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Best VPNs for routers in 2022

As you have already installed a VPN application on your mobile and desktop devices, routers with pre-installed VPNs could be a lifesaver that you haven’t thought of yet. A router that is secured with a VPN connection means a safer browsing experience on all your home gadgets that are connected to your Wi-Fi.

What’s also great is that installing a VPN on your router won’t only keep you protected but will also unblock major streaming sites like Netflix or Amazon Prime Video, and other entertainment platforms.

But, having in mind that not all routers support VPNs or aren’t easy to set up, we compiled a list of the best VPNs for routers in 2022. Continue reading to find out!

Best router VPNs – our shortlist:

  1. NordVPN – best VPN for routers
  2. Surfshark – incredibly cheap and secure router VPN
  3. IPVanish – VPN for tech-savvy users
  4. PureVPN – security oriented VPN
  5. ProtonVPN – solid VPN for router

What is a router VPN?

A VPN router is a router with a VPN software installed on it directly. On the other hand, a router VPN hardly has any differences from VPN apps that you have been successfully enjoying on your mobile phone or a laptop. Meaning, it will encrypt your network traffic, hide your real IP address from sneaky intruders, and, as a result, you will have a stress-free browsing experience.

But is there anything else why you would want to have a router VPN? Definitely! A router VPN will secure each of your devices that are connected to the Wi-Fi network. Therefore, you’ll be able to protect even those devices that initially aren’t able to have a VPN installed, for example, Smart TVs and gaming consoles.

What to look for in the best router VPN?

These are the key points that you should look for to get the very best VPN for your router:

  • Compatibility with a router. Each router might support different VPN tunneling protocols. Therefore, don’t forget to take a look at what protocols are possible to use on your preferred VPN app and your router.
  • Fast connections. Connection speed is another important factor that you should pay attention to. Without fast enough network speed you will hardly be able to enjoy streaming services and comfortable browsing in general.
  • Large fleet of servers. An extensive list of servers means more accessible global content for you whether you are streaming, gaming, or browsing. And, what’s also great, is that you won’t have to worry about overcrowded servers.
  • Unblocks streaming sites. Since router VPN is excellent for Smart TVs, Firesticks, and more, the possibility of unblocking streaming sites is a must. A VPN that allows you to unblock all major streaming platforms will be the one that you’ll enjoy the most.

The best VPNs for routers - our detailed list:

As the VPN market widens all the time, choosing the right VPN for your router might require some time, knowledge, and nerves to donate. Having that in mind, we have gathered a list of the best VPNs specifically for routers that were tested in a matter of features they offer, ease of setting up and use, security, and more.

1. NordVPN – best VPN for routers and daily usage

NordVPN banner
Dedicated router app:No
Set up guides:Yes
Customer support:24/7 chat and email, guides and FAQs
Current deal:🔥 Get NordVPN with 68% OFF + 3 months FREE 🔥

NordVPN is our top VPN option for routers. With it, you will be able to enjoy a fast, secure, and private internet connection on all of the devices that you connect to your home router.

Even though NordVPN doesn’t offer a dedicated application for routers control, it abundantly provides you with tutorials that show you how to set up DD-WRT firmware for NordVPN’s connection using OpenVPN and L2TP with PPTP protocols.

Moreover, NordVPN has a partnership with FlashRouters, meaning that you can get a router with an already built-in NordVPN. Additionally, you can use the FlashRouters application to control your VPN settings remotely. Next to FlashRouters, NordVPN works great with Asus WRT and Merlin, GL.iNet, Mikrotik, and more routers.

After you set up NordVPN on your router, you can instantly connect all of your devices to your home network and enjoy Nord’s strong suite of security that includes advanced encryption, ad blocker, kill switch feature, and more. Plus, it has a zero-logs policy that grants you full privacy.

And if one or a few devices that you plan to connect are for streaming or gaming, you’ll be happy to learn that NordVPN is a rock star at unblocking geo-restricted content with its SmartPlay feature. So, get your popcorns ready for a global Netflix marathon.

Learn more about market-leading VPN in our NordVPN review!

2. Surfshark – best router VPN for a low price

Surfshark banner
Dedicated router app:No
Set up guides:Yes
Customer support:24/7 chat and email, guides and FAQs
Current deal:🔥 Get 82% OFF Surfshark + 2 months FREE 🔥

Our second favorite router VPN – Surfshark. Truth be told, it can be a real online security shark that will benefit you with a great list of tunneling protocols and the next-gen suite of features for a price that is unimaginably good.

Just like NordVPN, Surfshark VPN has a partnership with FlashRouters, meaning you get an opportunity to use FlashRouter’s application that lets you control your router VPN’s settings easily. And the latter almost redeems the fact that Surfshark doesn’t have its router app.

Some router models that Surfshark supports and particularly recommends include Asus models (RT-N66U, RT-AC56U, Asus N-16, RT-AC66U, and more) and GL.iNet routers (GL-AR750S-Ext (Slate), GL-MT300N-V2 (Mango), GL-AR300M (Shadow)). Nevertheless, the list doesn’t end here and Surfshark offers you detailed guidance on how to set up your router for its VPN services as long as your router is compatible with a VPN.

And if you decide to use Surfshark’s services, you get to choose from OpenVPN, IKEv2, and even the WireGuard (there is also an unofficial workaround for this one) protocols. Thus, your network speed might end up quite great.

Finally, Surfshark’s based on a no-logs policy and uses AES-256 encryption. With it, you will get to enjoy fully packed applications on an unlimited number of devices as Surfshark doesn’t limit your number of devices at all. And, of course, you will successfully access all major streaming platforms and other restricted content without difficulty.

Find out more about the features in our Surfshark VPN review.

3. IPVanish – feature-packed VPN

IPVanish banner
Dedicated router app:No
Set up guides:Yes
Customer support:24/7 chat and email, guides and FAQs
Current deal:🔥 Get up to 69% OFF IPVanish + Antivirus 🔥

A VPN that’s widely adored by router users who love to go in deeper with configuring the software so it fully satisfies their needs. It’s next on the list that cooperates with FlashRouters and provides you with full access to the app for controlling your router VPN settings. This partnership also offers you pre-configured routers that are connected to IPVanish’s services.

But, if you prefer preparing your router under your sweat, then you’ll love that IPVanish has a set-up guide for each router model separately. Routers that they offer best-effort support are for high-end RT series ASUS routers running stock ASUSWRT firmware or the custom ASUS-Merlin firmware, DD-WRT, and Tomato flashed routers.

Moving further, IPVanish supports OpenVPN with DD-WRT firmware and offers the market-leading AES-256 encryption. However, if you prefer to have a faster network connection instead of a safer one, then you can change the encryption from 256-bit to 128-bit. But no matter how well your traffic gets encrypted, IPVanish promises not to collect your activity logs.

Despite the matter of security, we all know that a VPN is an excellent way to improve our daily life’s entertainment level. IPVanish is quite a good companion to do so as it successfully unblocks Netflix US, YouTube, and BBC iPlayer. Yet, those 3 are the only ones that won’t crash the joy of unblocking restricted content, so if you want to have all major streaming sites on your deck, you should check our best VPN for streaming list.

Get to know more from our IPVanish review.

4. PureVPN – safety ensuring VPN

purevpn interface
Dedicated router app:Applet for DD-WRT
Set up guides:Yes
Customer support:24/7 chat and email, guides and FAQs
Current deal:🔥 Get PureVPN 82% OFF + 3 months FREE 🔥

With PureVPN, you won’t need to worry about whether your router VPN services are always on fleek as it’s the first VPN service that’s always-on-audit. And if you are a user that likes it when everything goes intact, then you’ll be glad to know that PureVPN has a partnership with FlashRouters and you can get a router with a pre-installed PureVPN.

Nonetheless, you can always go for setting up your router VPN manually and PureVPN will give you a hand of support here quite well as it offers a wide range of tutorials for various routers. Just make sure that your purchased router supports OpenVPN or PPTP protocols.

What’s also great is that PureVPN has an applet for DD-WRT which makes it useless to install PureVPN’s applications on other devices additionally. Meaning, with this one applet you’ll get to enjoy all PureVPN’s benefits on all of your connected devices. But if you are into other routers, then it’s also fine, as PureVPN works great with Asus, TP-Link, Tomato, and other popular brands.

Not to count the fact that PureVPN is a service that’s always-on-audit, it’s important to embrace that it has also implemented AES-256 encryption – the toughest nut to crack for a hacker. And you can also dedicate the responsibility for your free time to this provides as it allows you to enjoy Netflix US, BBC iPlayer, DAZN, and more.

Find more delicious bits in our PureVPN review.

5. ProtonVPN – open source VPN for router

ProtonVPN banner
Dedicated router app:No
Set up guides:Yes
Customer support:24/7 email, guides and FAQs
Current deal:🔥 Get up to 50% OFF Proton VPN! 🔥

ProtonVPN is another great router VPN that offers all the benefits of being partnered with FlashRouters. That being said, half of the work for using a protected network connection is done as you can quickly get a router with pre-installed ProtonVPN.

Needless to say, this VPN works great with other major router brand models that support OpenVPN or IKEv2. You may choose from AsusWRT, DD-WRT, pfSense, Invizbox 2, and other routers.

But speaking of Invizbox 2, we would like to note that ProtonVPN has collaborated with InvizBox to create a router specifically for ProtonVPN. Consequently, the router is open source (just like the ProtonVPN application in general) and configured to connect easily to your ProtonVPN account.

Taking a step towards security, ProtonVPN uses military-grade encryption – just what we love to see. It has a spotless security record and keeps no activity logs. So, folks, everything sums to make ProtonVPN a great option to trust.

But, to make it even better, we would love to mention that ProtonVPN is fantastic at unblocking all major streaming platforms such as Netflix, Disney Plus, Amazon Prime Video, and the list goes on.

Make yourself more familiar with it in our ProtonVPN review.

How we selected and tested these VPNs

We have tested and selected the best VPNs for routers based on the following criteria:

  • VPN’s ease of setup on a router. Since you can't have a graphical VPN app directly on your router, you might already assume that it might be tough to get your VPN ready. Thus, VPNs that offer the easiest way to set up a VPN on your router are the ones that you want.
  • Private VPN router app. A dedicated VPN router app that comes from a partnership with a router brand is an excellent way towards comfortable control over the remote VPN settings.
  • Available tunneling protocols. As you have already purchased a router that supports VPN protocols, it’d be great if your selected provider would offer those protocols that your router supports. And you wouldn't miss out on choosing OpenVPN and WireGuard protocols.
  • Speed. Good network speed is somewhat essential for the best VPN to offer. With this feature, you’ll get to enjoy uninterrupted streaming, gaming, and browsing.
  • Bypassing geographical restrictions. As a router that’s connected to a VPN is a fantastic solution for streaming devices and gaming consoles as well, you might need your VPN provider to be a good trooper at unblocking geo-restricted content.
  • Customer support. No matter how great you are at mastering the cyber world, there might come a time when you need a shoulder of customer support to lean on. And since these moments come unexpectedly, it’s best for a VPN to have 24/7 support available.
  • Price. Even though online security has become one of these days' priorities we can’t leave financial safety behind our backs. That’s why we select only those VPNs that offer the best quality and prices ratio.

Why do I need a router VPN?

Getting a VPN for your router might open up more possibilities than you have expected:

  1. Secure devices that aren’t able to have a VPN installed locally. It’s no wonder that our homes are filled with various gadgets that are meant to entertain us and ease our lives. Unfortunately, most of them can’t have VPNs installed and, as a consequence, we risk our online security. At this point, a router VPN can be an excellent solution that will share a secured connection to your Smart TV, streaming devices, and gaming consoles.
  2. Have a VPN connection on your whole network. Setting up a VPN on your router will constantly share a safe network connection with all of your devices that are connected to your Wi-Fi. That being said, you wouldn’t need to worry about installing a VPN application on each of your devices separately, and forgetting to enable a protected connection on each of them wouldn’t be a task of the day.
  3. Bypass your VPN provider’s devices limit. Just a bit of cheating has never hurt anybody, right? Well, this cheat will help you to protect all of your devices even though your VPN provider has a limit of 3, 5, or 10 gadgets. How so? A router counts as one device only and a fact that it shares the network connection with numerous devices doesn’t count!

What are the downsides of router VPNs?

Even though for now having a router VPN sounds all cool, there are still a few disadvantages that we should warn you about:

  1. Complex setup process. It’s never an easy task to set up a program on a device that doesn’t have a local screen and a keyboard. That being said, to set up a VPN on your router you would need to do everything on your desktop device which includes more steps than a simple VPN app set up on your laptop or mobile device. Nevertheless, we are providing you with a step-by-step guide on how to do so and you can always contact us if you have any questions.
  2. Not many VPNs are fully compatible with routers. Many VPN providers are unable to offer a full pack of settings to fully satisfy router users’ needs. As a result, you don’t only get to pay more for less but you would also have a lower quality security and browsing experience.
  3. Limited VPN support by routers. So just like we get a limited number of VPNs that offer good services for routers, there are also routers that aren’t able to support a VPN. Usually, these routers are older or given by your ISP. All in all, to have all the benefits that a router VPN can give, you might need to buy a specific router.

How to set up a VPN on my home router?

Setting up a VPN on a router depends on every router separately. And it’s necessary to check before buying a router if it’s compatible with VPN services.

However, we have prepared a step-by-step guide for you so you could have an impression of what it might take to get your VPN installed on a home router. For this example, we choose NordVPN as our top provider.

  1. Access your router’s control panel. You can access it by entering the IP of your default gateway to the URL field in a web browser.
router default gateway
  1. Authenticate yourself with a username and password (these are usually written on the back of the router).
Router admin authentication
  1. Once you are inside the router’s control panel, look for a VPN client tab.
VPN client tab
  1. Head to nordvpn.com/ovpn/ and pick a server in the country you want to connect to.
NordVPN openVPN servers
  1. Click on Download UDP.
  2. Upload the file to your router(or depending on a router, you might need to extract certificates and parameters separately).
Upload file to router
  1. Enter anything you wish in the description.
  2. Navigate to the Nord account dashboard and find Advanced configuration. Then look for Service Credentials.
  3. Copy the username and password.
Nord Account credentials
  1. Paste the credentials to the OpenVPN Client window in your router’s management console.
OpenVPN client window
  1. Save the configuration, and connect to the server.
Connecting router to VPN server

Find out more about installing a VPN on a router in our article.

Router VPNs to avoid

There are cases when you shouldn’t jump into subscribing to a VPN. These cases include those VPN providers that:

  1. Has proprietary tunneling protocols. These types of protocols don’t support routers and there are usually no ways to manually set up a connection (such as Hotspot Shield VPN).
  2. Comes with antivirus or password manager suites. In this case, a VPN app is simply unavailable for a router (for example Dashlane or Bitdefender).

Is it safe to use a free VPN with my router?

No, it’s not safe enough to use a free VPN with a router or any of your devices. The reason behind this is how free VPNs earn money for selling their customers’ data to third parties. And since you get a limited amount of security features your online safety might also be poor.

Moreover, most free VPNs don’t offer the possibility of setting up a VPN on a router manually. Slow speeds would also be especially apparent when a VPN is used on a router. So just imagine making your whole home and all of your devices, going back to Dial-up days – it would be that bad.

Final thoughts

Putting it all together we shall say that a router VPN is somewhat a superhero of our online security. Especially if you choose to use the best VPN out there which to our eyes and minds is NordVPN.

By getting a VPN for your router, you get to protect your devices that aren’t able to have a VPN installed on them. This also means that you can simply use an encrypted network connection with each of the devices that you have by using your home Wi-Fi. And, what’s even better is that you can protect an unlimited amount of devices once you get a router VPN as a router counts as only a single device.

All in all, a VPN on a router is a tool that can grant you a full-house safe internet connection without having to worry about the extra hassle of setting up a VPN on each of your gadgets separately.


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