Virtual Private Networks are used to access geo-blocked services all over the world. Good VPN providers offer top-quality features to boost security and privacy online. Users can experience smooth activities in a protected environment.
VPNs come in different forms and varieties. Popular VPN providers offer apps for devices running Android, Linux, Windows, or iOS systems. However, if you install VPN on a device, you can only access VPN services through that device. While installing VPN on a router in UK lets all the devices connected to the network have VPN access.
In this post, we discuss the router VPN vs. software VPN in UK in depth to help you understand the difference. Let’s cover the details of the best software VPN.
What is a Router VPN?
A router VPN is like the regular router you use but with a VPN installed inside. Its firmware lets you have a VPN connection on several devices that are linked to your local or home network. It provides a secure and encrypted channel to safeguard all these devices.
The best VPN router in UK comes with RAM for efficient memory management. After the VPN starts working, all your devices such as mobile phones, PCs, and smart TVs can be connected to the VPN. Your entire connection gets secured, preventing the need for firewall protection.
Pros and cons of Router VPNs
Router VPN has a couple of pros and cons for users that must be kept in consideration. While evaluating router VPN vs. software VPN in UK, you must be clear about the pros and cons discussed below:
1. Secure all your devices together
When you use a router VPN, all your devices attached to the router will automatically be shielded without requiring you to set up and install a separate security software or VPN app on every individual device.
2. Run it at all times
After you set up your router VPN, you can easily leave it active around the clock. It eliminates the risk of using online services without having your VPN protection.
3. Attach devices without native VPN support
If any of your devices such as a gaming console, smart TV, has no VPN apps or compatibility, they can be protected with your VPN router. Having VPN support is perfect for gamers interested in connecting to gaming servers located in different geographical regions.
It’s great for streaming fans looking to unblock restricted channels on TV. Your router VPN will prevent your Internet Service Provider from monitoring your network activities and watching which smart devices are set on your network.
4. Save huge bucks on VPN subscriptions
Regular VPN providers generally let you connect around 5 to 10 devices simultaneously. But when you connect via your router, it counts as a single connection no matter how many devices you connect to the router.
With other VPN setups, you have to purchase extra subscriptions for connecting many other devices together. However, connecting via router VPN allows you to save big amounts of money. Some premium VPNs like Surfshark offer unlimited device connections at once, so you only have this perk with a few VPN service providers.
A few disadvantages of a router VPN are listed below:
1. VPN on a router can invalidate the warranty of your router
To set your router with your VPN, you can install a VPN-compatible, third-party firmware such as DD-WRT or Tomato. But this can invalidate your router’s warranty. It so happens in most conditions, however, Asus claims that installing the ASUSWRT-Merlin firmware on its routers will not void the warranty. Even so, the best thing to do is check with your router’s manufacturer before proceeding.
2. Setting it up may be complicated
When you try to configure a VPN for your router, it can be difficult. Although the majority of VPN providers give step-by-step guidelines on setting up their VPNs on different types of routers, with various firmware and models, configuring the VPN can still be risky and complex, even for users with basic technical knowledge.
Whereas users who try to skip the setup by getting a pre-configured VPN router, which may put their router at risk.
3. Not all VPNs are supported by routers
The router provided to you by your ISP is never guaranteed to be compatible with your VPN, indicating that you may have to purchase another router that supports VPN.
4. Not very user-friendly
Users need to configure their VPN manually on the routers. Switching server locations or accessing the complete feature set of a VPN is not easily possible on a router setup.
5. Speeds may drop inconsistently when several devices are connected at a time
When you run dozens of devices connected on your router simultaneously, you may highly fall into speed inconsistencies and slow network services. The drop in speed can be a big deal drag for streaming or gaming activities where the network speed is critical for the activity.
6. Not all services run with your VPN connection on
You might be surprised to note that a VPN can hinder some of your activities like sending or receiving emails for instance, when your VPN is running. It may happen to prevent spamming if your VPN provider blocks SMTP port 25, or if your email service only provides access to residential IP addresses.
You may face issues with online banking, and streaming sites (if your VPN interferes with them or is unable to unlock these services), and also can’t access government services. Obviously, you wouldn’t want to turn off or disconnect the VPN on your router whenever you would like to send an email or use certain other online services.
7. Routers may not be cost-effective
You can definitely get a range of reasonable routers with VPN compatibility costing around $50. However, if you prefer an above-average VPN performance, your router would cost you between $100 to $250 particularly when connecting multiple devices.
What is a Software VPN?
A VPN software is an independent application required to be installed on each device seeking VPN protection. Typically, software VPNs are designed to be used on individual devices, like mobile phones, smart TVs, laptops, or tablets, instead of protecting complete networks.
When you have a VPN installed on one of your individual devices, you can’t access the VPN services on any other devices except that particular device. Software VPN is ideal for users who usually work on public Wi-Fi networks or prefer some level of control on devices.
Pros and cons of Software VPNs
VPN apps installed on your personal devices such as a laptop, computer or mobile phone has various advantages and disadvantages. Listing down both to help you distinguish router VPN vs. software VPN in UK.
1. Easy to install and configure
Users with basic installation experience can easily install a VPN app on their devices. If you are one who has installed an app at some stage on your phone or downloaded any simple software on your laptop, you won’t find it hard to install a VPN onto your device.
Even if you have no prior experience, you will still be able to get it done in no time as VPN apps come with an installation guide and they are super simple to install. Therefore, you will not have any troubles if your operating system is up to date.
2. Generally user-friendly
If you are not a tech junkie, there’s nothing to worry about as generally, VPN providers develop software keeping an average user in mind. It means that you won’t find it hard to use the VPN app and also don’t require extra information.
3. Complete access to the VPN feature set
Different VPN providers design their VPNs differently. It is the features that help you differentiate between the VPNs. You have access to the entire feature set of your VPN when you use your client software, even several of those that you wouldn’t have if using the same VPN installed on your router which makes it worthwhile.
4. Protect only the devices you need to protect
Not all users like to secure all their devices with a VPN connection for various genuine reasons. A VPN client gives you the freedom to easily filter and select which devices you want to connect through the VPN and which ones to leave.
5. Easily switch server locations
You can switch between server locations with a single click using a VPN client. No matter how many servers you switch to, you can easily do that with VPNs offering unlimited server switching. It takes a single click on the VPN app and all set. Whereas when you try to switch server locations on a router setup, it can be much more difficult and complicated.
6. Connect on the go
Connecting to your VPN client app is possible from anywhere in the world. No matter where you are, there is no restriction. You can easily connect to your VPN on any of your devices, such as your laptop or mobile phone having internet connection access or cellular data even if you are on the go.
7. Connect various devices to different server locations
When you connect devices to your VPN router, all these devices can access the internet via a single VPN server location, which is not the case when using a VPN client app. It even lets you connect one of your devices to the UK, one to China, and another to Australia on your demand.
1. Incompatibility with all devices
We use different devices with internet access these days. It might be new for you, but not every internet-connected device comes with native VPN support, as the smart TV used for streaming or gaming console for gaming may not have VPN native support or be compatible with your VPN’s client app. All these devices need a VPN router to get a VPN connection.
2. Requires multiple subscriptions
If you have purchased a VPN provider that doesn’t offer unlimited devices to be connected simultaneously and you want to connect more than the allowed limit of devices, then you would have to buy extra VPN subscriptions, which could get costly.
3. Separate device connection required
With a VPN client app installed on a single device, you need to connect it to the VPN separately. While on a router connection, you don’t have to go through individual configurations and connections as all your devices can connect at a time.
Our Best Recommended VPN for Router and Software in UK
The debate on physical VPN vs. software VPN can go wild if you keep investigating the differences. But if we tell you that you can have VPN which is great for router and single-device setups both, it might solve you from banging your head on the wall.
Here is our best VPN which wins the router VPN vs. software VPN competition in UK.
ExpressVPN – Best VPN for Router and Software in UK
- Can be configured on a router also it can be used as software VPN
- 5 device connections simultaneously
- GB£ 5.35/mo (US$ 6.67/mo) (Get 49% Off + 3 Months FREE on its 12-Month Plan)
- Secure encryption
- Compatible with macOS, Windows, Linux, Android, and iOS devices
ExpressVPN is the best VPN for routers in UK and software. It comes with support for both routers and software devices. When you connect your router with this VPN, it shields your entire network of devices connected. Whereas for single VPN apps on individual devices, you get up to 5 device connections at a time.
ExpressVPN supports a variety of Linksys, Netgear, and Asus RT routers with easy firmware installations. The routers that are comparatively hard to install and require manual setup include Saobi, Tomato, Xiaomi, TP-Link, etc. Even ExpressVPN has developed its own Wi-Fi router named Aircove.
You can easily connect devices that don’t have native VPN compatibility like some smart TVs or consoles. Additionally, ExpressVPN lets you connect to 5 different locations at once and even more with your ExpressVPN router setup in UK.
ExpressVPN has over 3000 servers in 94 countries, offering a big range of locations to connect. It offers a great unblocking capacity to lift geo-restrictions on international content. It can unblock Netflix and other top-trending streaming platforms.
ExpressVPN servers have blazing-fast speeds, excellent for streaming and gaming. Its servers support P2P traffic with incredibly fast speeds for smooth torrenting. Our ExpressVPN speed test in UK shows the best performance in different locations, recording an average download speed of 89.42 Mbps and an upload speed of 84.64 Mbps on a 100 Mbps connection.
ExpressVPN provides a kill switch, a no-logs policy, and split tunneling. Its TrustedServer (RAM-only) technology removes all log data after every session concludes. It has one of the best privacy policies in UK for data protection and a threat manager to block malware. It uses AES-256-bit encryption for masking data traffic.
ExpressVPN is compatible with Android, Windows, Linux, Mac, and iOS devices. You can connect up to 5 different devices at once. Furthermore, it provides a browser extension for Chrome, Edge, and Firefox to secure all your browsing history and provide an anonymous search engine.
In terms of pricing, ExpressVPN is costly compared to the competitor VPNs. You can get a 2-year subscription plan for GB£ 5.35/mo (US$ 6.67/mo) (Get 49% Off + 3 Months FREE on its 12-Month Plan), along with a 30-day money-back guarantee and a 7-day ExpressVPN free trial in UK. To cancel your ExpressVPN subscription in UK, you can follow simple guidelines.
ExpressVPN has active customer support with email service and live chat available 24/7. To test the support service, e personally tested both email and live chat. We are super impressed with the instant response received by their agents. They guided us thoroughly and kindly.
Learn more details in our ExpressVPN review UK.
- Router VPN support
- Allow 5 locations on router VPN
- All-rounder software VPN
- Privacy-oriented and security-focused
- Incredibly fast speeds
- Supportive team
- Expensive subscription bundles
FAQs – Router VPN vs. Software VPN in UK
Is it better to have VPN on device or router in UK?
It is better to have VPN on a router to protect your entire network of devices in UK. When you use a VPN router on the local network, all your devices connected to that home router get a VPN connection. Even if you have the Internet of Things and smart home devices, they too are covered under router.
Whereas if you buy a software VPN on any device, you will have access to VPN on that individual device only. ExpressVPN has the best route VPN service.
Is VPN on a router faster than a VPN on a device?
No, VPN on router will be slower than a VPN on device. If you find the speed on your router too slow, then you should get a separate VPN app on your personal computer or device that you want to use. Comparing VPN router vs. VPN service in terms of speed, the router VPN loses the game.
Which is better for protecting sensitive data and online activities in UK: a router VPN or a software VPN?
A router VPN provides complete protection for every device connected to the network in UK. Whereas a VPN app offers security to the device on which it is installed. In terms of security, if a VPN router vs. VPN service is compared, it is better to use a router VPN.
Routers are used to connect an entire network of devices to the internet. With growing cyber threats, devices need to be shielded on online platforms. To lift security, VPN providers offer both VPN services for routers and software for individual devices.
By discussing the differences, our router VPN vs. software VPN in UK guide will help users decide. VPN routers are great in terms of pricing and protection, but they perform slower due to the load. However, if you need protection for streaming or gaming on your personal phone or laptop without going into detailed configurations, software VPN is a good choice.
You can shortlist the best VPN service for your setup according to your requirements and usage. We recommend ExpressVPN with the best router VPN and software apps that cover a 30-day money-back policy.