If you want complete security for your home network, installing a VPN client on each device can be time-consuming. To expedite the security process, you can also install a VPN on your router. Read our guide below if you want to save time and make your installation process more accessible.
There are many reasons for you to have a router-based VPN:
Overall, installing a VPN on your router makes things simple. Below, we will get into that step-by-step process.
Your first step in VPN installation is to have a router that works with your VPN. To find out if your router has the chops to support a VPN, you’ll need to do one of two things:
Having a pre-configured router enables you to skip most of the steps here. It will be pre-configured (skip step three) and already have the necessary firmware. However, you might need to update the firmware for the router, so don’t skip step two quite yet.
If your router is compatible but doesn’t have the correct firmware, you’ll need to flash your router or remove the compatible firmware. Check out the steps below.
To find out if your router can work, you need to download third-party firmware. You can do so by knowing your router’s model name and searching for them via the Tomato Hardware Compatibility list or the DD-WRT Router Database.
Be warned, downloading this firmware will replace the old one. In the worst-case scenario, this might “brick” your router, preventing it from booting up again. You will also be giving up any existing warranties.
But before you can install this firmware, you need to flash your router.
When flashing your router, this means removing your router’s flash memory, thus removing existing firmware. Outside of allowing you to install a VPN, flashing opens up a myriad of security benefits and customization options. Custom firmware can allow you to boost your WiFi signal.
Here are the steps:
You’ll know that the installation was successful if you see a dd-wrt.com control panel. Once you get this done, you can move on.
Establishing VPN connections involves downloading specialized software from individual files (some are OVPN, others are BIN files). These files contain information your router needs to connect to the server.
Once you have the software on your computer, you’ll need to log into your router. Much like any WiFi network, this involves knowing the username and password. Default settings dictate the username as “admin” while the password is “password” or nothing (leave it blank).
Once you get to the admin console, you should find a VPN tab under the advanced settings. Like installing the firmware, you should see a browse button to upload that file. Typically, the file will include your username and password, but you might need to enter this manually.
VPN providers have a manual setup section in some cases to overcome this. You can see the entire VPN server, username, and password from this page. The username and password of your router-based connection is usually a randomly generated set of numbers and letters. VPN providers do this to ensure nobody can establish a router connection in your name.
The VPN tab is sometimes replaced with “tunneling,” an advanced security tab that works on the device side of things. In this case, you’ll need to do something similar to port forwarding, which involves manually inserting your targetted device’s IP address into the tunneling section and inserting details into your VPN client. Here are some instructions on this secondary process:
When you want to go through a router test, focus on these areas:
To test it out, you can check out our IP testing page, which you can find on the top of our home page. You will know your router VPN is accurate if your IP address doesn’t match, and the display of the internet service provider (ISP) is inaccurate.
You can also take this test across other websites. Seeing if the router VPN works across streaming services and other frequently accessed sites is paramount to ensure you won’t need to change your habits.
Establishing a VPN tunnel on your entire network does come with a series of pros and cons. Below, we will go through a complete list of reasons for and against a router installation of any VPN.
If you have a mobile VPN and decide to connect to your home network, the two won’t cancel each other out. Instead, you might experience some more significant slowdown.
Consider multiple layers of VPN to be similar to multi-hop. Multi-hop VPNs connect to various servers, but those servers don’t connect. This is similar to how a Tor browser operates.
Yes, having a VPN router follows the same encryption protocols as a VPN client. So when connecting to a server, you will gain access to that previously forbidden content. In this way, you can watch streaming services like Netflix or Hulu from your game console.
If you have a VPN provider that supports your router, getting that protection is worth it. Having a genuinely private network is a challenge, and a router-based VPN can help that happen.
Regardless, you will want to supplement this by including a VPN on any mobile device. This includes laptops, mobile phones, and any tablet that leaves the house. Be aware that device limitations often refer to “at a time,” meaning you can have the client on multiple devices but not use them simultaneously above your limit.
If you want VPN protection that will work with mobile and non-mobile devices, use The Fast VPN. Whether you need protection on the go or at home, we have you covered.
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