How to share a VPN connection from your Windows PC with manual configuration

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This tutorial guide will show you how to share your Windows VPN connection. You will learn how to set up a hosted network or “virtual router” through the command prompt.

Jump to section

Check if your Windows PC can support creating a virtual router
Create your virtual router
Start your virtual router
Share your virtual router
Connect to ExpressVPN
Disable your virtual router


Check if your Windows PC can support creating a virtual router

Before we begin, let’s find out if your computer can support creating a virtual router. Type Windows + S to launch the search bar, then type cmd to bring up Command Prompt. Right-click Command Prompt and select Run as administrator.

For Windows 8:
launch command prompt

For earlier versions of Windows:
launch command prompt

In the command prompt, type the following:

netsh wlan show drivers

Hit Enter.

find out if your computer supports hosted networks

If you see “Hosted network supported : Yes”, then your network adapter can create a virtual router.

If you don’t see this message, then you may need to update your network adapter drivers.

great! your computer supports hosted networks

Need help? Contact the ExpressVPN Support Team for immediate assistance.

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Create your virtual router

In the command prompt, type the following:

netsh wlan set hostednetwork mode=allow ssid=NETWORKNAME key=PASSWORD

Name your virtual router by setting the following values:

ssid=[choose a name for your network]
key=[choose a password for your network]

Hit Enter.

create a virtual router in command prompt

You will then see the following message:

The hosted network mode has been set to allow.
The SSID of the hosted network has been successfully changed.
The user key passphrase of the hosted network has been successfully changed.

success! virtual router created

Congratulations! You have successfully created a virtual router.

Need help? Contact the ExpressVPN Support Team for immediate assistance.

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Start your virtual router

To start your virtual router, type the following in the command prompt:

netsh wlan start hostednetwork

Hit Enter.

start your virtual router in command prompt

If the virtual router starts successfully, you will see a message that says, “The hosted network started.”

If you get a message saying the hosted network could not be started, please update your network adapter drivers.

your virtual router has started

Note: Do not run or connect to the ExpressVPN app on your Windows computer when preparing to share your connection.

Need help? Contact the ExpressVPN Support Team for immediate assistance.

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Share your virtual router

In order to share your virtual router, you need to identify the name of the connection. Open the “Run” prompt by pressing Windows + R, or by clicking the Start button. Type “ncpa.cpl“, then hit Enter or OK.

run ncpa.cpl

In the Network Connections window, you should now see your new Wi-Fi connection in your list of network adapters. The description will show the ssid name that you assigned earlier. Note the name of the connection. (Ours is called “Local Area Connection* 5”.) You will need this later.

find your new wi-fi connection

Now look for a network connection with the description “TAP-Windows Adapter V9”. (Ours is called “Ethernet 2”.)

find the tap-windows adapter v9

Right-click on it and select Properties.

tap-windows adapter v9 properties

In the Properties window, click the Sharing tab and check the box for Allow other network users to connect through this computer’s Internet connection.

Under “Home networking connection”, select your newly created virtual router from the drop-down menu. (This is the one you identified earlier.) Then click OK.

share your home networking connection

Need help? Contact the ExpressVPN Support Team for immediate assistance.

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Connect to ExpressVPN

Launch the ExpressVPN app and connect to the server of your choice using the OpenVPN (UDP or TCP) protocol. Instructions for changing your protocol can be found here.

connected screen

Congratulations! Your Windows PC is now a virtual router.

Now you can connect any Wi-Fi-enabled device to your new virtual router and share your VPN connection.

Need help? Contact the ExpressVPN Support Team for immediate assistance.

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Disable your virtual router

To disable your virtual router, return to the command prompt and type the following:

netsh wlan stop hostednetwork

disable virtual router

You will see a message that says, “The hosted network stopped.”

virtual router disabled

This will stop and disable your virtual router. If your virtual router is no longer in the Network Connections window, then you have successfully disabled it.

Need help? Contact the ExpressVPN Support Team for immediate assistance.

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