Virtual Private Network (VPN)

Use VPN for a Secure Connection

VPN allows UCSC students, faculty, and staff access to university resources securely while using non-UCSC networks to connect to the internet. The VPN does this by encrypting the internet traffic between the computer/laptop/tablet and the campus network. The user’s traffic appears to originate from within the UCSC network not from your remote location. 

Important Facts about VPN

  • Requires the use of Multi-factor Authentication (MFA)
  • Session limit is 20-hours
  • Traffic from your device to the campus network is encrypted

VPN Options

Any individual with an active campus affiliation with a CruzID and Gold password account may use VPN. There are two VPN options: 

  • UCSC "Campus" VPN: Provides a secure (encrypted) connection to the UCSC network from off-campus. Learn how to get started
  • Data Center VPN: Provides a secure (encrypted) connection for privileged access to systems in the UCSC Data Center. Learn how to get started

Benefits to using VPN

Network Traffic Encryption

When you connect to another site using a VPN, your traffic is encrypted so that if anyone intercepts the traffic, they cannot see what you are doing unless they can break the encryption. Your traffic is encrypted from your computer through the network to the VPN hardware at UCSC.

Access UCSC Resources

When you are using a VPN connection, regardless of where you are, it will appear to systems on campus that you are also on campus. You will have a UCSC IP address instead of the one you have at home or while traveling. This allows you to connect to resources that you would not otherwise be able connect to remotely.

Windows File Shares

A VPN offers a way for authorized users to mount Microsoft Windows file shares from off campus.


The University of California has provided the following resources and best practices when overseas, especially to potentially sensitive locations. When using shared Wi-Fi, stay connected with Campus VPN.