WireGuard is a relatively new VPN protocol that has gained a great reputation due to its speed and simplicity. Using WireGuard on Windows is simple, and you may get started in a matter of minutes. This article explains how to set it up on Windows 10.
WireGuard Windows setup [Summary]
To use WireGuard on Windows you may either install the WireGuard VPN client or a third-party VPN app (also known as VPN software) that uses the WireGuard protocol.
- Access to a WireGuard config file provided by the server admin or to a VPN service that implements the WireGuard protocol.
- Option 1: Download and configure the WireGuard VPN client for Windows.
- Step 1: Install the official WireGuard app.
- Step 2: Import the configuration info or create a new tunnel from scratch.
- Step 3: Enable the WireGuard connection.
- Option 2: Subscribe to a VPN provider that offers access to the WireGuard protocol. Download the Windows app, select the WireGuard protocol (if needed), and connect.
If your goal is to set up a VPN connection on Windows, you may also take a look at our article on how to set up a VPN on Windows. `You will find out how to choose your Windows VPN provider wisely.
Why is WireGuard great for Windows
WireGuard is a new VPN protocol created by Jason A. Donenfeld that is considered an excellent replacement for OpenVPN. Even though it was initially developed for Linux, WireGuard works excellent on Windows as well as on other operating systems (macOS, iOS, Android).
WireGuard is a great choice for Windows users as:
- It is free and open-source.
- It uses state-of-the-art encryption and cryptography.
- WireGuard is remarkably fast and faster than OpenVPN.
- The WireGuard Windows client app is stable and easy to use.
WireGuard works great on all types of devices, including those with limited computing power. It uses fewer resources and, thus, offers great performance.
To sum up, the WireGuard protocol is a great choice for Windows, and you should consider it as your main tool for encrypting your data.
How to install WireGuard on Windows
You may use WireGuard on Windows either by installing the WireGuard Windows client app or using a VPN app provided by a VPN service that implements the WireGuard protocol.
Use the WireGuard VPN client for Windows
Most of the time, you will get a configuration file that contains all the necessary info (server address, private/public keys, DNS addresses, allowed IP addresses, etc.) that looks similar to this one:
[Interface] PrivateKey = 6EP+8PVo57wONjvOD9LM/V/Ttdr+2XyGz2FzQrdY23s= Address = 172.18.80.148/32, fd00:0000:1337:cafe:1111:1111:15e7:e4c0/128 DNS = 126.96.36.199, 188.8.131.52 [Peer] PublicKey = r83LIc0W2F8s3dY9x5y17Yz8wTAQJc7giW1t5eSmeXc= AllowedIPs = 0.0.0.0/0, ::/0 Endpoint = vpn44.prd.vienna.ovpn.com:9929
To set up the WireGuard connection on Windows 10 proceed as follows:
- Open the WireGuard official website.
- Download the Windows Installer.
- Start the WireGuard Windows app.
- You have two options:
- Create a new tunnel (Add Tunnel from the bottom-left corner of the window app) – enter a name for the tunnel, the public key, and the other connection properties.
- Import tunnel(s) from file – in case you have received a WireGuard conf file from your VPN provider or the VPN administrator you may import it and get all the tunnel properties at once.
- Next, turn on the VPN connection by clicking the Activate button.
- If the connection credentials are correct, you will see the connection succesful message on the bottom-right of the screen.
- To disconnect, open the WireGuard app and click the Deactivate button.
Blocked untunneled traffic (kill switch)
If you edit an existing connection you will notice the Block untunneled traffic option. It is a Kill Switch mechanism that adds Windows Firewall rules to block traffic that tries to bypass the VPN connection. This option can be enabled if the configuration has exactly one Peer section and AllowedIPs is set to a catch-all address.
Install a Windows VPN app that offers access to WireGuard
If you are interested only in the benefits exposed by WireGuard (fast connections, great download/upload speed) and you don’t want to know more about the technical implementation, you may use a VPN app provided by a WireGuard VPN service.
Next, download the Windows app from the provider’s website and install it. Further, enable the WireGuard protocol (for most of the apps WireGuard is not yet the default protocol), and connect to the VPN. You are all set up with WireGuard on Windows!
WireGuard on Windows FAQs
Is WireGuard better the OpenVPN on Windows?
For regular VPN usage, you will probably not see a major difference. Both protocols are stable, fast, secure, and work great on Windows. Some tests have shown that WireGuard might be faster than OpenVPN on Windows. However, as WireGuard is still young and under development, it is too early to draw a definite conclusion.
Is the WireGuard client app for Windows free?
Yes, the WireGuard official client app for Windows is free. You may download it on your devices and connect to the WireGuard servers you have access to.
WireGuard is a secure and fast VPN protocol, and it works great on Windows, as well as on Android, on iOS, on Mac, or Linux. Installing a VPN app that supports WireGuard is the fastest way to get started. However, you may use the official WireGuard VPN client app and set the connection manually.
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