Surely many of you reading this right now are aware of all the great benefits of VPNs (Virtual Private Networks), but you might be wondering: should I connect my VPN service to my home router?
To recap, VPNs establish a secure encrypted connection by tunneling the Internet traffic through to a VPN server of your choice. By doing so, a VPN service hides your IP. Although it’s most popular for accessing blocked websites/services, it’s also used for many other things, including enhanced privacy and security online.
Most people will go ahead and download the VPN software on their devices. However, you may have heard about the option to set it up on a router. We’ll go over the advantages and disadvantages of connecting a VPN to a router.
There are many advantages to connecting a VPN to a router, and they make a great case for why you should consider it.
As it is right now, if you are a privacy-concerned internet user, you may be setting up all your devices for your VPN individually. It is great if you use a VPN provider like NordVPN, who allow you to connect up to 6 devices at a time.
When you connect a VPN to a router, however, you’ll get the additional benefits to connect even more devices: now any device, no matter if it’s yours or a visitor’s, will be using the VPN service. It doesn’t matter if you’re connecting through WiFi or the Ethernet cable.
One of the most important things of using a VPN safely is that you actually have to remember to turn it on. If you aren’t careful, you could be connecting to your bank account or checking other sites on an unencrypted connection.
However, with a VPN-connected router, you are always using your VPN service if you’re online. That means that you won’t have to continuously log into your VPN service for each device.
Of course, with a VPN on a router, you won’t need to worry about that. Anything that can securely connect to your home internet will be protected by your VPN service.
Of course, there are some downsides to connecting a VPN to your router.
Although many routers support a VPN as a server, what you need is for a router to act as a client. A router that can’t function as a VPN client won’t be able to link up your home network to the VPN network. That means you’ll probably have to purchase a router capable of supporting VPN client mode.
There is an alternative: you can take an older router and use custom firmware for those purposes, but that can be quite a technical job.
This can be problematic as well, especially for those countries that have geo-restricted content. For example, if a VPN user is in the UK and connects to a US server on his VPN, he might be limited. He can watch his Comedy Central as much as he likes.
However, in order to access the UK Zattoo service, for example, he needs to be seen as coming only from the UK. With a VPN, he’ll be seen as coming from a server of his choice—the US in this case, and he’ll be denied access to UK-only content. Switching servers around on a server could be bothersome to those seeking diverse and rapid reconnects.
Depending on a router, set-up and a number of devices connected to a router, slower VPN speeds could become a factor. Having said that, it is best to try a few different VPN servers to test which server might work best for your needs.
So, there you have it. Putting a VPN on your home router can be a great choice, but it has some potential downsides. No matter which one you choose, you should always use a quality VPN service like NordVPN, which has fast servers, great encryption, and won’t log your communications.