Installing a Virtual Private Network or VPN on your router will ensure all of your devices are protected under a single subscription plan. This makes protecting all of your family’s devices, including laptops, mobile phones, gaming consoles, tablets, and SmartTVs easy.
In 2005, the DD-WRT router firmware was introduced and has been popular among VPN users since. The open-source firmware is specifically designed for routers and is Linux-based. It allows you to quickly set up a VPN straight onto your router. This is a major benefit in terms of convenience as it enables you to utilize a premium VPN even on devices that are not typically supported by the service.
DD-WRT is also a great option for users that want to make the most of their devices. It is suitable even for beginner VPN router users and is compatible with a wide range of operating systems and devices, making it an extremely popular choice among internet users.
The easiest way to set up a VPN router connection is to purchase a pre-configured VPN router from a VPN company. However, it is possible to install the DD-WRT firmware on any compatible Wi-Fi router. This option is slightly more complicated but it will save you a significant amount of money, and you can choose any VPN provider. But which VPN provider is the best?
A VPN on your router is largely considered to be one of the simplest ways to secure your internet connection. It removes the need to download VPN clients on all of your other devices, and it can offer protection for devices that do not typically support VPN connections, such as Smart TVs and gaming consoles.
A router VPN operates in the same way as a normal VPN that you may have installed on your phone or laptop. It creates an encrypted tunnel of VPN servers, reroutes your internet traffic to a secure server, and hides your actual IP address. This means that you can browse the internet with the peace of mind that no third party can track your activity.
There is a range of benefits that come with installing a router VPN. The main advantage is that you can get a VPN connection on devices that are not natively compatible with typical VPN apps. This includes gaming consoles and smart TVs and means you can access geo-restricted streaming services and browse anonymously on any device that is connected to your Wi-Fi connection.
Also, most VPN subscription plans place a limit on how many devices you can protect simultaneously. If you download a router VPN, there is no limit to how many devices can use the VPN server connection.
The main disadvantage of using a router VPN is that your current router may not be compatible with your chosen VPN provider’s router VPN app. Also, many VPN services do not even offer a router VPN app, making the process somewhat confusing. In this case, it will either be necessary to purchase a new router that is compatible or manually download DD-WRT firmware to enable you to set up a VPN connection.
The other issue is that it is harder to alter your VPN settings as your router does not have an interface. Thus, it will be necessary to make any changes through the router dashboard on your laptop or computer, some of which are extremely basic and hard to use. However, some VPN services have made the process quicker and easier and offer dedicated VPN router setup guides and apps that are specially designed to protect your router quickly.
Below are the best router VPNs as decided by our team of experts.
The British Virgin Islands-based company, ExpressVPN is one of the most popular VPN providers on the market and is a great option for VPN coverage on routers too. The provider offers a range of pre-configured VPN routers as well as a comprehensive guide for setting up DD-WRT firmware on your own router.
The VPN service also offers custom firmware which makes connecting to ExpressVPN and securing all of your family’s devices quick and easy. You can also choose to select the devices that run through the VPN connection and those that utilize your normal internet connection. This means that you can choose the devices that use the VPN server connection and still use the same Wi-Fi router.
There is a MediaStreamer feature too that enables you to access the geo-restricted content on streaming sites such as Netflix, BBC iPlayer, YouTube, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ and more on devices that do not typically support a VPN connection, without it being necessary to reroute the connection through a VPN tunnel. If you run into difficulties while using the VPN on your router, ExpressVPN boasts excellent customer support with a 24/7 live-chat option to ensure you will get a response in minutes.
When it comes to performance, the ExpressVPN router VPN offers fast and reliable speeds no matter where you are connecting from. ExpressVPN’s server network is also impressive with more than 2000 servers across 148 locations in 94 different countries. There is also P2P support across all of its servers, making it a great option for torrenters too.
ExpressVPN also offers a transparent no-logs policy which states that it will never store your private data traffic or online activity.
While ExpressVPN is not the cheapest option when compared to other VPN services, it does offer a first-rate user experience. Its 1-year version is the most cost-effective option at $9.99 per month. All ExpressVPN subscription plans are also covered by a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee for additional peace of mind.
NordVPN is another extremely well-known VPN provider. It offers excellent setup guides that explain how to set up DD-WRT firmware on your compatible Wi-Fi router. The VPN utilizes secure L2TP, PPTP, and OpenVPN protocols to ensure your internet connection is entirely anonymous and private. The company also offers a choice of preconfigured VPN routers.
In terms of performance, NordVPN offers excellent speeds, even on long-distance server connections, and is one of the fastest VPN services on the market. The VPN client impresses when it comes to user security and privacy too. It includes a range of additional security features including CyberSec to block ads, malware, and malicious websites, Double VPN to encrypt your data traffic twice rather than just once, and with Onion over Tor, you’ll be able to enjoy a completely private internet experience. Also, the VPN offers a strict no-logs policy for additional peace of mind.
NordVPN offers a range of subscription options, however, its three-year option is the most affordable at just $2.99 a month, as long as you are happy to commit to a longer-term plan.
IPVanish offers a pre-configured router set up but you can also choose to set up VPN support on your existing router manually. The provider offers an excellent range of comprehensive setup guides detailing the router setup process. The VPN is also compatible with a range of manufacturers and operating systems.
You’ll be able to watch your favorite streaming services in high-definition thanks to IPVanish’s high-speed VPN server network. The VPN may even enhance download speeds, especially on short-distance VPN server connections.
It is great in terms of security too. The VPN operates on OpenVPN and PPTP protocols for compatible router support, as well as 128-bit and 256-bit AES encryption. There is also a clear no-logs policy to make sure your private activity will never be stored or misused.
IPVanish is not the cheapest network VPN on the market, however, there is a 7-day free trial, and if you sign up for a year the monthly subscription cost drops to just $6.49 a month.
Windscribe is a good router VPN that comes with unlimited simultaneous connections. This means that you can install the VPN on your router as well as all of your other devices too.
Speeds are decent and short-range connections are quite fast, however, the long-distance connection speed is somewhat reduced.
Windscribe also offers a limited free version that comes with a generous 10GB monthly data limit, which is more than most providers offer. The free plan is helpful for testing the VPN software on a single device, however, if you do want to utilize the DD-WRT VPN router app it will be necessary to opt for a paid subscription plan. Only the premium plans offer OpenVPN configuration and unlimited simultaneous connections on one account.
If you are looking for an affordable VPN router option, Surfshark is one of the best. Despite that the provider does not offer a dedicated VPN router app, it does offer a premium service for an extremely affordable price.
Connection speeds are impressive and there is protection for an unlimited number of devices too, making it one of the best VPN router setups on the market.
Like all of the other VPN services on this list, Surfshark can be manually installed on routers and you can also utilize the FlashRouter app to easily make changes to your VPN’s settings. While it does not offer a dedicated router app, it is extremely cost-effective.
VyprVPN may not be the largest VPN service but it is powerful. Its no-logging policy is verified so you can rest assured that your identity and private browsing activity are protected when connected to the VPN. And, more importantly, the VPN comes with a dedicated router VPN app.
The provider’s website clearly explains the few steps that are required to set up the compatible router VPN app. The router interface is clean, well-designed, and simple to use. However, unfortunately, the provider only supports Tomato Wi-Fi routers, making it somewhat awkward. Also, some features such as split tunneling are available on some but not all versions of Tomato.
However, despite the issues of the VPN app, it is a great option if you do already own a Tomato router, and if you don’t you can always install the VPN by flashing and installing a VPN server connection. VyprVPN is also compatible with the FlashRouter app, which can make the process a little simpler.
Also, VyprVPN is well priced at just $1.66 a month if you commit to the three-year option, so if you do already own a Tomato router we would recommend it considering its affordability. However, for other routes, there may be better, more suitable VPNs on the market.
There is a range of reasons for installing a router VPN at home or in a business environment. Whether you want to access geo-restricted streaming content on your gaming console or Smart TV, or you want to enjoy a secure internet connection on all of your devices, we would recommend a router VPN.
However, if you just want to overcome the simultaneous device limits we would recommend VPNs such as Surfshark or IPVanish that come with unlimited connected devices as standard. This means that you can install the VPN app on as many devices as you like without needed to configure your router’s settings.
Installing router VPNs can be complicated and difficult, especially for beginner VPN users. There is also a danger of harming your router if you configure the VPN incorrectly. Thus, we would be inclined to recommend that you install a premium VPN app, or purchasing a preconfigured VPN router if you are inexperienced.