If you have purchased a package from any one of the leading Virtual Private Network (VPN) providers, then one of the platforms on which you can use it is Chromebook.
Even though a majority of VPN providers will have a specific one-click-install package that users can download for a Windows or Mac computer, setting up a VPN on your Chromebook has to be done manually.
The good news is that the Chromebook VPN setup process has become easy. Users don’t need an expert-level understanding of terminology nor are they required to define additional parameters. Also, all VPNs designed to work with the OpenVPN protocol are compatible with Chromebook.
Before embarking on the setup procedure, find out whether your VPN is also available on the Chrome Web Store. Some VPN providers have an app in the store so that you can set it up as you would do for other extensions or apps. However, if your provider has no app in the store, this is how you proceed.
Import the CA certificate
If your VPN provider makes a connection through a CA certificate, then you will be required to import the certificate into your Chromebook. The procedure is as follows:
- Obtain the CA certificate from your VPN provider. A CA certificate refers to a key that verifies the trust of a user. Your Chromebook has a number of these certificates already installed for various online services. If your VPN provider gave you one, you need to import it. To do so, the file must be stored on your local
- Type “chrome://settings/certificates” into the address bar of a new tab on your browser and press Enter.
- At the top of the page, find the Authorities tab and click it.
- Select the downloaded CA certificate file after pressing the Import
- This launches a box asking what service you trust the CA certificate to verify. If you’re not familiar with the terms, it’s recommended to leave everything unchecked.
- The certificate starts installing as soon as it is imported.
- If you are provided with a User certificate, this same procedure is applicable except instead of selecting the Authorities tab, you select the User certificates
Enter the settings for your VPN network
You need to enter information about the account and the server in order to connect. This, too, is done in the settings.
- On the lower left of your screen, find and click your account photo followed by the gear icon to launch the VPN settings
- Click Add connection in the Network section near the top
- Select Add OpenVPN / L2TP
This opens a box in which you are required to fill in information about your connection. If you received your Chromebook from an institution, such as your employer or school, then the person responsible for administering your Chromebook will give you the connection information. Otherwise, you can obtain the information from the website of your VPN provider.
The information is as follows:
- Server hostname: The name and IP address of the connecting server
- Service Name: The name of the connection that displays in the setting. You pick the name.
- Provider type:
- Choose L2TP/IPsec + Pre-shared key in case you are required to input another password once you’re logged into your VPN.
- Choose L2TP/IPsec + User certificate in case you have a separate user certificate as indicated in the previous section of this article.
- Choose OpenVPN if none of the above protocol types are applicable to your VPN.
- Pre-shared key: This is where you input the secondary password required needed to connect. Leave it blank if a second password is not required.
- Server CA certificate: Select a CA certificate from the list if you had installed one using the process outlined in the previous section. Otherwise, leave the setting at Default.
- User certificate: Select a User certificate from the list if you had installed one using the process outlined in the previous section. Otherwise, you can leave it as blank.
- Username: This is the username you use to log into your VPN.
- Password: The password for your VPN account. (It is important to note that this is not identical to the Pre-shared key.)
- OTP: If you were given a website address or token used to generate a One Time Password (OTP), enter it here after generating it. Otherwise, leave it blank.
- Group name: If needed, enter the Group name here or leave it blank otherwise.
- If you want to be able to make a connection with one click, check the box labeled Save identity and password. Otherwise, if you prefer to enter your login credentials every time, leave the box unchecked. Either way, the VPN will remember your Pre-shared key.
- Click Connect to test the connection.
If a key symbol is displayed beside your Wi-Fi icon, you know you’re connected via VPN. Additionally, the new connection in the settings window will display the ‘Connected’ in green. If no problems occurred during connection, clicking the back arrow at the upper right of the window opens other configuration options, such as the setting to edit the VPN connection, delete it, or to always use that connection.
If you’re not interested in using the same connection all the time, you can connect to the VPN by clicking the Wi-Fi symbol (network icon) on the system tray and selecting the preferred network.
Using an Android app
If Android applications are supported by your Chromebook, getting your VPN service to work will be easier. Start by downloading the app from your VPN provider and setting it up as you would on your mobile device.
Just bear in mind that not all VPNs for Android phone applications are perfectly optimized to run on a Chromebook. For example, our experts noted that ProtonVPN kept crashing during our tests.
We realize that all this information might appear a bit technical and overwhelming at first, especially if you’re a beginner. So, if you have any questions, contact us and our team will be happy to offer assistance.