Mac operating systems have built-in support for connecting to the most common types of virtual private networks. If you need to make sure that your Mac is automatically reconnected to your VPN service or connect to an OpenVPN VPN, you need a third-party application. This connection process is very similar whether you are using Android, iOS, Windows, or any other OS, and macOS offers a menu bar icon for controlling the virtual private network connection. In this blog, TechNinjaPro will discuss how to connect your Mac to any VPN service.
Use a VPN App
Many VPN services offer their own desktop apps, which means you would not need this setup process. All of the best VPN services for basic and advanced users and provide their own desktop app for connecting to VPN and choosing VPN server locations. Many VPN services offer their own desktop apps, which means you would not need this setup process. All of the best VPN services for basic and advanced users and provide their own desktop app for connecting to VPN and choosing VPN server locations.
Connect to PPTP, L2TP over IPSec, and Cisco IPSec VPN Services
Use the control panel to connect to the most secure types of VPN services. To open it, tick the Apple icon in the top-left corner of the menu, choose “System Preferences,” and select “Network,” or tick the wifi icon on the menu bar and select “Network Preferences.” Tick the “+” button in the bottom-left corner of the window and choose “VPN” in the user-interface box. Select the types of VPN server you want to connect to in the “VPN Type” box and enter a username that will help you recognize it.
Like other OS, Mac operating system does not include built-in support for OpenVPN networks. Scroll down for commands for connecting to OpenVPN networks. Enter the VPN server address, your username, and other settings. The “Authentication Settings” button lets you offer the authentication you want to connect anything from a certificate file to RSA SecurID or CryptoCard authentication.
The “Advanced” button lets users configure the VPN connection in many other ways. For example, the default settings automatically cut off the virtual private network when you log out or switch users. You could uncheck these boxes to stop the Mac from automatically disconnecting.
Tick “Apply” to save your settings. Before you do, you can allow the “Show VPN status in the Menu bar” option to get a menu icon for managing your virtual private network. Use this menu bar icon to connect to your VPN service and disconnect from it as required.
Automatically Reconnect to a VPN Service When the Internet Connection Drops
By default, your Mac OS would not automatically reconnect to the virtual private network if the connection disconnects. To save your time and hassle, use the VPN AutoConnect app. This VPN AutoConnect app is available for $1 on the Mac App Store.
This app basically replaces the built-in VPN service menu bar icon on Mac OS. If the virtual private network connection drops, it will automatically reconnect. This app uses the built-in VPN support in the Mac operating system, so it will only work with internet connections you can configure in the Network Settings panel. If you use a third-party virtual private network app to connect to an OpenVPN VPN, it will not help you. But third-party VPN apps may have this feature integrated. If you need to save a dollar, you could rig up your own auto-VPN reconnect solution using AppleScript.
Note: The third-party app TechNinjaPro recommends automatically connecting to a VPN service is no longer guaranteed to work with modern versions of the Mac operating system. TechNinjaPro strongly recommends using the official app for your VPN service of choice, as outlined above. It will handle re-establishing an internet connection if your virtual private network goes offline.
Connect to OpenVPN Networks
You will need a third-party app for connecting to OpenVPN virtual private network services. The official OpenVPN site recommends the open-source Tunnelblick app for this. Install Tunnelblick, open it, and ask for the configuration files offered by your OpenVPN server. These have the .ovpn file extension and are needed for connecting from any OpenVPN app. Your OpenVPN server provider should show them to you.
Tunnelblick offers its own menu bar icon for managing your OpenVPN connections. Choose “VPN Details,” and you will see Tunnelblick’s connection window, where you can configure how it works. For example, you have a Tunnelblick automatically connect to OpenVPN networks when this app launches. It can automatically connect you to the virtual private network, so you would not need a tool like VPN AutoConnect.
If you want to connect to another type of VPN network, you will want a different third-party VPN app with support for that type of network.