Remote Access

How to set up a VPN server on Windows 10

Do you need to create a VPN server? Here are the steps to set up a VPN server using the built-in Incoming Connection feature on Windows 10.

Windows 10 set up VPN server

A virtual private network (VPN) is one of the most popular methods to access files and resources (such as apps, intranet websites, and printers) using an encrypted connection from a remote location and through the internet.

Usually, companies use VPN to extend their private network to allow employees to access resources through a public network as if they were directly connected to the company’s network.

Windows 10, like other versions of the operating system, has a feature called “Incoming Connection” that enables you to set up a VPN server to connect remotely to your home network to access your computer’s files and peripherals, and even other computers in the network.

In this guide, you will learn how to set up a VPN server on your Windows 10 computer without the need for extra software on the Home or Pro version of the operating system.

How to find your IP address information

The first thing you need to know is the public IP address that has been assigned to you by your Internet Service Provider (ISP). You will need this information to contact your VPN server remotely.

To find out your current public IP address, use these steps:

  1. Open your web browser.

  2. Open search an engine like Google or Bing.

  3. Search “What’s my IP.”

  4. Confirm your public address information in the first result.

    Check public IP address
    Check the public IP address

If you are setting up the “Incoming Connection” feature in your home computer, you probably have a dynamic public IP address, which can change at any time. If this is the case, you will need to configure DDNS (Dynamic Domain Name System) in your router to avoid having to configure the VPN setup every time your public IP address changes.

Here are the instructions that will help you set up DDNS on your router. You can also visit your router’s manufacturer website for more assistance to configure DDNS.

How to set up port forwarding on router

To be able to connect through a public network (such as the internet) to your home VPN server, you will need to forward port 1723 (Point to Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP)) to allow VPN connections.

Here are the instructions that will help you set up port forwarding on your router. You can also visit your router’s manufacturer website for more specific assistance to configure Port Forwarding. 

How to set up a VPN server on Windows 10

Once you have set up DDNS to use a domain name instead of a complicated IP address and forwarded port 1723, you are now ready to set up a VPN server on your device.

To create a VPN server on Windows 10, use these steps:

  1. Open Control Panel on Windows 10.

  2. Click on Network and Sharing Center.

  3. Using the left pane, click the Change adapter settings link.

    Network and Sharing Center
    Network and Sharing Center
  4. On “Network Connections,” open the File menu pressing the Alt key, and select the New Incoming Connection option.

    New Incoming Connection option on Windows 10

  5. Check the users that you want to have VPN access to your computer, and click the Next button.

    VPN user setup on Windows 10

    Alternatively, you can click the Add someone button to create a new VPN user:

    Create new VPN user on Windows 10

  6. Check the Through the Internet option.

  7. Click the Next button.

    Through the Internet

  8. On the networking software page, select the Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) option.

  9. Click the Properties button.

    Set up VPN on Windows 10 TCP/IP properties

  10. Check the Allow callers to access my local area network option.

  11. Under the “IP address assignment” section, click the Specify IP addresses option and configure the number of clients allowed to access using a VPN connection.

    Incoming IP Properties for VPN access

    Quick tip: In this setting, you will be telling the number of users that can access the network by specifying an IP address range. It is recommended that you use a high-order range of IP addresses to help avoid conflicts in the network with the IPs distributed by your router. To find out the range of IP addresses you can use, navigate your router’s settings page and look for the DHCP settings.
  12. Click the OK button.

  13. Click the Allow access button.

  14. Click the Close button to complete setting up the VPN server on Windows 10.

    VPN setup completed on Windows 10

Once you complete the steps, the VPN server will be created, but it won’t work until you configure the firewall to allow connections.

How to allow VPN connections through firewall

While configuring the Incoming Connection feature on Windows 10 should automatically open the necessary Windows Firewall ports, you want to make sure the firewall is properly configured.

To allow VPN connections through the firewall on Windows 10, use these steps:

  1. Open Start on Windows 10.

  2. Search for Allow an app through Windows Firewall, and click the top result to open the experience.

  3. Click the Change settings button.

  4. Scroll down and make sure Routing and Remote Access is allowed on Private and Public.

    VPN server firewall configuration on Windows 10

  5. Click the OK button.

After you complete the steps, the Windows 10 VPN server will now be able to receive connections remotely from other computers.

How to set up a VPN connection on Windows 10

Once you finish setting up the VPN server on Windows 10, you will need to configure the devices that can remotely access the local network. You can set up any device and phone (including Android and iPhone). Here are the instructions to set up a VPN connection on Windows 10.

After adding a VPN connection on your computer, you have to adjust the settings with these steps:

  1. Open Control Panel.

  2. Click on Network & Internet.

  3. Click on Network and Sharing Center.

  4. Click the Change adapter settings link from the left pane.

  5. Right-click the VPN adapter and select the Properties option.

    VPN Connection properties

  6. In the General tab, make sure you are using the correct domain you created while configuring DDNS — or at least you are using the correct public IP address.

    VPN Connection address properties

  7. Click on the Security tab.

  8. Use the “Type of VPN” drop-down menu and select the Point to Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP) option.

  9. Use the “Data encryption” drop-down menu and select the Maximum strength encryption (disconnect if server declines) option.

    VPN Connection Security options on Windows 10

  10. Click the OK button.

  11. Click on the Networking tab.

  12. Uncheck the Internet Protocol Version 6 (TCP/IPv6) option.

  13. Check the Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) option.

  14. Select the Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) option.

  15. Click the Properties button.

    VPN Connection Networking options on Windows 10

  16. Click the Advanced button.

    VPN Connection TCP/IP properties on Windows 10

  17. Clear the “Use default gateway on remote network” option.

    Stop internet traffic through VPN connection

    Important: We are disabling this option to prevent your web traffic from going through the remote connection, which can slow down the internet experience. However, if you are looking to access the internet through a VPN connection, then do not change this last setting.
  18. Click the OK button.

  19. Click the OK button again.

  20. Click the OK button once more.

  21. Open Settings.

  22. Click on Network & Internet.

  23. Click on VPN.

  24. Select the VPN connection option and click the Connect button.

    Windows 10 remote connection using VPN
    Windows 10 remote connection using VPN

While there are many solutions to allow users to connect remotely to a private network using a VPN connection, you can set up your own server with the tools built within Windows 10 without the need for extra software.

Also, one of the best benefits of setting up a VPN server on your Windows 10 PC is that it’s not only secure and reliable, but it’s a great alternative for users who are still skeptical about cloud services to store their data. Even more, through a virtual private network, you can even access your device using the remote desktop feature on Windows 10.

Update March 1, 2021: This guide was originally published in May 2016 and revised in March 2021 for the latest version of Windows 10.