If you want to setup VPN at home or at your office you need to know what a VPN is. A VPN (Virtual private network) is a network that is used to connect multiple computers together using the internet. Once you have setup VPN the benefits of a VPN are that the connection is safe and encrypted. This kind of network connectivity is mostly used by businesses that want to allow their home workers to connect to the company servers of office computer.
That’s not to say it is just for large businesses you can also setup VPN at home to connect your home computer and office computer together to share files.
In this tutorial we are going to look at the steps to setup VPN in windows 7. This will allow you to connect your home computer to your office computer via a home VPN.
Setup VPN – Setting up a windows 7 machine for incoming VPN (the office computer)
Note: Because of the number of screenshots in this article showing how to setup VPN we have chosen to link to them and open them in a new window/tab rather than paste them directly into post to make the post shorter and easier to read.
- Firstly to setup VPN we need to go to control panel and then networking and sharing. Once on the networking and sharing page on the left hand side select the option that says Change adapter settings (Screenshot 1) on the new window select File and then choose New incoming Connection (Screenshot 2)
- You will then be asked who you want to be able to access this computer. Your best option here is to add someone so you can setup a new account for VPN access. Click the add someone button (Screenshot 3).
- You then get a small box that allows you to create a new user. Give the account a name and password and be sure to remember it as you will need this later and press OK (Screenshot 4)
- You should now see the new user in the list of allowed users. Ensure there is a tick in the user you just created and click next (Screenshot 5) On the next screen tick the box that says through the internet and click next (Screenshot 6)
- On the next screen you select the connection. We want the internet protocol version 4. Ensure there is a tick in this one and press allow access (Screenshot 7) You will then see the final screen notifying you that the connection is set (Screenshot 8)
- If you now go back to your network connections you will see a new incoming connections box. Whenever anyone is connected to the computer you will see the numbers here i.e. 1 client connected (Screenshot 9)
Setting a static IP address and configuring your router for VPN
To setup VPN correctly we need to set a static IP address now for the office computer so that we can forward the VPN traffic to it. You can learn how to set a static IP address here.
We also need to set port forwarding on our router. The port we need to forward is TCP 1723 and that port is to be forwarded to the IP address of the office computer we have already setup.
Connecting to a VPN (outgoing) in Windows 7
- To setup VPN for the outgoing machine first we need to open the network and sharing centre from the control panel (highlighted red) and then select setup a new connection or network. Screenshot 1 Screenshot 2
- On the new screen that opens we want the third option Connect to a workplace and then select Use my internet connection(VPN) Screenshot 3 Screenshot 4
- You will then be asked to enter the address of the network you want to connect to so you need to have this beforehand. You can find this by going to Google and typing what’s my IP. At the top of the search results you will see a message that says “Your public IP address is xx.xx.xx.xx” This is your IP address that you should put into the address box. Remember it’s the address of the server you want (office computer) not the one you are setting the outgoing on.
- Tick the box that says Don’t connect now. (Screenshot 5)
- On the next screen you will enter the login details for the server (office computer) As you will remember we setup a new account on the office machine to use the VPN. Enter these details here and select remember password. Click Create. (Screenshot 6)
- The new screen should show the connection as created and you have now setup VPN on the outgoing machine(Screenshot 7)
Connecting and mapping network drive
Setting up a network drive to complete your home VPN can be done in a couple of steps.
- Go to computer and on the top bar you will see an option that says Map Network Drive press this (Screenshot 1)
- On the next window enter the IP address of the office computer (The one you set as static in an earlier step). Select a drive letter and select finish. (Screenshot 2)
If you go back to your computer screen you should see a new drive (drive Y for example) This is the mapped network drive and should give you direct access to any shared files on the office computer. You may initially only see the public folder this is because you have to share more folders on the office computer if you want to access them on your home VPN. You have now succesfully setup VPN.