There's a good reason you'd want to share a VPN connection over Ethernet on Windows. And that is to get all the advantages of a VPN on devices that are normally incompatible with one - such as smart TVs, game consoles, and so on. Your connection will also be more stable over Ethernet than sharing a VPN connection on Android, for example.
It also saves you the headache of having to install a VPN on your router. Although, feel free to check out that guide if you own a VPN-compatible router and have some spare time on your hands. That way, all your home devices can use a VPN-secured connection without setting each one up individually.
Now, before we begin, make sure you have the following on hand:
- A Windows computer with Internet access
- An Ethernet cable. Two if your Windows PC uses an Ethernet cable to connect to the Internet (make sure you have two Ethernet ports as well)
- A quality VPN for Windows (such as ExpressVPN, which we'll be using for the guide below)
Part 1: How to Share Your Ethernet Connection With Other Devices
First, we need to allow other devices to use your Windows PC's Internet connection. Since your PC's traffic will be routed through the VPN, the other device (say, your game console) will share the same secure connection. Here's a step-by-step guide on what to do next:
Step 1: Right-click on the Network icon in the Windows toolbar (found in the bottom-right corner of the screen). Note that it will look similar to the Wi-Fi icon if you use a wireless connection.
Step 2: Click on Network & Internet settings.
Step 3: Depending on which type of connection you're using, click on Ethernet or Wi-Fi in the menu to the left.
Step 4: Regardless of which menu you're in, click on Change adapter options. This will open a window with all the network adapters on your system.
Step 5: Locate your VPN's virtual adapter. In our case, the adapter is named Ethernet 2. The name of your VPN provider will help you find it (notice it says "ExpressVPN TAP Adapter" underneath our own).
Next, take note of the adapter you use to connect to the Internet (Ethernet, in this case). If you don't know which one it is, try disconnecting your Ethernet cable or your Wi-Fi router and see which one gains a little red "X" in the corner.
Step 6: Right-click on your VPN adapter and click on Properties.
Step 7: In the window that pops up, click on Sharing. Tick the checkbox that says "Allow other network users to connect through the computer's Internet connection".
Step 8: Click on the drop-down menu underneath and select the name of your network adapter found at Step 5.
Part 2: Connect Your PC and Secondary Device + Launch Your VPN
All that's left is to connect your Ethernet cable (or secondary cable) from your Windows PC to your other device (such as your game console).
Then simply launch the VPN app on your Windows PC and select a VPN server from your provider's list. To change regions on your secondary device, simply select another server from this list on your computer.
You can check whether your game console, smart TV, etc. uses the VPN connection by looking up "what is my IP address" in the device's built-in web browser. Click on the first result (or IP checker of your choice). Your location should be the same as the one you've selected in the VPN app on your Windows PC.
That's all you have to do to share a VPN connection over Ethernet on Windows. Enjoy secure browsing and zero geo-blocks from the comfort of your couch!
Check out our list of the best VPNs for Windows next, just in case ExpressVPN isn't to your taste. The process is pretty much the same regardless of provider, so don't worry about any extra configs.