How to set up PPTP VPN on Windows 7

Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP) is one the common protocols for implementing a Virtual Private Network (VPN). PPTP has been packaged with versions of Microsoft Windows since Windows 95. The protocol is also supported by OS X, Android, iOS, many mobile phones, and various flavors of UNIX / Linux. Because so many devices have built-in PPTP support, it has been a popular protocol choice for VPNs.

However, the protocol has multiple known, and serious security vulnerabilities. Hence, it is no longer considered secure. Most VPN providers will recommend any user concerned about privacy and security to use an alternate protocol. PPTP still remains useful for bypassing regional content blocking (geo-blocking).

PPTP VPN Windows setup

1. Open the Start menu and type “vpn” in the search box.

Search results.

2. Click on the “Set up a virtual private network (VPN) connection”.

createconnection
Server information.

3. Now it is time to enter in the server information and create your connection.  In the Internet address: box you will need to enter your server’s hostname or IP address. e.g. “vpn.bestvpnz.com“, or “192.184.84.245“.

In the Destination name: box you should enter a unique name for your new connection. This is for your reference and will show up later in the “Connect to network” screen.

Ensure that the Don’t connect now; just set it up so I can connect later box is checked. We just want to set up the connection at this time.

When you are finished, click the “Next” button to continue.

User credentials.

4. The next step is to enter your VPN username and password. Enter your VPN username in the User name: box, and your VPN password in the Password: box. You may optionally check the Remember this password box and your password will be stored on your computer so you do not have to enter it again. It is important to note that while convenient, storing your password does open you up to the possibility of having your password cracked should an attacker gain access to your credentials file or computer.

When you are finished entering your credentials, click on the “Create” button.

5. You will now see a window showing that your connection has been created.

Connection is ready.
Connection is ready, but not quite.

To continue this tutorial go ahead and click the “Close” button.

6. Click on the network icon in the System tray.  Your new connection should be visible in the list that pops up.  Right click on your new connection and select Properties.

Network connections.
Network connections.

When the Properties window opens, select the Security tab.

Network properties "Security" tab.
Network properties “Security” tab.

Click on the Type of VPN: pulldown menu and select Point to Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP).

There are other options that you may or may not need to set depending on your VPN providers setup. Generally, you can go with the default values unless there is an issue connecting. Then you might need to verify your setup with your providers instructions.

Connection properties.
Connection properties.

Options you may want to look at are the Data encryption: pulldown menu, and the authentication protocols. Password Authentication Protocol (PAP) will send your username and password in clear text, i.e. unencrypted. This opens your credentials to being sniffed over the Internet and is not suggested to be used.

Challenge Handshake Authentication Protocol (CHAP) and Microsoft CHAP Version 2 (MS-CHAPv2) are more secure authentication protocols, but they both have been shown to be vulnerable to attacks. Again, if you are concerned about security or privacy it is recommended that you use a secure protocol such as OpenVPN.

One other settings area you might want to look at is under the Networking tab.

Connection Properties Networking tab.
Connection Properties Networking tab.

Few Internet Service Providers (ISPs) support Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6) and even fewer VPN providers support IPv6.  If you do not use IPv6 it is recommended that you uncheck the Internet Protocol Version 6 (TCP/IPv6) box.

7. Now it is time to connect using your new connection profile. Click on the network icon in the System tray. Your connection profiles will pop-up. Click on the profile you want to use and click the Connect button.

Network profiles.
Network profiles.

This will bring up one more window. Click the Connect button on this window and your PPTP connection will initiate.

Connect to network profile.
Connect to network profile.

If everything went OK, you will see a message that you are now connected to your new network profile. If you have any problems, you can refer to your VPN provider’s support section for provider specific instructions and troubleshooting.

You can verify your connection through an IP based geolocation service such as IP-API.com. These services should report your IP and location to be that of your VPN providers server.


  • Since PPTP is not a secure protocol it is suggested to use OpenVPN instead.
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My hacking career began at age 12, when my father brought home a Sinclair ZX-81 computer kit and a lifelong fascination with computing was born. I became a privacy and security advocate after learning of the US Government's criminal investigation against Phil Zimmermann. Years later I found myself in Silicon Valley being paid to hack Phil's PGP code. I soon tired of the rat race and moved to the Northwoods of Minnesota where I have over 2 million acres of protected wilderness to roam. Here I indulge in my passions for wilderness and technology and as an advocate for computer security and privacy.

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