Why you should set up a VPN on your router (and how to do it)

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


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 single device to your entire network. All the devices connected to your WiFi network will have their traffic encrypted by the VPN tunnel.

You can set up Proton VPN on your home local network and protect all of your network traffic. There are a few ways to do this: 

Four reasons to set up a VPN on your router

Most people set up and use a VPN on individual devices rather than setting up a VPN on their router for network-level coverage. Although it takes a little more work than simply installing Proton VPN on your devices, there are several good reasons to set up a VPN on your router instead.

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 use a VPN app on your other devices while connected to your home network. This saves you from having to download a different VPN app for each device. Instead, as long as you are connected to your home WiFi, your traffic will be protected by the VPN on your router.

However, you should still install a VPN app on your mobile devices, such as your laptop and smartphone, as your data will not be protected by the VPN on your router if you are connected to public WiFi or your mobile network.

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 installed 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 the smart devices in your home. 

Installing 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 can 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, it may be beyond the technical abilities of others in your home, especially if you live with children or elderly relatives. By setting up a VPN on your router, you can protect the traffic of everyone in your home at once.

Setting up a VPN on your router also protects your guests without them needing to download Proton VPN onto their device or having to compromise the security of your password by sharing it with them.

By running a VPN on your router, using VPN protection is as easy as just connecting to your 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 connections you can have on your VPN at once. As previously mentioned, your router then provides a VPN-protected connection to everyone who is connected to your router, 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 that router is the only device that counts towards your connection limit.

Installing a VPN on different types of routers

Depending on the type of router you have, you can either install a VPN manually or flash the router with third-party firmware. However, both of these methods 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.

On a VPN-ready router

You can set up a VPN connection yourself on any router that supports the OpenVPN or IKEv2 protocol. Generally, routers that support the OpenVPN protocol will be advertised as having a “VPN client” package or similar — so look for this language if you are considering buying a new router.

Flashing a router

If you prefer to install Proton VPN on a router you already own that doesn’t have a VPN client package, you can try to “flash” your router by installing third-party firmware such as DD-WRT, Fresh Tomato, or OpenWRT onto it. This firmware replaces the standard firmware of your router so it can connect to a VPN. (Here is a list of all the devices supported by DD-WRT.)

How to install Proton VPN on your router

Setting up a VPN on your router can be a daunting task that could result in bricked hardware, so we only recommend it for tech-savvy users. If you’re feeling brave, then here are our guides on setting up a Proton VPN connection on routers yourself:

Pre-configured routers

If you find the reasons to use a VPN router persuasive but are concerned about trying to set up a VPN for your router yourself, then you can buy one that is pre-configured for VPN connections. This means you will be able to connect to Proton VPN from your router right out of the box without any manual setup.

Proton VPN compatible router from InvizBox

Created by InvizBox specifically for Proton VPN, this open-source router comes pre-configured out-of-the-box for Proton VPN.

Simply plug the InvizBox into your existing router/modem and sign in using your Proton VPN account details. Then you will be able to connect as many devices as you like to it over WiFi. In addition to all the protections that installing a VPN on your router provides, the InvizBox is 100% open source and allows you to configure different VPN profiles (for example, a streaming profile and a local high-speed profile).

The InvizBox also includes ad and malware filtering, lets you set time limits for children’s internet access, and allows age-related website blocking.

Visit the InvizBox website to purchase the Proton VPN compatible router from InvizBox. We also have a detailed guide on how to set up the InvizBox 2 with your Proton VPN account.

Pre-flashed router from Flashrouters

Flashrouters is a company that specializes in flashing routers with DD-WRT firmware, so you do not need to “flash” the router yourself. DD-WRT handles the firmware modifications necessary to run a VPN on a router, and the Flashrouters Privacy App allows you to manage the VPN settings on your router via a simple graphic user interface. As of August 2021, Flashrouters also supports WireGuard

Flashrouters’ Privacy App also 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 Proton VPN features like kill switch and auto-connect.

Follow these steps to set up Proton VPN on your router with the FlashRouters Privacy App. You can contact FlashRouters support if you have any questions or issues.

Click here to purchase a VPN router from Flashrouters.

Drawbacks to installing a VPN on your router

Although installing a VPN on your router provides many benefits, there are also some potential drawbacks that you should consider before you decide to set up a VPN on your router.

Difficulties accessing content

Once you have set up a VPN for your router, it’s possible that you will lose access to some local services — especially if you connect to a server outside of your country. You may also lose access to some services that block known VPN IP addresses.

One partial workaround for this is to use a multi-band router and set up a VPN on one band (for example, the 5 GHz band) and not on the other (2.4 GHz band). Then you can just switch between the WiFi networks to use the VPN or not. The same applies if you have a guest network.

Potentially slower connection

Although Proton VPN has extremely fast VPN servers, connecting to any VPN will always affect your connection speed to some degree. Although the speed difference may not even be noticeable, you should consider if this is something everyone who is connected to your home network is comfortable with.

Proton VPN’s VPN Accelerator can increase your VPN speeds by over 400%, thus reducing any VPN lag to a negligible amount..

Not all routers support VPNs

You can’t use a VPN on every router, so before you begin the installation process, it’s important to check that your router is able to support a VPN connection. You may also want to consider purchasing a router that supports the WireGuard, OpenVPN, or IKEv2 protocols, or buy a router that is pre-configured for VPN.

Server flexibility

When connecting to a VPN via your router, you can lose some flexibility. For example, changing VPN servers can become more difficult. If you frequently change the server you are connected to (for example, if you like to access content from around the world), you may not wish to install a VPN on your router.


It’s almost impossible to verify that your router (or any hardware you purchase) does not have a back door through which your browsing data can be accessed. If you decide to buy a new router to handle your VPN connection, it’s important that you purchase it from a vendor or brand that you trust.

This is one of the benefits of using open-source VPN firmware such as DD-WRT and OpenWRT, as anyone can review their code to ensure that there are no back doors.

VPN for routers FAQ

Can you install a free VPN on your router?

Yes. You can install Proton VPN on your router with a Proton VPN Free plan. The router only counts as one connection on a Free plan, no matter how many devices you connect to your router. However, if you use a Proton VPN Free plan on your router, you will only be able to connect to our Free plan servers, located in the Netherlands, the US, and Japan, which are typically slower than our Plus servers as they have more load.

With a Proton VPN Plus plan, you can have up to 10 VPN connections, which means you are able to install the Proton VPN app on your mobile devices for full VPN coverage when you are away from your home WiFi. By installing a Proton VPN on your router with a Plus plan, you will gain access to our superfast Plus servers in over 60 countries.

How do you uninstall Proton VPN from a router?

All routers are different, but in most cases you will be able to easily remove your VPN profile in the settings. If necessary, you can also uninstall the VPN from your router by resetting it. If your router comes with a pre-installed VPN, you will be able to remove your VPN profile from the device, or you can flash the router with new firmware. Steps for uninstalling on InvizBox can be found here.

How do I know if my router has VPN?

Routers that are compatible with VPN are usually described as having “VPN client software”. You can find this information in your router’s manual or by searching for the make and model name online. If you use an ISP router (usually the case if you use a combined router and modem device), it’s unlikely it is able to connect to VPN. If this is the case, you will need to purchase an additional VPN-compatible router.

What should I look for in a router for VPN?

If you are trying to choose between VPN-compatible routers, you should prioritize the following features:

  • WiFi 6 (IEEE 802.11ax) support (or the latest WiFi standard available)
  • Frequencies — ideally a router that supports both 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands
  • Multiple ports — a router with multiple ports allows you to make the most of its functionality
  • User-friendliness — an easy-to-use interface will make installing a VPN on your router simple

Protect your traffic with Proton VPN

Proton VPN is dedicated to defending everyone’s right to online privacy. By running a VPN on your router, you are bringing Proton VPN protection to your entire home with a single device. You can contact us if you have any more questions about installing a VPN on your router.

Proton was founded by scientists who met at CERN and had the idea that an internet where privacy is the default is essential to preserving freedom. Our team of developers, engineers, and designers from all over the world is working to provide you with secure ways to be in control of your online data.


  1. Jason

    InvizBox2 is almost a good solution, but it does not currently come with SecureCore capabilities. That is one of the top reasons I choose ProtonVPN. Until InvizBox2 uses SecureCore, its not a good “VPN Router” solution.

  2. Andre

    Draytek configure, or tutorial? Is there one?

  3. Max

    Will support for S2S Ipsec be added some day? I’d like to setup my Cisco router to use ProtonVPN.

  4. Douglas Crawford

    Hi Max. I’m afraid this is unlikely. We use OpenVPN and IKEv2(/IPsec) because they are very secure. We are also evaluating support for the new WireGuard protocol.

  5. Sam Gearart

    I have just purchased and set up a Raspberry Pi 400 and it obviously has Raspian OS which is basically a clone of Debian distribution of Linux. Ive purchased the ProtoVPN and it works great on my Android phone but after following the instructons for installing the VPN on Linux…….nothing?!?!? I did see that somewhere it said that Protovpn does not work with Raspian at the moment. Is this still the case?

  6. Douglas Crawford

    Hi Sam. That is correct, but we are working on bringing our Linux client to more distros.

  7. AA

    Anyone have experience configuring a Cradlepoint router to use ProtonVPN? Cradlepoint can support: IPSecVPN, L2TP or GRE Tunnels, as well as OpenVPN. Looking for creative ways (& instructions) to configure the Router to be the one connecting to a ProtonVPN. Any ideas or suggestions?

  8. Douglas Crawford

    Hi AA. If Cadlepoint supports OpenVPN then it can be configured to use ProtonVPN.

  9. critzz

    please send me how to setup protonvpn on Tenda AC6.. thank you

  10. Douglas Crawford

    Hi critzz. I don’t think the Tenda AC6 router supports either OpenVPN or IKEv2, meaning that its not compatible with our service.

  11. dres

    InvizBox doesn’t seem to support using protonvpn or any vpn provider other than their bundled one so it’s weird to see it recommended here.

  12. xmen

    please send me a manual for fritzbox router. many thanks

  13. Andreas

    do you have any plans to offer wireguard protocol as well in future ? are there any plans yet ?



  14. Richie Koch

    Hello Andreas,
    This is a pretty popular question, for good reason. WireGuard is a promising new VPN protocol. However, at the moment, WireGuard is fairly easy to block. All a network administrator has to do is block the UDP transport protocol and WireGuard is stopped. (You can learn more about transport protocols here: https://protonvpn.com/support/udp-tcp/) We are currently focusing on implementing better TCP protocols because they are more resistant against censorship. However, WireGuard is in our future plans. We will implement it. We just do not yet have a date.

  15. Shantanoo Chaudhary

    Hey Ben! Thanks for the detailed explanation.
    1. I understand only the ‘surfing’ on Tor will be secure without a VPN. My question was whether ‘surfing’ on Tor using a VPN is still tangibly safer than surfing on any other browser. Will it be much much slower?

    2. I’ve signed up for the Plus Trial and every time I checked my IP address on the IP address website from devices connected through the VPN hotspot I see my local ISP showing up on the IP address. When I check my IP address on those sites using my phone which runs ProtonVPN (Plus Trial) it shows the ProtonVPN IP address of a different country. Do you think I’m doing something wrong or is there a bug in the Android app? Do let me know what you think. This problem exists on all phones, tables and Windows laptops connected to my Android phone’s hotspot that’s running ProtonVPN Plus Trial version. Thanks.

  16. Ben Wolford

    Hi Shantanoo, sorry for the delay getting back to you. To answer your first question, there’s really no security or privacy benefit to connect to Tor using a VPN. We offer this feature as a convenience only. But yes, browsing the web via the Tor browser is considered quite secure. It will be slower, but if you’re loading simple pages you probably won’t notice. Regarding your second question, it seems like there’s some variable affecting the IP information being displayed. I suggest reaching out to our support team and describing your situation. https://protonvpn.com/support-form

  17. Brian Donnahoo

    Do you have VPN for the NetGear Nighthawk cable modem router

  18. Ben Wolford

    Hey Brian! For questions about specific router models, please get in touch with our support team: https://protonvpn.com/support-form. Thanks!

  19. Azhar Ahmad

    Hi, I’m trying to setup VPN on my router. I’m using TP-Link Archer VR2800. It supports OpenVPN, PPTP VPN and IPsec VPN. Can you help me out please? Ultimately I want to connect ProtonVPN app on my iphone to my home VPN router to access my lighting control devices. Can it be done? Thanks

  20. Ben Wolford

    Hey Azhar, thanks for getting in touch. Could you please contact our support team? https://protonvpn.com/support-form They should be able to help you better.

  21. Michel

    Please post a guide on how to set up ProtonVPN on OpenWRT routers. Thank you!

  22. Ben Wolford

    Hi Michel, for questions about specific router models, please get in touch with our support team: https://protonvpn.com/support-form Thanks!

  23. Shantanoo Chaudhary

    Dear ProtonVPN: I finally graduated college and my parents insist that I practice online hygiene by using e VPN on my Android phone at all times. They’ve been long time users of your product and I’ll most likely want to sign up with you guys too because I hear good things about you plus I can find in-house tech support if I have a problem. (Like, literally in-house. Get it?)

    I do have a few questions though, would appreciate some inputs from you.

    1. I’m making it a habit to use Tor Browser for my surfing needs. Will that be redundant if I’m using your service? Or will that be an overhead in terms of speed? Or will that somehow improve my security? I might sign up for Core so please do account for that too in your inputs. Thanks.

    2. I use my Android phone as a hotspot for my older iPhone, iPad and Windows laptop once or maybe twice a month. Will that traffic also get routed through the VPN automatically? Should I get additional accounts for those devices or would the one account on my Android phone be legally acceptable?

    I want to thank you in advance for your help. And for the wonderful work you’re doing. Plus, all the reviews on the Internet claim you’re providing all security related services essential to a secure VPN absolutely free without any ads and without any data limits. I think it’s a noble gesture from your end and really chimes with your mission statement. Please tell the entire team how much that is valued by regular people like me. Thanks.

  24. Ben Wolford

    Hi Shantanoo! Thanks for the great questions, and welcome to the Proton community! To answer your questions:

    1. Tor browser is great, but it will only protect your activity within the browser. Any connections outside the browser (e.g. desktop apps) will still be visible to your ISP.

    2. If you connect to ProtonVPN on your Android, your entire connection will be encrypted between your Android and our servers. So this is a great solution. And it also means you would not need additional accounts/connection allowance for your other devices because they are protected via your Android.

    I hope that’s helpful! Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have other questions. And send our regards to your parents!

  25. Smoufo

    It would be really great if you could provide a small how-to guide on how to configure an IPSec connection to Protonvpn from the main Draytek Vigor router (e.g. Vigor 2860, 2960)!

  26. Ben Wolford

    Hi! For questions about specific models, please reach out to our support team for assistance: https://protonvpn.com/support-form

  27. Sean Yip

    Any detailed guide for TP-link router? Thanks

  28. Ben Wolford

    Hi Sean! Please contact our support team for assistance on specific router models: https://protonvpn.com/support-form

  29. Alexander

    @Alejandro : regarding your Draytek question the following.

    With my Draytek 2925AC i’ve been able to configure ProtonVPN with IKEv2 / IPsec EAP. It’s running four stable connections with ProtonVPN in failover now. I had to find the advanced settings myself and can tell you it works great with IKE phase 1 : AES256_SHA256_G14 – IKE phase 2 : AES256_SHA256. According to me you could give it a try with the free version and decide later to upgrade as i did (Plus).

  30. Peter

    Looking at the Invizbox it appears to come as bundle of the device plus monthly fee for VPN. Are there any plans for cooperation with ProtonVPN so that I wouldn’t have to pay additional unused VPN service?

  31. Alejandro

    Hello, interested in using ProtonVPN against my Draytek 2920 SOHO router. Is it possible?. Thanks

  32. Roxana Zega

    Hi Alejandro,

    Currently, we do not have a dedicated guide for this router model since it has not officially been tested yet.

    We’re sorry for any inconvenience this may cause.

  33. Jeff Mysliwiec

    I am so grateful for your attempts to keep privacy and security for the internet users. I have been having difficulty getting my VPN Plus to work and all attempts to get assistance don’t reach you.

  34. CW

    Which set of instructions would be the most helpful for setting up on a T-Mobile LTE gateway?

  35. Rox

    Hi there. =)
    I bought a huwei ws5200 specifically becourse the box said it has VPN passthrough.
    But now i think it’s PPTP / L2TP is only for connecting to a company vpn.
    Is far as I can se, you dont support PPTP / L2TP.
    Is there anyway to use my existing router for protonvpn?? Or should i buy a new one?
    Thank you very very much.




  37. theironcurtains

    Are you guys working on a partnership with Invizbox?

  38. frdonn

    Good post and usefull! However, it is not applicable for those main use cases :
    1) Gaming : If there are PC/console for gaming, VPN add latency that definitly decrease user experience.
    2) Stream : router setup only one VPN server, so if you use devices (tablette, AppleTV, Chromecast, smartphone) to watch Netflix, Amazon Prime video, Disney plus… when the IP of VPN is blacklisted by the SVOD provider you have to re configure the router in order to change to another Plus server.
    Maybe you have solution for that ?

  39. Erick

    Hi I’m planning to start my VPN account and also upgrade my router in the country I’m I have the access to the following routers below the models the VPN characteristics.
    TP-LINK Archer C60 ( I checked the user guide and it has a section regarding OpenVPN configuration)
    VPN Pass-Through PPTP
    And the
    VPN Pass-Through PPTP, L2TP, IPSec (ESP Head)
    Could you help me wich one can be configured with ProtonVPN


  40. gigi

    seems to me that in switzerland any internet provider (swisscom, upc, etc) does only work with its customised router/box that does everything (internet, tv, phone).
    so you do not have anymore the freedom of buying/choosing your own router.
    am I right?

  41. Milkman

    You can just use BraxRouter from Rob Braxman Tech (watch on youtube) plus a Raspberry Pi and you got yourself a cheap VPN router to half the prize.

  42. 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.

  43. Roxana Zega

    Olá Guilherme,

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


  44. Hizo

    OpenWRT + ProtonVPN = Love! :)

  45. 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?

  46. 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!

  47. Claude

    By the way, another practice everybody should have in mind for not ruining their privacy keeping efforts is not mixing “anonymous” traffic, if such a thing is possible, with autenticated traffic. TOR instructions advice not to use the same connection for private browsing and “logged in” browsing; this is, not doing normal “anonymous” browsing and then go using our mail client or webmail, social networks, chat applications, system updates, etc, because Google Analitics, Facebook and so many other “spies” will know that our Facebook account where we have our name, photo, familiars, friends, coworkers, etc, etc, etc, was visited by the same IP that visited some political debate forum; or Google will know that our Youtube account is used by the same person that visitied a lot of sites related to car selling, whatever, put the example that you prefer.

    So, since Protonmail already knows my real IP, and lets not tallk about Gmail, Facebook, Instagram, etc, that even know my phone number, where I live how I look like, etc, etc, etc, using the VPN for those apps and services would be “whistle blowing” ourselves; would be like saying: «Eh, that guy who was disguised and nobody could recognize him, that guy was me». So, we should let those apps and services that already know us, to keep knowing that we use them, but not letting them know anything else, and this would involve not using out real IP for anything else. But how can one exclude the traffic of individual applications of being redirected to ProtonVPN, tell that my email client or my chat app won’t use the VPN but the normal connection?
    I haven’t been able to find info about this, I know one can block IPs, but have no idea of what IPs uses Snapchat or Gmail’s app, and I guess they probably change them from time to time. So, how can one tunnel applications and not just IPs? Im using ProtonVPN with the Linux command line app (AFAIK there isnt any other for this OS so far).

    Thank you.

  48. Jacek

    there’s an issue with your DNS servers, putting only “” makes me offline, what do you think about clooudflare ?

  49. Artem

    Please take care of Ubiquiti device users. I’d like to conveniently and quickly configure VPN!

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