How to Set Up a VPN on your Router?

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Set Up a VPN on your Router

Do you want to mask your online activity and stay secure while browsing the web? Well, using a Virtual Private Network is your best bet as it ensures top-notch online security at this time when cybercrime is at an all-time high. Yes, VPNs protect your online activities from hackers, keeps your data safe, and provides you with concrete privacy. However, running VPNs on devices can be a burdensome task, especially when you’re not a professional.

Despite this, there is a way to reap the benefits of VPN applications while saving time and effort. That way is to set up a VPN on your router as this does not require you to deal with various VPN apps on every device while ensuring secure and private browsing.

Here, learn about how to set up a VPN on your router. But before that, here are some things that you should know beforehand.

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Advantages of Using a VPN on Your Router

If you are a beginner, or you use a free VPN on your device, you might be wondering why you should invest in setting up a VPN on your router. Here are some benefits of a VPN that will make you rethink setting up a VPN on your router:

  • The best benefit that you can get is that once you install a VPN on your router, you get the VPN service all the time. Browser VPNs and VPN apps ask you to safely sign in every time you wish to browse the internet.
    But, if you have a VPN attached to your router, you get the advantages of a VPN service 24×7 while saving your time and resources.
  • The next advantage is that you can connect multiple devices to a single VPN service if you have a VPN on your router. Normally, we have to set up a VPN on our phone and then set up a separate VPN on our laptop or tablet.
    Each device requires a separate VPN setup. In the case of a VPN router, you have to set it up once, and after that, you can enjoy the benefits of VPN on any device without doing anything else separately.
  • When you set up a VPN on your router, you get the automatic VPN services on all of your connected devices since they will be rerouted through the same VPN. This means that you get security for all your electronic devices all at once.
    Your online data on all of your devices remain secure, and your online browsing on all of your devices remain private.

These reasons are enough to prove that setting up a VPN on your router is a worthwhile investment, and as a user, you will have plenty of advantages from doing so.

Disadvantages of Using a VPN on Your Router

While there are certainly many benefits of a router having a VPN, there are some drawbacks as well that you should be aware of.

  • A lot of home internet users complain of slow internet speed and especially slow upload bandwidth. So, when you set up a VPN on the router, the bandwidth is bound to get even slower, making your online experience worse. But if you have a high-speed connection, you must give it a try.
  • Nevertheless, there is another drawback of a router-based VPN. Most VPN users wish to change their geographic location through a VPN so that they can have access to content that is not available to their location. However, a home VPN server will not allow you to do that, which can be a big drawback.

Hence, if you are going to invest in getting a router-based VPN, then you must keep these things in mind.

How to Set Up a VPN on Your Router?

There are different ways to set up a VPN on a router. In this article, you will get to know the 3 different ways to set up a VPN on your router.

1. Get a VPN Router

If you invest in a pre-built VPN router, there won’t be any requirement of manual set up. Many of the expensive home routers often have built-in VPN servers. After buying such a router, you can activate and set up the VPN by visiting the router’s web interface. You must do some research work before buying a VPN router as per the type of VPN you need.

Buying a VPN router will surely save your huge time because it discards the requirement of setting up separate VPNs for multiple VPNs. Here are 2 VPN routers that you can think of buying:

2. Linksys WRT AC3200 Dual-Band Open Source Router

Linksys router is an amazing device to cater to all your internet needs. The router possesses MU MIMO (Multi-User Multiple Input Multiple Output) which facilitates high-speed wireless internet on multiple electronic devices.

3. Netgear Nighthawk AC2300 Smart Wi-Fi Router

A fast Wi-Fi Router capable of handling 35 devices, the Netgear router has a range of 2000 square feet. The router also comes with a 1xUSB 3.0 port, 1xUSB 2.0 port, and has 4 Ethernet ports required for wired connections.

It supports 4 Ethernet ports, one USB 3.0 port, and a hybrid eSATA/USB 2.0 port. This provides the users with options to connect external devices to the router like a USB stick, a hard drive, or a printer.

The Linksys router supports OpenVPN by default through which a user can run VPN on the router and then the user just has to copy OpenVPN profiles from any VPN provider to their devices.

4. Get a Router that Supports DD-WRT or Tomato

There is a way by which you can set up a VPN on your router by yourself, and it can be done easily by flashing third-party firmware. First, you need to make sure that DD-WRT or Tomato firmware is compatible with your router.

They have a built-in VPN server that allows the users to host a VPN server even when you don’t have a pre-built VPN router. If either of them is incompatible with your router, then you should go for an alternative router firmware.

If your router does support DD-WRT or Tomato firmware, then here is everything you need to know about how you can set up VPN on your router using the firmware:

  • Step 1 – First of all, you need to flash DD-WRT or Tomato on your router or any other firmware that is compatible with your router.
  • Step 2 – You need to obtain more information about your VPN as well before setting it up. You can do a Google search and type “set up [name of your VPN] [name of your firmware]”. This will yield you results that can help you with the installation of your VPN as most of the good VPNs have tutorials on their websites.
    For example, ExpressVPN has an entire section dedicated to performing router configurations manually. The configuration is generally just a combination of numbers and URLs.

Here are some details by NordVPN that will install it on a router that supports DD-WRT:

Server IP/Name = us936.nordvpn.com
Port = 1194
Tunnel Device = TUN
Tunnel Protocol = UDP
Encryption Cipher = AES-256-CBC
Hash Algorithm = SHA-512 (Note: Older NordVPN servers use SHA-1 instead. If SHA-512 does not work, select SHA-1.)
User Pass Authentication = Enable
Username, Password = [Your NordVPN credentials]
Advanced Options = Enable (this will enable additional options)
TLS Cipher = None
LZO Compression = Yes
NAT = Enable

In the same way, you can also get the information for your VPN. You might even obtain the VPN configuration file which will contain all the settings that you require.

  • Step 3 – Next you have to configure your VPN router. After you have obtained the information needed for the activation of the VPN, now you have to access your router firmware.

Suppose you have DD-WRT firmware, then go to ‘Services’, then select ‘VPN’ and go to ‘Start OpenVPN Client’. Now switch it to ‘Enable’.

If you have Tomato firmware, then go to ‘VPN Tunneling’, visible in the left sidebar, and then choose the ‘OpenVPN Client’ option. After this, you will be able to find everything that you require to complete the VPN set up in the ‘Basic’ tab available under ‘Client 1’.

Now just enter the VPN information that you were able to find in the previous step from your VPN provider.

Now your router must be tethered to your chosen VPN, which means that you are all set to use VPN on any of your devices. You can use an IP address-checking tool so that your IP address remains secure and protected from hackers.

5. Create Your Own VPN Server

A user can create their own VPN server on one of their computers, but for this, you will need to use a computer or any other device that should be ON all the time. You cannot ever turn it off. Windows and Apple both allow users to set up a VPN server.

Windows has a built-in way through which you can host VPNs, and Apple has a Server app on which you can create a VPN server. However, this is not the best option out there to set up a VPN because of security concerns, and also this method can be quite demanding.

Another way that you can set up your own VPN server is by installing a third-party VPN server-like OpenVPN. It does not matter what operating system you use, you can easily find VPN servers for it. To set up the VPN server on your router, you will need to forward the ports from the router to your computer that is running the server software.

Users can also take a Raspberry Pi, install an OpenVPN server software on it, and create their own dedicated VPN device. It will be their very own lightweight and low-power VPN server device.

BONUS

You can also host your VPN server with a web hosting provider, which might prove to be less expensive than paying a monthly fee to a VPN provider. For this, you need to get a server hosted from the web hosting provider and then install a VPN on that server.

This is quite an easy process that involves adding the VPN server software and obtaining a control panel to manage the VPN server. However, if your web hosting provider is not very convenient, you may have to run the CLI to install and configure everything.

How to Choose a VPN Provider for the Router?

The biggest question you should ask yourself is whether your current VPN is charging any money from you or not. If not, then you should get into researching VPN providers and get a premium VPN for your router.

It is easy to install most of the premium VPNs such as ExpressVPN and NordVPN on DD-WRT or Tomato firmware. However, there are some like Hotspot Shield that does not work efficiently on such routers with DD-WRT or Tomato firmware.

When choosing a VPN, there are two features that you should be concerned about with utmost importance. One is its speed, and the second is how convenient is its online support system. Since your VPN will have to handle all of your online activity, whether it’s gaming or streaming you need to choose your VPN provider with a lot of thought.

The good news is that many of VPN providers offer online tutorials that can help you in choosing the provider that is best for you. You can also check the speed reports, server locations, and the logs of VPN service providers to come up with a decision.

Some Additional Tips

  • You should think about setting up dynamic DNS on your router when setting up the VPN on the router. You will be provided with an easy address at which you can access your VPN anytime even when your IP address changes.
  • Make sure that you configure your VPN server with full security so that someone else may not succeed in connecting to your VPN server. A strong password sometimes isn’t enough; what you need is something like an OpenVPN server with a key file, which is very hard to get past for anyone who is not the administrator.

Conclusion

Therefore, after reading this article, you must have gained enough knowledge of the setting up process of VPN on your router. Now you can simply follow the steps outlined in this article and enjoy the perks of having a VPN on your router.

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