The router plays a vital role in the equation when we use a VPN. Whether we set up the VPN directly on the router or not.
Do all routers support VPN?
All routers can be used with a VPN but not all routers will let you install the VPN on the router itself. Some consumer routers will not let you install the software from the VPN provider on it. You need to check with the manufacturer for compatibility.
That’s the short answer.
Now let’s make sure you know everything you need to be aware of to get the best possible set up with high protection.
Will Some Routers Stop a VPN From Working?
A router will not interfere with the VPN setting on your device. When you install the VPN program on your device (PC, MacBook, iPhone, iPad, Android phone) it will run on that device. It doesn’t matter what type of router you use.
The router will simply take the encrypted data packages from your device and pass them on to the VPN server of your choice.
That’s the simple way to explain it.
So, you don’t need to check the brand and model of your router to make sure it will let your data pass encrypted with the protection you add with the VPN software.
But, if you want to install the VPN software directly on the router (which is recommended in many cases) it’s another story.
Can You Install a VPN on All Routers?
You cannot install VPN software on all routers. You need a router that is compatible with the use of a VPN. Many consumer routers and routers built for fast gaming connections do not support VPN traffic.
When we want to install the VPN on the router we need to make sure the model is compatible with the VPN software. That’s the first thing to check here before we proceed.
We will list a couple of GREAT VPN routers in a second but let’s start by looking at why we cannot use all routers.
What If My Router Isn’t Compatible With VPN Software?
If your router does not support the VPN software we need to replace the old router with a new one or we can buy a new router and simply add it in conjunction with the existing router.
That will look like this:
By doing so you can keep all the settings, firewalls, passwords, etc.you already have on your current router.
We just add a new piece of hardware to the equation to make sure that all our data gets protected with that sweet encryption from the VPN provider.
That’s the easiest way to do this in may cases.
How Do I Install a VPN On My Router?
Here’s how to do it on most routers:
- Find the IP of the router
- Login to the router by typing in the IP to access the system
- Find the “update firmware” section
- Download and install the DD-WRT firmware
- Access the IP http://192.168.1.1
- Go to the “VPN” tab under “Services”
- Enable “Start Open VPN Client”
- Follow the instructions given by your VPN provider from here
You need to refer to your VPN provider as they all have their own settings for the last part. It shouldn’t be too hard and you should have 24/7 support if you’re using a proper (trusted) VPN provider.
(which you are, right?)
It’s VERY important to not just enter any VPN providers information. We need to make that absolutely clear at this point. There are many crooks and bad VPNs out there that will absolutely do more harm than good.
Quickly scan our article that talks about Routers & Antivirus: 12 Safety Tips
We always advise going with XpressVPN after testing a whole bunch of VPNs.
For these reasons:
- They have PROVEN to keep no logs (check our post here)
Which Routers Support VPN?
This part is easier to explain.
You can take a look at the list here to check whether your router is listed or not. All the routers on this list will run the Linux-based third-party firmware called “DDWRT”.
By installing this firmware on your router (if it’s on the list) you can use it with a VPN.
These routers all support the OpenVPN protocol that’s essential to enable the router to let the encrypted traffic pass through.
However, if you’re not comfortable installing the firmware yourself and you just want a really easy solution you should read on as we show you some of the easiest-to-use and best routers to work in conjunction with a VPN service.
What Are the Best VPN Routers?
Let’s take a close look at some of the VPN routers that are actually recommended by the biggest VPN providers out there.
They know exactly “why” they prefer to work with and this is a great way to find out which router you should go with.
SurfsharkVPN recommends this router for home use:
1) Asus AC2900 Router
This is a powerful router that will work well with your VPN. It’s a good all-around that’s good for both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz use. It won’t drop your speed when you throw some encrypted VPN data through it!
It’s a good mid-range router that’s very reasonably priced.
It’s great for gaming as it is super fast and won’t add extra lag to the process. It will also let you stream that sweet 4K video with high performance.
It also has some parental control features and it will support a very big home with a powerful signal. Asus is one of the very well-known brands when we talk routers and this beast will SURELY get the job done every time.
2) Linksys WRT3200ACM MU-MIMO (EASY to use!)
This Linksys router is really great for use with a VPN.
This is because it is really easy to install and set up. It takes almost no technical skills you just follow the few simple steps in the manual and you are set up in no time.
This one will also allow for 4K streaming in high quality without that annoying buffering icon in the middle of your favorite TV-show. It’s powerful enough to offer fast speed to all your devices for the whole family.
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Should I Install a VPN On The Router Or On My Devices?
Now that’s a good question.
You definitely get the best protection in the home by putting that VPN software directly on the router instead of on each device. When you do that you make sure that all devices on the network are protected at all times.
As long as they use the Wi-Fi and not a cellular signal!
And that’s the important part to understand.
When you install the VPN on the router you will ONLY be protected when you are browsing through the local Wi-Fi. That means that you are not protected when you’re out and about in the city or:
- At your school
- At cafes
- At restaurants
- At airports
- And all other public Wifis
And these are exactly the places you need protection the most!
The most vulnerable networks are always the networks with either no passwords or with a password that’s just laying around for everyone to get by asking.
Public Wifi is always vulnerable by definition. And if you intend to enter ANY personal information via such a network (like your bank data, passwords, Facebook logins, etc.) you need to make sure that you are doing so on a device that has a VPN enabled.
So, it’s a piece of great advice to install the VPN protection on the router in your home as long as you also remember to download the app or program for your devices that you bring out of your home.
That’s the real takeaway here!
Why Is My VPN Router So Slow?
The first thing you need to check if your connection is super-slow all of a sudden is that you’re not “double-covered”.
By that, I mean that you should make sure you’re not using a VPN on both your device AND the router. That will mean that you have a double-layered tunnel.
There can be uses for that but you typically don’t need that and it will cause your connection to be slower.
The problem can also be that you have connected to a slow VPN server. Make sure the router will connect to a good VPN nearby, unless you want to unlock some websites outside your country, of course.
As with all computers (and routers), make sure you reboot the system before you draw any conclusions. Maybe it will automatically connect to a better connection and find a better server that’s better at the moment.
Sometimes VPN servers are busier and then you need to connect to one that’s not the nearest option.