What is a VPN client?
How does a VPN client work?
Your VPN client uses VPN protocols to create an encrypted “tunnel” between your device and your chosen VPN server. From that point on, all online traffic between you and the VPN server is encrypted and shielded from prying eyes. The VPN server decrypts the received data and safely passes it on to its final destination (such as a website.)
Why use a VPN client?
Installing dedicated VPN software can let you easily manage the extra perks that come with your VPN subscription. For example, the NordVPN app has advanced options such as Threat Protection, Dark Web Monitor, Meshnet, and other handy features.
Want to hop from Berlin to New York with the click of a button? You can do that with a VPN client. No need to manually type out commands and look up VPN server addresses — with the NordVPN app, you simply tap a pin on the map.
How many VPN servers are available in France? How busy are they? Without a VPN client, you would have to hunt down this information on the web or by using cumbersome text commands. A VPN client gives you everything you need to know.
VPN clients let users easily sign in to their VPN service — it’s just like logging in to any other app. Thanks to the app’s graphical user interface, you don’t need to navigate the command prompt to access what you paid for or switch accounts.
Split tunneling lets specific apps access the internet directly without turning off your VPN — but it can be very tricky to set up without visual cues. A VPN client can easily pick and choose apps to exclude from the secure VPN tunnel.
Types of VPN clients
There are three main types of VPN clients: system-based, protocol-based, and service-based.
Some operating systems offer native VPN clients, letting users establish a VPN connection without having to download any third party software. This option is available on many Windows, macOS, Linux, and Android systems.
Several VPN protocol developers (such as OpenVPN and SoftEther) have created their own VPN clients. These clients are not tied to any single VPN provider — but they also typically only support VPN connections using the developer’s own VPN protocol.
Technical specifications for VPN clients
Check out what your devices need to run NordVPN smoothly.
Free vs. paid VPN client
There are plenty of free VPNs out there — so why choose a paid VPN instead of a free one?
If you’re using a free VPN to improve your online privacy, you might in fact be doing the opposite.
Remember — free VPN providers have to pay their bills just like everyone else. Free VPNs may try to cut costs by supporting only a few servers, forced to operate under heavy loads and being unable to provide a stable connection. In rare cases, free VPNs have even resorted to selling their clients’ data or using their devices as exit nodes for paying VPN users.
Paid VPN providers like NordVPN offer both speed and security. With thousands of servers in all corners of the world, you’re bound to find one close by for the best possible VPN speed. And with bulletproof VPN encryption algorithms and useful extra features (like Threat Protection and Dark Web Monitor), the NordVPN app stands out among the best VPN clients.
Should you configure your VPN manually?
Setting up an OpenVPN connection on your device manually can let you access the most advanced VPN connection settings. These settings may be hidden by the developers of VPN clients to prevent inexperienced users from compromising their own security.
So where should you start? Download the OpenVPN configuration files and follow our guides on how to set up OpenVPN on your devices. If you’re having trouble with the manual setup, simply contact our support for help.
VPN solutions for business
Looking for a VPN for your organization? Look no further. The world’s fastest VPN service offers optimized VPN solutions for business and teams.
Check out NordLayer — an easy-to-use cybersecurity tool providing safe remote network access for everyone in your team.
Frequently asked questions
Where can I find NordVPN service updates?
Which routers support a VPN client?
Do I need a VPN client or a VPN server?
Setting up your own VPN server lets you choose where the remote exit node will be located. However, it is a complicated process — and without additional VPN servers, you will only be able to route your traffic through and change your IP to that particular exit node.
A VPN client from a reputable VPN provider like NordVPN, on the other hand, lets you skip the difficult setup process and offers more VPN server options — but the catch is, you’re limited to locations that the provider has installed a VPN server in. VPN clients also give you access to additional features, such as NordVPN’s Threat Protection or Meshnet.
What should I do if my VPN client is not connecting?
First, try connecting to a different VPN server — if you can connect fine, the original server may simply be down for maintenance. If that doesn’t work, log out of your VPN app, then log back in again. If you still have trouble connecting, try uninstalling the VPN client, rebooting your device, and installing the app again.
If the problem still persists, have a look at our article on what to do if your VPN is not connecting or contact our friendly customer support team for assistance.