VPN routers: what is it and how to quickly configure them


Connecting a router to a VPN network is not so difficult as it might seem at first glance. But if you want to quickly and easily protect the whole network, you will have to make an effort.

You can connect your home, office or the entire work network to a VPN router and get all the benefits of a VPN connection right away for the number of users you need.

The possibilities of such a connection are very attractive – from reliable data encryption and hassle-free access to Netflix,  to access to large regional discounts and even improved Internet connection speeds. The best thing is that you can share all this with other users.

If you already use the services of a VPN service, then you most likely know that all this can be obtained using reliable special applications. So what is the advantage of VPN routers, why do you spend time and energy setting up such a router?

You will find the answer to this and other important questions in our instructions. Read on, because we still have a couple of great VPN offers where setting up your router is as easy as ever!

If you want to quickly jump to a specific section of this article, use the content below:


  • Why you might need a VPN router
  • When to think about setting up a VPN router
  • How to get a VPN router
  • The perfect VPN service for your router
  • Conclusion

Why you might need a VPN router

Before we get started, let’s clarify something: the ultimate goal of a VPN router is the same as any desktop and mobile VPN application. But in one they are very different.

What does it mean? If you already use premium VPN services (for example, ExpressVPN or NordVPN ), you already know how easy it is to encrypt your connection and protect yourself on the Internet. But this protection applies only to the number of connected devices allowed by your VPN provider and only to your own devices.

Limitations are everywhere. VPN routers offer a solution to this potential problem. There are also other unique benefits of VPN protection right from the “Internet source” in the home.

Here’s what VPN routers have to offer you

  • An unlimited number of connections.
    When connecting to a VPN network through  router, you can use as many devices as you like. You can also share  secure connection with friends and guests without connecting them to your account (which is almost always prohibited under the terms of the VPN service).
  • Compatible with a large number of platforms.
    Do you have  Smart TV box? Or maybe a streaming console – Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV or Chromecast? Unfortunately, these devices are not separately supported by VPN networks.
    The good news is that you can still protect them by connecting to a VPN router. Even though leading providers offer special services for these platforms (for example, ExpressVPN and it’s MediaStreamer DNS), a VPN router is much better if you want to not only encrypt data but also access your favourite shows and TV shows around the world.
  • You need to enter your username and password only once.
    Many users often forget to log in to their VPN account or configure applications to turn on automatically when the device starts.
    After you set up the VPN router for the first time, you will no longer need to worry about this. Yes, yes, you will need to enter your login and password only once, and then everything will work as long as you want! If you constantly use the VPN network through many devices, then this is a practical and effective solution.
  • The VPN connection will be available 24/7.
    If you have a preferred VPN server that you constantly use, you can stay on it constantly (as long as your router is turned on). This can easily be achieved by setting up auto-connect in VPN applications, but with a VPN router, everything will be much simpler, not to mention all the advantages mentioned above.

  Disadvantages of  VPN-routers

  • VPN routers are usually expensive.
    In most cases, a VPN router cannot be called a small cash investment. You need specific characteristics and functions for the VPN firmware to work with the router, and often this means that the simplest devices will not cope with this task.
    There are ways to spend less and save your nerves – for example, install advanced firmware on the router (IF they are compatible) or immediately buy a router compatible with VPN if you need a new one. We will talk more about this below.
  • The more devices connected to the router, the lower its performance.
    Server load is very important for the efficient operation of your VPN router. If you carefully select the servers, this should not be a serious problem, but keep in mind that the more devices you have connected, the greater the chance that the Internet connection speed will drop.
    The most important factor here is the speed of your Internet connection, but choosing the right VPN service also plays an important role.
  • Fewer server choices.
    Suppose you have two favourite VPN servers between which you regularly switch. When connecting via a VPN client, this is easy to do in just a couple of clicks, but the VPN router is not so flexible – you will be limited to the server that you specified in the settings, and you can change it only through the control panel of the router.
    Some routers can be configured so that it is possible to connect to more than just one server. However, using a VPN application is much easier.

As you can see, VPN routers have both their advantages and disadvantages. But there are situations in which the advantages outweigh all the disadvantages.

When to think about setting up a VPN router

As we mentioned above, a VPN router can be a great solution if you need online protection and privacy for a large number of devices.

We want to introduce you to our imaginary friend Alexander. Alexander is the owner of a popular cafe with several hundred visitors a day, attracted by excellent drinks and super-fast Wi-Fi.

Alexander does not want hackers and other cybercriminals feasting on his network; he wants visitors to be protected on the Internet because it is good for business.

Therefore, Alexander decides to invest in a good VPN router, which encrypts all the confidential information of users of this network and allows visitors to enjoy great coffee and delicious smoothies while browsing the websites calmly.

On the other hand, our friend Ekaterina wants to launch her startup. Right now, she cannot afford to pay for the work of a whole cybersecurity department, so she is buying a VPN router for her young company, which will protect all the organization’s devices on the network, as well as all her confidential data.

All over the world, there are many such conditional Alexandrov and Yekaterina, and maybe even you are in a similar situation! If so, then you should consider purchasing a VPN router for your small business or social events.

Silent Features

We don’t want to deceive anyone, so we’ll say that you may not need online protection of the scale that a VPN router can provide. For example, if you use a VPN mostly on your own to protect only your devices. The same is true if you use the VPN only from time to time and only for completely trivial tasks.

It is also worth noting that not all VPN services support the necessary functionality for routers. If you use a simple free VPN provider, then most likely it will not work with the router. It can turn out even worse – you will break your router during the setup process and just add problems to yourself.

If you are serious about switching to a VPN router (or just want to get the most reliable VPN services), we recommend that you look at the offers of the best VPN providers on the market, namely ExpressVPN and NordVPN. Thanks to their amazing features and great discounts, you will quickly understand why they are considered premium VPN providers, and you will not be confused by the price of the issue.

How to get a VPN router

Usually, when it comes to choosing a VPN router, you have two options: buy a device with built-in support for VPN networks or upgrade your router, if possible (that is, change the “firmware”). Therefore, there are three main types of VPN routers: VPN compatible routers, pre-configured routers and routers, the firmware of which can be updated manually.

Here is a brief description of each type of router and some useful notes:

1. VPN compatible routers

When: when you buy a new router better if you want to save money and do not mind spending time setting up.

Why: you want to buy a VPN router without having to do a flashing or overpay for additional settings.

What you need to pay attention to intuitive firmware, support for the OpenVPN security protocol.

If you already realized that it’s time to update the router, but have not yet decided which one, you should consider choosing a device with VPN support. Since the firmware of such a router already provides for a VPN connection, the setup process boils down to the fact that you just need to enter the name of the VPN service and your authorization data.

Even though most routers compatible with VPN technology already have all the necessary settings to work with your VPN service without problems, always check several times to see if they support the OpenVPN security protocol, since this is currently the most reliable option.

We recommend that you select OpenVPN whenever connecting to a VPN server, no matter what platform you use. Want to find out why? Read our article on comparing VPN protocols.

2. Preconfigured VPN Routers

When: you want to buy a better router and at the same time put a minimum of effort into the configuration, even if it costs extra money.

Why: you need a VPN router that is ready to use as soon as you unpack and plug it in, and you don’t mind paying extra for pre-configuration.

What you need to pay attention to suppliers with a good reputation.

Pre-configured routers, that is, already “reflashed” ones, are the most expensive type of VPN routers, but for your money, you will get a device completely ready for work.

The main advantage here is ease of use, since you can even choose a VPN service with which your router should work, you just have to choose such a small thing as choosing a server, which the setup wizard will ask you about.

However, there are several rather significant drawbacks.

In addition to the high price, you will have a small selection of really reliable providers. Vendors like Flashrouters have been offering quality services for many years, but beware of scam sites.

Another disadvantage is that you can buy a pre-configured router only through the online store; depending on where you live, this can be a very wasteful purchase – just imagine the cost of delivery and the difficulty of returning the goods if your device turns out to be defective.

3. Manual VPN Routers

When: Do you want to update your old router as cheaply as possible.

Why: you need a VPN router, but you don’t want to buy a new device and are sure that you can do the setup yourself.

What you need to pay attention to informative instructions, information about your router model, namely: whether it is compatible with advanced firmware.

Updating the firmware of router is not an easy task, for which you will need to search for information, but it is not so difficult and risky as it seems. If you want to configure  VPN router yourself, so as not to spend money on a new one, this is a reasonable solution.

As we already wrote, “firmware” is the short name of the process in which you install advanced software on your router. The two popular versions of such software are DD-WRT and Tomato, each with its advantages.

Here is a summary of the information you need to know about these two firmware. DD-WRT is the most flexible version, which is supported by many (80+) router manufacturers, including relatively little-known manufacturers (for example, TP-Link, Tenda).

Tomato firmware is compatible with a more limited number of devices, but it often works better with the OpenVPN protocol, it has unique features (for example, you can connect to two VPN servers at the same time), and it is also believed that there is a more understandable interface than DD-WRT .

Ultimately, the choice of firmware will depend on model of your router. Whatever you choose, we recommend that you first check whether your router is suitable for such an update by looking at DD-WRT database or lists of routers that are compatible with Tomato BEFORE you start the update. Otherwise, you risk breaking your router so it can no longer be repaired.

The perfect VPN service for your router

Now you know what types of VPN routers exist, and it’s time to talk about VPN services, without which they will not be able to function.

Choosing the right VPN provider is just as important as choosing the right router. The right choice ensures that you can get VPN protection without any problems, but if VPN service itself has a bunch of flaws, it will help you a little.

How to avoid such an outcome? Entrust your work with  reliable VPN service.

Regardless of the platform, the VPN service needs to meet certain criteria. Speed, reliable servers and guaranteed privacy are equally important.

Since all your traffic will go through the router and the VPN network, you need to make sure that the connection speed is fast enough so that you can easily do your usual online affairs  – from ordinary browsing websites to watching online video in HD, downloading files and gaming.

If you already have experience in circumventing geoblocks, you also know how important a variety of servers is, so you need to look for a VPN provider that has many servers in different regions to access your favourite streaming and other services.

Finally, your VPN should adhere to a policy that has no key if your privacy is important to you online ( it is better to value it). Both performance and data protection are of prime importance – this is the reason you need  VPN services.

There are also specific characteristics that help when working with routers. This includes detailed configuration guides, and individual firmware that can be downloaded from the provider’s website to configure the router to work with  specific VPN network.

Keep in mind that not all VPN services are suitable for working with routers. If you need ideas, here are few options:

1. ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN benefits

ExpressVPN is the leader among VPN providers with the fastest servers on the market. This is a service that takes care of the privacy of its users, does not store logs and can access any blocked content, starting with Netflix USA and ending with news channels in your country.

One of the unique advantages of this service is a wide selection of individual VPN applications for several Asus, Linksys and Netgear routers, which will make configuration even easier if you have one of these models.

Even if not, this lightning-fast VPN can be configured manually on different router models using informative step-by-step instructions.

ExpressVPN also sells pre-configured routers and has detailed installation guides for all supported routers, including DD-WRT and Tomato firmware. You can learn more about ExpressVPN and its reputation from user reviews on our website.

If something goes wrong, ExpressVPN service gives you a 30-day money-back guarantee,  and rest assured: they will be returned to you without any questions.

ExpressVPN can unlock:

  • Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Amazon Prime Video, Showtime, Sling TV, DAZN, and BBC iPlayer.

Torrent Support:

  • Yes, all servers support P2P.

ExpressVPN runs on the following devices:

  • Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Android TV, Linux, Chrome, and Firefox. Also offers an application for working with routers.

Get ExpressVPN Now

2. NordVPN

NordVPN devices

NordVPN is another premium provider that offers amazing services for money.

Registered in Panama, this VPN service has more than 5,100 servers, adheres to strict, passwordless policy, and uses 256-bit AES encryption using the OpenVPN security protocol along with Perfect Forward Secrecy. With such high-quality encryption, the service maintains high connection speeds.

Thanks to regular service updates, informative configuration guides for a variety of routers and convenient features (for example, access to server load information), NordVPN will be an excellent choice for your router at a very competitive price.

On the NordVPN website, you will find detailed instructions for setting up routers, and the service also offers a large selection of pre-configured router models. Here you will find instructions for working with a variety of firmware, including DD-WRT, Tomato, pfSense, and OpenWRT. You can learn more about this versatile VPN provider on the reviews page.

NordVPN provides a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can test it on your router before you buy a long-term plan.

NordVPN can unlock:

  • Netflix, HBO, Hulu, Showtime, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video and Sling TV.

Torrent Support:

  • Yes, dedicated P2P servers.

NordVPN runs on the following devices:

  • Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Android TV, Linux, Chrome, and Firefox. Also compatible with routers.

Try NordVPN in action right now

3. IPVanish


Finally, IPVanishis another good option. The service offers pre-configured routers and manual configuration guides for 20 different router firmware. If this is your first time seeing the name of this VPN provider, you can Test IPVanish now.

Get IPVanishNow


Installing a VPN on the router is not so difficult, even if you do it manually. A good provider will provide you with detailed instructions so that you can complete the setup.

Now you know what advantages and characteristics a VPN router has, and also imagine which VPN providers will best cope with the support of such a router. Find the best deal on our discounts and promotions page. Good luck


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