Xiaomi started as an underdog in 2010, fighting for its piece of the pie in the consumer electronics industry. And, in only eleven years, they became the youngest company on the 2021 Fortuna Global 500 list. What’s more, in the second quarter of 2021, Xiaomi even overtook Apple to become the world’s second most popular smartphone vendor and runner-up to Samsung. These facts, combined with the need for protection from invasion of privacy and malicious things making the rounds on the Internet, make learning how to add a VPN in Mi a rational decision. So, let’s jump straight in.
1. Add a VPN in Mi smartphone
First, we’ll cover the procedure of adding a VPN on Xiaomi Mi smartphones such as Xiaomi Mi A1, A2, A3, 10, 10 Lite, 11, 11i, etc. The instructions below will also work with their two other product lines, Redmi and Poco, as long as the device uses MIUI 9 and later. With that said, follow these steps to add a VPN in Mi smartphone using MIUI 12 on Android 11:
- Open Settings from the home screen.
- Find and tap on the option named Connection & sharing. On older versions of MIUI, this option is named Wireless & networks.
- Tap on VPN.
- Tap on Add VPN. If the option doesn’t exist, tap on the + sign at the bottom.
- Under “Name”, enter any name you wish.
- Under “Type”, enter a security protocol your VPN service suggested.
- Note. Unfortunately, due to Xiaomi’s limitations, you’ll most likely have to use PPTP, an outdated and less secure protocol. We suggest using method 3 for top security.
- Under “Server address“, enter the VPN server address as an IP address (22.214.171.124) or hostname (server.vpnservice.com).
- Make sure PPP encryption (MPPE) is toggled on.
- If your VPN provider provided a user name and password, toggle Show advanced options to on.
- Enter your username and password.
- Tap on the checkmark icon or OK in the top right corner.
- Go back to step 3, and toggle VPN to on to connect.
2. Configure a VPN on the Mi router
When you think of Xiaomi, laptops, smartphones, and home appliances might come to mind first. However, home routers are part of the Xiaomi consumer electronics offer too, and Xiaomi Mi WiFi Router 3 and XiaomiNet WiFi Router 4 are among the best-known representatives. With that said, there are 2 ways to add a VPN on the Mi router:
1. On the router
Here’s how configuring VPN settings on the Mi router itself works:
- Obtain the necessary manual configuration from your VPN provider.
- Note. Due to the current limitations of Mi router firmware, the configuration will include PPTP or L2TP security protocol with IPSec pre-shared key, alongside username and password. Again, consider method 3.
- Visit “http://miwifi.com” in your browser.
- If this is your first time, create a new password and jot it down so you don’t forget it. Otherwise, sign in with a password you created in the past.
- Click on the Advanced tab in the top right corner.
- Switch to the VPN tab below.
- Click on the Add service button.
- Fill in the personal information like in steps 5, 6, 8, and 11 in method 1.
- Click on the Save button.
- You’ll see your VPN profile in the table. Click on Connect in the “VPN” column.
- If successful, the button will change to “Connected”.
- Optional. We suggest you enable the Connect automatically when the device is on option to make your VPN always on.
Note. Some VPN providers recommend opening the QoS Traffic manager tab, clicking Change under “Internet bandwidth” and entering “999” under both Upload and Download. This will eliminate artificial Internet connection throttling.
2. Via the MiFi app
Don’t have access to your computer, or the URL refuses to work? Setting up VPN on a Mi router is possible using a Mi Wi-Fi app too:
- Download, install and open the Mi Wi-Fi app for Android or iOS.
- Log in to your Mi account or create a new one.
- Your Mi router will be detected by default. If asked, enter or set up a password for the router.
- Tap on Mi Router in the bottom left corner if it doesn’t redirect you automatically.
- Tap on the Toolbox tab in the bottom right corner.
- Select Settings from the list of options.
- Tap on Network settings then VPN settings.
- Tap on New VPN…
- Enter the VPN configuration details like in step 8 above.
- Tap on OK.
- VPN will now protect your Internet traffic.
3. Install a VPN application
If you don’t feel like configuring things manually, or feel safe using L2TP/IPSec or PPTP (NSA can allegedly break both), don’t fret. You can simply install a dedicated application your VPN provider offers. We demonstrated the procedure with one such provider with ways to set up ExpressVPN on Android. Follow the steps under the headline “Steps to Setup ExpressVPN Android App”. If the app isn’t on the Google Play Store, follow the instructions under the “Install ExpressVPN using APK” headline.