Have you bought a VPN subscription from a VPN provider, and wondered if there are some changes to make? Or, tried to build a VPN of your own? Maybe you even obtained a free VPN such as a community-driven Hola VPN extension for Chrome? First of all, the advertisements weren’t lying, using a VPN app often only requires you to click to connect, and you’re done. But what if you are the type of person who likes to tinker and customize? If so, this guide is for you. Here’s how to change a VPN and its most fundamental settings.
Why should you change a VPN?
Specific reasons for changing VPN could vary. But obviously, the overall reason is you are not satisfied with your current VPN service provider. Whether it is the features, performance, or the pricing, when you find it uncomfortable, switching VPN is a good idea.
Also, you might figure out that you want to switch to a premium VPN service from a free one (free vs paid VPN) to enjoy additional benefits. And if your current VPN doesn’t have a proper premium plan that could justify the pricing, you might want to switch.
Changing VPN settings directly
This is the base step if you want to apply modifications and don’t trust third-party software. Simply get the required information from the VPN service of your choice. Then, use our VPN settings for Windows and VPN configurations on Mac guides to enter them correctly.
Transition to another VPN provider
If you cancel a subscription and want to stop using the old VPN settings, you have two options:
- Use the guides above to either add a new VPN connection or edit the existing one. This gets progressively harder if you aren’t tech-savvy and need to configure something other than a well-known operating system, such as routers, NAS, your TV, etc.
- Visit the new provider’s official website. Look at their Download section. There, you can find a plethora of purpose-built applications you can download, install, run, and use effortlessly. Your browser is not excluded either, since you can install a VPN extension to Chrome, for example, NordVPN for Chrome. No configurations and no data entry.
Reasons to switch VPN server
For switching a VPN server, there are primarily two reasons.
- You want to change the location.
- The current server is not performant.
Because most VPN providers have hundreds of locations all across the globe, switching servers isn’t an issue. You can literally make the switch within a matter of seconds. There are usually no limits for how many times you can switch between the servers. So, you are free to test around and figure out the best VPN server locations for your requirements.
Switch a VPN server
We assume you bought a subscription plan and created an account already.
- Press the Windows key button on your keyboard to open the Start tab.
- Type ‘VPN settings’ and click on the option of the same name.
- There is a VPN connection with the name you chose (or the provider’s name automatically) underneath Add a VPN connection.
- Click on that connection.
- If the connection is already established, click on Disconnect.
It is recommended you kill your Internet browser and stop downloading so that your data doesn’t leak.
- Now, click on Connect.
- Click on the Apple menu in the top left corner.
- Choose System Preferences.
- From the list of options, click on Network.
- You’ll see connections in the menu on the left.
- Click on the VPN one.
- Click on Connect.
We’ll demonstrate the process of hiding your IP address with ExpressVPN by switching servers. The process is almost universal and can be used with any other provider.
- Launch the application for Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, or Android.
- If you are already connected, the button will be green (ON) and there will be a green shield behind it.
- Click (or tap) on the ON button until it turns to OFF.
- Instead of Smart Location, you can click on Choose Location and choose a server in a particular country.
- On mobile devices, tap on the three dots, then choose a specific location from there.
- Now, tap (or click) the OFF button and wait for it to turn green and become ON.
These steps are essential if you are looking to bypass the Netflix VPN block or a VPN block of any kind.
Why switch VPN protocol?
There may be several reasons why you might want to use a different protocol. Speed, security, compatibility, etc. are the most common one’s out of them. Most of the popular VPN providers allow you to select protocols on their VPN servers. The supported protocols might vary from VPN to VPN. As long as you go with a good service, you wouldn’t run into any issues.
Choose a different security protocol
Once again, you have two options. The second is more comprehensive than the first, though. Using a dedicated app gives you a chance to use proprietary security protocols, such as ExressVPN’s Lightway, or NordVPN’s NordLynx.
Refer to our section “Change VPN settings directly” and find the Protocols drop-down list. We recommend choosing L2TP over IPSec with certificate or with pre-shared key on Windows and Mac. On Mac, you can also use IKEv2 too.
Here’s how to do it in ExpressVPN on Windows/Mac/Linux.
- Launch the application.
- Click on the three parallel lines in the top left corner.
- Choose Options from the drop-down list.
- Switch from the General tab to the Protocols tab.
- By clicking on the circle in front of the security protocol, change from the default option, Automatic (Recommended).
- We recommend picking either L2TP – IPSec or OpenVPN UDP.
- Click on OK when you are done.
Tweak additional options
It is possible to make a VPN always ON so that you don’t have to worry whether you turned it on or not. Furthermore, you can change options that are universal for every premium VPN such as enabling a Network Lock (Kill Switch) or split-tunneling, and those specific, such as CyberSec (Ad-block), Double VPN, Multi-hop, Tor over VPN, Whitelister, obfuscated servers, dedicated servers, and many more. All of them will be located within the Options/Settings section of the premium VPN app.