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Reading this tutorial will take longer than setting up and turning on your own private VPN

With the new Outline VPN, it’s never been easier or cheaper to secure your internet connection. Stop procrastinating and set it up now.

Jordan Krueger
Apr 11, 2018 · 10 min read

A quick introduction to VPNs

“Use a VPN!” You may have heard that frantic instruction lately? And it probably means nothing to you? Let’s demystify it, starting with the most basic reason you’d want to use a VPN: Public WiFi networks — like the kind you connect to at coffee shops, libraries, and airports — are not very secure.

So what really is a VPN?

A VPN is a server on the internet that you use to help make connecting to the internet more secure.

How can I start using a VPN?

There are lots of services out there that run VPNs you can buy access to. For $5 a month you can get access to a commercial VPN provider like NordVPN or Private Internet Access. But here’s the problem with them: You have no idea what they’re doing with your data.

Outline VPN changes everything!

  1. Set up is very fast and there is no maintenance
  2. You can have more people on one account for a much lower cost
  3. The VPN server is yours, so there’s less concern about a your data being monitored and sold
  1. Download, install, and run Outline Manager
  2. Download, install, and run Outline Client
  3. Push “connect.”

Anything I should know before I spend 10 minutes setting this up?

A few disclaimers to start: First, this tool was created by a Google subsidiary. This might make some people nervous because of Google’s history of using free services to gather marketing data. There’s less cause for concern because, unlike something like Gmail, you own the VPN server* and no data is flowing through Google. There’s no mechanism for them to collect data. We know this because all the programs in Outline are open source, which means that people who understand how these things work can — and have — look at the code itself to make sure there’s nothing in there that could be dangerous or harmful to users.

Let’s set up Outline

Open the Outline VPN website:

  1. Go to the Outline VPN website and download the Outline Manager program. Then install and run it. It’ll ask you to log in to your DigitalOcean account. Once you do, you’ll then be asked to authorize the connection between Outline and your DigitalOcean account — check the box and approve the connection.
  2. Select a server by choose the one closest to your home, or the location in the world you’ll most often turn on Outline VPN. After that, the setup process will run for about two minutes.
  3. Outline Manager will bring you to the VPN server management screen. You’ll now be given the option to connect your computer to the VPN; just follow the tooltip instruction in Outline Manager to download the Outline Client onto your computer — this tool sets up the secure VPN connection between your computer and the server you just set up.
  4. Back in the Outline Manager, you can also add other “keys.” The rule here is one person, one key. So if you have a spouse, or friend, or teammate you want to be able to use this, give them a key, and they can use that key on all of their devices (laptop/desktop, phone, tablet). Outline guides you through the process of creating new keys, and provides a handy template email that includes a link to instructions for each person you create keys for. You can rename each key in Outline Manager so you know who you gave it to.
The two Outline programs that will be installed on your computer once setup is complete.

What’s next?

Now you’re done! Use the Outline Client (you’ll see it in your toolbar) to connect to your VPN whenever you’re on a network you don’t trust.

Can you share this on Facebook, Twitter, and via email to help learn others about it?

Jordan Krueger

Written by

Organizer, activist, community builder. Director of Operations for CREDO Action at @CREDOMobile. Speaking only for myself here!