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.
There are a few ways to do this. You can do it on your existing router if it features a built-in VPN client (sometimes it’s possible to add VPN support by flashing a new firmware version), or you can purchase a standard router that is VPN-ready.
Alternatively, for a quick and easy solution, you can purchase a specialized VPN router, such as the InvizBox 2, which is already configured for ProtonVPN. We discuss all 3 options in this article with setup guides for each.
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 (new or existing)
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.
DD-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.
Setting up a VPN on your router can be a daunting task that could result in bricked hardware, so we only really recommend it for tech-savvy users. If you’re feeling brave, then here are our guides on setting up a ProtonVPN connection on routers yourself:
- How to set up ProtonVPN on Tomato routers
- How to set up ProtonVPN on DD-WRT routers
- How to set up ProtonVPN on Vilfo routers
- How to set up ProtonVPN on AsusWRT routers
If you find the reasons to use a VPN router persuasive, but fear trying to set up a VPN yourself, then you can buy one already preconfigured.
ProtonVPN compatible router from InvizBox
One option is to purchase a ProtonVPN compatible router from InvizBox. Created by InvizBox specifically for ProtonVPN, this open source router comes pre-configured out-of-the-box for ProtonVPN.
Simply plug it into your existing router/modem, sign in using your ProtonVPN account details, and connect as many devices as you like to it over WiFi. In addition to all the advantages discussed earlier in this article, the ProtonVPN compatible router from Invizbox is 100% open source and allows you to configure different VPN profiles (for example, a streaming profile and a local high-speed profile).
It includes ad and malware filtering, lets you set time limits for children’s internet access, and allows age-related blocking of websites.
Visit the InvizBox website to purchase or find out more about the ProtonVPN compatible router from InvizBox. We also have a detailed on How to set up the InvizBox 2 with your ProtonVPN account.
Pre-flashed router from Flashrouters
Flashrouters is a company that specializes in flashing routers with DD-WRT firmware. It 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 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 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.
Click here to purchase a VPN router from Flashrouters.
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. If you have any questions about ProtonVPN router support, you can contact us.
The ProtonVPN Team
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