VPN Routers-One Stop Solution to All Your Privacy Needs

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As days turn into years in online world, VPN gradually becomes the primary reason of defence for your system when you’re online. It has becomes a necessity because it keeps your system safe and secure against hackers, ISPs, and the government from snooping over your online data.

However, there are certain devices where you couldn’t get a VPN even if you try to, because the platform does not support such apps. This is where a VPN router comes in. Installing a VPN on a router will keep all your devices secure. This guide explains 7 best VPN routers for your online safety. View our detailed guide of Best VPN to learn more about VPN services.

What is a VPN Router?

A VPN router is specifically designed that communicates within a VPN environment. To put it simply, a VPN router is like any other router but with a VPN client installed. So, despite connecting each of your device to a VPN, you can simply turn on the VPN router and connect to it. Every device that are connected to VPN router have encrypted online activity and a secure online privacy.

VPN Router Functionality

Once you have installed and configured a VPN onto your router, every activity you perform over the internet remains secure. Even if a VPN router is connected in public places such as at the airport or at a coffee shop, your data is safe. A higher encryption VPN service provider will greatly impact performance and keep your traffic secure.

Summary of Best VPN for Routers

Here are the best VPN for routers that we have managed to assemble in one table:

RankProvidersPrice ($)DiscountMore Info
1
PureVPN
Editor's Choice
 $10.95 
$1.32Per Month
88% Off
Exclusive Discount 88% Off
2
NordVPN
 $11.95 
$2.99Per Month
75% Off
3 Years Plan
3
Surfshark
 $11.95 
$1.99Per Month
83% Off
2 Years Deal
4
CyberGhost
 $11.99 
$3.50Per Month
73% Off
6 months Free
5
ExpressVPN
$6.67Per Month
35% OFF
No Exclusive Offer

Different Types of VPN Routers

Luckily, you can find router VPNs in various specifications depending on your own needs. Interestingly, you will need to avail a custom router firmware like Tomato or DD-WRT as this Linux based firmware provides a next level customization feature.

In my opinion, you have two options available at your disposal. You can buy a router that comes in with a built-in firmware. On the other hand, you can rely on a compatible router and customize it yourself accordingly.

Types-of-VPN-Routers

How VPN Routers Work?

A VPN is an online security tool that safeguards your different connected devices from various online threats. When you activate a VPN service on your devices, your internet connection becomes anonymous and secure. A VPN on router enables you to protect all your devices through one major connection.

If you select a built-in VPN router or install a VPN on your router after purchasing a router, it does not matter. This is because the sole objective of router VPN is to provide anonymity and protection to users.

Choosing a VPN for Your Router

If I say that the VPN selection process for your router is highly important, I am not wrong at all. Different factors are responsible for making a VPN service an ideal choice for routers. During selection procedure, you had better consider speed, online support, and privacy policy.

Thus, you can purchase a compatible VPN that can work with your router seamlessly.  You have to download your desired media file at times. Similarly, you have to secure your privacy while performing crucial online tasks. Therefore, you will need to select a provider that does not compromise on your protection at any cost.

VPN-for-Your-Router

Best VPN Routers of 2018

A VPN router is a device with a normal internet but have a VPN attached. Every device that connects to a VPN router are safe to stream anything over the internet. It encrypts your online data and unblocks geographically restricted content. This way, you get internet freedom all the way without getting to connect a VPN separately on each device.

Here is a list of best VPN routers for you to try in 2018:

7 Best VPN Routers of 2018

Here are the 7 best VPN routers where VPN software are easily installed and configured:

1. ASUS RT-AC5300

A high-end gaming router that aims to making lag-free gaming experience. You will find this VPN router with advanced features but it comes with a good price. The design is spider-like having a total of eight antennas circled around the router. The design may not appeal to many people, but its advanced features can make amends.

Pros

  • Good Wi-Fi coverage
  • Advanced gaming features

Cons

  • Only 1 USB 3.0 port

2. Netgear R7000

Undoubtedly the best VPN router when it comes to streaming videos and playing games. It kills the ping and improves your streaming experience with zero buffer time. It has 3 external antennas with a transfer rates of 600mbps, while having 2 USB ports.

Pros

  • 1,000 MHZ Dual core
  • Supports DD-WRT Mega builds

Cons

  • Low transfer rates

3. Linksys WRT1200AC

When looking at its specification, performance, and price factors, then its safer to assume that it is the best VPN router in its category. You can install different VPN providers because it also supports DD-WRT firmware. It further allows connection of hard drive on its router via gigabit connection.

Pros

  • Connects hard drive
  • 2 USB ports i.e. USB 2.0 and USB 3.0

Cons

  • A bit expensive

4. Linksys WRT32X Gaming Router

As the name suggests, it is a perfect router when it comes to gaming. It has a striking similarity to the Linksys heavy-hitter WRT-3200, but with enhanced features. It uses a custom firmware which is easier to navigate and that makes it the best VPN router 2018.  It reduces lag and improves ping performance, which is an essential element while playing games.

Pros

  • Custom firmware
  • Attractive visual design

Cons

  • Expensive

5. Linksys WRT 3200 ACM

Linksys WRT 3200 ACM makes the list our best VPN router 2018 where DD-WRT firmware is easily installed so that VPN compatibility is made easy. When you order the router, you get four antenna, three bands, including a router. It comes with four Ethernet ports and a USB 3.0 port.

Pros

  • Supports open-source firmware support
  • 256 MB flash memory

Cons

  • Coverage can sometimes be very poor

6. ASUS RT-AC86U

ASUS is popular in gaming-centric products with some great interface design. Even if you’re not a gamer, it will make a perfect blend as well. What makes it preferable for VPN use is its fast performance where it won’t let your internet speed to fall. Also, it allows third-party firmware to be installed onto this router.

Pros

  • Used for both gaming and VPN purposes
  • Fast speed that leads to fast performance

Cons

  • Not so easy-to-use

7. D-Link DIR-885L/R

It is a mid-range best VPN router but with a good Wi-Fi range. It has to offer great speed and with a great combination that are very much likeable by game lovers. It is easier to setup and configure which is a feature that most people wants. The reason why it makes a powerful VPN router is because it supports DD-WRT open-source firmware.

Pros

  • Supports DD-WRT open-source firmware
  • Easy to configure and setup

Cons

  • Over-priced

Benefits of VPN for routers

Then best VPN for routers mentioned above are regular internet routers, but with a VPN software installed, they could pose tons of benefits. Here are some benefits of using VPN routers:

  • Encrypted Wi-Fi at home or public places
  • Secure devices that are incapable of installing a VPN
  • One VPN router for all devices
  • Protects your data non-stop
  • Unblocks geo-restricted websites and apps
  • Secure streaming

Limitations for VPN for Routers

  • You will have to go into your router’s settings every time you wish to switch servers
  • All devices running internet off your VPN router will have the same external IP address (the VPN server’s IP address)
  • You will have to buy a router if one is not already part of your networking architecture
  • You need to decide if you want a Wireless router or a WiFi router
  • You may find yourself facing additional costs for putting up an ‘Accelerator’ if you run into weak signals
  • Due to firmware compatibility limitations between your router and your VPN service provider, you find yourself with limited access to the full range of protocols for use on routers (Most VPNs only provide PPTP for routers)

Why FlashRouters?

FlashRouters are advanced routers with an upgraded and enhanced firmware that includes VPN protocols such as OpenVPN and PPTP with wireless modes. Some of these FlashRouters are wireless VPN routers and have a tested firmware embedded i.e. DD-WRT or Tomato firmware will be flashed on your router.

When getting a FlashRouter, you do not have to go through configuring your VPN onto the router, but it will be configured by default, so that helps you establish a VPN connection with ease. It has a built-in configuration for 60+ VPN providers and all you have to do is plug-n-play.

What Is DD-WRT Routers?

DD-WRT is a Linux-based firmware for routers that makes VPN easier to install on these routers. It was first exclusively designed for Linksys WRT54G router series, but due to its popularity it is now available for most routers including D-Link and Netgear.

OpenVPN is the strongest VPN protocol of a VPN provider. DD-WRT supports OpenVPN protocol that ultimately makes your device more secure than other routers. Therefore, if anyone wants a router so they could install a VPN software, then make sure it has DD-WRT firmware.

DD-WRT and VPNs

DD-WRT routers have both client and server options that can allow you to connect to any other VPN system. DD-WRT is an operating system for VPN routers, without it, becomes impossible to install VPN onto routers.

PPTP is widely used protocol for DD-WRT routers because it is easier to install and is supported by many OSes. However, looking at the downside, it is rather less secure than OpenVPN. DD-WRT routers are able to install OpenVPN, a secured VPN protocol but takes a little more effort to install.

Installing DD-WRT

You will only find a few routers in the market with DD-WRT pre-installed because it is often used as a replacement for the existing OS of commercial routers. Installing DD-WRT is not as difficult as it may sound.

A router is like a small PC with multiple Ethernet ports also having a wireless Ethernet capability. The first step that you need to do is to find the compatible version of DD-WRT that can support that particular model of the router. You can find this information when digging deeper into router’s technical information.

The latest version of DD-WRT will also support OpenVPN protocol, but it is important that it goes well with router. In some cases, you install DD-WRT on a router and then separately add OpenVPN files. DD-WRT website will provide you with technical details.

Depending upon your router, the installation process for DD-WRT will vary. First you would require a software image for the router, and then find its IP address, log in, and upload the firmware onto the router. Reboot the system and now you will need to find the IP address of your PC, which you will observe it would be changed. Configure the router and you are good to go.

DD-WRT has a rather simple interface, and any individual with a basic understanding of networking will have no problem using DD-WRT and installing a VPN.

How to install a VPN on your Router

You can install a VPN on your router by following the below mentioned steps:

  • You should access the router’s login page
  • Once you have accessed the required page, you should signing in with username along with password
  • After signing in, you can see a list of menu in the left hand column
  • Go to ‘VPN’ and select ‘WAN’, use the settings given below

WAN connection type: Automatic IP

Enable WAN: Yes

Enable NAT: Yes

Enable UPnP: Yes

Connect to DNS server automatically: No

DNS Server 1: 208.67.222.222

DNS Server 2: 8.8.8.8

DHCP query frequency: Aggressive mode

Ensure to save these settings by clicking “Apply”.

  • You will find two options for VPN settings, one is VPN Server and other is VPN Client
  • You should select VPN client option
  • Once you have opted VPN client option, you will see a blank VPN server list
  • You must choose ‘Add Profile’ option
  • You will find a window that allows you to add VPN server’s credentials
  • You can use a VPN protocol of your choice like OpenVPN, PPTP and L2TP
  • Select a VPN encryption protocol before entering the credentials
  • To setup an OpenVPN server, you will have to provide initial description, username and a password
  • During this process, a small OVPN file of VPN server also gets imported into setup credentials
  • You should hit ‘OK’ button after entering credentials
  • Press ‘Activate’ under ‘connection’ of the service to begin
  • You can save numerous credentials for each VPN server but only one will be activate at a time
  • The router should access the internet by developing VPN tunnel
  • You can observe a blue checkmark that means VPN connection is active

Why Set Up a Home VPN Router?

A home VPN router is necessary when it comes to securing your entire Wi-Fi network without any fuss. Here is the list of reasons that suggest why it is crucial to setup a home VPN router:

  • A VPN app for router helps you in securing your different devices straightaway
  • You can install the VPN app on your router or purchase a preconfigured VPN router
  • Through a single router VPN, you are no more required to install VPN app on each device individually

Home-VPN-Routers

How to Secure Home Wi-Fi with VPN Router

The task of protecting your home Wi-Fi with a VPN router is straightforward. Here is how you can do:

  • Subscribe to a VPN of your choice from the above list
  • Buy your preferred router VPN for your home Wi-Fi network
  • Setup a VPN on your chosen router

How to Setup VPN Router without Modifying Firmware

Interestingly, you can install a VPN on Asus routers that comes in with preconfigured AsusWRT firmware. Here is how you can do:

  • Sign in to your VPN account and click on Set up on more devices option
  • Click on manual configuration provided on the left side of the screen, choose an OpenVPN tab
  • You can see your username along with password and a list of OpenVPN configuration files
  • Download and save .ovpn file(s)
  • Go to Asus router control panel through your browser
  • Sign in with your name and password, click VPN on left side under Advanced Settings
  • Click VPN tab given at the top, click on Add Profile given at the bottom
  • Choose the OpenVPN tab and provide details like description, username and password
  • Import .ovpn file then upload the downloaded file by clicking Upload
  • Click OK then click Activate to start the VPN

 How to Install VPN on Router with DD-WRT Firmware

You can install a VPN on your DDWRT router hassle-free. Here is the list of steps you should follow that includes:

  • Sign in to your VPN account and click on Set up on more devices option
  • Click on manual configuration provided on the left side of the screen, choose an OpenVPN tab
  • You can see your username along with password and a list of OpenVPN configuration files
  • Download and save .ovpn file(s)
  • Go to DDWRT router control panel and click on the ‘Services’ tab
  • Click on the ‘VPN’ sub tab and activate “start OpenVPN Client” option
  • Through OpenVPN configuration enter the required settings
  • Before proceeding further, make sure that a new DDWRT firmware does have user pass Authentication
  • If you are using DDWRT router, you will see details like server IP/name, username and password
  • Provide server IP/ name from .ovpn downloaded file along with username and password
  • You should configure VPN keys and certificates
  • From service>VPN explore additional Config box
  • Enter the command that you found in additional Config box
  • Copy and paste the text in between <tis-auth> and <tis-auth> block into TLS Auth key field
  • Copy and paste the text in between <ca> and </ca> block into CA Cert field
  • Copy and paste the text in between <cert> and </cert> block into Public Client Cert field
  • Copy and paste the text in between <key> and </key> block into Private Client Key field
  • You should click on Save and click on Apply Settings to connect to the VPN

How to Setup Dual VPN Router

If you want to know how to setup a dual router configuration within your business or home network, you should follow below mentioned steps. By doing so, you can access to an open router and a VPN router on the same network easily. Here is how you can do:

  • Change router IP address to 192.168.2.1
  • Connect LAN port from primary router to WAN port of VPN router
  • You should reset cable modem and check if your IP address is varying or not
  • Disconnect from primary router and plug secondary VPN router into computer’s Ethernet jack or connect to it through wireless adapter
  • Login to secondary router router’s admin panel by typing 192.168.1.1 in address bar
  • Alter Wireless SSIDs if required
  • Alter DHCP IP address of router to 192.168.2.1
  • You should turn off both routers and cable/DSL modem
  • Connect Ethernet cord through primary router’s LAN port to WAN port on other VPN router
  • Turn on cable modem then primary router and secondary VPN router in the end

5 Reasons to Get a VPN Router

There are reasons galore to use a VPN router because it safeguards you on different occasions instantly. Here is the list of reasons that motivate you to opt a router VPN:

  • Secures everything
  • Provides next level protection
  • User-friendly apps
  • Avail multi-login benefit
  • Overcome online restrictions

Secures Everything

There is no denying a VPN has become an ultimate solution when you want to secure your various devices. As a result, you can protect your Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, gaming consoles and other devices through VPN router.

Provides next level protection

Through a router VPN, you are able to get unmatched online freedom and anonymity from anywhere. Hence, you can do whatever you want over the internet according to your own needs.

User-friendly app

The best thing about a VPN enabled router is its dedicated app that allows you to secure your Wi-Fi routers without any fuss.

Use any device

When you enable a VPN on your router, you can secure your different devices simultaneously. This way, you do not need to install a VPN on your devices separately.

Overcome online restrictions

You can bypass numerous online restrictions through VPN router on all your devices. Hence, you can watch your desired media stuff either on mobile phone or on laptop stress-free.

Recommended VPN Routers for Home Wi-Fi Networks

In this section, I would recommend you to use Linksys WRT3200ACM or Netgear R7000 router to secure your home Wi-Fi. This is because when you use Linksys WRT3200ACM router, you are able to achieve VPN speed up to 50 Mbps.

Moreover, you can enjoy multi-login benefit to another level. Yes, I have written it correctly. Through the above said router, you can use more than eight devices at a time.

On the other hand, Netgear R7000 is not much far behind Linksys WRT3200ACM. You can enjoy VPN speed up to 35Mbps instantly. Likewise, you can use a VPN router feature on your seven devices at once.

Netgear-R7000-Wi-fi-Router

How to flash new Firmware to your Router

According to my research, flashing new firmware to your Router is a difficult task. However, you can perform this activity to fulfill all your needs eventually. Let me explain the term flashing first. The flashing process helps you in installing new firmware. It is like an operating system that resides within the router.

There are two types of firmware, one is DDWRT and other is Tomato. Both are open source and third party firmware that you can use free. They can enhance your wireless range and at the same time, they can adjust your bandwidth too. They are more security focused and you can access numerous VPN protocols.

But, they have some dissimilarities too. DD-WRT is useable on more devices as compared to Tomato. You can manipulate the strength of your Wi-Fi signals and access to your home network from other places. Conversely, Tomato allows you to run two VPN servers simultaneously.

The Best DD-WRT Routers?

As discussed earlier, VPN is easily installed on DD-WRT routers. However, there are a few VPN routers that have pre-installed DD-WRT operating system. Hence, users find it easier to install a VPN than installing a DD-WRT on a router. Here is a list of best DD-WRT routers:

  • ASUS RT-AC5300
  • WRT3200ACM
  • Netgear R7000
  • ASUS RT-AC56U
  • Linksys WRT1200AC

Networking Architecture of Router VPN

I’m guessing you are currently using the internet through one of these two settings:

Setting 1 – COMPUTER <-> MODEM <-> INTERNET

Setting 2 – COMPUTER/OTHER INTERNET-ENABLED DEVICES <-> ROUTER <-> MODEM <-> INTERNET

If you are currently running setting 1, you need to add a router and implement setting 2. This is because your modem device cannot possibly function as your router. Routers can be as easy and as complicated as you want them to be. The easy way is to buy a pre-configured VPN router.

router vpn

A less easy way is to go into your router’s VPN settings and alter them to run your VPN, and the most difficult way is to pick up an old router, install a new software on it, and then configure that router to run VPN.

If you already have a spare router lying around the house (or can get your hands on one), don’t get jumping just yet. Yes it can be reset and configured to work a VPN, but first you need to make sure it isn’t bricked. A ‘bricked’ router is a router that has damaged firmware, and if your degree/diploma in computer hardware did not include a course on Networking Hardware you need to take your router to a technician before you can start configuring VPN on it.

Check-List to find Best VPN Router

I always encourage my readers to realize that there are countless VPN providers out there (some free and some paid), but not every VPN service provider will fit your bill. To find the best VPN to use on your router, you need to begin by assessing your needs and then identify VPN service providers that are suited to them.

Different people have different needs, but there are a few factors that are undeniably mandatory.

Server spread: When assessing a VPN service provider, remember that your primary priority is country count, and your secondary priority is server count

Customer Support: Customer support is critically important for you if you plan on using your router for VPN tunneling. You never know when you might run into trouble and nothing works better than 24/7 support at times like these.

Speed: Your VPN router will probably be running the internet for multiple devices at the same time. High bandwidth and speed is imperative for a Router to run VPN.

Wireless AC Routers

One of the key factors when buying a router is to look for the fastest wireless standard that a router can run. Currently, the fastest wireless standard is 802.11ac that has replaced 802.11n standard.

Routers having the latest wireless standard is often referred to as Wireless AC, while routers having a previous wireless standard are referred to as Wireless N.

Dual-Band Routers and Tri-Band Routers

Another factor that you need considering is the dual-band feature of a router. By default, these devices are connected to 2.GHz band which can pose a lot of signal congestion, which significantly results in slower data speed.

Hence, dual-band routers can transmit 5GHz band which causes less signal congestion, and therefore faster speed than single band routers. Before you get a dual-band router, do ensure that you have a network adaptor that supports 5GHz.

MIMO Routers

Number of antenna do impact data speed. Routers that uses two antennas are often dedicated to one for sending and the other for receiving data. These routers are often referred to as SISO i.e. Single Input, Single Output.

Routers having Multiple Inputs and Multiple Outputs are referred to as MIMO. These are the fastest routers that receives and sends information quickly, but also it means transmitting of data at double rates.

DD-WRT and Tomato VPN

You will find it hard that a VPN service provider offering its designated app for specific routers that do not have DD-WRT installed. Therefore, it has become a necessity to install DD-WRT and then configure a VPN on those routers. Tomato VPN is another firmware that is similar to DD-WRT, upon which, configuring a VPN is made easy.

The difference between the two firmware is that Tomato VPN is easier to install, but its not compatible to many devices as DD-WRT. If you’re a beginner, then we’ll definitely recommend using Tomato VPN over DD-WRT.

VPN Router Speed and Performance

Many users would complain about speed and overall performance of their VPN routers, but to be fair, there are two important factors that causes VPN routers to perform poorly. These are processors of a VPN router and the VPN itself.

VPN Router Processor

The biggest factor affecting the overall speed is VPN router’s processor i.e. CPU. Most routers do have the capacity to install a VPN, but doesn’t have the capacity to handle a stronger encryption of a VPN. Therefore, always check on the technical specification for your VPN router and then configure a VPN.

VPN Service for Routers

It is important to mention here that some VPN providers would do wonders when they are installed on other devices excluding a VPN router. However, when installed on a VPN router they would slow down the speed due to higher encryption.

For example, NordVPN having a double VPN encryption may sometimes result in lower internet speed. Also, overloaded server could create this problem. It is recommended to use a VPN that has huge number of servers.

Pre-Configured VPN Routers

Pre-configured VPN routers or VPN-enabled routers are always a good choice as it releases you will all the frustrations of installing DD-WRT and then configuring a VPN yourself. It will probably save you a lot of time, but most importantly it comes with a dedicated support.

The Wrap Up

Since VPN has become a mandatory software that encrypts all your online data and keeps your online activity hidden, many people would want their every device secured over the internet. VPN routers allow all your devices connect to a VPN directly even if your device do not allow it, it keeps them protected. This guide explains everything about best VPN routers.

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Usman Hayat

Usman Hayat

Author
All Posts by Usman Hayat

Usman Hayat's Biography :


A business school grad specializing in marketing, Usman found his love for writing during studies. Salmi now pursues a career as a digital privacy & security advocate for VPNRanks working as a blogger. Salmi loves reading about sci-fi & technology while cricket is his game of choice. When the world cries ‘online freedom’ Salmi stands resolute raising his voice for the rights of netizens everywhere.


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