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.

Note: Do not connect to the ExpressVPN app before starting this process.

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Check if your Windows PC can support creating a virtual router
Create your virtual router
Start your virtual router
Windows 10 only: Share VPN via mobile hotspot
Share your virtual router
Connect to ExpressVPN
Disable your virtual router


Check if your Windows PC can support creating a virtual router

Before starting, you need to verify whether your computer can support creating a virtual router. Press the Windows logo key (⊞) 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 10, you do not need to create a virtual router. Proceed to creating a mobile hotspot.

For Windows 8:
Windows search with Run as administrator selected.

For earlier versions of Windows:
Windows search with Run as administrator selected.

In the command prompt, type the following:

netsh wlan show drivers

Hit Enter.

Command prompt with netsh wlan show drivers highlighted.

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

If you do not see this message, you may need to update your network adapter drivers.

Windows command prompt with Hosted network supported: Yes highlighted.

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.

Windows command prompt showing network name and password.

You will then see this 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.

Windows command prompt showing successful network creation.

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.

Command prompt showing network start command.

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.

Command prompt showing your virtual router has started.

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

If you do not use Windows 10, follow these next steps.

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

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Windows 10 only: Share VPN via mobile hotspot

Go to SettingsNetwork & InternetMobile hotspot.

Toggle your Mobile hotspot to On.

Windows Mobile hotspot menu showing how to toggle hotspot on.

Go to Settings > Network and Internet > Change adapter Options.

Right-click on ExpressVPN Tap Adapter and select Properties.

Windows ExpressVPN TAP driver menu with Properties highlighted.

Under the Sharing tab, check the box for Allow other network users to connect through this computer’s internet connection. From the dropdown menu, select the hotspot you just created.

Ethernet 3 Properties window showing the hotspot you created.

Click OK.

You are now ready to connect to ExpressVPN.

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Share your virtual router

To share your virtual router, you need to identify the name of the connection. Open the Run prompt by pressing the Windows logo key (⊞) + R, or by clicking the Start button. Type ncpa.cpl, then hit Enter or OK.

Run command with ncpa.cpl selected.

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. (This example uses “Local Area Connection* 5.”) You will need this later.

Network Connections window with your new Wi-Fi connection highlighted.

Now, look for a network connection with the description “ExpressVPN Tap Adapter.” (This example uses “Ethernet 2.”)

Network Connections window showing ExpressVPN Tap adapter.

Right-click on it and select Properties.

Tap-Windows adapter v9 with Properties selected.

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 dropdown menu. (This is the one you identified earlier.) Then click OK.

Properties window showing Sharing tab with Home Networking connection highlighted.

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.

ExpressVPN home screen showing VPN is On.

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

For Windows 10 users:

Go to SettingsNetwork & InternetMobile hotspot.

Toggle your Mobile hotspot to Off.

For non-Windows 10 users:

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

netsh wlan stop hostednetwork

Windows command prompt with network stop command highlighted.

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

Windows command prompt with network stopped highlighted.

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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