Router Devices VPN Reviews
VPN Providers for Router Devices
What is a Router VPN?
A router VPN is a service that uses your home or small business’ wireless or wired router to protect, encrypt, and secure your data for any devices that hook up to it.
There are only a select number of VPNs out on the market right now which actually support router installations, all of which can be found by using the spreadsheet found above.
The reason for this is it takes a very specific type of network to be able to accept traffic directly from a VPN-enhanced router, and everything from the model of your router to the firmware version it has installed inside can determine whether or not this “route” is right for you (pun somewhat intended).
Why use a router VPN?
Rather than being installed and run individually on every device you want to protect in your home, a router VPN centralizes the entire effort and keeps your connection secure at the actual source instead. This is beneficial over the traditional approach for a number of reasons, including cost, device-agnostic universally supported connections, and overall ease of use every day.
The first benefit of using a VPN that’s installed on your router is that unlike other VPN approaches which require you to register a certain number of connections depending on your subscription price, how much you’re willing to spend on a subscription doesn’t matter when you only have one connection running at a time: the router.
With a VPN installed on your wireless or wired router, however many simultaneous connections the device can support is the max limit your VPN will provide since all of the traffic is ultimately only being routed through a single IP address on the backend.
This means if a particular three, five, or ten-device plan is too expensive on the VPN you want to use (and you know you’ll be doing most of your VPN browsing either at home or from the office), then installing on your router and opting for the single-device route instead could save you dozens if not hundreds of dollars per year in extra unnecessary fees.
That said, many VPN users also like to take their protection with them on the go, which means being able to connect through their phone via the LTE connection. If this sounds like you, you might still want to opt for at least a three-device plan to add an extra set of buffers between you and the unprotected web.
Universal device support
Another major benefit of using a VPN on your router is that as long as the router you own is already supported, then you can protect every single device and connection in your home regardless of the operating system they’re running or the version of the device itself.
All too often VPN users can run into problems when trying to find a service that supports every kind of device in their house, everything from Chromecasts to iPhones older than the 6. With a VPN installed on the router, as long as the device you’re trying to secure is able to connect to the internet via any kind of WiFi or wired link, you’re protected and good to go!
Ease of Use
Not only is it more expensive to have your VPN installed on a dozen different devices at once in order to keep them all protected, it’s also a lot more hassle too.
If you’re someone with kids - or even just less technically-savvy employees - who use your network daily and are always disconnecting/re-connecting themselves without thinking about what apps to turn on to keep it safe, a VPN solves this problem from the start.
Instead of relying on everyone else to have good security practices each time they connect to the router, installing a VPN on your router automatically encrypts every connection attached to it; no questions asked. This can drastically cut down on setup time for installing a VPN on every device in your home/office, and also allows you to keep the login credentials to yourself when no one else needs them to login on their own.
Finally, there’s the matter of increased security. Although VPNs that are installed on devices are plenty secure on their own, installing a VPN on the router allows you to guarantee that 0% of any of the traffic communicating to or from your network is malicious or infected with bad data.
Though the feature is limited to a select number of high-end and enterprise VPNs, several technologies have been released as add-ons in the past few years which add adaptive security features on top of the 256-bit AES encryption that’s already there.
These include options like firewalls, antivirus and packet scanners - all three of which become exponentially more useful/powerful when installed on a router rather than an individual device.
Who needs a router VPN?
As we mentioned in the previous section, there are a lot of good reasons why a router-based VPN might be the right choice to protect you, your family, or your co-workers too.
For the home
Installing a VPN on a home router allows even the least-tech savvy members of the household to remain under the umbrella of safety without even realizing it, while employees will be protected from viruses and threats when you employ the services of an enterprise-ready provider.
Router VPNs are also recommended for any potential customers who want the all-in-one, plug and play experience with VPNs. Thought it may sound counterintuitive given the notoriously complicated setup process for getting a router running on a VPN, because there are a ton of VPN providers who actually sell pre-installed routers with their VPN already running on them, these can often be the fastest way to get your whole family protected with a single purchase!
For your business
If you run any kind of business that offers free public WiFi (cafe, sandwich shop, bookstore, etc), having a VPN installed on the router your customers use is vital to keeping the network safe.
With so many different devices connecting and reconnecting throughout the day, public WiFi hotspots like the one running in your very business can be a big attractor for one of the worst kind of hacks: packet-sniffers.
Packet sniffers can pull unprotected data right out of the router as it’s in transit, scanning for credit card numbers and sensitive information that the hacker can sell to their friends. Installing a VPN on the router itself encrypts the data before it ever enters the air, guaranteeing that no matter who’s listening in that all they’ll be able to sniff out is a jumbled mess of keys instead!
What does a router do to protect connections on its own?
Of course, routers wouldn’t be doing their jobs if they didn’t have a few of their own security features up their sleeves to handle the heavy lifting when a big strong VPN service isn’t around.
These can range depending on the make, model, and price point of your router, as well as if it’s made for home use or enterprise clients. The number of security solutions also varies somewhat drastically going from router to router, though here’s a list of a few staples you should look for at a bare minimum when making your next router purchase:
- The ability to install VPNs: Finally, there’s the option to actually install a VPN in the first place! If it isn’t already obvious from the name, we at VPN.com believe the fastest and simplest path toward a total security-solution-in-one package is the ability to install a VPN on your router. However not all VPNs, nor all routers, are made the same.
How does a router VPN work?
A router VPN works in much the same way a classical VPN connection via your computer does, aside from a few small differences.
Like a standard client-based VPN, data is encrypted through a what’s known as a “tunnel”, designed to hide everything from the content of your traffic to the source of where it’s coming from in the first place (via your IP).
Are router VPNs legal?
As long as you’re using your VPN from a country where VPNs are already permitted by the host government, then yes! Running a VPN from your router doesn’t change the legality of the service itself, so be sure to check out our constantly updated list of countries that allow VPN usage to see if yours does too.
Router VPN not working?
Router VPNs are generally a reliable way to get yourself connected and encrypted on the web, but sometimes they can have issues getting hooked up properly. These can range from problems with the networking setup to issues with your login, and each have their own solutions which may differ depending on your device and the version of router you have installed.
With so many different variables per device it wouldn’t be possible for us to go over every technical issue a VPN router user might encounter on the platform, but here are a few of the more common troubleshooting tips that can help router owners when their VPN isn’t functioning as intended.
Complicated setup process
Of all the different setup methods that one has to go through when installing VPNs on various devices, perhaps none are more complicated to the average user than a router VPN setup.
One pricier way around this problem is to find a VPN provider who actually sells VPN-installed routers direct from their website. These offer the router VPN plug-n-play experience, and are highly recommended for any users who want simplicity and don’t mind paying a little extra for it the next time they hit the checkout.
VPN won’t connect
If your VPN won’t connect while you’re pushing traffic directly through the router, there could be a number of different technical issues causing it which each have their own independent solutions. The first place to start troubleshooting should be