How to Connect a Mac to VPN

By Avery Martin

A Virtual Private Network creates an encrypted tunnel between two computers, enabling data to be transferred data. A VPN can help protect your data when you access public Wi-Fi or need to connect to a remote network. Businesses, universities and organizations often provide access to a VPN to protect communications and enable members to access resources securely. Connecting to a VPN provides users with access to folders, printers, hard drives and other shared resources on the network from any location.

Step 1

Select the "Apple" menu, click "System Preferences..." and select the "Network" option.

Step 2

Click the "+" button, click the "Interface" drop-down menu and choose "VPN" from the list.

Step 3

Select the "VPN Type" drop-down menu and choose "L2TP over IPSEC," "PPTP" or "Cisco IPSec." If you don't know which option to use, consult with the VPN provider. Optionally, click the "Service Name:" text field and input a name for the VPN service.

Step 4

Click the "Create" button to add the new VPN to your list of network options.

Step 5

Select the VPN from the list of options in the Network connection window. Complete the "Server Address:" and "Account Name:" fields with the information provided by your VPN provider.

Step 6

Click the "Authentication Settings..." button and provide the information given to you by the VPN provider and click "OK." You may need to enter a password, select a certificate or use another authentication method specified by your provider.

Step 7

Click the "Connect" button to connect to the VPN. Optionally, check the "Show VPN Status in Menu Bar" box to show an icon in the menu bar that indicates your connection status.

Tips & Warnings

  • Information in this article applies to Mac OS X Mavericks. It may vary slightly or significantly with other versions or products.