Virtual private network (VPN)
VPN services are being decommissioned for Imperial staff with existing access in spring 2024. Please ensure you are setup for Unified Access, which allows you to access Imperial applications.
VPN access is not available for Imperial staff (staff who have existing access can continue to use it until spring 2024), unless it is required to access applications required for their work, teaching or research. If there is an application you require access to that does not work using Unified Access, please contact the ICT Service Desk.
Students with existing access to the Imperial VPN will be able to continue using it. If you are a new student and require access to the VPN for your studies, please contact the ICT Service Desk.
Access to the VPN may also depend on the country you're in when you try to connect. Please see our internet censorship web page for more information.
VPN access for external contractors
If you are working with an external contractors and they require access to the Imperial VPN, please complete the external contractor VPN form. Access to the Contractor VPN service must be sponsored by an Imperial staff member.
Using the contractor VPN service
Once an account has been created, ICT will send the login details to the contractor named on the application form.
The contractor VPN service can be used with Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems.
Set up the VPN on your device
The instructions below are for students who require access to VPN services for their studies. Staff should be using Unified Access to access Imperial applications.
Set up the VPN on your device
Windows 10 / Windows 8
Follow these instructions to set up a Virtual Private Network (VPN) connection on your Windows 10 or Windows 8 machine:
Click on the Start button in the toolbar
Type Network Status in the Search field and press Enter
Choose VPN from the left menu
Select Add a VPN connection
In Connection Name type Imperial VPN
Enter vpn.ic.ac.uk in the Server Name or Address field
Enter Automatic in the VPN Type field
Select User Name & Password in the Type of Sign-in info field
Enter your College username (without IC\ prefix)
Enter your College password
Tick Remember by sign-in info & Click Save
The connection has now been created and can be accessed and connected to by clicking the Wi-Fi symbol in the bottom righthand corner.
- Download and install the latest OpenVPN client.
- Download the OpenVPN configuration file.
- Click the start button, type OpenVPN and click on the OpenVPN icon to open the client
- Under Import Profile click File, browse to the location of the OpenVPN configuration file that was downloaded in step 2 and open it.
- Enter your College username.
- Tick Save Password and enter your College password
- Click Add
- Click on the Open VPN Profile to connect to the VPN
Follow these instructions to set up a Virtual Private Network (VPN) connection on your Windows 7 machine:
- Click on the Start button in the toolbar
- Type Network and Sharing Center in the Search field and press Enter
- Choose Set up a new connection or network under the heading Change your network settings on the main page
- Choose Connect to a workplace from the new dialog box and click Next
- Select Use my Internet connection
- Type vpn.ic.ac.uk in the Internet address field
- Type Imperial College VPN in the Destination name field and click Next
- Enter your College username and password in the relevant fields on the next screen and click Connect
The connection has now been created and will be saved and displayed in your list of connections.
For Mac OS version 10.12 (Sierra) and above
Apple are no longer supporting the College's VPN method, PPTP, on the latest versions of MacOS and iOS. If you're using Mac OS Sierra, High Sierra or Mojave, follow the instructions below:
- Download Tunnelblick and install it
- Once Tunnelblick is installed download the OpenVPN config file
- Double-click on the OpenVPN file you downloaded and connect using your college username and password
To access Library Journals please visit the Library Website and use Library Search.
For Mac OS Big Sur
ICT at Imperial recommends those using Big Sur to download the beta version of Tunnelblick for a smoother experience. More information can be found on the Tunnelblick web pages.
- The VPN is not intended to provide access to region-restricted resources such as video or audio streaming providers
- Those running Mac OS versions below 10.12 (Sierra), please contact the ICT Service Desk for guidance
- If you wish to change the name of the config file, please download these instructions: Change the configuration name for Tunnelblick
These instructions require you to have the NetworkManager-pptp package (network-manager-pptp and network-manager-pptp-gnome on Ubuntu/Debian) on your machine.
Users of this service will need to have an Imperial College user account and access to the SSH Gateway service. To access the SSH Gateway service please place a request via the ICT Service Desk.
Follow these instructions to set up a Virtual Private Network (VPN) connection on your Linux machine:
- Download Putty or another SSH v2 client
- You will need to first follow the instructions to wake my PC.
- Enter sshgw.ic.ac.uk as Host Name
- Click Open
- Enter your college username
- Enter your college password
- You will get a warning about trusting this machine the first time, enter yes
- Type ssh 'your computer hostname' (without quotes)
- Enter the username you use on the Linux machine
- Enter the password you use on the Linux machine
The Network Connections dialog box should now show your new VPN connection. To connect in future, click on the Network Manager icon again, select VPN Connections and choose Imperial College VPN.
To connect to the Imperial College London Virtual Private Network using an Android device, follow these steps:
- Go to Settings on your Android device.
- Select Wireless & networks.
- Select VPN settings.
- Tap on Add VPN.
- Select Add PPTP VPN.
- Edit the VPN name, type Imperial and click OK.
- Set the VPN server to vpn.ic.ac.uk and click OK.
The connection is now set up. To use it, go back to the VPN settings screen and tap on Imperial.
Instructions for iOS 10 and later
Apple are no longer supporting the College's VPN method, PPTP, on the latest versions of MacOS and iOS. If you're using iOS 10, please follow the instructions below:
- Download the OpenVPN connect app from itunes.
- Download the OpenVPN config file and tap Open in "OpenVPN"
- Tap the green button with a + sign plus on it
- Enter your College Username and Password
- Tap Save
- Tap the switch underneath Disconnected which will then connect you to the VPN
If you have connected to the VPN using the instructions above and still can’t access journals please see use one of the alternative access methods.
Please note that the VPN is not intended to provide access to region-restricted resources such as video or audio streaming providers.
Instructions for iOS 9 and earlier
- Tap Settings
- Tap General
- Select VPN
- Tap Add VPN Configuration
- Select PPTP
- Add Imperial VPN as the Description
- Type vpn.imperial.ac.uk in the Server field
- Type your College username in the Account field
- Type your College password in the Password field
- Tap Save
The connection is now set up. To use it, go to Settings > General and swipe the VPN button to ON.