How to turn your Mac into a VPN secured WiFi router

Security and privacy can’t be taken for granted, particularly when you are connected to the internet. In order to enhance the security of your online activities, using a VPN is the most practical solution. You can subscribe to a VPN service from a reliable provider. This solution will keep your internet connection safer and most VPN providers have dedicated clients for mobile devices and computers. These dedicated clients make the set up process very simple. However, if you want to enjoy the protection of a VPN on other internet enabled devices such as gaming consoles and streaming boxes, things get slightly more complicated. We’ll go through the alternatives that can be considered.

ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN is one of the most popular VPN providers available and it is easy to see why. They offer incredible speeds, reliable performance, an extensive network of servers, high security and all the features needed to protect your data and enjoy online freedom. ExpressVPN is also a great option to enjoy the advantages of a VPN on devices like Roku, Amazon Fire TV, gaming consoles and more. This is due to the fact that ExpressVPN gives you the chance of using a VPN-secured router and dedicated apps for this purpose. It is possible to use the ExpressVPN router app on a compatible router.

Alternatively, you can purchase a router that is already configured with the VPN service. The router app is included with the subscription to ExpressVPN and it suitable for Linksys router models such as the WRT1900AC 13J1 and the WR1900AC 13J2. The ExpressVPN router app makes things simple thanks to its user-friendly interface that gives you greater control over the settings and easy access to the servers available. ExpressVPN has over 1500 servers in 94 countries and it doesn’t keep logs of your online activities. When you subscribe to their service, you get a 30-day money back guarantee.

Setting up a virtual router on a Macbook

While buying a pre-configured router can be a practical option, but there are other options available. You can turn your Macbook into a VPN secured router to support all your devices. Following a few steps, you will be able to enjoy security and flexibility in your entire network, using only one VPN connection.

  1. The first thing to do is to connect the Mac to your modem. Install the VPN client of your choice on your Mac.
  2. Set up the Mac to share the VPN connection. The mac’s WiFi needs to be configured to host a wireless network.
  3. Now you just need to connect all your devices to the wireless network hosted by your Mac. That is all. In only a few simple steps, you will be able to get all the benefits of a VPN across all your devices, including gaming consoles, TV boxes and more. Just keep in mind that to be able to share your Mac’s VPN connection via WiFi, you will have to connect your Mac to the the internet using an ethernet cable so that it doesn’t rely on the WiFi connection. After connecting the cable, you will be able to configure the VPN secured internet connection.

Set the VPN

Check if there is an internet sharing option in your VPN client software. If there is, follow the instructions to set it up to share the VPN from your device. Most VPN providers have software for Mac, but if the service you have chosen doesn’t have one, you can configure the VPN manually using the below steps.

  1. Find the menu along the top of the screen on your Mac screen. There is a small Apple logo in the top left corner of the menu.
  2. Click on the small logo, this will show a system menu where you can select System Preferences.
  3. Click the Network icon in System Preferences. Then click on the + sign in the Network window. This is located at the bottom of the left panel. Once you click on it, you can add a new service.
  4. Select the below options in the pop-up window.

Interface: VPN
VPN Type: L2TP over IPSec
Service Name: Select a name for your VPN connection
Once you have selected these options, click Create

Configure your VPN

1. To configure your VPN, a username, password and a server address are required. In addition, you may need an IPSec key (or Shared Key), but this depends on the VPN provider’s settings. This information can be obtained from the VPN provider and it is usually on their website, under the instructions for manual configuration. You may also find a list of servers available. You will need to enter the information below.

Configuration: Default
Server Address: the address of the server you wish to connect to
Account Name: username
Encryption: Automatic (128 bit or 40 bit)
The box next to “Show VPN status in menu bar” should be checked so that you can see the status of the VPN connection.

2. Now you need to click on Authentication Settings. Enter your password in the box and the IPSec key in the box that says “Shared Secret” under Machine Authentication. Click OK.

3. The next step is to click on Advanced. Check the box for “Send all traffic over VPN connection” and click OK.

4. To save all the settings, click Apply and then click the Connect button to connect top the VPN. Once you are connected to a VPN server, you just have to set up your VPN for sharing. Go back to the System Preferences menu and click on Sharing.

5. Select Internet Sharing from the left panel in the Sharing menu. You will see the Internet Sharing options on the right side of the screen. You can set the below settings:

6. Share your connection from: (the VPN PPTP connection you previously created). Check the box for WiFi next to the option that says “To computers using”.

7. Next, select WiFi options and enter the below configurations:

Network Name: Select a network name or SSID
Channel: leave this as default
Security: WPA2 Personal
Password: choose a password
Verify: enter your password again
Click OK

Start Internet Sharing

  1. Check the box next to Internet Sharing, in the Sharing menu. A prompt will appear and you will be asked to turn on Internet Sharing, then click Start.
  2. Once Internet Sharing is active, you will see a green light next to “Internet Sharing: On”.
  3. In your menu bar, two new icons will appear. The first one lets you see the status of your VPN connection and the second one displays the Internet Sharing status.

VPN secured router

When you click on the WiFi icon, you will notice that it will stop searching for available WiFi signals and it will simply let you know that the WiFi internet sharing is active. You can connect your devices to the WiFi router just like you would do with any other WiFi, using the SSID and password entered into the WiFi settings screen.

In order to stop Internet Sharing, or stop using your Mac computer as a VPN router, you just need to go back to the System Preferences window and select the Sharing icon once more. In the sharing window, you can uncheck the box that appears next to Internet Sharing. To disconnect your VPN, just go to System Preferences, then Network and click the Disconnect button.

The above setup is the most simple way to set up your Mac as a VPN router. It should work, regardless of the VPN service you are using. However, you would need to check if you can connect when you click the Connect button in the Advanced Network settings. If it is not possible to establish a connection, you will need to verify the username, password and the IPSec key obtained from the VPN provider. It is advisable to connect only a few devices to the VPN wireless network at the start. You can add more devices as you go and if you notice any performance issues or slow speeds, try disconnecting devices that you don’t need or connect to a different VPN server.