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How to manually set up a VPN on any device

We look at the various ways you can manually set up a VPN across all platforms - including Android, iOS, Mac, Chrome OS, and Linux.
April 4, 2019

Most premium VPN service providers offer platform-specific clients or apps that can be downloaded to quickly and simply connect to a server. However, there are a few situations in which you may need to manually configure and set up a VPN, such as when using a system that doesn’t allow third-party app installations, when remotely connecting to an office network, or if it’s just something you prefer.

All VPN services or your site administrator will provide the relevant information you need – specific server, remote ID, username, password, and more. Once you’re armed with these details, here’s what you need to do to manually set up a VPN on all devices!


  • Unlock your device.
  • Go to Settings.
  • Tap on Network & Internet.
  • Tap on Advanced.
  • Select VPN.
  • Then tap on the “+” icon at the top right corner of the screen.
  • You will now be able to create and edit a VPN profile. Use the information provided to you by the network administrator or VPN service provider and tap on Save.
  • To connect to the VPN, return to the VPN settings page and tap on the VPN service you want to connect to.
  • You can also tap on the gear icon next to the VPN service name and enable the “Always-on VPN” option to have the device be connected to the VPN at all times.

Note: This setup guide is based on Android 9.0 Pie running on a Pixel device. Your Settings menu may be slightly different for you, but the way to manually set up a VPN will largely be the same. If you run into any issues, please mention your device model in the comments section below and we’ll do our best to help you out. 

iOS (iPhones and iPads)

iPhone XS Camera
  • Unlock your device.
  • Open Settings.
  • Tap on General.
  • Select VPN.
  • Tap on Add VPN Configuration.
  • Add all the required information, including the VPN protocol, the VPN settings (remote ID, server), and authentication login info.
  • Once completed, tap on Done to save the profile.
  • Go back to the VPN page and now you can easily enable or disable the VPN connection by using the slider toggle.


  • Click on the Apple menu (Apple icon).
  • Go to System Preferences. 
  • Click Network. 
  • Click on the “+” icon in the list on the left of the Network page.
  • Click on the Interface menu that pops up.
  • Choose VPN.
  • Go through the different sections and add the relevant information. First, select VPN Type, choose the VPN protocol, add a name, and click on Create. You can then enter the server address, authentication and login info, and any additional settings that the network administrator might have given.
  • Click Apply and then select OK. 
  • To connect to the VPN, go to System Preferences > Network, click on the VPN service name and click on Connect. 
  • Alternatively, you can select Show VPN status in menu bar and use the VPN status icon to quickly connect to the VPN network.

Windows 10

Dell XPS 13 2019
  • Click on the Cortana search bar at the bottom and type VPN. 
  • Click on the result (should be the top or close to it) that says Change virtual private networks (VPN). 
  • Alternatively, you can go to Settings > Network & Internet and click on VPN in the left menu.
  • Click on Add a VPN connection. 
  • Change the VPN Provider section to Windows (built-in) and fill out the rest of the form with the relevant information that you should have available from the network administrator or VPN service provider.
  • To connect to the VPN, click on the Wi-Fi icon in the system tray and select the VPN connection you have created.


  • Open the Activities overview and start typing Network. 
  • Click on Network. 
  • At the bottom of the list on the left, click on the “+” icon to add a new connection.
  • In the interface list that comes up, select VPN. 
  • Select the kind of VPN connection and fill in the relevant details.
  • Press Add once you’re done.
  • After the setup is complete, open the system menu at the right side of the top bar. Click on VPN and select Connect. 

Chrome OS

  • Click on your account photo in the bottom-right corner of the screen.
  • Open Settings.
  • Select Add connection in the Network section.
  • Click Add OpenVPN/L2TP.
  • Type the info required into the form that pops up and select Connect.
  • You may also need to install server and user certificates before you can manually set up a VPN. All the required information should be available from the network administrator or the VPN provider.

A VPN (virtual private network) is quickly becoming an essential part of our Internet browsing experience. Be it to keep your online activity protected, safely connect to and use public Wi-Fi networks, connect to an office network, or even to save some money, there are many reasons why we should all look into subscribing to a VPN service.

Looking for excellent VPN services? Don’t forget to check out our VPN reviews for ExpressVPNNordVPNSaferVPNIPVanishPureVPN, StrongVPN, and CyberGhost VPN, and stay tuned for many more t to come!