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Why you should set up a VPN on your router

Posted on February 27th, 2020 by in How-to.

An illustration of a WiFi router running ProtonVPN.

 

A VPN is one of the best ways to protect your online data and prevent your Internet service provider from spying on your browsing history. However, a VPN only protects your Internet connection on the device it’s installed on — unless you set up the VPN on your router.

By running your VPN not on your smartphone or laptop but your router, you are shifting the VPN’s security coverage from a device to your entire network. All the devices connected to your WiFi network will have their traffic encrypted in the VPN tunnel.

If you’re a ProtonVPN user, you can set up ProtonVPN on your home local network. In this guide, we’ll explain some of the reasons you might consider setting up ProtonVPN on your router. When you’re ready to get started, check out the bottom of this article for instructions. We’ve included links to our Knowledge Base articles, which explain how to set up a VPN on your router yourself, as well as a couple of simpler alternatives.

4 reasons to set up a VPN on your router

1. No need to set up a VPN on each device

Once you set up a VPN on your router, you don’t need to bother installing a VPN app on your other devices. This saves you from having to download a different VPN app for each device.

2. Protect devices that don’t support VPNs

More and more devices, like smart speakers and smart TVs, are connecting to the Internet. Many of these smart devices do not support a VPN app. How would you even install a VPN on your smart microwave in the first place? This means that your Internet service provider can monitor all the activity of the smart devices in your home — unless you set up a VPN on your router.

If you have a VPN on your router, any device that is connected to it will have its traffic encrypted, including smart devices. This adds a much-needed layer of security to your smart devices. A VPN on your router could also help access blocked content if, for instance, your smart TV comes equipped with a YouTube app. By setting your location to another country, you could access shows and movies that would otherwise be geo-blocked in your location. 

3. Securing your data is even easier

While signing into a VPN app is not difficult, the security of your password is undermined if you share it with others. Also, if you want to protect your children, grandparents, or guests’ online data, asking them to use a VPN might be a bit much, depending on their level of tech-savviness.

By running a VPN on your router, using VPN protection is as easy as connecting to WiFi. 

4. A router protects your entire household with one device

A router counts as a single device when you are looking at how many consecutive connections you can have to the VPN at once. And, as previously mentioned, your router then provides a VPN-protected connection to your entire household, no matter how many devices you connect to it. Even if your whole family is browsing the Internet on their smartphones at the same time, if they are all connected to your VPN-equipped router, then it is the only device that counts towards your connection limit.

Some drawbacks to consider

Before you decide to set up a VPN on your router, there are some downsides you should consider. These include:

  • Depending on which country the VPN server you connect to is in, you could lose access to local services or services that block VPNs.
  • The encryption can slow down your bandwidth and browsing speed.
  • Not all routers support VPNs.
  • Your router will not protect all your local network connections, like Bluetooth.
  • Placing a VPN on your router will not protect your network if one of the devices connected to it is compromised.
  • You lose some flexibility since changing VPN servers can be quite tricky when you are connected via your router. (Although this is not necessarily always the case — more on this below.)
  • Most importantly, if you decide to buy a new router to handle your VPN connection, it is impossible to verify that that router does not have a back door. This is true of any hardware. Only purchase hardware from vendors or brands you trust.

How to install ProtonVPN on your router

If you’re looking at buying a new router, you can set up a ProtonVPN connection on a router yourself if it supports the OpenVPN protocol. (Generally, that means the router will say it comes with a “VPN client” package.) If you already have a router, you could try to “flash” it, or install DD-WRT onto it. D

D-WRT is a third-party firmware that upgrades the security and utility of standard D-Link or Netgear router firmware.

However, both of these come with their drawbacks: installing a VPN manually on a router can be complex and time-consuming, and when you flash a router, there’s a small chance you will “brick” it, or render it inoperable. 

For tech-savvy users, here are our guides on setting up a ProtonVPN connection on routers yourself:

Pre-flashed routers

If you find these reasons persuasive but fear trying to set up a VPN yourself, buying a pre-flashed router from FlashRouters is an option. (If you purchase a router using this link, ProtonVPN may receive a commission, which we would use to develop and expand our service.)

FlashRouters handles the firmware modifications necessary to run a VPN on a router, and its Privacy App allows you to manage the VPN settings on your router via a simple graphic user interface. It lets you switch which VPN server you are connected to with a single click. If you get a router from FlashRouters, it will also support VPN Kill Switch and Auto-Connect features.

Follow these steps on how to set up ProtonVPN on your router with the FlashRouters Privacy App.

You can contact the FlashRouters team support if you have any questions or issues at https://www.flashrouters.com/contacts.

Another option you can use is InvizBox. They also sell pre-flashed routers that are all set for VPN connections. They use ad-blocking technology to help you protect your browsing, and all of their code is open source.

Its InvizBox 2 supports a VPN Kill Switch and even lets you set up a Tor hotspot, letting you route your connections over the Tor network. You can also easily switch which VPN server you are connected to and to set up multiple custom profiles using InvizBox’s browser-based router Settings page.

ProtonVPN is dedicated to defending everyone’s right to online privacy. By running a VPN on your router, you are bringing ProtonVPN protection to your entire home with a single device.

Best Regards,
The ProtonVPN Team

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Post Comment

5 comments

  1. Guilherme

    Olá, tenho um router DIR-879. Antes de contratar o serviço ProtonVPN, gostaria de saber qual o procedimento passo a passo para instalar a VPN neste modelo de roteador.
    Obrigado

  2. Roxana Zega

    Olá Guilherme,

    Infelizmente, este router não é compatível e não é possível criar uma ligação ProtonVPN com ele.

    Obrigada

  3. Hizo

    OpenWRT + ProtonVPN = Love! 🙂

  4. Luc Gravelle

    Hello, I’m interested In running a VPN on my router. I’m a basic monthly paid version user of NVPN. Please, tell me how should I proceed and is it include whit my subscriptions?

  5. Roxana Zega

    Hi Luc,

    We’re very happy to hear you’re interested in ProtonVPN. You can check all our plans here: https://protonvpn.com/pricing

    Thank you!

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