whatismyip.com. It is important to make a note of your IP address that is provided by the website as it is needed to configure the client;
  •  Next, go to your Windows desktop page and click the “Start” button and then once the menu is presented, click “Run”;
  •  On the Run box, type the word “control” and then hit “OK”;
  •  By now, you should be in the Control Panel. Click the “Network and Internet Connections” found on the menu;
  •  On the next page, click “Network Connections”;
  •  On the succeeding page, click the option “Create a new connection” which should bring you the New Connection Wizard. To continue, click the “Next” tab found at the bottom of the box.
  •  On the next box, select the “Set up and advanced connection” button and then click “Next”;
  •  On the “Advanced Connection options”, choose the “Accept Incoming Connections” button and then click “Next”;
  •  On the “Devices for Incoming Connections” box, it is imperative that you do not select anything that is found in it. Simply continue to process by clicking “Next”;
  •  By now, you should be on the “Incoming Virtual Private Network (VPN) Connection box”. You need to select the “Allow virtual private connection” and then click “Next”;
  •  On the next box, you will be asked to select the users who you want to grant access. Simply put a check on the box before the name you choose. If the name is not found, click the “Add…” tab and add the user by following the instructions.
  •  Next, it is important that you do not change anything that is found on the “Networking Software” box. To continue, click “Next”, which should bring you to the “Completing the New Connection Wizard”;
  •  To complete the first step, click the “Finish” tab at the bottom of the box.

 Step 2 involves setting up the client computer or the computer that will access the network

  •  On your desktop page, click the “Start” button and then on the menu, select the “Run” option;
  •  On the Run box, type the word “control” and then click “Ok”;
  •  Click the “Network and Internet Connections” found on the menu;
  •  On the next page, click “Network Connections”;
  •  On the succeeding page, click the option “Create a new connection” which should bring you the New Connection Wizard. To continue, click the “Next” tab found at the bottom of the box.
  •  On the next box, select the “Connect to the Network at my workplace”” button and then click “Next”;
  •  Choose the “Virtual Private Network connection” button and then click “Next”;
  •  On the Connection Name box, type the name of the connection and the click “Next”;
  •  On the following box, type the name of your IP address, the one that you got from www.whatismyip.com, and then click “Next”;
  •  Clicking the “Finish” button on the last box should complete the whole process.

What are the advantages of using VPN?

Aside from being able to securely access your files from anywhere around the world, VPN also brings along with it other benefits. Among these are:

  •  VPN brings enhanced security as data is encrypted.
  •  You can remotely control your files from virtually anywhere.
  •  VPN allows you to share your files to those who you want only.
  •  It cost-saving as it eliminates the need to be on-site to manage and share the files.

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