We all love privacy and security in our networks. This ensures that we can carry out our online activities without a fear. Be it gaming, online banking, children’s online activities, and storing material online, getting privacy and security is so crucial these days. Using this guide, you will learn how to install a VPN on a router for the best privacy and security.
A mention of installing a virtual private network (VPN) to a router may bring chills to most people since it seems like a hugely technological activity. However, that can’t be further from the truth.
The installation process for the best VPN for routers is quite a straightforward activity. As long as you have the requirements for the activity, your installation process should be pretty seamless.
Why should you install a VPN on your router?
There are several advantages of installing a VPN on a router. These advantages far more outweigh the disadvantages. Let us go through them together.
Security and privacy on your network is assured all the time
When you install a VPN on your router, you are assured of privacy and security at all times when using your network. This is unlike when the VPN is installed on one device and thus using another device can leave you vulnerable.
You will therefore never leave yourself exposed as long as you are using the router for your network. This is because you will be part of the VPN tunnel.
The other thing to note is that even when you are sleeping, your devices will be covered. This is because there are some activities that take place automatically. These activities including account balance updates for a personal finance app will take place in a secure environment.
All the devices will get a private secure network
When you install a VPN on your router, you are assured that all your devices will get all the privacy and security required. This is unlike setting up a VPN on some devices at home.
The benefit of this is that even when you decide to use a different device from your regular devices, your connection will still be secured.
The feature is quite important since we may not always remember to set up VPN services for every device we have at our home.
Additionally, there are other devices that have no VPN installation capabilities. These include home media systems where some features are blocked from users in some areas. Netflix, Apple TV, or Chromecast blocks out some content in some areas.
For you to access the features in those areas, a VPN is necessary. However, it is not possible to install a VPN on a TV thus installing it on a router is easier and very useful.
Finally, the VPN will also cover your guests when they use your internet connection.
The router installed VPN will cover more devices
Installing a VPN on your router covers more devices with one slot on your subscription. This is because some VPN services have a fixed number of devices per subscription
For example, NordVPN covers 6 devices. Installing NordVPN on a router counts as one device. This is different from installing the VPN on different laptops, computers, and other smart devices. In that case, reaching 6 devices in our current smart homes is quite easy.
However, there is a demerit in this in that it lowers the internet speeds for your router. However, comparing the number of devices covered vs the decrease in speed makes it worthwhile to install the VPN on a router.
Steps on how to install VPN on a Router
Installing a VPN on a router is a pretty straightforward activity. This is especially so for the newer router models. For the installation you will require the following:
- A VPN that can be installed on a router
- A compatible router: The compatibility is dependent on the type of VPN you want to install. You can check the best routers for NordVPN if you are looking for a router that will give you an easy installation process.
- Your router login details
For ease in the installation of VPN on your routers, you may need to first get a router that can support OpenVPN. If your router is not compatible, then you can use open-source firmware such as DD-WRT, Tomato, or OpenWRT.
The most preferred router firmware for OpenVPN capabilities is the DD-WRT. You can install DD-WRT if your router is compatible or get a router pre-flashed with DD-WRT. DD-WRT is the most mature firmware and is easier to install in most routers.
Alternatively, you may acquire the best router for tomato or the best OpenWRT router. These routers will give you all the possibilities in router performance and also set you up for the best privacy and security.
So you can install the open-source router firmware on your device for ease in installation of the VPN if the router is not pre-flashed. After the installation, the router will be ready for VPN installation.
The following are the steps that you can follow to install the VPN on your router:
Acquire you prefered VPN
This is the first step even before planning for installation. You need to get a VPN subscription from the provider of your choice.
You need to consider if the VPN service can be installed on a router before going for it. As soon as you get the subscription, download the installation requirements. These include the set-up process and the firmware.
For the best service, get a paid VPN subscription such as NordVPN. The paid subscription makes it necessary for the provider to be updated and to give you the best service.
If not you can easily change from this provider to another. Thus a paid subscription will offer an exceptional product with even better customer care.
Login to the router settings
For the open-source router with an app such as Linksys, you can use the mobile app to get to the router settings. For the other routers, you can access the settings by visiting a web dashboard.
To login into the web dashboard, you will need to use a browser to log in. This is easily done by using putting in the router’s IP address at the URL bar on your browser.
Once that is done, the browser will request the login name and password. The information is provided at the back of the router or on the manufacturer’s website.
For Linksys router, you can install it from any browser. For example, on Microsoft Windows 10 you will select the Start menu. From the start menu, you can search for Command Prompt. When you select the command prompt, you can thereafter search for ipconfig and select it. After this step, you will get access to a page similar to the screenshot below. However, for your router, your address number will be different. The default IP address for the Linksys router or gateway will be 192.168.13.1.
For some routers, the user may have changed the login details. Be sure to check if you changed the login details.
You can also change the password afterward to a more secure password.
If you can’t locate the login details for your router on the back of your router, you can call customer service for your router. You will therefore receive the default IP address and login details for your router model.
Configure the router with VPN
When you login into the admin pages of your router, you will have a straightforward process of setting up the VPN. Both the router dashboard and the app can be used easily to set up the VPN on your router.
For you to install a VPN on your router, you will be required to select the configuration icon that gives you the configuration process. You can do this easily by following the user manual that is provided by the VPN provider.
You may get some challenges with the app when installing the VPN. This is because some manufacturers do not give too much functionality to the app. In this case, you can redirect the settings towards a traffic server.
In this case, you redirect the settings and point the traffic to a VPN server such as the NordVPN server.
Test the performance
Once the VPN has been set up, you can test the router’s functionality. You can use the mobile app to do a simple test. As you are taking the tests, be sure to check the ability to control your router settings.
The VPN client can control the settings of your router to control most functions. If the process does not work for your VPN client, you can repeat the process more carefully.
However, for some routers, this may prove difficult meaning that you need professional help. You can seek help if you have tried these steps and even followed the setup process in the manual to the letter without any results.
Contact the router’s customer support
For most routers, dedicated customer support is available to assist in such functions. For routers like Linksys models, you can call, chat with, or email customer support for assistance.
In addition, you can reach out to your VPN provider’s customer support. For example, NordVPN customer support is ready and willing to assist in case you are using NordVPN as your VPN.
Of note is that there is always a way to set up VPN on most routers. Reach out to your customer service in case you can’t do it on your own.
Related post: How to restrict downloading on a WiFi router
Disadvantages of installing VPN on your router
As you install the VPN on your router, you will also need to check the cons. These will help you to make a decision of if the pros outweigh the cons.
The following are the disadvantages of instlling VPN on your router.
1. Management of the VPN may be harder for some routers
Some routers do not have a comprehensive user interface or app. These routers are controlled using simple buttons on the router or user interface. In these routers, the management of VPN services may be quite hard.
Therefore, as you install the VPN on your router, you will need to check the router control features. Since using the VPN mobile app to control the location and usage of VPN services is easier and more preferred, when VPN is installed on these routers you may get a headache when trying to manage the VPN services.
The management can be done on the router, however, it will be harder to do. This is because you will require a third-party device to control the VPN services on your basic router.
2. Traffic between your router and the devices is unregulated
The VPN services installed on your router will screen out the connections between your ISP and your router. However, the connection between your router and the home/ office devices is not regulated.
This may be a challenge if a user can get access to your network by other means. For example, if you had given the username and password for your network to a stranger. It will also be a problem if your mobile devices are set to auto-connect to any network.
In this case, your devices will not be protected when they access the other network.
3. You will not get a record of blocked connections
Since the VPN is set up on the router side, it will block some incoming connections without a record. This is unlike computers and mobile devices where you will get an email or record of all blocked connections.
This is particularly important since some blocked connections may be beneficial to you. You can get access to them and change the settings on your devices.
However, this is very hard for a VPN installed on a router.
Following the above steps, you will be able to easily install a VPN on your router. The pros and cons of installing the VPN on your router should give you a guide on whether you need to do it or not.
In most cases, you may require to install open-source firmware such as DD-WRT, Tomato, or OpenWRT firmware for you to easily install the VPN on your router.
The firmware gives you so much control and performance improvement. They also enable you to easily connect your VPN clients.