At the most basic level, a VPN client is an application that encrypts your connection and reroutes your online traffic through a secure VPN server, shielding your activities from prying eyes. VPN providers often have their own VPN client software, designed to allow easy access to the provider’s VPN servers and offering advanced security features (like Threat Protection).
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 impregnable to outsiders. Once it receives your encrypted tada, the VPN server decrypts it and safely passes it on to its final destination (such as a website).
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 involving any third parties. This option is available on many Windows, macOS, and Linux computers as well as many Android devices.
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 usually only support VPN connections using the developer’s own VPN protocol.
Most VPN providers have their own VPN client apps. These VPN clients are configured to connect to the provider’s servers, let you freely choose between multiple VPN protocols, and usually offer extra security features (such as NordVPN’s Threat Protection or Meshnet).
Check out what your devices need to run NordVPN smoothly.
Application: Windows 7 Service Pack 1, Windows 8.1, Windows 10 (version 1607+), Windows 11;
OpenVPN client manual (the latest version): Windows 7, Windows 7 Service Pack 1, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows 10 (version 1507+), Windows 11;
OpenVPN manual (older version): Windows XP, Windows Vista;
IKEv2 manual: Windows 7, Windows 7 Service Pack 1, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows 10 (version 1507+), Windows 11;
Not supported: Anything older than Windows XP.
macOS manual: macOS 10.5+;
Not supported: Anything older than macOS 10.5.
Supported architectures: aarch64, armv5, armv7, i386, and x86_64;
Minimal kernel version: 3.7.0 for aarch64, 3.2.0 for other architectures;
Required dependencies: procps, iproute2 / iproute, iptables, xsltproc, systemd.
Application: iOS 11+;
OpenVPN client and IKEv2 manual: iOS 9+;
Not supported: Anything older than iOS 9.
Application: Android 6+;
OpenVPN client manual: Android 4.1+;
IKEv2 manual: Android 4.0.3+;
Not supported: Anything older than Android 4.0.3.
Plenty of free VPNs are available online — so why should you choose a paid one instead?
Most people turn to VPNs because they want to protect their privacy online. Unfortunately, by using free VPNs, you might be doing the opposite. Free VPN providers also have to make money. And they sometimes do it by selling their clients’ data or using their devices as exit nodes for paying VPN users. Because of the heavy loads and a weak network of servers, free VPNs are also often unstable and may terminate your connection at any moment.
Paid VPN providers, like NordVPN, offer speed and security. Thousands of servers in all corners of the world guarantee that there’s always one close by — so you always get the best speed possible. Paid VPN clients are also more reliable when it comes to your privacy. With bulletproof encryption algorithms and extra features like Auto-connect and Kill Switch, NordVPN guards your data 24/7.
Setting up the manual open-source code OpenVPN connection on your device manually can have a few benefits. For instance, you can tinker with more advanced settings according to your needs.
So, where should you start? Download the OpenVPN configuration files and follow our guides on how to set it up on your devices.
Having trouble with the manual setup? Contact our support for help!
Looking for VPN solutions for business? Look no further. The world’s fastest, most trusted VPN service now offers VPN services for organizations.
Check out NordLayer — an easy-to-use cybersecurity tool providing safe remote access for everyone in your network.
Pick the best NordVPN subscription to suit your digital security needs.
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