How To Setup VPN On Router In 2021
May 25, 2021 By Josh
It only takes a few minutes to setup VPN on router, and the benefits of encrypting all the devices on your network are useful. This step-by-step guide will show you why its important and how you can do it on your own WiFi router today.
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Most people tend to assume that configuring VPN for router is a highly complex task that requires specialized skills, and so, they steer away from attempting it.
But, as you will see, this isnt true.
Sure, its not as straightforward as installing a dedicated VPN app on your phone, but this guide will give you easy-to-follow setup instructions.
Specifically, were going to cover:
Before you decide to install a VPN on your router, lets cover the advantages and disadvantages of doing so.
Note: Some of the links in this article may be affiliate links, which means that at no extra cost to you, I may be compensated if you choose to use one of the services listed. I only recommend what I personally have used, and I appreciate your support!
Configuring A Router Designed For VPN Compatibility
Configuring a router that wasnt designed for VPN compatibility requires a little extra work. Youll need to perform a process called flashing to install firmware on the router that will support a VPN.2
NOTE: If your router does not have built-in support for router protocols, think twice before installing firmware to enable a VPN connection. Missteps here can render your router useless, so if you are unsure of your technical abilities, buying a router with built-in VPN support may be a better choice.
How To Install A VPN On A Belkin Router
Belkin routers can be connected to a VPN using a PPTP protocol. Heres how to enable it:
The next steps may differ depending on your chosen VPN provider. Bear in mind that before purchasing a subscription, you should ensure the VPN provider supports your router model. We use ExpressVPN because we have tested with every router brand on this page and confirmed successful connections. Afterward, follow the instructions below:
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Install A VPN On A Router With These Simple Steps
The biggest issue with guides about how to install a VPN on a router is that they dont actually tell you how to do it. After all, there are a lot of different routers out there, but most of the setup aspects are very similar to each other, and well cover them below.
Thats not everything that you need to do, and the order might differ, but thats where are more in-depth guides come in that dont just cover OpenVPN, but also the likes of PPTP, and platforms like Tomato.
Using A VPN Router App
The easiest way to install a VPN onto your router is to use a router app or applet.
Native router apps make switching servers and changing router settings much easier than manual configuration.
When you manually configure a router you need to install each server location one-by-one. With a native app you have access to all server locations from the get-go.
Unfortunately, there arent many router apps available at the moment, but there are two that stand out.
ExpressVPNs router applet, and the FlashRouters Privacy App .
You can only use ExpressVPNs app with an ExpressVPN subscription.
As you can see from the screenshot, ExpressVPNs router applet is user-friendly and much more intuitive than standard router dashboards.
The app comes with a VPN kill switch and a type of split tunneling , which allows you to exclude certain devices from the VPN.
ExpressVPN Router Applet Installation Process:
Well be using a Netgear Nighthawk R7000 for the following setup instructions:
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Follow This Guide On How To Install A VPN On Tp
With this simple, step-by-step guide, you should be able to install IPVanish on any TP-Link router thats running DD-WRT v3 whether you prefer the speed and robust encryption of OpenVPN protocol, or the easier to set up PPTP tunneling protocol. So follow these instructions, get set up with IPVanish on your TP-Link router, and browse the web safely and securely!
Protecting The Whole Network With VPN For Wifi Routers
So, how does VPN Unlimited work with WiFi routers? A VPN creates a secure, encrypted connection tunnel between the internet and your device. It gathers the devices internet requests and traffic, routing them through a VPN server via the VPN tunnel. This protects your data from getting read, redirected, or intercepted by third parties.
Most WiFi routers lack any of the VPN capabilities However, WiFi routers do allow VPN traffic to pass through. But for the ultimate effect, its actually possible to install a VPN into the router itself, allowing you to establish a secure connection for all devices connected to the Wi-Fi network.
When you set up a VPN at the router level, you protect all smart devices on your home network and all business web traffic on your corporate network. An important distinction is that you don’t actually install VPN Unlimited on your device, only to the WiFi router. For this, you download new firmware for the WiFi router to enable VPN and then configure the settings of the WiFi router manually.
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Not All Routers Support VPNs
You cant use a VPN on every router, so before you begin the installation process, its important to check that your router is able to support a VPN connection. You may also want to consider purchasing a router that supports the WireGuard, OpenVPN, or IKEv2 protocols, or buy a router that is pre-configured for VPN.
How To Use A VPN
You dont have to be a tech expert to navigate a VPN . Whether you want to use public Wi-Fi, encrypt your internet traffic, or protect your IP address, there are many reasons to try one out.
In this article, well show you how to use a VPN on different devices and dig deep into NordVPNs features.
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Use A VPN To Get Two External Ip Addresses
Another reason to use a VPN is that it effectively gives you an additional external IP address while the VPN is connected. This is useful when dealing with a service that limits connections or actions based on IP addresses.
One device can connect to the service directly, while the other device connects through a VPN.
The directly connected device will appear to the service at your real external IP address while the VPN connected device will appear to have the VPN external IP address.
Which Routers Are Best For A VPN
Before you choose a VPN provider, you need to make sure its compatible with the router model you have. Surprisingly, many routers dont actually support VPN, and the ones that do are often significantly more expensive than the ones you get from your internet service provider .
It should be noted that not all VPNs support router installations either, so be sure to tick that box in your checklist before you subscribe with a particular provider. Some notable options include ExpressVPN, NordVPN, IPVanish, and Surfshark.
Some VPN providers have attempted to solve this gap by offering preconfigured routers to their customers, such as NordVPNs FlashRouter series. Others keep a list of compatible routers that you can use VPN with. Some notable options are:
- Netgear Nighthawk X10 AD7200
- Linksys WRT3200ACM
- ASUS RT-AC86U
If you cant find your router on the VPNs list of compatible routers, check other VPN options or try adding a piece of firmware like Tomato or DD-WRT.
Choose Tomato if you want to set up OpenVPN on your existing router quickly and easily, or set up DD-WRT if you want to have complete control over the full features of your router. The second option is only recommended if you know your way around network management.
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Expressvpn The Best VPN Router
ExpressVPN is considered the best router VPN because of its fastest speed among the competitors in the market, powerful unblocking capabilities, and extraordinary security! Unlike other VPN services that rely on third-party firmware, ExpressVPN has its own dedicated router app.
Once you install it, the experience is just as same as its desktop app. It also lets you switch between locations and protocols. All other configuration settings are constant, so you dont need to strangle yourself with these compilations. ExpressVPN offers 3000+ fast VPN servers spread across 94 countries, providing top-class security and privacy features for just $2.30/mo . You can learn in more detail about this VPN in our ExpressVPN review blog.
Risk-free 30 days money-back guarantee
C Flash Router With New VPN Firmware
The last option, and the most complicated, is to flash your router with new firmware. To clarify, the term flashing means to install new firmware firmware is the Operating System within your router that determines what its capabilities and/or limitations are.
To enable your router to function as a VPN client, you need to flash it with new firmware. The two most common and established types of firmware out there are DD-WRT and Tomato.
DD-WRT and Tomato are open source, third-party firmware that are available online for free, and each has its own pros and cons. But first, lets see what they have in common. Both DD-WRT and Tomato can:
- Extend your wireless range
- Disable manufacturer backdoors, among others
Here is where they differ:
DD-WRT is more accessible and available on more devices than Tomato. As far as exclusive features, DD-WRT allows users to adjust the strength of their Wi-Fi signal, manage quality-of-service settings to prioritize specific types of traffic, access your home network from afar, and more.
Tomato offers better bandwidth monitoring options, permits up to two VPN servers to run at the same time, and offers a more user-friendly interface. It also connects better to various VPN service providers, but is not supported on as many routers. To see an in-depth comparison of the two types of firmware, you can view Flashrouters article here.
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How To Install VPN On Smart TV
If you access the Netflix platform through your Smart TV or gaming console, such as the Xbox or PS5, you also have the possibility of installing a VPN to expand the catalog albeit a little more complicated. Many of these devices do not support the internal installation of external software needed to activate a VPN, so you should firstly verify this compatibility and then access the App Store to search for available VPN applications.
There are intelligent televisions such as Android TV that allow this function and one of the VPN apps available for this specific example is the NordVPN, but there are some others.
If your device doesn’t allow you to install a VPN program or app, you can . This way when you connect to Netflix from your Smart TV or video console it will detect your location as the one selected in the VPN on your phone or computer.
How To Set Up A VPN On Your Router
The first thing you need to do is select a VPN that supports router connections, and if you want the best VPN on the market, then NordVPN is a safe choice.
Next, youll have to see if your router supports VPN functionality. To find out if your router can run NordVPN, check out our tutorial page and find your routers brand and model. Some routers there will also include NordVPN router setup instructions. It’s possible to find a pre-configured VPN router if you look hard enough.
The specifics for NordVPN router installation will vary between brands and models, but the general steps will be as follows:
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Option : Purchase A Pre
If the idea of trying to configure a router or flash an existing device seems like just too much
Youre definitely not the only one to feel that way.
Did you know that you can buy whats known as a pre-configured router?
These are routers that have been created specifically for VPN use. They have the right hardware to handle encryption seamlessly and they are already pre-flashed with a VPN of your choice.
When you check out the FlashRouters website, which is what I recommend, there are plenty available which work with the most popular VPN services and can fit most any budget.
You could choose from:
Some VPN services, such as ExpressVPN, have dedicated router software that you can upload to the router you already have, so it might be worth checking this out before buying a whole new router.
Setting Up The VPN Client
First get your router talking to the Internet on one side and your local area network on the other. Then set up any more advanced network settings you need, such as Quality of Service or access controls. Only once the router is fully humming should you consider installing your VPN client.
To do that, you will need to navigate to the VPN tab under Services. From there, check the Enable Bubble next to “Start Open VPN Client.” At this point, there is no single set of instructions to make this work. The settings will be completely unique to the VPN provider. However, there are ready-made instructions for setting up your VPN client on DD-WRT for several of PCMag’s top VPN players. For example, NordVPN has DD-WRT setup instructions here, and Private Internet Access VPN has the same thing for its VPN here. Some VPN brands will want to install their own software, some will want to use OpenVPN. Just follow the instructions for your VPN brand, and you’ll be right on track.
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The Difference Between VPN
It is important to understand that there are two very different kinds of VPNs: VPN-in, and VPN-out.
- A VPN-in is used by businesses to allow employees to connect in to their network so that they can work from home or while on the road. It creates a network connection that makes the remote user appear to be on the work network.
- A VPN-out is used by individuals to protect their privacy, change regions, and forward ports.
Most people in the market for a VPN provider are looking for a VPN-out. That is, they want to connect to a VPN server somewhere, and use that server to transfer data over the internet.
If you purchase a VPN service from a provider such as Private Internet Access, then you are purchasing a VPN-out. This is what most people want.
VPN-in is mostly used by businesses to allow employee connectivity. VPN-in is not nearly as popular for home networks, but that does not mean that it is not used in homes. It is an excellent way to allow yourself whole network access while away from home or at work.
It is easiest to set up a VPN-in to your home network in your router if your router supports it. Once configured, a VPN-in allows total access to your home network while you are away.