One of the smartest ways to leverage the Internet security provided by a VPN service is by running the software directly from your WiFi router.
By running the VPN service on a router, all devices connecting through the WiFi will be secured. This way you only need to install it once, as opposed to installing the VPN service on your every device.
Our friends over at ExpressVPN just released an updated version of their VPN for router installation guide and configuration files. So, for the purpose of this tutorial, we will use ExpressVPN as an example. But you will be able to install VPN from other VPN companies and on other WiFi routers.
Now, the idea of manually set up a VPN on your router can be daunting for some. But we are here to help. So, let’s go through the project step by step.
The first step is to determine if your router is compatible with a VPN at all.
Here is a list of some popular routers which are compatible with ExpressVPN’s configuration files:
|Asus||RT-N66U, RT-AC56U, RT-AC66U, RT-AC68U, RT-AC87U, RT-AC5300, RT-AC3200, RT-AC3100, RT-AC1750, RT-AC88U, RT-AC66R, RT-AC55U|
|Sabai||RT-N66U, RT-AC56U, RT-AC66U, RT-AC68U, RT-AC87U, RT-AC5300, RT-AC3200, RT-AC3100, RT-AC1750, RT-AC88U, RT-AC66R, RT-AC55U|
What these routers have in common is the ability to configure a VPN in their firmware.
Another solution is to flash your router with an open source firmware. The three most popular router firmwares are: DD-WRT, OpenWRT, and Tomato.
- OpenWRT is the original open source firmware for routers. It is not the easiest to install and use, but it supports the broadest range of routers. You can check out supported devices here.
- DD-WRT is based on OpenWRT but is slightly more userfriendly. You can see the list of supported routers here.
- Tomato Firmware is our favorite firmware because it is super light-weight and intuitive. You can see if your router is supported here.
How to get started with VPN for routers
To get started, the first thing you need to consider is which firmware or custom installation is available for your router. You can check both on your VPN providers documentation pages and on each of the open source firmware’s list of supported devices.
Once you have selected a solution, each of these pages will have detailed installation guidelines.