Not all internet devices can use VPN apps or built-in VPN features. This includes video game consoles such as Xbox, PlayStation and Nintendo Switch, as well as many smart TVs.
The easiest way to protect such devices with a VPN is to connect them to the Internet with a VPN router.
For smart TVs, using an Android TV-based dongle like Amazon Firestick or Chromecast with Google TV is also a good option. However, these solutions cost money and you may find yourself in a situation where such devices are not available.
Fortunately, most modern desktop operating systems allow you to share a VPN connection. In practice, it looks like this:
- A VPN connection is running on your main computer
- You connect the second device to your main computer via Wi-Fi or an Ethernet cable
- The secondary device now connects to the Internet through the primary device’s VPN connection
Windows and Linux support VPN connection sharing. Below we explain how to set up these VPN connections.
Unfortunately, VPN sharing is not supported on Chrome OS, Android, iOS, or iPadOS. While sharing a VPN connection is technically possible on macOS, it requires the use of the OpenVPN VPN protocol, which we have stopped supporting in our macOS app for security reasons.
The screenshots below show Windows 11, but the instructions are the same for Windows 10. Newer versions of Windows 10 should support mobile hotspots with most Wi-Fi adapters. If your Windows 10 system does not support mobile hotspots on your adapter, try updating Windows to a newer version.
Connect to Proton VPN using the OpenVPN protocol.
If you want to share the VPN connection with another device, you must connect to Proton VPN using the OpenVPN protocol (UDP or TCP). This is because connection sharing depends on the configuration of the network adapter, and OpenVPN is the only VPN protocol we use that creates a separate VPN network adapter for Windows.
Enable Windows Mobile hotspot
Open the Settings, tap Network & Internet → Mobile. Turn on the Mobile hotspot switch and write the network properties: name and password (which you can change).
You can now use your Windows PC as a Wi-Fi hotspot, but you still need to set up a VPN to protect your connected devices.
Open the network connections screen
Open the Windows PowerShell application, type (or paste) ncpa.cpl and press . Run ncpa.cpl in PowerShell
Identify the name of the mobile hotspot adapter.
Look for the LAN adapter labeled Microsoft Wi-Fi Direct Virtual Adapter. You can easily detect it by simply turning off and on the Wi-Fi hotspot.
Identify the name of the mobile hotspot adapter
Change VPN adapter settings The Proton VPN OpenVPN adapter is called TAP-ProtonVPN Windows Adapter. Right click on it → Properties. Open the properties of the Proton VPN OpenVPN adapter
Go to the Sharing tab and select Allow other network users to connect through your computer’s Internet connection. Click OK on the warning, then select the mobile phone adapter identified in step 4 from the drop-down menu. When you’re done, click OK.
Select the mobile base station adapter from the drop-down menu. 7. You can now connect the devices to the Windows Mobile hotspot using the name and password you set in step 2. Connections from these devices will now be routed through the VPN tunnel on your Windows device. You can check this by going to ip.me on the connected device.
Most popular Linux distributions offer a Wi-Fi hotspot feature as part of their desktop environment. You can also create a Wi-Fi hotspot for any Linux distribution using the command line. However, unlike Windows, Linux does not create a virtual adapter when used as a mobile access point. This means that you must use one network adapter to create a hotspot and another to connect to the Internet. This guide explains how to set up a Wi-Fi hotspot and connect to the Internet using an Ethernet cable. To create a fully wireless VPN partition on Linux, you need two Wi-Fi adapters.
1. Open the Proton VPN app and connect to the VPN server.
2. Activate the hotspot. The information here will vary depending on your distribution and desktop environment, but it’s usually easy to find. For example:
In the GNOME desktop environment (enabled by default in Ubuntu, Fedora and many other distributions), open Settings and go to Wi-Fi. Enter the hotspot name and password, then tap ⋮ → Enable Wi-Fi hotspot…
In KDE Neon, click the Networks → Hotspot icon on the taskbar. By default, it creates an open hotspot without security. You can change the network name, encrypt the Wi-Fi connection and add a password by clicking the icon ⋁ → Configure next to the hotspot name.
In the main operating system, open System Preferences and select Network and Wireless → Network → Virtual → Hotspot. Give the hotspot a name and password, then turn on the switch. How to enable wifi hotspot in elementary OS
No additional settings are required. You can now connect the devices to your Linux computer’s hotspot using the name and password you specified. Connections from these devices will now be routed through the VPN tunnel on your Linux device. You can check this by going to ip.me on the connected device.
A VPN router is probably the best solution for securing devices like game consoles and smart TVs. However, sharing a VPN connection from a laptop or desktop is a useful trick if a VPN router is not available.
For devices that can use the VPN app, the best solution is to get the Proton VPN Plus package, which allows you to connect up to 10 devices to our servers at the same time.