How to Manually Configure and Install a VPN on Windows 11

Laptop on a table with VPN Settings icon next to it
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How to Manually Set Up A VPN Connection on Windows 11 - A Quick Guide

Using a VPN adds a layer of security to your Windows 11 experience. While setting up a VPN using a VPN provider’s software client is easy, there are occasions when you’ll have to manually set it up.

Luckily, this is a fairly straightforward process. Follow the steps below to easily set up a VPN connection on Windows 11:

  1. Get valid login credentials and that you’re using an account with administrator permissions
  2. Click on the Start button and search for Settings
  3. Open the Settings menu and find the Network and Internet Icon
  4. Look for the VPN button and click on it
  5. Click on Add VPN
  6. Fill in the necessary details and click save. Your VPN connection has now been configured.

If you’d rather just use a VPN provider’s software client to manage your VPN connections, we’d recommend picking up a Surfshark subscription. It’s blazing fast and has an easy-to-use software client.

Read the rest of the article for more information on the different ways to set up a VPN connection on Windows 11.

VPN shieldWindows 11 is the latest version of Microsoft’s operating system. It’s packed with some great features and visual changes that make it a pleasure to use. However, like previous iterations, it’s not fully secure. Using a VPN is highly recommended if you want to protect your privacy on Windows 11.

Like Windows 10, there are many ways to set up a VPN on Windows 11. If you’ve purchased a subscription from a leading VPN service provider, like Surfshark, then it’s best to just use the software or app they provide.

However,  if you want to connect to a dedicated VPN server, as is often the case for enterprise users, you’ll have to manually configure the VPN on Windows 11. This is usually the case with VPNs provided at workplaces or used by corporate networks.

While manually configuring a VPN may sound daunting, it’s a fairly simple process. In this article, we walk you through the steps involved in manually setting up a VPN connection on Windows 11. We also explain how you can easily set up a VPN that does come with a software client.

Step 1: Get the Correct Login Details

When adding a VPN connection on Windows 11, you’ll be asked to fill in the relevant login details. These usually consist of a username, password, and server address or name. Now, you’re probably wondering where you can find these details. Well, that depends on the kind of VPN connection you’re setting up.

If it’s a VPN connection for work, then your boss, company intranet site, or administrative section probably has the required log-in details. However, if it’s a VPN for private use, then the details are the same as those you used when creating an account or purchasing a subscription. Once you’ve got the necessary log-in details, proceed to the next step.

Of course, if you don’t have a VPN account yet, then you’d have to sign up with a reliable service provider and get a subscription. We’d recommend getting a subscription with Surfshark, as it’s fast, secure, and pretty affordable!

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Step 2: Use a Windows 11 Account with Administrator Rights

You should ensure that you’re using a Windows 11 account with administrator rights. Only these accounts are authorized to add and modify VPN settings on Windows 11. If you’re setting up a VPN on your own device, then it’s likely your account already has user rights.

If you’re using a guest account on someone else’s device, then you may need to ask them to grant you admin rights. If it’s a work computer, make sure you get authorization from your IT department.

Step 3: Add a VPN Profile Using Windows 11 Settings

Once you’re using an account with admin rights, do the following:

  1. Click on the Start button, which should be in the center of your taskbar
  2. In the Start menu, search for Settings and press Enter. This should bring up the Settings menu
  3. From the menu on the left-hand side, select Network and Internet. You should see the following screen:

Screenshot of Windows 11, Network and Internet settings window

  1. Click on “VPN,” which should bring you to the screen shown below

Screenshot of Windows 11, VPN Settings menu

  1. Click on the “Add VPN” button. This will bring up the following form:

Screenshot of Windows 11, Add a VPN connection window

  1. Fill in the necessary details in the spaces provided in the dialog box.
    1. For “VPN provider,” it’s usually best to stick with Windows (built-in).
    2. The Connection name should be one that lets you easily identify what the VPN connection is for, so “VPN-work” or “VPN-private” are good options.
    3. For “VPN Type,” choose Automatic from the drop-down menu. However, if you know the exact protocol you’d like to use, then select that one. Windows 11 supports virtually all leading VPN protocols, such as IKEv2, L2TP, and PPTP.
    4. Type of sign-in info lets you specify the way you wish to log in. Username and password are the most common options.
    5. Input the log-in details obtained in step 1 and click Save. It’s advisable to leave the “Remember my sign-in” info box unchecked if you’re setting up the VPN on someone else’s device.
  2. Your VPN connection has been set up and is ready to be used!

Step 4: Connect to the VPN Server

Now that you’ve successfully configured a VPN profile, the next step is to connect to the VPN server. Here’s how you can do this:

  1. Open the Settings menu
  2. Select Network and Internet
  3. Click on VPN, which’ll bring you back to the screen we had shown above
  4. You should be able to see the VPN profile you had added on this screen.
  5. Click on the “Connect” button and wait for a few minutes
  6. You’ve now successfully connected to a VPN server!

To check if you’re connected to a VPN server, you can hover your mouse pointer over the Network icon located on the right side of your taskbar. It should show the VPN connection’s name if you’re successfully connected.

A quicker way to connect to a VPN is by using the quick settings menu. This can be accessed by pressing the Windows Key + A or clicking on the network, battery or volume icons in the taskbar. In the quick settings menu, you should see a VPN button/tile. Clicking on it will bring up a list of the different VPN profiles you’ve added. Tap on the Connect button next to the VPN connection you’d like to use.
Screenshot of Windows 11, Quick taskbar settings
Note: The VPN tile isn’t listed for everyone in the quick settings menu. You can add the VPN tile as a quick setting by bringing up the menu and clicking on the small pencil icon in the bottom left.

Installing a VPN Client on Windows 11

The above steps are useful when you need to connect to a VPN without its own software client. However, if you’re using a premium VPN, like Surfshark, then it’s best to use the VPN service provider’s software client.

By using the client, you can avoid the hassle of manually configuring a VPN. Moreover, you can also easily use different protocols and connect to servers located in several different nations. This can be particularly useful when trying to access geo-blocked content.

The software client also comes with great security features, such as a kill switch and MultiHop connections, which lets you route your traffic through two different servers. We’ve provided a step-by-step guide on setting up a VPN connection using a software client on Windows 11 below:

Installing a VPN on Windows 11: A step-by-step guide

How to install VPN software on your desktop, 6 steps infographic

  1. Create an account on the website of the VPN provider you wish to use. You can visit Surfshark to register an account.
  2. After you’ve created an account and purchased a subscription, download the VPN app for the device you want to use it on (in this case, a Windows device). Most leading VPNs support the most popular operating systems, such as macOS, Android, iOS, and Windows.
  3. Click on the downloaded installation file and follow the steps that appear on the screen to easily install the VPN app on your device.
  4. Log in to the VPN app using the credentials you entered when creating an account in step 1.
  5. If you want to use the VPN for a specific purpose, like watching Netflix, catching a UFC fight, or unblocking Disney Plus, then you’ll need to select a suitable server location. For example, you can access Netflix’s American library, which is one of the largest, by selecting a server located in the US.
  6. The final step is to turn on the VPN. This can be usually be done by clicking the large “turn on” VPN button. In fact, most VPN providers will automatically establish a connection with the server you’ve selected in the previous step.

Benefits of Using a VPN with Windows 11

Having gone through this article, you may be wondering why you should use a VPN with Windows 11 in the first place. As we alluded to earlier, using a VPN keeps your information private and secure. However, there are several other benefits that come with using a VPN. These are:

  • A VPN encrypts your internet activity which helps prevent snooping and surveillance by your ISP, government surveillance associations, or other malicious actors.
  • You can use public WiFi freely if you’re protected by a VPN.
  • VPNs allow users to download torrents and other files safely and anonymously.
  • You can change your IP address using a VPN. As a result, you can access blocked or censored content.
  • VPNs also offer greater security, especially when accessing sensitive information, such as your bank accounts.

If you’re doubting whether a VPN is the best choice for you, you can always try out one of these excellent free VPNs for PC to get started.

Setting up a VPN Connection on Windows 11: Final Thoughts

Setting up a VPN on Windows 11 is one of the best things you can do to secure your digital identity and personal information. Regardless of whether you set it up manually or use a software client, having a VPN connection brings many advantages and allows you to use the internet in a secure manner.

If you want in-built VPN functionality in the OS instead of having to install a separate software, this is the best way to go about it.

How to Manually Configure and Use a VPN on Windows 11: Frequently Asked Questions

Some of the most common questions about manually setting up a VPN connection Windows 11 are answered below. Please let us know if there are any questions that remain unanswered in the comments!

Yes, VPN connections work with Windows 11. A VPN encrypts your personal data and helps maintain privacy when using Windows 11. You can easily configure and install a VPN on Windows 11.

Follow the steps listed below to manually add a VPN connection on Windows 11:

  1. Open up the Settings by using the Start menu.
  2. Find Network and Internet in Settings and click on it.
  3. Click on the VPN icon in the Network and Internet menu.
  4. Click on “Add a VPN” and fill in the relevant details in the dialogue box that pops up.
  5. Click on “Save.”

You can easily connect to a VPN connection you’ve added using the following steps:

  1. Navigate to Network and Internet settings in the Windows Settings interface.
  2. Click on “VPN.”
  3. The VPN profiles you’ve previously added should be visible. Click on “Connect VPN” next to the one you want to use.
  4. You should now be connected to the chosen VPN server.
Tech journalist
Mohit is a legal and public policy researcher whose work focuses largely on technology regulation. At VPNOverview, he writes about cybersecurity, cryptocurrencies and sports events.