Is it Possible to use a VPN on a Virtual Machine?

Virtual Machines (VMs) are known for their durability and convenience. By using a Virtual machine, you do not need to keep changing your preference again and again. Also, for instance, you can use a completely different OS on your computer. But, with the use of Virtual Machine “Is it possible to use VPN on a Virtual Machine?” and if yes “How can I configure a VPN on a Virtual Machine?”

Well, don’t worry, because in this article I will be providing answers for the same, that will surely help you clear your doubts about the possibility of using a VPN on a Virtual Machine. 

So, without any further ado let’s jump into the discussion.

Is it Possible to use a VPN on a Virtual Machine?

YES! It is very much possible to use a VPN on a Virtual Machine. You can easily navigate to a different country on your Virtual Machine with a VPN connection while using a local ISP connection on your physical machine. Using VPN software on Virtual Machines has its own benefits and in order to give you insight about them, it is mandatory to understand what is a Virtual Machine first.

What is a Virtual Machine?

As the name suggests a Virtual Machine is a type of virtual or say a replicate screen of a working physical OS. Okay, this is something very technical, so let me put it in simple words; have you ever seen some users using two different or same OS over their single screen PC? If yes, then the OS screen which is overlaying the actual screen is known as Virtual Machine.

A virtual machine can allow you to use a completely different OS than that of what you are running. For instance, you can use a Virtual box-like KVM, VMware ESXi, XEN, HyperV, etcetera, to install a virtual machine on your physical machine, and then access the same OS, i.e., Windows over Windows or two different OS like Windows over Ubuntu or vice versa. Thus, helping you break the boundations of a physical machine.

Additionally, a Virtual Machine borrows resources like CPU, storage, memory, and so on from the actual physical machine. Therefore, a physical machine is termed a host machine, and a virtual machine is termed as a guest machine.

So, hopefully, you are clear of what is a Virtual machine, now let’s understand what is a VPN.

What is a VPN?

A VPN aka Virtual Private Network is a type of software that allows a user to connect to the internet while staying anonymous. In simple words, a VPN acts as a security shield between you and the internet, by encrypting all your internet traffic while it reaches the destination source. 

As a result, your internet search history or your internet activity is not captured by your ISP or any Government entity. Not only this, a VPN server can have many virtual or physical locations that can help you unblock the geo-restrictions of some websites and streaming services.

A VPN server masks your Public IP address and allots its own IP address for extra anonymity. 

Are VPN and VM the same?

Both the terms VPN and VM consists of “Virtual” in them, but they are not the same. To make it more clear for you, a Virtual Private Network is a kind of software that is generally used to ensure that your internet traffic stays private and secure.

While a Virtual Machine is also a kind of software that can run an Operating System and its application just like a regular one.

Can my host machine get affected by the changes I make on the guest machine?

The changes you make on a virtual machine are not applicable to your physical or host machine. Not a single thing that you change or do is ever reflected on your host machine, so stay calm and cool about anything you do on your Virtual Machine and vice versa.

Although, if you ever close the virtual machine on your screen, no-log or data will be saved, as it disappears as soon as the session is terminated.

What are the merits of enabling a VPN connection on a Virtual Machine?

So, after discussing the differences between a VPN and a VM, let’s now see what are the merits of enabling a VPN connection on a Virtual Machine.

  • No more switching connections:

What if you are accessing some stuff on the internet using your local IP address and now suddenly want to use another IP address? You will say that you will switch to the VPN connection, right? Yes, I can’t disagree on that, but switching your connection from a non-VPN to VPN in a second can cause termination of the sessions that you had already opened up.

So, if you want to hop onto a VPN-based connection instantly, you can easily do it by creating a Virtual Machine inside your physical machine, and then setting up a VPN connection inside it to avoid any termination of the sessions.

  • Unblock geo-restricted websites/streaming services on a VM:

Secondly, you can stream services or websites that are blocked in your region, while staying on your current IP address and your host monitor using a VPN on your Virtual Machine. Just set up your VPN on your VM and you are good to go.

Additionally, your ISP provider won’t be able to track you down for accessing the restricted sites.

  • Enables Multitasking:

A VPN configured on a Virtual Machine also comes in handy when you want to search the same things but from two different countries.

For example; if you want to purchase an iPhone from the official Apple India website, but are skeptical about the price difference in the USA, and want to compare them side by side, you can easily do it by accessing your VM over a VPN connection, and then select VPN location as America.

Now, search Apple’s official website on VM and you will find the results of the iPhone and its prices from Apple’s US website. Thus, making it easy for you to compare the prices side-by-side without connecting/disconnecting your VPN.

How to Configure VPN on a Virtual Machine?

So, after learning about what is a VM and VPN, their working and benefits, now we shall see how to configure VPN on a Virtual Machine, and for that follow these simple steps:

  • Open your desired VM. If you are using Windows 10 and want to create a Windows VM, you can do it easily as it has an inbuilt VM. So, if you are a Windows 10 user, you don’t need to install another VM on your device.
  • Now, connect VM to the internet.
  • Configure VM interface using Bridge/NAT.
  • Check your internet IP.
  • Download and install your desired VPN client by visiting their website and purchasing the appropriate VPN depending on the OS platform of your VM.
  • Connect the VPN by opening the VPN software on your VM, and then log in with the provided credentials.
  • After a successful login, you will see the list of available locations.
  • Select the appropriate location from the list.
  • Once connected, verify the VPN IP on the virtual machine by searching “What’s my current IP?”
  • Now, compare the internet IP with the host machine. Also try to search some websites that have a different interface for different regions, for e.g., Netflix.

Done, your VPN is successfully configured and running on the Virtual Machine.

Now, you can access dual content or websites on a single screen with the dual OS running simultaneously, without any hassle or inconvenience of changing the VPN connectivity status.

Final Remarks:

VPN is the most used software when it comes to internet privacy, but turning it on/off now and then can cause a great inconvenience, as it will disconnect you from some sessions which you had already opened up.

So, in order to tackle this problem, the use of a Virtual Machine should be practiced that can be easily configured with your VPN connection. And the best part is that you can use your local computer when you want to connect to the local internet and use a VM when you want to connect it through a VPN connection, resulting in a more stable and convenient internet experience.

Fun Fact: To lower the cost of operations, many VPN companies also use a Virtual Machine to set up different virtual locations, but it is only convenient when the virtual location is at a measurable distance. For example, if you live in the UK and want to access content from India, you can connect to a virtual location more efficiently, if it is in a nearby location say Germany.