VPN (Virtual Private Networking)

Williams VPN

Running the VPN client allows you to establish a secure connection to the college network.  Your computer acts as though it were here on campus.  Among other things this allows a keyserver connection to run Williams licensed software from off-campus. The VPN connection is limited to Faculty, Staff  and Students who are doing academic or administrative work.

  • OSX:
    Download the VPN client setup utility (Cisco AnyConnect) from the software download site. Once configured (Follow the instructions included in the download).
    Server Address: ssl-vpn.williams.edu
    If you have any questions call the HelpDesk: 413-597-4090 or email: desktop@williams.edu.
  • Windows:
    Download the VPN client, Cisco AnyConnect, from the software download site. It takes several minutes to install, just keep selecting the default choices. You will have to reboot. After rebooting, make a shortcut of the client which is in Programs: Cisco Systems VPN Client and put it on the desktop.
    Server Address: ssl-vpn.williams.edu
    If you have any questions call the HelpDesk: 413-597-4090 or email: desktop@williams.edu.
  • iOS (iPad, iPhone) and Android Devices  

Making the VPN Connection

Run the client and open the Williams connection. Log in with your username and password (email password). You now have an encrypted connection to Williams.

Support Restrictions

If you run into problems either connecting or using keyserved applications, make a note of the circumstances. Check that your internet connection is running smoothly by opening a web browser. Write down any error messages you receive.

It has come to our attention that some colleges and universities do not allow an IPSEC connection out of their network. So if you attempting to connect to Williams from another school and are unable to establish a connection, please contact theHelpDesk at that school to find out whether they are automatically blocking it.

Web Browser Proxy

The VPN client and the proxy server, while appearing to meet some of the same needs, are mutually exclusive. You can not run the VPN client to connect to the Library databases. In fact, you should not attempt to run them at the same time. You will have to disconnect from the VPN before connecting to the databases. If this is a significant inconvenience, connect using the VPN, run the keyserved application you need, disconnect the VPN, then enable the proxy server. The keyserved application should keep running until you quit out of it.

Proxy server setup and technical support on connecting the the Library databases is provided by the Library. Proxy server documentation »

Also keep in mind there are many things you can do off-campus which do not require a VPN connection. For a full list and instructions see the Working From Home FAQ.