Yes, you can, but it’s not as simple as you might think. In fact, this is a question of great complexity that will require a lot of tampering with very technical specifications, so it’s highly recommended that you only attempt this if you have some tech know-how.
Fortunately, in this world of technology that we live in, everything is getting easier nowadays and for all those non-technical users there are other alternative solutions that will work just as well once properly configured. However, it’s important to note that there isn’t really much benefit in doing so, and although two or more VPNs can coexist peacefully on the same computer, when using them at the same time problems will certainly arise.
Let’s put it simply: just installing and connecting two VPN clients at once won’t work. When activating the second VPN it will likely end up with a routing error, and even if it doesn’t the two will conflict with one another until eventually one of them wins the fight and is the only service to route your traffic.
This happens because hitting the connect button on a VPN will create a bunch of routing entries, including lines with netmasks to override the default gateway and ensure that VPN traffic is routed out of the original one. In turn, the second VPN will also create these same lines and, because they already existed in the first place, if nothing is done to avoid it then the obvious conflict will start.
And it’s precisely when trying to avoid this that the real technical challenge begins, since you’ll need to access the OpenVPN configuration files and perform manual changes, like adding specific lines to specific places to make both clients work without errors.
Yet the best way to properly make use of two VPNs at the same time and without quite as much effort is by setting one of them on your original operating system and the other on a virtual machine. You’ll operate the system using the latter, and for that reason it is required to first install a virtual machine on your computer as well as install OpenVPN onto it as well. As such, this will essentially create two tunnels, routing your IP address from your computer first and then through the virtual machine. It’s important to note that this will severely impact your speed, however, especially if you add additional tunnels.
The same principle can be applied to VPN routers, too. With these VPN protection is provided on a network scale, but they can also be configured to allow multiple concurrent connections – though not all VPN providers allow this function and doing so regardless can violate the terms of service in such cases. To achieve this you can have as many OpenVPN clients set up as you want, though they need to be configured to obey the “Accept DNS Configuration=Exclusive” setting. In addition, each of them will need to use different DNS servers.
Despite some differences, what’s essentially being discussed here is the concept of a double VPN, something that NordVPN and very few other providers deliver. This achieves in seconds and within a single client what many users will need to try for hours when using multiple VPNs. Doing so routs the traffic to a server and redirects it from there to another secondary server. However, there is no risk of conflicts here as the traffic in question is always the same and dealt with by the same – and only – carrier.
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