The first step to sharing your VPN is checking whether your device supports the creation of a virtual router. Run command prompt as administrator, type in the following and hit enter:

  • netsh wlan show drivers

If creating a virtual router is supported, you’ll see the following:

  • Hosted network supported: Yes

If the above message is absent, your network adapter drivers need to be updated.

Creating a virtual router

Type the following into command prompt:

  • netsh wlan set hostednetwork mode=allow ssid=NETWORKNAME key=PASSWORD

Use the following values to name the settings for your virtual router and hit Enter:

ssid=[choose a name for your network]
key=[choose a password for your network]

Once the following message is displayed, hit Enter:

The hosted network mode has been set to allow.
The SSID of the hosted network has been successfully changed.
The user key passphrase of the hosted network has been successfully changed.

You’ve just completed the process of creating a virtual router.

Start your virtual router

Launch your virtual router, type the following and hit Enter:

  • netsh wlan start hostednetwork

If “The hosted network started" is displayed, then your router has started successfully. If the message does not appear, then you need to update your network adapter drivers.

Share your virtual router

In order to share your virtual router, you need to identify the name of the connection. In this example, we will use ExpressVPN. Open the “Run” prompt by pressing Windows + R, or by clicking the Start button. Type “ncpa.cpl“, then hit Enter or OK.

In the Network Connections window, you should now see your new Wi-Fi connection in your list of network adapters. The description will show the ssid name which you assigned earlier. Note the name of the connection. (This example uses “Local Area Connection* 5”.) You will need this later.

Now, look for a network connection with the description “ExpressVPN Tap Adapter”. (This example uses “Ethernet 2”.)

Right-click on it and select Properties.

In the Properties window, click the Sharing tab and check the box for Allow other network users to connect through this computer’s Internet connection.

Under “Home networking connection”, select your newly created virtual router from the drop-down menu. Then click OK.

Disable your virtual router

To disable your virtual router, return to the command prompt and type the following:

  • netsh wlan stop hostednetwork

You will see a message that says, “The hosted network stopped.”

This will stop and disable your virtual router. If your virtual router is no longer in the Network Connections window, then you have successfully disabled it.

Choosing the best VPN for sharing

There are tons of VPNs on the market so choosing the right one for sharing might seem like a daunting task, especially if you’re a beginner. The most effective way to find the best VPN to suit your needs is to first determine what those needs are and decide what you’re looking for in a VPN.

The following are a few tips to help you do that.

Figuring out what you’re looking for

When you want to buy a new laptop, you don’t just enter the Apple store and pick the first Mac. The same goes for purchasing VPN services. In this case, you’re looking for a VPN that you can share with others in your household or in your small business enterprise. So, a router-based VPN will be among the options you consider.

If some of the users of the shared VPN will be streaming TV shows and movies, you want to get a VPN that offers great speeds, reliable connections, and unlimited bandwidth. Also, regardless of what the individual needs of the users on the shared VPN are, privacy and security are non-negotiable features that must be present in any VPN service you choose to subscribe to.

It’s generally a good idea to write down the features you’re looking for, with the most important ones at the top. That makes the process of comparing various VPN providers relatively easy.

Comparing the qualities of VPN services

Like businesses in any industry, every VPN provider has a value proposition. This means that there are certain aspects of VPN services that they prioritize. The feature might be speed, anonymity or encryption among others. Make sure that the priorities of the VPN service you’re considering match your priorities and those of the people with whom you’ll be sharing the service.

For instance, many VPNs do not have the capability to get around the restrictions set by popular streaming services, especially US Netflix. However, some leading providers—such as NordVPN and ExpressVPN—can unblock US Netflix and many other streaming services.

On the other hand, your top priority or that of many of the users with whom you share the VPN might be security. You may, for example, be running a business that has remote workers and handles highly sensitive customer data. In this case, you want a VPN that prioritizes powerful encryption, even if a high level of encryption might under some circumstances reduce the speed.

Other features to consider

Other important considerations to make when looking for a VPN provider include compatibility with devices used and a user-friendly interface.

When you go for one of the leading VPN services in the industry, rarely do you need to worry about whether the service offers support for your devices and those of the other user of the shared VPN. That is because nearly all well-established VPN providers offer support for all major device platforms, namely, MacOS, Windows, iOS, Android. They also offer support for some Linux systems and select routers. While on the matter of devices, it’s also important to go for a VPN service that allows several simultaneous connections.

In addition to that, you also want a VPN service that has a relatively easy installation process and an easy-to-understand user interface so that you and the other users on the network will not have any trouble navigating the client. If you’re an advanced VPN user, you want a VPN with a client that also offers advanced features so that you and other experienced users can have more granular control over their connection.